The Other McCain

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‘Regime Change’ in Egypt?

Posted on | January 30, 2011 | 32 Comments

The stars appear to be aligning against Hosni Mubarak’s regime. Joe Biden’s early defense of Mubarak appeared to suggest that the Obama administration might support maintaining the status quo, but that has obviously changed with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton now calling for “real democracy” in Egypt:

Real stability only comes from the kind of democratic participation that gives people a chance to feel that they are being heard. And by that I mean real democracy, not a democracy for six months or a year and then evolving into essentially a military dictatorship or a so-called democracy that then leads to what we saw in Iran.

But this formulation evades the basic problem, doesn’t it? How can the U.S. be certain that a “real democracy” in Egypt won’t eventually lead to either a new military autocracy or else to an Islamist revolution? If we are “imperialist” to support Mubarak, are we any less imperialist to insist that the Egyptians pursue exactly the sort of democracy that meets our approval?

Perhaps the Left would be less enthusiastic for Mubarak’s ouster if they realized that this places them in agreement with what Bill Kristol calls the “prestigious” Working Group on Egypt. We know that the Left’s guiding principle in foreign policy is to support our enemies and attack our allies, so perhaps Mubarak could save himself by striking a pose of anti-Americanism, maybe buddying up to Hugo Chavez or blaming the protests in Cairo on the Mossad and the CIA.

It’s interesting to note that Mark Levin is very skeptical toward the prospects of Egyptian democracy. And I further note that this skepticism is shared by the indisputable king of right-wing pessimism, Allahpundit:

No doubt Iran is already working on ways to get money and arms to the Brotherhood for the power struggle ahead, which will end up being Exhibit 8,943 that Shiite and Sunni fundies are perfectly capable of cooperating against a common enemy. . . .
Even if [Mohammed ElBaradei] ends up as a compromise choice for leader, without any sort of formal Islamist takeover, having him at the top is guaranteed to weaken the west’s alliance with Sunni Arab regimes against Iran.

Ed and Allah have compiled a huge aggregation about the ElBaradei/Muslim Brotherhood angle in Egypt that’s worth reading.

UPDATE: Christine Brim exposes the double game being played by the Muslim Brotherhood, whose English-language site calls for “freedom,” but whose Arabic-language site appeals to jihadist sentiment. I’m reminded of A.L. Rowse’s criticism of Neville Chamberlain and the British appeasers. None of them were fluent in the German language; they knew little or nothing of German history and culture; and they hadn’t read Mein Kampf. Those well-meaning Englishmen would not listen when Churchill and others tried to warn them that Hitler’s promises of “peace” could not be trusted. Indeed, those who warned of the Nazi menace were viewed as irresponsible alarmists, while the appeasers were hailed as brilliant statesmen — until they were finally overtaken by the catastrophe they had made possible.

UPDATE II: Donald Douglas at American Power has video of Hillary’s appearance on “Meet the Press”:

Here, Hillary makes clear that the U.S. isn’t simply going to pull the plug on Mubarak, but will insist on an “orderly transition” to democracy. Hillary also makes a point that John Guardiano made yesterday at The American Spectator: The Egyptian military is a widely respected institution, which offers the best hope that Egypt will not go the way of Iran or Somalia.

UPDATE III: Via Katy Pundit, we have an analysis by Jim Carafano of The Heritage Foundation titled “Obama Doctine is Failing in the Middle East.”

Personally, I’m hesitant to interpret the situation in Egypt as a litmus test of Obama’s foreign policy. After all, it might work out successfully, in which case we’ll know that Obama’s policy had nothing to do with it. On the other hand, if the situation turns into a complete disaster — and, c’mon, it’s the Middle East, so that’s the most likely scenario — Obama will go down in history as “the president who lost Egypt.”

You may say that’s rather a cynical view, but of course, if Egypt spirals out of control, liberals will find some way to blame it all on Bush.

UPDATE IV: Some may wonder why Barack Obama doesn’t just come out and denounce Mubarak for running a corrupt kleptocratic crony government. But I must remind you that Obama is a Chicago Democrat.

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