Monday, January 31, 2011

Move Quickly on Egypt Democracy

I've been reading around the conserva-sphere, and there's a lot of backtracking on Egypt. The euphoria's gone, replaced with a deep fear of an Islamist regime in Cairo. It's certainly understandable. This New York Times story on Israel paints near trembling at the prospects of collapse of secularist Egypt: "Israel Shaken as Turbulence Rocks an Ally." And Melanie Phillips, one of my favorite writers, made a surprisingly pointed effort to distance herself from the neoconservative agenda of democracy promotion: "The Arab world on the brink...but of what?"

But folks need to get a grip. Nostalgia for Mubarak is exceedingly misplaced. Yeah, he's our guy and all that. But he's been a disaster for Egypt's development, and in an age of increasingly rapid global communications, the regime's failures are exponentially multiplied by the day. Victor Davis Hanson points out that the roots of radicalism in Egypt have more to do with Mubarak's rule than anything found in Israel or the United States, "What’s the Matter with Egypt?"
What’s next? “Finger-in-the-wind” diplomacy may work for a while, but it requires deftness that follows conditions on the street in a nanosecond to avoid appearing purely cynical (a skill beyond Hillary, Biden, and Obama). I think in this bad/worse choice scenario we might as well support supposedly democratic reformers, with the expectation that they could either fail in removing Mubarak or be nudged out by those far worse than Mubarak. Contrary to popular opinion, I think Bush was right to support elections in Gaza “one time” (only of course). The Gazans got what they wanted, we are done with them, and they have to live with the results, happy in their thuggish misery, with a prosperous Israel and better-off West Bank to remind them of their stupidity. All bad, but an honest bad and preferable to the lie that there were thousands of Jeffersonians in Gaza thwarted by the U.S.

So step back and watch it play out with encouragement for those who oppose both Mubarak and the Muslim Brotherhood— hoping for the best, expecting the worst.
And as I indicated earlier, the dawdling Obama administration is only empowering the Green-Red alliance working to bring the Muslim Brotherhood to power. Even mainstream progressives are pooh-poohing the Brotherhood's ties to Hamas and global jihad. So we need to move quickly in transitioning to an interim government committed to free-and-fair elections in the near-term. William Kristol offers the appropriate response, "Beyond Mubarak: ‘Twere Well It Were Done Quickly":
In a crisis like this, moving quickly is often more important than moving in an “orderly” way. After all, an “orderly” transition is far less important than a desirable and orderly outcome. Trying to ensure now that everything is “well thought-out” to the satisfaction of diplomats can easily become an excuse for a drawn-out transition. And that means trouble. The more drawn-out this transition is, the more likely it is to end badly. The best case—the least radicalizing one for the population, the least advantageous for the Muslim Brotherhood—would be a quick transition now to an interim government, with the prospect of elections not too far off, so people can rally to the prospect of a new liberal regime. Uncertainty and dithering is what helps the Lenins and Khomeinis in revolutionary situations. Acting boldly to prevent more disarray and more chaos offers the best chance for an orderly outcome.
I'd recommend folks visit Jennifer Rubin for updates throughout the day as well. She hammered the administration's dalliances earlier, "On Egypt, Obama offers 'too little, too late'." And in another entry she points to the pragmatic manifesto of Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee:
"For far too long the democratic hopes of the Egyptian people have been suppressed. Their cries for freedom can no longer be silenced.

"I am deeply concerned about the Egyptian government's heavy-handed response seeking to silence the Egyptian people. It is imperative that all parties involved avoid violence.

"I am further concerned that certain extremist elements inside Egypt will manipulate the current situation for nefarious ends.

"The U.S. and other responsible nations must work together to support the pursuit of freedom, democracy, and human rights in Egypt and throughout the world."
That's the right balance and the right approach. It's time to move forward. The neo-communists will seize the initiative and attempt to install the Islamists in power. Their useful idiots on the progressive left --- in the media and Democrat Party apparatus --- will help propel that outcome. For the true friends of freedom, the best bet is to quit whining about how bad the Muslim Brotherhood is and start working to help the Egyptians on the street take back their country. Those folks are at the top video above. They help us capture a vision of what an emerging secularist democracy could look like.


Norm said...

Democratic secular supporters will have a difficult time standing up to fascists like the Muslim Brotherhood which will use violence to intimidate. We must give the supporters of a secular democracy all the support we can give to create a Republic that represents all Egyptians. I don't trust Obama and believe he supports a takeover by the Muslim Brotherhood.

AmPowerBlog said...

That's intense, Norm. I'm trying not to have bad feelings about Obama. More on that later.

Reaganite Independent said...

Linked at Reaganite Republican, Dr Douglas:

ElBaradei "A Stooge for Iran"-

Rich Casebolt said...

Given that foreign-policy foundations have (in our case, again) been deeply undercut by Progressives and their conventional wisdom, we and our allies probably lack the credibility to implement what you and Ms. Rubin are advocating, Professor ... but it is the correct course of action.

What the President, ALONG WITH ALL OTHER RIGHTS-RESPECTING NATIONS, should be doing, is let it be known that NEITHER the status quo of Murbarik's police state, NOR a Muslim-Brotherhood-dominated Egypt, will be allowed to stand -- that we will stand with those in Egypt who seek to establish, not mere democracy, but rights-respecting governance via the rule of law -- and then, plan/prepare/act to carry out those words as required in a direct, timely, resolute, and decisive manner.