Obama’s message to the Muslim Brotherhood

Obama’s message to the Muslim Brotherhood

This bit in Obama’s speech was interesting. It seemed to be a clear reference to the Muslim Brotherhood, the banned-but-tolerated Islamist movement, at least 10 of whose members were reportedly in attendance:

[T]here are some who advocate for democracy only when they are out of power; once in power, they are ruthless in suppressing the rights of others. No matter where it takes hold, government of the people and by the people sets a single standard for all who hold power: you must maintain your power through consent, not coercion; you must respect the rights of minorities, and participate with a spirit of tolerance and compromise; you must place the interests of your people and the legitimate workings of the political process above your party. Without these ingredients, elections alone do not make true democracy.

Message: If you want to be seen as a legitimate political movement and allowed to contest elections fairly, you need to play by the rules. Of course, the same could easily be said of Hosni Mubarak’s ruling National Democratic Party, which is, er, not so democratic.

UPDATE: Marc Lynch has more on this and other aspects of the speech. "[T]he rollout of the speech already stands as one of the most successful public diplomacy and strategic communications campaigns I can ever remember," he writes.