Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Walt gives a realist argument about why the U.S. should allow Mubarak to go and why to the U.S. should hope to see democracy gain a foothold. By doing so, Walt shows that "realist" thinkers do not concern themselves only with matters of military and economic power, but that the legitimacy and popularity of a regime count for a great deal also. Thus, this gives some insight into not only a crucial foreign policy decision, but also it displays a more sophisticated realism.
Douthat raises all of the right questions and lists all of the possible trade-offs if the U.S. backs Mubarak or if it sees him go. He notes in the end--and this is the real significance--what happens in the streets of Egypt will control the outcome. The U.S. is more of a bystander than a participant. There are limits to power.