Allow me to deviate slightly from the emerging consensus that President Obama stepped in it mightily when he said that “I don’t think we would consider them an ally, but we don’t consider them an enemy.”
How would you characterize a regime where the security forces are unable or unwilling to protect U.S. soil, where the locals storm the embassy, trash it, remove and destroy the U.S. flag, and replace it with a black Islamist flag reading, “There is no god but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet”? Does that seem like the actions of an “ally”? How do you characterize a regime that takes a day to issue any statement responding to such an attack, one whose denunciation is tepid, one that urges its embassy to attempt to take legal action in the U.S. to restrict the rights of an American to criticize Islam?
I don’t doubt that the declaration that the U.S. no longer considers the Egyptian government to be an ally will have considerable reverberations in Cairo and U.S. diplomatic circles — but those reverberations ought to pale in comparison to the storming of an embassy on 9/11, and a series of attacks on U.S. soil and personnel in the region.
Obama’s mistake is much bigger than the “ally” comment; it is his vision and approach, which we’ve seen for years. His mistake has been viewing Prime Minister Morsi, the government headed by the Muslim Brotherhood, and the entire Arab Spring with rose-colored glasses.