“The tide of war is receding,” President Barack Obama is fond of saying. Who’s he kidding?
It has not been two weeks since the president’s reelection and already foreign policy crises are metastasizing. Israel’s justified retaliation at Hamas rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip may escalate into the second Gaza war in four years.
But the Middle East of 2012 is not the Middle East of 2008. Gaza neighbors an Egypt governed not by the secular dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak but by the religious-inspired democracy of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi.
Egypt has its own problems with the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip who smuggle arms and contraband across the border. But how will Morsi respond when his countrymen demand retaliation for Israeli attacks on Muslims? Does he have the legitimacy or cunning to maintain peace with Israel while avoiding revolution in Tahrir Square?