Monday, December 12, 2005

# Posted 7:00 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

THAT WAS THEN, THIS IS NOW: George W. Bush, State of the Union address, February 2, 2005:
To promote peace and stability in the broader Middle East, the United States will work with our friends in the region to fight the common threat of terror, while we encourage a higher standard of freedom...the great and proud nation of Egypt, which showed the way toward peace in the Middle East, can now show the way toward democracy in the Middle East.
Washington Post editorial, December 10, 2005:
THE LAST DAYS of Egypt's month-long parliamentary election were shameful. Government security forces and gangs of thugs from the ruling National Democratic Party blockaded access to dozens of polling sites where opposition candidates were strong. In several cases they opened fire on citizens who tried to vote; 10 people were reported killed. Inside the election stations, government appointees blatantly stuffed ballot boxes in full view of judicial monitors. In some districts, they ignored court orders seeking to prevent them from buying votes or busing in nonresidents to defeat opposition candidates.
I believe that President Bush meant every word that he said in his State of the Union address. But leadership demands more than sincerity. It demands action, even while preoccupied with more politically sensitive tasks. And now is the time.
(4) opinions -- Add your opinion

Why didn't we put intense pressure on our "friends" in the region: Egypt, Saudia Arabia, and Jordan to become truly democratic in the first place? Surely a world power like ourselves could have mustered the moral, political, diplomatic (and economic) will to create the first truly democratic nation in the Muslim world in at least one of the countries we've supported for decades. Would the sacrifice or the expected payoff have been different than putting all our eggs in one (Iraqi) basket?
Can't you see that in a free election in Egypt the winner will probably be the Muslim Brotherhood, and you'll get in Egypt an extremist Islamist state like in Iran ?
Speaking of Iran - it was Jimmy Carter who promoted democracy there - and look what you got. Do you wish for another Iran stile "democracy" ? Be careful what you ask for.
Notice that Mubarak did far more to shut down the efforts of liberal democrats such as Ayman Nour rather than the Muslim Brotherhood. Like so many dictators before him, he wants to polarize the nation to ensure that America has no viable democratic opposition to support.

Moreover, the Brotherhood has renounced violence, at least for the moment. Of course there is good reason to be skeptical of such a pledge. But I am not asking Mubarak to put up his power for grabs just now. Rather, I hope that under American pressure, Mubarak will come to understand that a gradual liberalization will either help fix the Brotherhood on the path to moderation or, at minimum, rob it of its pretensions of being the true voice of the people should it espouse violence once again.
This is your major flaw...you continue to (inexplicably) have faith in the Bush administration. I can say I don't know how you do it.
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