The United States is "entrenched" as a partner of a repressive, Islamist regime in Egypt and the enemy of its pro-democracy opposition, Sen. Ted Cruz said in a strongly written opinion piece on Wednesday.
The Texas Republican, in an article for Foreign Policy
, calls the United States actions in Egypt, where protesters are demanding the ouster of Muslim President Mohammed Morsi, "one of the most stunning diplomatic failures in recent memory," and demands to know why President Barack Obama is standing behind Morsi.
"Surely, after our long and lonely search for secular and democratic partners in the Arab world, we could find some common ground with (the protesters,)" said Cruz.
But instead, Cruz said, the United States is siding with Morsi, a leader whose regime "has an unpleasant tendency to trample on the rights of women, Christians, and Jews — and to stifle the independence of the press and judiciary, ruining the economy in the process."
Protesters in Egypt are responding, Cruz writes, with anti-American sentiment. The number of embassy personnel has been reduced and a travel warning has been issued for Americans in Egypt as protesters are also carrying signs with slogans like "Obama Supports Terrorism" and "Obama Supports Morsi," and pictures of American ambassador to Egypt, Anne Patterson, with a large red "X" through her face.
Cruz said the United States missed its chance to form a strong Middle Eastern alliance when Morsi first took office a year ago.
Obama could have "expressed strong reservations about a member of the Muslim Brotherhood taking control of the country," at the time, said Cruz. "He should have also been more aggressive about using American aid to extract concessions from the Egyptian government on human rights."
But instead, Cruz said Obama made a personal call to congratulate Morsi, calling his election a milestone and pledged $1 billion in aid to Egypt.
In addition, he said, Obama, while traveling in Africa just before the protests started, admonished the demonstrators to stay peaceful while recommending Morsi engage in "constructive conversation," saying he couldn't take any sides in the debate.
"We are witnessing a moment of real opportunity for reform in Egypt right now, just as we witnessed hopeful moments in Iran in 2009 and Syria in early 2011," Cruz said.
Obama's policies have provoked hostility from "the very people we should most want to support," and it would be a "greater pity" if the administration helps keep Morsi in power.
"Since the president has refused to act, Congress should move quickly to freeze all aid to Egypt that is supporting the Muslim Brotherhood," Cruz said.
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