The revolutionary changes that have transformed Egypt in the last year have upended Washington's relationship with one of its crucial Arab allies. Hosni Mubarak, the America-friendly strongman who led Egypt for decades, has been replaced by Mohamed Morsi, an Islamist leader from the once-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood who shares few U.S. goals, and vows to reexamine his country's 30-year peace with Israel. President Obama is reaching out to Morsi, calling his election a milestone on the road to democracy. But has the Arab Spring transformed America's longtime ally into an enemy?
An old friend has become a new enemy: "Egypt is lost," says Bret Stephens at The Wall Street Journal. The Muslim Brotherhood won't "play by the democratic rules that brought it to power" or remain a responsible player on the international scene. You can bet that Morsi and Co. will "arm Hamas and remilitarize the Sinai," striking "radical alliances in the Middle East" and thwarting U.S. policy at every turn. Prepare for an Islamist Egypt that despises us as much as Iran does. We're in for a "long and ugly haul."
"Who lost Egypt?"
All is not lost... but there is much uncertainty ahead: It's too early to say what the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood means for the U.S., says Peter Brookes at the Boston Herald. The military, which has run Egypt for six decades, is unlikely to give Morsi carte blanche. That means Egyptians will probably fight over everything from the future of secularism to the Camp David Accords to ties with Iran. But here's what is clear: In the new Egypt, America has "diminished clout" that will lead to our "increasingly shrinking visibility and sway in the region."
"Egypt's future still uncertain"
Hold on. Let's be optimistic: "Egypt isn't lost," says Marc Lynch at Foreign Policy. "On the contrary, it has just very, very narrowly avoided complete disaster," which is what we would have faced had the military rigged the presidential election and crowned its ally, former Mubarak prime minister Ahmed Shafiq, instead of Morsi. The Brotherhood isn't dominant — it barely beat a "figurehead of the old regime." There's an "intense political struggle to come" — but at least now the West can engage with a government instead of a country in chaos.
"Egypt's second chance"