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White House Response to Morsi’s Vitriol Reveals Its Policy Rationale

The US government will provide arms, money, and diplomatic support to a regime whose ruling forces openly evince hysterical antisemitism and call for genocide against Israel.

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This kind of hate speech is not equivalent to an American politician making a gaffe–many such examples can be given–but as a core aspect of the Islamist and Brotherhood ideology from which its policy behavior will flow.

Carney’s government-crafted statement also reflects a strong hint that Morsi is now older and wiser so the things he said before becoming president don’t matter any more. He’s being disciplined by the requirements of wielding power. Such concepts have failed repeatedly in the Middle East–Arab nationalists did not become moderate, neither did Islamists in Iran, or Yasir Arafat in the Palestinian Authority–and other parts of the world. Indeed, hate speech is more significant when it doesn’t just feature a banned ethnic slur word but is followed up by stirring up violent hatreds among millions of people that are likely–as they have in the past–to lead to war and terrorism.

It is ridiculous that such disproved, mistaken ideas form the basis for U.S. policy in 2013. The response to Morsi’s rants is like condemning some nasty anti-capitalist statements made by Lenin before the Bolsheviks seized power in Russia but implying that this is merely a problem of intemperate language, of hate speech, that will probably go away now that he is facing the responsibilities of power. Carney adds, “This type of rhetoric is not acceptable or productive in a democratic Egypt.” That is correct diplomatic language but those who use it are supposed to know that such sentiments are also ridiculous. Acceptable? That type of rhetoric is the norm now. And whatever Morsi says about keeping the treaty with Israel his view of Jews, as sub-humans who should be wiped out, may have something to do with his behavior as president in future.

Note, too, that Morsi and his colleagues believe that to think that way is a direct command from God, a personage in whom they place a high level of respect.

The White House did not respond on the fact that Morsi’s statement is based on key Islamic texts. There was no need for the White House to say that–and it wasn’t asked. But it is vital that the White House understands that fact. Islamist ideas are interpretations that are not inevitable but the fact that they are quite arguably proper interpretations of the proper Islamic religious worldview makes them far more powerful than behaving as if they are the zany misinterpretations of marginal would-be hijackers of Islam.

It isn’t easy to deal with this situation. The problem, though, is that it needed to be managed before it got to this point.

Consider the question of whether the U.S. government should supply Egypt with advanced military equipment.

How’s this for a joke:

The reason why America has been giving Egypt arms for the last 30-plus years is to use them against the people who are now in power in Egypt.

Of course, it isn’t that simple but the weapons were also provided to keep the existing regime in power, to keep it at peace with Israel, and to ensure a close relationship with the United States. Only the last of these points still applies. Yet that, too, is compromised. The premise now is that military officers will constrain the Brotherhood regime. But, of course, they won’t, at least not short of the direct launching of a war on Israel. Many officers sympathize with the Brotherhood and radical Islamism. Besides, the regime will pick and choose the generals it will put in charge of those weapons to ensure they will follow its orders. We know, of course, that congressional efforts will fail to stop the arms’ supply, that any conditions placed upon it can be easily disregarded, and that the transfer of weaponry will go through.

Another issue is the U.S. insistence that Morsi show he opposes religious intolerance. It is safe to say that during each month of 2013 there will be several anti-Christian actions–church burnings, prohibitions on building, attacks on Christians, kidnapping of Christian women and their forcible “conversion” to Islam, etc–in which the Egyptian government will do nothing and the U.S. government will say nothing.

So to sum up, the U.S. government will provide arms, money, and diplomatic support to a regime whose ruling forces openly evince hysterical antisemitism and call for genocide against its neighbor based on the belief that they don’t really mean it. Perhaps one day somebody in the American mass media will publish some of the things Muslim Brotherhood leaders say in Arabic about the United States, including explicit support for anti-American terrorism. No doubt, Carney could explain that away as well.

Barry Rubin

About the Author: Professor Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. See the GLORIA/MERIA site at www.gloria-center.org.

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