Why do we assume these protesters represent a majority of Egyptians? If several hundred thousand Americans called for Obama’s resignation–as they have at a great many public events–no one calls for the President’s ouster. But here we do, even though we know these primitive tribal people can be whipped into a frenzy on the basis of rumors and the most blatant propaganda and, furthermore, we have no reason to have any confidence what percentage of the Egyptian people they represent.
Why is our President so tergiversatious. One minute he’s for Mubarak. Then the protesters. Then the process. Doesn’t his own ideology of pro-Third World nationalism counsel him the best thing to do is shut up? Indeed, in this instance, his instinctually anti-imperialist views accord with my own ethnocentrically-based anti-imperisalist and anti-interventionist views. But it appears, as is often the case in his contradictions, that his ego is the trump card.
The media has concluded “Mubarak must go!” Why believe them? Musharraf stepped down in Pakistan, and the place is still a mess. Little people-power revolutions occurred with great fanfare in Lebanon and Iran with mixed effects. The former led to Hezbollah’s greater political power, but Lebanon, for various cultural reasons, is still a halfway decent place to visit. Iran, by contrast, shut them down, as Mubarak seems resolved to do, and there the silent (or easily cowed) majority has accepted the legitimacy of this turn of events.
The worst case scenario of this situation in Egypt to me is as follows. One, US military traffic in the Suez Canal is not permitted. And, two, out of misguided “outreach” and “idealism,” a Muslim Brotherhood dominated regime continues to receive billions of US Aid each year as ransom for not attacking Israel (as opposed to being a quasi-ally, as it has been for the last 30 years).