On July 14, 2012, as crowds in Paris celebrated Bastille Day, the annual commemoration of the French revolution, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was marking another revolution, one whose import ultimately might be as great. At the Presidential Palace in Cairo, Clinton met Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s new president and longtime Muslim Brotherhood acolyte. She bestowed Washington’s blessing on Egypt’s recently elected government, promising “the strong support of the United States for the Egyptian people and their democratic transition.” In a follow-up visit to Cairo less than three weeks later, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta underlined “the strong support of the United States for the Egyptian people and their democratic transition.” Just a month later, the White House announced that Morsi would visit Washington this fall where, presumably, he will meet President Obama.
While Washington’s new attitude marks the fait accompli of the Brotherhood’s rise against the backdrop of the Arab Spring, the Muslim Brotherhood’s transformation from pariah to would-be partner is a longer story. It is the tale not only of the Arab Spring and Mubarak’s fall, but also of previous dictatorships, front groups replete with Saudi cash and sophisticated public relations, naive diplomats, and Islamist advocacy groups that exploit Washington’s political correctness to attack those who doubt the Brotherhood’s claims to peace and democracy.
About the Author
Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a senior lecturer at the Naval Postgraduate School.