Friday, January 28, 2011

What To Do in Egypt?

Yesterday, in response to 1HP's questioning of Obama Administration policy about Egypt (to have been delivered by her White House contact), I raised these questions:
1. If the U.S. believes that Islamic radicals—anti-democratic & theocratic—would replace Mubarak, should we then determine that it would be better to wait for other reform?
2. If the U.S. believes that Mubarak is a better strategic partner than any likely replacement (and who knows who might emerge in power if wide spread disruption occurs), should we practice realism over an ideology of democracy?
3. Given Egypt’s current state of development, can we expect some worthwhile (i.e., more than plebiscite) democracy take root in Egypt? To what extent is the U.S. foolish to encourage democracy in places where the social & economic conditions make its success unlikely? See, for instance. F. Zakaria, The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home & Abroad.
4. To what extent should we see Mubarak as like the Shah of Iran? Will continued U.S. support only flame resentment against the U.S. for propping up an unpopular dictator? Or is Mubarak different, less odious?

Then I read this article by Leslie Gelb, foreign policy big wig. Well, at least by him I was asking the right questions. But I'm not sure either of us have "the right" answers. Politics always seems a matter of trade-offs.

No comments: