Sep 13, 2012 No Comments ›› Pat Dollard
(MEDIAITE) The United States and President Barack Obama have suffered a pretty bad week, but for varying reasons. The U.S. was dealt a heavy blow Tuesday when the American Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, was brutally murdered in a coordinated attack on a consulate in Benghazi. But the focus of most of the press has, to their disgrace, been on the appropriateness of the timing of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s attacks on the president over this incident. In the space of the last 24 hours, however, the president has committed two offenses against both etiquette and policy that should be reported on extensively.
On Wednesday, in an interview with the Spanish-language network Telemundo, the president was asked about the attacks on two U.S. embassies in North Africa, specifically a breach of America’s embassy in Cairo by crowds of protesters. The Telemundo reporter asked if Obama considered Egypt an ally. Obama replied that the United States did not consider Egypt an ally, “but we don’t consider them an enemy.”
This remark displays a flippant nonchalance about American security policy and a downright antipathy for history and the work of generations of Obama’s predecessors.
The United States, in concert with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, wrestled the key Arab state away from the Soviet sphere of influence during the tenure of President Jimmy Carter. This effort culminated in the 1979 Camp David Accords, which are better known for cementing a lasting peace between Egypt and Israel. The agreement also served as a basis for a lasting partnership between Cairo and Washington — this relationship has safeguarded peace in the region for more than a generation.
By cavalierly saying Egypt is not an ally of the United States, the president has bucked more than 30 years of American foreign policy in a critical region. This casual display of disregard for precedent and a pillar of diplomatic policy should inspire a measure of outrage. On that front, there is a glimmer of hope. On Thursday, NBC News’ chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel delivered a rebuke of Obama’s dismissal of America’s relationship with the Egyptian government.