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As others see it: What were they thinking?

Sioux City Journal

It’s hard to know where to begin in discussing comments made by U.S. House members Steve King, Michele Bachmann and Louie Gohmert during a trip to Egypt earlier this month.

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If we boiled our reaction down to one question, it probably would be something like this: What in the world were they thinking?

Let’s begin here: To say Egypt is turbulent and its future uncertain is to understate the obvious. Earlier this summer, the Egyptian army overthrew Mohammed Morsi, the country’s first freely elected president, who in 2012 succeeded Hosni Mubarak, who himself was forced from office by revolution in 2011.

What will happen next week? Next month? Next year?


Who knows?

Have no fear, though. King, Bachmann and Gohmert appear already to have decided all of this for the rest of us.

While in Cairo with a larger group of House members, the trio praised the military for its ouster of Morsi and proclaimed support from the American people. (We might add the overthrow of Morsi was followed by a crackdown on protesters in which hundreds of Egyptians were killed.)

Gohmert compared Egyptian Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who led the ouster of Morsi, to George Washington. Bachmann implied the Muslim Brotherhood political movement, to which Morsi is a member, was to blame for 9-11.

Hold everything.

First, it’s premature at this point to make a judgment with any degree of certainty about who and what is good for Egypt and who and what isn’t good for Egypt or what the future will be in Egypt because the evolving situation there remains too fluid. It’s unclear today what America’s foreign-policy position toward Egypt is, will be or should be in the wake of continuing instability, unrest and violence. Will time prove the overthrow of Morsi by the military was good for Egypt and Egypt-U.S. relations? Perhaps. Perhaps not.

Second, King, Bachmann and Gohmert don’t speak for American foreign policy or for Americans; they speak only for themselves.

While the Obama administration waits for the dust to settle and the picture to clear in Egypt, it doesn’t need or want this kind of “help” from a trio of freelance U.S. House “diplomats.”