A number of conservatives are calling for President Obama to call the removal of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi a military coup. Doing so would automatically trigger an end to foreign aid to Egypt and its military.
The fact that the Obama administration is approaching the situation in Egypt cautiously has left conservatives frustrated. They call the president weak. They say he is sending a message of weakness to all the world; that America is now afraid to take a stand; that our enemies will see this weakness as an opportunity to assert themselves and harm American interests.
President Obama has been anything but weak when it comes to foreign policy. Not only did he order the killing of bin Laden, he put together a group of allies to end the reign of Muammar Khaddafi in Libya. He also has been relentless in his desire to end terrorism. By contrast, let’s look at the results of American threats and bullying by conservative presidents.
When Reagan deployed a large number of troops to Beirut in the eighties, terrorists detonated two truck bombs killing 299 US and French soldiers, leading to the withdrawal of UN peacekeepers from the country. In other words, the tough talkin’ TV cowboy turned tail and ran.
President George H.W. Bush sent mixed signals to Iraq leading to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait and the ensuing Desert Storm. That, in turn, resulted in our maintaining US bases in Saudi Arabia which infuriated extremist Muslims, leading to the creation of al Qaeda.
President George W. Bush invaded Afghanistan following 9/11 and trumped up a phony reason to invade Iraq. More than 10 years later, the war in Afghanistan still rages and Iraq has been turned into an ally of Iran.
All of that cowboy machismo turned out so well that conservatives now want President Obama to follow the same approach in Egypt? To what end? If we immediately cut off aid to Egypt’s military, not only might we lose an ally that has made peace with Israel. We might turn the Egyptian army against us. Acting rashly might further destabilize the Middle East and weaken US influence throughout the region.
So, please, President Obama, take your time. Think over the consequences before you act. Then make the decision that best serves Egyptians as well as Americans. That would be a refreshing change from the foreign policy of conservatives.