Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Tipping Point

What started out as food riots in Egypt have grown into an uprising against the 30 year reign of President Hosni Mubarak. The Egyptian government has been an ally to the United States and a stabilizing force in this very volitile area. With the recent revolution in Tunisia, is Egypt the next domino to fall?

The Obama administration failed to capitalize on the popular uprising in Tunisia against strongman Zine al-Abadine Ben Ali. We sat on the sidelines while our President mulled over the situation. This sort of thing cannot happen in Egypt.

We have a choice here. We can live true to our ideals and support the pro-freedom citizens of Egypt, or we can support the Dictator Mubarak (sorry VP Biden, but he IS a dictator). Seems like a simple choice ... but not so fast.

This is a way too simplistic way of looking at things. Even as every fiber of my pro-democracy, freedom loving being screams to support the citizens ... I have to ask, "What's best for the USA?" The obvious answer is a free, democratic Egypt ... but is that what we will get? The best possible scenario is that we use our $1.3 billion in annual military aid as a bargaining chip to get the Egyptian military to support the citizens and establish a Democracy. The problems with this scenario are that we don't know for sure that such a government will last, and if it falls, what will take its' place. The Muslim Brotherhood is the largest opposition in Egypt ... and absolutely cannot be allowed to come to power. Also, what does turning on our ally (Mubarak) say to the other dictators in the region that we support (King Abdullah al-Saud in Saudi Arabia and King Abdullah II in Jordan). In a perfect world, all of our allies in the Mid-East would be peaceful democracies ... in reality there are only two democracies in the region, Israel and Iraq.

Our other option is to support Mubarak, and 82 year old despot that tortures his citizens, arrests and jails dissidents and acts very much like the Shah of Iran. The problem is, as vile as this evil man is ... he is not hostile to Israel, he helps to control the Gaza Strip, and he keeps the Suez Canal open. At 82, he won't last forever and while he has been grooming his son to take over as President, there is no way that the populace will allow his son to take over after Mubarak's death. Supporting Mubarak will also fuel anti-American hostility through-out the region. Our enemies will gladly use this to say, "see ... the Americans don't care about freedom". In 1979, the Carter Administration pulled the rug out from under the Shah of Iran ... and we all know how well that went. There is some evidence that the Carter Administration actually helped orchestrate the Shahs' downfall. I truly pray that the Obama Administration had nothing to do with this uprising in Egypt. I don't think the Nation could recover from the black eye that this would give us in the region.

Thankfully this decision is WAY above my pay grade. I just know that a decision MUST be made. It seems the Obama Administration is trying to take a middle of the road type policy on this one ... It's time for our President to show some leadership in international affairs. Keeping to the sidelines is a recipe for disaster.

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Debbie said...

I'm very concerned this morning that things will tip toward Islamists rather than toward Western democracy. In Egypt they are rioting and attacking Western businesses, like fast food establishments etc., American, French, etc. Now Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have worries, special protections for their royal families.

Right Truth

WomanHonorThyself said...

the MB are terrorists plain and simple..the media is lying like a rug~! Have a beautiful weekend~!:)

highboy said...

Egypt is about 80% Muslim. They're not going to let the other 20% have their way.

Karen Howes said...

I don't think there is a GOOD side to this, Paul-- but simply the lesser of two evils.

You have Murabak, who IS a dictator-- but he's at least friendly to us and poses no threat to Israel.

The other option is not democracy, though-- I don't believe democracy can really exist in a predominantly Islamic state because Islam is its own political system. The Muslim Brotherhood is behind this, and they are a terrorist organization.

The other option is Islamic theocracy that is NOT friendly to us or to Israel-- and will likely wipe out Egypt's minority of Christians and destroy the country's ancient historical landmarks and treasures to boot.

Murabak's not good, but he's better than what will likely replace him.

Always On Watch said...

The longer the unrest in Egypt goes on, the better the chances that the Muslim Brotherhood will gain the power -- either overtly or as the puppet master. Also, the loner the unrest drags on in Egypt, the more likely it is that the same will crop up all over the Middle East, where there are so many old despots.

Anonymous said...

This is despicable. My people have spent the past two and a half weeks sacrificing themselves in a non-violent struggle to rid themselves of a vile dictator and you respond with fear? And your concern is centred around the security of the country with the world's fourth largest military--a country that no regime that came to power in Egypt would be able to threaten even if they wanted to?

I am an Egyptian Christian and I have no fear of what will happen if the Muslim Brotherhood comes to power. They are primarily a moderate party who are far more concerned with caring for the poor than they are with waging war on Israel. If you got your news about Egypt from Egyptians rather than Islamophobic propagandists, you would know this.

What do you call it when you are afraid of a country of 80 million people establishing democracy, on the sole grounds that they are Arabic?

Racism, plain and simple.

Paul Champagne said...

Deb ... It is worrisome, yet kind of exciting. Of all the Arab countries, I think Kuwait is the safest from this type of thing.

Angel ... Agreed, MB = terrorists

highboy ... there is a chance that Egypt might let their Coptic Christian minority have a say in the new government ... not a major say (they are a minority) ... but a representative say. We live in exciting times.

Karen ... I have high hopes for Egypt ... some of the other Arab states, not so much.

AOW ... I think a better word might be tyrants. A couple of these countries have benevolant tyrants in charge. Too bad Iran has both a tyrant and a despot.

Anon ... Thank you for visiting my blog. I don't feel that we are racist here. I do agree that we are somewhat fearful though. If the MB were comprised of Blond-haired, Blue-eyed whites ... I would feel the same way. I do however feel that YOU are probably not who you say you are, because you state that you ... as an Egyptian Christian are not afraid of the Brotherhood ... either you no longer live in Egypt ... or you are a phoney ... or you are a little off in the head. I could be wrong, but anonymous posters are usually hiding something.

If I am wrong, your English mastery is quite impressive.