Should we be surprised? Not in the least. As The New Republic reported, all you needed to do was read Morsi’s résumé to see he is not someone prone to compromise: “Prior to last year’s uprising and his subsequent emergence as Egypt’s first civilian president, Morsi was the Muslim Brotherhood’s chief internal enforcer within the Guidance Office, steering the organization in a more hard-line direction ideologically while purging the Brotherhood of individuals who disagreed with his approach.”
The report goes on to cite a litany of experiences in which Morsi took extreme positions and refused to yield on his demands. He led the Muslim Brotherhood’s 2007 drafting of a political platform that “called for restricting the Egyptian presidency to Muslim men and establishing a council of Islamic scholars to approve all legislation for its sharia-compliance.”
That does not mean that Morsi is unfamiliar with the American political system’s propensity to spin events to make it look like he is something he is not: collaborative as opposed to exclusionary. Morsi, after all, spent time in California in the 1980s, where he earned a doctorate in engineering and later taught in that state’s university system. During his presidential campaign, he reached out to secular and Christian leaders, telling them he would include them in his government. Instead, he filled his cabinet, “primarily with Muslim Brothers and non-ideological technocrats.”
So Western journalists and governments should wise up and view the so-called Arab Spring with greater suspicion.
Bonnie Erbe, a TV host, writes this column for Scripps Howard News Service. Email email@example.com.