Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Conundrum that is Egypt

Is especially spelled out in this article by Michael Goodwin in the New York Post:
The Worst of Times
The first page of the online article explores the many reasons the New York Times has lost its way, the extremely liberal and biased reporting of the news. The second page gets into the meat of what is happening in Egypt. I don't know about you, but I am much more worried about Egypt than the NYT at this point.
Goodwin says:
But because Keller sees his options on national security as simplistically binary -- either a free press or a government veto -- he fails to recognize his duty to exercise voluntary discretion. In a time of war, that is unforgivable.

Pain of double edged sword

As Egypt burns, nervous Americans must resist one thing: certainty. Ignore anybody who is absolutely, positively sure of who will be standing when the smoke clears and what we should do about it.

Take Joe Biden. The veep was certain Hosni Mubarak is not a "dictator." He is wrong and there is no honor in pretending otherwise.

On the other side, the thugocracy in Iran is gung-ho for the demonstrators. "Iran expects Egyptian officials to listen to the voice of their Muslim people" a spokesman said.

To judge an uprising by its supporters, we don't want to be on the same side as the Iranian rulers who brutally crushed a democracy movement. They seize on destabilization anywhere, from Lebanon to Gaza to Iraq, to spread their evil.

Remember the lesson of the Iranian revolution: One person, one vote, one time.

The easy truth is that Mubarak personifies the double-edged sword that bedevils our policy in the Mideast. He is a firewall against Muslim terrorists and a helpful neighbor of Israel's for 30 years. He is also a ruthless ruler who created the powder keg now exploding.

The hard truth is that there is no obvious path as America faces an agonizing choice between our interests and our values. That's why the White House's is hedging its bets, leaning first toward Mubarak and then toward the protestors without breaking with either.

It also realizes that what happens in Egypt won't stay in Egypt, just as the revolt in Tunisia is awakening Arabs in Yemen and Jordan as well. Saudi Arabia is nervous, as is Europe, because 40 percent of the world's oil passes through the Suez Canal.

The smart money says Mubarak's days are numbered. Fair enough, but two questions more:

What or who follows him? And is it good for America?

As of now, nobody really knows.

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