Egypt challenges Obama's Arab Spring philosophy

By Julie Pace

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, Aug. 17 2013 11:19 p.m. MDT

"The challenge for us is that picking winners and seeking to engineer a solution puts us right in the middle of the situation and ultimately makes the U.S. the issue," Rhodes said.

The president's approach was shaped in part by his opposition to the Iraq War, a conflict that was first built as an anti-terrorism campaign but became a U.S.-led exercise in democracy-building. Obama oversaw the end of the war in his first term and has since tried to keep the war weary, economically strapped U.S. out of other lengthy foreign conflicts.

Obama's philosophy is also driven in part by concerns that the governments formed after the Arab Spring uprisings may be more detrimental to American interests than the autocratic regimes they replace.

Before Morsi's ouster, U.S. officials were worried that the Egyptian leader fit into that category. A senior leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Morsi was accused of giving the Islamist political movement undue influence in the government after he took power. Egyptians also blamed him for failing to make good on promised economic reforms.

The military removed Morsi from power last month following massive street protests that drew comparisons to the demonstrations that ousted Mubarak in 2011. The military has promised to roll back Morsi's Islamist constitution and hold free elections next year.

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