In stating Wednesday night in an interview that he does not “think that we would consider [Egypt] an ally,” Barack Obama inadvertently acknowledged he botched big-time. He added that America does not consider Egypt an enemy, either.
When Obama took office in January 2009, it was known: Egypt was an ally, unquestionably. Now there is ambiguity; as we have seen so often during his presidency, when the answer calls for A or B, Obama picks A and B. Ambiguity is not a good position for a president to hold.
Earlier this year Obama increased foreign-aid funds by 1.6 percent with the specific purpose of sustaining the “Arab Spring” protests in the Middle East. Obama applauded the democratic efforts of the protesters to displace Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak (our ally) and to establish their own government, despite it being very well known that al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood had infiltrated and taken charge of the protests.
So, with the help of the Obama administration, Egypt is no longer an unquestionable ally, but an unquestionable future danger to the United States.
The media’s trouble is that while they fail to criticize Obama’s blundering of Egypt, they belie their confidence in the man by redirecting their frustration with him towards Mitt Romney; they would not be in such a fluster were they happy with Obama’s handling of the situation. They not only feigned outrage over Romney’s statements the other day in which he criticized Obama’s handling of the embassy attacks in Libya, but they’re calling Romney’s timing a big foreign-policy gaffe. In what way is criticizing the President a gaffe? Did Romney refer to one of our allies as a non-ally?
As John Podhoretz at the New York Post notes, “This was an effort…to make it illegitimate for Romney to criticize the president’s foreign policy at a moment when foreign policy has suddenly taken center stage. But that’s exactly when such a debate should take place — because it’s when the public will actually pay attention.”
A White House spokesman, Tommy Vietor, tried to clear things up on Obama’s behalf and interpret Obama’s real meaning. “[F]olks are reading way too much into this,” he said. “‘Ally’ is a legal term of art. We don’t have a mutual defense treaty with Egypt like we do with our NATO allies.”
But Egypt has been an official ally of the United States since 1989, when Congress designated it so. If folks are reading too much into Obama’s statement, then why is Vietor the one doing the interpretations?
Obama did not say Egypt was not a NATO ally, he said he doesn’t think we would consider Egypt an ally. He was not speaking in technical terms — if he were, he’d still be wrong — but simply expressing his opinion. That the President of the United States no longer considers Egypt an ally is quite a change in foreign policy for America.
What an interesting president we have that everything he says must be interpreted by the media and his various spokesmen. Is there anything Obama says that can be taken at face value? Or can we only assume he’s always at the top of his mental game, choosing instead to speak in the nuanced language of an oracle?