Writing 10 years ago in Orbis magazine (.pdf), Ray Takeyh and I argued that, if a wave of democratization were to topple formerly pro-American autocrats in the Middle East, the new Arab democracies “would seek what they perceived to be equitable and fair relations with the United States, but object to . . . cumbersome American . . . demands, especially regarding Israel.” The speech delivered this week by Egypt’s first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi, at the United Nations General Assembly has confirmed this analysis.
Unlike Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose pronouncements before the international community regularly conform to the expected stereotypes of an Islamist-inspired leader, Morsi made no sweeping denunciations of Western civilization, nor did he endorse the outright expulsion of the United States from the region. Since taking office, he has not taken any steps to abrogate the 1978 Camp David accords that produced a tenuous “cold peace” between Israel and Egypt. Nor is he hampering ongoing security cooperation with Washington. To the contrary, in an interview with the New York Times before the U.N. General Assembly, Morsi reiterated his view that Egypt and the United States can be “real friends.” ...
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