Monday, January 31, 2011

'Let the People of Egypt Vote'

Via Ahmed Al Omran on Twitter:

She's Saudi, apparently, but a precocious little thing like this is the face of modernity for the Middle East.

And in other news, some
conservatives and libertarians are still resisting democratic change in Egypt. Sure, no doubt ElBaradei is a poor prospect, although I'm still waiting to see who will form a viable secular opposition. And as I noted previously, we saw ElBaradei shilling for the Muslim Brotherhood yesterday on CNN. So let's be clear about no illusions here. I've chronicled the risks over the last few days. But as Victor Davis Hanson pointed out, Mubarak's regime is the ultimate source of popular discontent, and maintaining the status quo will simply exacerbate the rage on the street. Building on that sentiment is Danielle Pletka, "How Should the US Respond to the Protests in the Middle East?":
Some say that a freedom agenda only opens the door to Islamists; the truth is that our support for secular dictators does more for Islamists than democracy promotion ever did. We have an opportunity to right our ways and stand with the people of the Middle East - not forgetting Iran - in their quest for basic freedom. But it's going to take more than bland statements and White House hand-wringing. The president himself needs to stand up and unequivocally make clear America's position: in favor of the people over their oppressors. Suspend aid to the Egyptian government. Initiate an immediate review of all programs in the Middle East. Get the word out to our diplomats. Now.
See also, Michael Rubin, "The U.S. Should Not Fear Egypt Regime Change":
Today, the U.S. is paying the price for its refusal to cultivate liberal opposition. Next to Iraq and Afghanistan, Egypt hosts the largest American embassy in the world. That no American diplomat saw this uprising coming, however, should raise serious questions about how our embassies operate. That the Muslim Brotherhood presents a real challenge to American policy is undeniable. In neither Tunisia nor Egypt, however, have Islamists led the popular protests, although there is a risk that the Brotherhood may co-opt the protests. The mistake the White House has made in the past - both under Bush and Obama - is that it has accepted the rhetoric of democracy and liberalism without setting tough standards. Militias should never be accepted as political parties, nor should any group that legitimizes terrorism ever have America's imprimatur. The sooner the White House and State Department engage non-violent opposition groups in the Middle East, the more influence the U.S. will enjoy when the going gets rough and the dictators get going.
That's one way to tackle the Muslim Brotherhood question, and while sweet-sounding and wonkish, it's not satisfying in the short term. Jihad Watch reports that the Muslim Brotherhood has pledged war with Israel in the advent of power: "Muslim Brotherhood Leader: Prepare for War with Israel."

Things are still really up in the air. See Business Week, "
Egypt’s Suleiman to Seek Dialogue With Opposition," and New York Times, "Government Offers Talks After Army Says It Will Not Fire." But see Foreign Policy, "White House Prepares for Life After Mubarak." Also at Memeorandum.

Anyway, I'll have more later.

And no, I'm
not a socialist.

PREVIOUSLY: "Move Quickly on Egypt Democracy."

Added: From Laura Rozen, "Egypt VP Suleiman, Defense chief preparing transition from Mubarak rule, analyst says."


Jason Pappas said...

Here’s the problem:

The Muslim brotherhood is organized and ready. There is no organized secular opposition to Mubarak. The Brotherhood wins.

Our support for Mubarak is irrelevant. The military dictatorship is 60 years old and existed long before Carter supported Sadat. We are criticized when we don’t deal with the de facto leaders of foreign nations and criticized when we do. Arabs always blame their problems on others, especially the Jews. We’re not exempt.

We never needed to pay Mubarak. He’s self-interest compels him to fight the jihadi within. He, however, tried to buy off the jihadi in the short run by allowing them to control the educational institution. The game is over.

The Islamic revival is internally generated. Stop gap measures do little but buy time. The problem is just beginning. Europe is on the front lines. Russia has the longest border with the Islamic world. If we play our cards right we don’t need to lead this war.

Mr. Mcgranor said...

Yes -- let them vote--away American interest... and power.