Obama says Egypt is neither an ally nor an enemy:
Richard Engel reacts to Obama's statement:
For the last forty years, the United States has had two main allies in the Middle East — Saudi Arabia and Egypt, the other ally in the Middle East being Israel. For the President to come out and say, well, he’s not exactly sure if Egypt is an ally any more but it’s not an enemy, that is a significant change in the perspective of Washington toward this country, the biggest country in the Arab world. It makes one wonder, well, was it worth it? Was it worth supporting the Arab Spring, supporting the demonstrations here in Tahrir Square, when now in Tahrir Square there are clashes going on behind me right in front of the US embassy?
The central test of the engage-political-Islamists policy is post-Mubarak Egypt. Nobody remembers now, but after Mubarak's fall there was much debate whether the Muslim Brotherhood should be allowed to participate in Egypt's new political system. It is hardly illiberal to ban a party that aims at the overthrow of a liberal state. West Germany banned neo-Nazi parties after 1945; the post-1989 Czech Republic forbade former communist officials to hold government jobs – and both democracies are stronger for it. In the end, the Muslim Brotherhood escaped the ban by promising not to run a candidate for president, a promise it promptly broke.
Through it all, the Obama administration pressed for engagement, inclusion and acceptance, provided only that the Muslim Brotherhood complied with the rules of the political system. It did – and here we are.
Joshua Tucker tries to get inside Morsi's head:
He’s trying to win support from his own constituency while trying (somewhat) not to completely infuriate the US and Egyptian military. Yet, there’s another constituency that Mursi must not ignore: the very citizens outside his constituency who gave him the opportunity to lead. Many in Egypt see the US role in the future of Egypt as absolutely critical to the development of that country. Despite a strong current of anti-Americanism — only 19% of Egyptians have a positive opinion of the US – many in Egypt, especially those that stand to benefit from greater links to globalization, are worried that weaker ties between the US and Egypt could result in further deterioration of existing economic conditions. That’s why when asked about future relations between Egypt and the US—55% of Egyptians would like relations to stay the same as before Mubarak’s overthrow (35%) or grow even stronger than that (20%).