As another day of protests rock Egypt, the Obama administration is preparing
to rebuke Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak for his regime's violent crackdown
against anti-government demonstrators. The White House will encourage
him to reform state institutions and loosen his authoritarian grip, reports
Bloomberg. However, the administration doesn't want to come down too hard on the 82-year-old leader because he's a key U.S. ally. Here's the debate in the
- This Is Important for the U.S., writes Flavia Krause-Jackson and Hans Nichols
at Bloomberg: "The U.S. has a major stake in what happens in Egypt, the
most populous Arab nation, a moderate voice in the Muslim world and a
key player in Middle East peace efforts. Egypt is the fourth largest
recipient of American aid after Afghanistan, Pakistan and Israel, based
on the State Department’s budget request for the current fiscal year.
- The Decision Looms Large, says Anthony Cordesman
of the Center for Strategic and International Studies: "There isn't
just the morning after to think about, there is the decade after. For
the U.S. to get out in front now would be premature and potentially
- Obama Must Stand With Egyptian Protesters, writes Laura Flanders
at AlterNet: "As massive protests ripple across the repressed world, US
leaders can't both claim leadership and show none. They certainly can't
claim pro-democracy role and stand firm--until the very last minute--with dictators. And the same is true for the rest of us. When it comes
to what's wrong here--we can sit back and wait for chips to fall, or
get involved in righting a wrong and do something."
- We Want Mubarak Out--But Not Just Yet
"If the protesters were to succeed in toppling Mubarak--sending him
packing to Saudi Arabia, as some of their signs suggest--it could open
the way for an even less appealing regime," write the editors
at National Review. " It should be made clear to Mubarak--82 years old
and up for election in the fall--that he's now a transitional figure,
and that the days of our easy tolerance for his dictatorial rule are
- Being Pro-Democracy Has Its Downsides, notes Lesli Gelb at The Daily Beast:
President George W. Bush made his push for democracy in Arab lands, he
ended up with Hamas terrorists winning a democratic election and ruling
the Gaza Strip. And this “democratic” thinking also overlooks that
Bush’s pressing for democracy in Lebanon helped open the doors to power
for the radical Hezbollah group.
And yes, the anti-shah revolution in 1979 started out with moderates in
power, only to be pushed aside by the clerical radicals who still rule
today. In rotten regimes that fall to street mobs, the historical
pattern has been moderates followed by new dictators. Just remember the
model of the Bolsheviks, a tiny group of extremely well-organized
communists, wresting control away from the great majority of
discontented and disorganized Russians in 1917.
Want to add to this story? Let us know in comments
or send an email to the author at
jhudson at theatlantic dot com.
You can share ideas for stories on the Open Wire.