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Opinion: President Obama Supports Egypt's President-elect Mohammed Morsi

The Right Politics

President Barack Obama called Mohammed Morsi, Egypt’s president-elect, to congratulate him on winning the historic democratic election. Previously, President Obama did not openly state support of any of the candidates who were running for the country’s top position.

In last week’s run-off election, Morsi who is supported by the Muslim Brotherhood defeated General Ahmed Shafiq. Previously, Shafiq was chosen by ousted former-President Hosni Mubarak to fill the nation’s position of Prime Minister.

It took four days for the Egyptian government to announce the victor on Sunday. It was strongly assumed that the military controlled government headed by Field Marshall Hussein Tantawi would underhandedly and illegally alter the election’s results. The military controlled government has been in power for the past 16 months and wanted Shafiq, the Hosni Mubarak-linked candidate to become president.

Of course, no one should be surprised that Obama is welcoming Mosri with an extended hand as he wins the presidency because it was just last year that he entered the Egyptian conflict by openly and aggressively supporting the protesters who were instrumental in overthrowing Mubarak rule.

While President Obama expresses support and approval of the results of the Egyptian presidential election on Sunday, Egypt will need more than expressed-support. The specific support and the actions Obama will take have not been defined yet, even though needing to support a new democratic government in Egypt has been known for some time.

As an ally with Egypt, the United States has to do more than voice its support for several reasons. First, both countries have committed-interests in Iran. The United States and Egypt now need to coordinate their involvement there. Secondly, United States’ support usually involves money – and needless to say, at this point, it will involve money the United States does not have. Thirdly, even though Egypt is celebrating its first democracy, the truth is that the new government is literally starting from the bottom with serious concerns about its effectiveness for its people.

The new government is starting from the bottom because the recent military controlled government made several changes in the power of the presidency. The military controlled government knew that a non-military candidate could very well win the election – as Morsi has. Without the complete powers that the president has had in the past, a major concern is how effective President-elect Mohammed Morsi can actually be since the military stripped much power from the office the presidency. President Obama has not addressed this aspect to the victory, likely the major hurdle in Egypt’s newfound democracy working successfully for its people.

How President Obama and the United States can help – and will help – Egypt with its new government needs to be detailed to carry real meaning for Egypt and to have any understanding for the American people.

Hopefully, this will not involve any military force on the United States’ part, as taking to violent protests has proven to be the way political discontent is addressed in Egypt. And unfortunately, there has been a smattering of violent protests already reported since Morsi’s victory was announced.

If for no other reason than to give Americans understandable peace of mind as the United States befriends yet another controversially troubled and changing government, transparency is essential.

About Scott Paulson

Scott Paulson writes political commentary for and teaches English at a community college in the Chicago area. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CBS Local.


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