Islamists have neither democracy nor human nor civil rights in mind. They have
threatened to revoke the peace treaty with Israel and ally themselves with the
Iranian theocracy. Obama must actively use America's remaining influence and show
leadership, or end up with an Egypt between the plague and cholera."
The U.S. must support the Egypt
protests - if only to keep the Islamists at bay.
In Egypt, U.S. President
Barack Obama has to choose between the plague and cholera. Morally, his
administration would have to unequivocally rally behind the people rebelling
against a dictator who for three decades has ruled Egypt with an iron fist.
But from a geostrategic point
of view, Washington cannot have the slightest interest in the destabilization
of the largest Arab nation. Up to now, Hosni Mubarak has guaranteed stability
in this volatile region.
In terms of Realpolitik, the White
House has to find a path between the credibility of its own needs and the
legitimate security interests of the region. Given this, it will be ever-so
difficult for Obama to strike the right tone, which creates the impression that
the U.S. government is lagging behind developments.
A sober analysis of the
events in Cairo leaves no doubt that the future of Egypt is only conceivable
without the damaged Mubarak. To do otherwise would be to ignore the people's
call for freedom and self-determination.
Therefore, the White House cannot
but abandon its reticence.
Otherwise, any remaining influence will be lost for good. Obama will have no choice
but to show America's old ally the way to the door. U.S. diplomats could help develop a
transition plan to channel the energy of the street. These show elections,
scheduled for the fall of this year, could be enhanced under international
supervision to be freer and fairer.
Should the U.S. continue to observe
events and do nothing, it risks having extremists at the forefront of the
revolution. Since Mubarak has suppressed the emergence of a moderate, secular
opposition in Egypt, it appears that supporters of the Islamist Muslim
Brotherhood are the only ones well-enough organized to step up and form a
That would in many ways be a
disaster. The Islamists have neither democracy nor human nor civil rights in
mind. They have threatened to revoke the peace treaty with Israel and ally
themselves with the Iranian theocracy. Obama must actively use America's
remaining influence and show leadership, or end up with an Egypt between the
plague and cholera.
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