By now, anyone who’s surfed the internet, turned on a TV, radio or had a discussion about world politics has heard that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has stepped down. Really forced out. A peaceful revolution that was really a street-side coup d’Ã©tat to topple a corrupt government that was a firm friend of the West. So how do we internalize US President Barak Obama’s treatment of our only Middle East ally and Israel’s?Â From an American perspective, it appears that Obama supports democracy by denouncing Mubarak and supporting the Egyptian people. On that note, he appears to be on the â€œrightâ€ side of history. Yet, when you look at how the Middle East values honor above all else and how it holds it front and center, it looks like Obama turned his back on a once-trusted friend. This could end up backfiring on him when he least expects it. In some areas of the world, it’s safe to say it already has. Think about it. It was not that long ago that Mubarak was the lead peace partner in Middle East that the Obama administration was touting to make headway in ways that theÂ US and Israel could not. How many times did you see Clinton and Mitchell meeting with Mubarak? If we had dementia it wouldn’t be a problem but we don’t. When you look at it from Middle Eastern perspective, Obama used Mubarak then let his trusted friend fry while an uprising raged in his own backyard.
When you look at it from a peace perspective, it looks like the uprising may have occurred in the same way that cost Mubarak’s predecessor’s life. We know that Sadat was assassinated by the Muslim Brotherhood for signing a peace treaty with Israel. We also know that this new Egypt could go two ways. Egypt has a chance to become a change-leader for the region and edge toward a real democracy or it could become another Islamic regime like totalitarian Iran. With Iran’s tentacles now in Lebanon, Syria, Gaza, and continually influencing Turkey, what will stop the repressive regime from infecting Egypt? Honestly, not much.
The protesters in Egypt stated over and over on CNN that all they want is opportunities, basic freedom and human rights. But what will those freedoms look like? Will they like free elections in Gaza where Iranian-backed terrorist-regime Hamas rules? Will they look like Lebanon where Iranian-backed Hezbollah toppled the government and rules? Or will it look like the US and Israel, which most Middle East countries that detest the West describe as the big devil and little devil? Hard to know but let’s stop being idealistic and use history as our guide. While this is a huge opportunity for Egypt to be a pacesetter this is hardly France before the revolution. The Middle East has a history of letting religion take precedence when it comes to governance and when Islam is involved â€œdemocracyâ€ looks more like dictatorship. For the sake Israel and US relations, let’s hope that Obama can say he was on the right side of history instead of the left side of disaster.
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