Jackie Gingrich Cushman
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So far, the presidential race has focused on the economy, health care and jobs. Events this week are likely to change the course of the presidential election.

Foreign policy will increase in importance and focus.

As the United States marked the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks this past Tuesday with ceremonies, prayers and memorial services, demonstrators gathered at the U.S. embassy in Cairo and the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. They were protesting an online video filmed in California by Sam Bacile, a self-described Israeli Jew.

According to CNN, "In a series of disjointed scenes, filmmakers depict Prophet Mohammed as a child molester, womanizer and ruthless killer."

Based on reports at the time of my filing Wednesday morning, four American personnel were killed in the attack in Libya, among them U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens. In Cairo, several protesters climbed over the embassy walls and, according to CNN Producer Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, tore down the American flag. Protesters raised a black flag over the U.S. embassy compound bearing the words, "There is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is his messenger."

By international law, embassies are considered territory of the country that they represent. The U.S. embassy in Egypt is U.S. territory. Invading a U.S. embassy is tantamount to invading the United States.

The U.S. embassy in Cairo released the following statement that same day. "The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims -- as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. Today, the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans are honoring our patriots and those who serve our nation as the fitting response to the enemies of democracy. Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others."

No mention of the protesters in Cairo tearing down our flag or raising theirs. The Obama administration has noted that the statement was not approved internally. It will be interesting to see if there will be ramifications or changes in language.

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Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Jackie Gingrich Cushman is a speaker, syndicated columnist, socialpreneur, and author of "The Essential American: 25 Documents and Speeches Every American Should Own," and co-author of “The 5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours”.