The Czar ponders what might be done with Egypt. In passing, he describes the Volgi as a foreign-policy cynic. One thinks of oneself as an empiricist more than a cynic, but perhaps the eye of the beholder governs.
The short answer is, there’s not a pro-American side in Egypt. You have competing anti-Americanisms. The army represents a sort of warmed-over Arab-nationalist anti-Americanism. Remember, after Sadat’s assassination, the Mubarak régime gave a free hand to anti-Western and anti-Semitic conspiracies in the official press to divert discontent abroad (admittedly more fanning the flames of popular prejudice than creating it, but still conspicuously intensifying it).
The Muslim Brotherhood, on the other hand, was founded by Sayyid Qutb (horrified, let it be remembered, by the decadent sensuality of a church social in Greeley, Colorado, c. 1949) explicitly in opposition to the West and America, which function as the wicked antithesis to Islam’s virtuous thesis in its borrowed Marxian schema. Crudely, Marxian proletarian/capitalist :: Nazi Aryan/Jew :: Islamist Muslim/Infidel West. These categories blur into each other, of course, as Hitler routinely denounced capitalists, Stalin turned on the Jews, and Sayyid Qutb considered both capital and Jewry as intrinsic, evil components of the West.
The hope many Westerners have invested in the Muslim Brotherhood over the years is that their long years in opposition would have moderated their radicalism and that the practicalities of governance would make them less ideological over time. Unfortunately, Morsi’s Brotherhood seems to have remained mostly ideological to the point that it was incapable of governing. And, moreover, seems to maintain its radical, totalitarian bent.
The choice in Egypt, then, like many (if not most) in foreign affairs, is between evils. At this point, the army is the lesser evil, and America should want to see them defeat the Brotherhood. We should, however, do as little as possible to ensure that comes to pass. American involvement, much less backing, will work against popular acceptance of the military’s attempt to resurrect a semi-pluralist authoritarian state, protect their corrupt, corporatist domination of the economy, and rein in lunatic adventures a Brotherhood government might embark upon, like a war with Israel. This is at least as poor an outcome for Egypt as it is for the U.S. and the world, but it’s better than turning over an incredibly populous country to a radical party which shows no sign of being able to administer the land—which at bottom means feed it; which has radical elements which would be happy to see the antiquities which drive the tourism which is the foundation of its foreign-currency income pounded into dust as “idols”; and which would probably ally with Iran over against not only Israel by the monarchies of the Gulf, destabilizing the regional balance of power fairly dramatically.
Again, there’s not a hell of a lot we can and should do at the moment, but insofar as our intelligence services and military can assist the military in consolidating power (and attempting to moderate their doubtless bloody vengeance on the Brotherhood) without leaving fingerprints, one suspects that’s the best we can do. Whether this administration will do so…well, perhaps that’s where cynicism makes its unwelcome entrance….
Don’t ask impertinent questions like that jackass Adept Lu.