The toppling last week of the Muslim Brotherhood regime in Cairo has offered a chance for us to engage in a long-overdue revisiting of one of the Obama administration’s most ominous strategic errors: Its enthusiasm for that Islamic supremacist group and the resulting U.S. help for the Brotherhood’s efforts to impose the totalitarian doctrine of shariah, in Egypt and elsewhere.
This error contributed materially to the rise of the Brothers to power in Egypt in the first place. It was manifested at the very outset of Mr. Obama’s presidency when, in March 2009, he aligned the United States with a top Islamist agenda item by agreeing to a UN Human Rights Council resolution meant to curb free speech. Then, in June of that year, the Obama administration insisted that representatives of the prohibited Muslim Brotherhood be present for his first “Muslim outreach” speech in Cairo.
In the ensuing years, the administration has intensified its efforts to “engage” the Brotherhood by legitimating, empowering and training its operatives, by accommodating the Islamists’ assault on our First Amendment freedoms through something known as the “Istanbul Process” and, once they had been helped to gain power in Egypt, by funding and even arming their regime.