Last week was quite eventful for our illustrious president. From his visit to China to his presence in the Non- Aligned Movement’s (NAM) summit, Morsy’s political clout has been progressively expanding as he strives to reinvigorate the image of Egypt, the leader of the Arab world.
Since his ascent to power, Morsy has confidently taken several bold moves that took everyone by surprise. Be it an erudite scholar or an illiterate plumber, a foreigner or an Egyptian, no one can dispute Morsy’s progress on both the domestic and the international fronts thus far.
Attempting to characterise or categorise Morsy’s foreign policy is indeed premature, but there is an implicit trend that should not be ignored; he is slowly turning his back on the West, which is not to say he intends to sever diplomatic relations with the United States and Western Europe, but he is most definitely lending the East much more attention, and his most recent visits corroborate such claims.
Last Wednesday I attended a press event hosted by the American Cham- ber of Commerce in honour of the US economic delegation sent by President Obama. I sat there listening to one delegate after the other spewing reformist rhetoric, praising the role the United States in aiding the Egyptian democratic
transition and economic reform. After the delegates were done with their bland speeches, one journalist decided to sprinkle some spice and asked the delegation how they felt knowing that the president, his eco- nomic advisors and the country’s key businessmen are in China forging new business deals while they’re here dis- cussing Egyptian economic reform and envisioning a future for Egypt’s development. The audience was definitely amused by the embarrassing question; in fact the entire hall burst into laughter. The delegation responded in textbook diplomatic fashion, stating that the whole world is doing business with China and expressed their understanding to the president’s busy schedule and multi- tude of obligations.
One can choose to view this as an isolated incident, and chalk it up to scheduling conflict. But if that were actually the case, then how does one explain Morsy’s proactive contribution in the NAM summit. Sitting side by side with the Iranian president, Morsy’ valiantly criticised the Assad regime and called for extending support to the Syrian Liberation Army, words that caused the Syrian delegate to exit the hall, while Ahmadinejad remained silent and composed.
Nevertheless, President Morsy responded to Iran’s appeal to solidarity by saying “Egypt also considers Iran as its strategic partner and believes that, with a positive view to the future, everyone should provide suitable grounds for the regional developments.”
It makes perfect sense for Morsy to seek alliances in Asia rather than the West. Whether we like it or not, our president belongs to an organisation that will be eternally at odds with Israel. The Egyptian government is no longer neutral towards the Palestinian cause. Even if we choose to categorise Egypt’s aid to Gaza under humanitarian pretence, it is becoming clear to Israel that the cold peace that has been there for almost four decades is getting warmer.
Our president, and therefore our government, resents the unequivocal support the US continues to lend Israel. But our president has proven that he is far from naïve when it comes to diplomatic manoeuvres, he’s shown time and again that he is good at the game, truly exceeding the expectations of his opponents.
So let’s put all cards on the table, the Non-Aligned Movement is far from neutral; they evidently have a clear anti- Western agenda. It is the second largest grouping of states after the United Nations; it consists of 120 member states from every part of the world, none of which belong to the Western world. The NAM is in effect an anti- Western alliance. It is quite far from the origin of its foundation.
The West needs to come to terms with the new world order, they need to reconcile themselves to the notion that they’re no longer leaders of the world, that boycotting a summit that is attended by over a 100 countries, and the head of the UN, only aggravates the situation further. Several previous prominent leaders of the US (Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson) were savvy enough to realise the merits of working in collaboration rather than confrontation with the N AM. Today’s leaders of the “Free World” need to open their history books, they just might learn something from their predecessors.