Support Egypt, Not Mubarak

January 27, 2011 11:37 am ET — MJ Rosenberg

Support Egyptians, Not Mubarak

Here is the official response from the United States government to the demonstrations in Egypt:

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said, "Egypt is an ally and friend of the United States. President Mubarak is a significant contributor to current efforts to achieve Middle East peace. At the same time, we encourage the government to take advantage of the opportunity to undertake political, economic and social reform. We do not see these as being in contradiction."

This follows the same pattern as our response to the popular upheavals in Tunisia, street demonstrations which led to the downfall of the corrupt government there. When it comes to the Middle East, the Obama administration is a bit slow on the uptake.

The administration needs to understand that Egypt will not continue to be "an ally and friend of the United States" if we continue to support a regime the Egyptian people despise.  No one argues that we should intervene against the Mubarak regime.  But we can either shut up or just say that we are friends of the "Egyptian people" and democracy and leave it at that. 

Mubarak will not last forever, or even much longer.  If we want an anti-American regime installed, one that would likely tear up the peace treaty with Israel, we should continue to support Mubarak.

That won't save the regime.  But it would ensure that its successor despises us and does what it can to thwart our influence in the region.  

That was, after all, the way the US handled popular movements in foreign countries in the 1950's. For instance, that is what we did in Iran where we undermined a popular democratic (and anti-colonialist) government and re-installed the Shah who was hated by the people but loved by US and British oil companies. 

That turned out well.  Our buddy, the Shah, was in power for 25 years and for the next 30, right through today, the Iranian people (and America too) have been cursed by a regime dominated by autocratic fanatics. Well done, America. Let's do it again.