In the 1950s, the accusation "who lost China" resonated throughout American politics and led to the defeat of the Democratic Party in the presidential elections of 1952. Unless President Barack Obama reverses field and strongly opposes letting the Muslim Brotherhood take over Egypt, he will be hit with the modern equivalent of the 1952 question: Who Lost Egypt?
The Iranian government is waiting for Egypt to fall into its lap. The Muslim Brotherhood, dominated by Iranian Islamic fundamentalism, will doubtless emerge as the winner should the government of Egypt fall. The Obama administration, in failing to throw its weight against an Islamic takeover, is guilty of the same mistake that led former President Jimmy Carter to fail to support the shah, opening the door for the Ayatollah Khomeini to take over Iran.
The United States has enormous leverage in Egypt -- far more than it had in Iran. We provide Egypt with upwards of $2 billion a year in foreign aid under the provisos of the Camp David accords orchestrated by Carter. The Egyptian military, in particular, receives $1.3 billion of this money. The United States, as the pay master, needs to send a signal to the military that it will be supportive of its efforts to keep Egypt out of the hands of the Islamic fundamentalists. Instead, Obama has put our military aid to Egypt "under review" to pressure Mubarak to mute his response to the demonstrators and has given top priority to "preventing the loss of human life."
Obama should say that Egypt has always been a friend of the United States. He should point out that it was the first Arab country to make peace with Israel. He should recall that President Anwar Sadat, who signed the peace accords, paid for doing so with his life and that President Hosni Mubarak has carried on in his footsteps. He should condemn the efforts of the Muslim Brotherhood extremists to take over the country and indicate that America stands by her longtime ally. He should address the need for reform and urge Mubarak to enact needed changes. But his emphasis should be on standing with our ally.
The return of Nobel laureate Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has to Egypt as the presumptive heir to Mubarak tells us where this revolution is headed. Carolyn Glick, a columnist for the Jerusalem Post, explains how dangerous ElBaradei is. "As IAEA head," she writes, "Elbaradei shielded Iran's nuclear weapons program from the Security Council. He [has] continued to lobby against significant UN Security Council sanctions or other actions against Iran...Last week, he dismissed the threat of a nuclear armed Iran [saying] 'there is a lot of hype in this debate'."
As for the Muslim Brotherhood, Glick notes that "it forms the largest and best organized opposition to the Mubarak regime and [is] the progenitor of Hamas and al-Qaida. It seeks Egypt's transformation into an Islamic regime that will stand at the forefront of the global jihad."
Now is the time for Republicans and conservatives to start asking the question: Who is losing Egypt? We need to debunk the starry eyed idealistic yearning for reform and the fantasy that a liberal democracy will come from these demonstrations. It won't. Iranian domination will.
Egypt, with 80 million people, is the largest country in the Middle East or North Africa. Combined with Iran's 75 million (the second largest) they have 155 million people. By contrast the entire rest of the region -- Algeria, Morocco, Libya, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Syria, Tunisia, Jordan, UAE, Lebanon, Kuwait, Oman, and Qatar combined -- have only 200 million.
We must not let the two most populous and powerful nations in the region fall under the sway of Muslim extremism, the one through the weakness of Jimmy Carter and the other through the weakness of Barack Obama.
© Dick Morris & Eileen McGann