Today marks the beginning of the second round of Egypt’s parliamentary elections. You’ll recall how the first round, which occurred in relatively liberal urban centers, saw the youth vote “decimated” in an Islamist landslide. You’ll also recall how this wasn’t supposed to happen, and how during the Arab Spring Western foreign policy analysts generated an endless array of excuses as to why.
And yet the people who are winning are the same people who are holding rallies, in the full glare of an international spotlight, vowing to kill all the Jews. After they’re done eliminating Middle East Jewry – or, alternatively, in parallel – they also intend to force women out of public life and to transform the Library of Alexandria into a mosque. The final campaign is proof that their hatred of Jews and women aside, Egypt’s Islamists have a poignant appreciation for metaphor.
Radical parties will do even better in the current round of voting, which occurs in mostly rural areas where their ideology disproportionately resonates and where they are disproportionately well-organized.
And now here’s your link to a recent Associated Press article on how the Obama administration pushed for “timely elections” despite knowing that “they risked leaving the U.S. with less influence and fewer friends in the Middle East.” The story is in line with administration statements acknowledging/ignoring the same risk calculus in November. It’s an crystallization of the overall sanguine attitude with which the administration has greeted the Islamist takeover of Egypt, an approach that even included providing election training to Islamist parties.
Just so everyone’s on the same explicit page: it’s not a matter of the Obama administration mistakenly concluding – perhaps via some kind of pseudo-sophisticated reasoning about projecting neutrality – that their policies will promote American leadership and influence. They’ve admitted that the exact opposite will happen. Apparently promoting U.S. interests isn’t the number one priority of the U.S. government any more.
On the plus side, the New York Times basically assured everyone last month that getting rid of the military will solve Egypt’s political dysfunction. So, no worries.