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Daybreak: Army Backs Mubarak, Crowds Don’t

Plus the White House scrambles, and more in the news

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Tahrir Square last night.(Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images)

Anger in Tahrir Square. [NYT]

• Egypt’s army is backing President Hosni Mubarak’s decision to say on as president until the September elections while delegating some power to Vice President Omar Suleiman. This is key. [WSJ]

• The administration did not see Mubarak’s defiance coming; in fact, this defiance was something of a middle finger directed at it. President Obama insisted last night the transition to democracy must be more clear, “unequivocal.” [WP]

• In Israel’s leadership, relief; in the rest of the region’s leadership, relief, which they have to disguise a bit more. [WP]

• Some reports have it that Mubarak and his family have temporarily left Cairo. [CBS News]

• An Israeli official who spoke to Mubarak explained that the Egyptian president knows his time is up, but wants to leave in an “honorable” fashion.” (Um, ooops.) [LAT]

• Mohammed ElBaradei finally emerges in his rightful place, as the opposition person who writes a Times op-ed. [NYT]

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We are too hard on President Obama. His zig-zagging in face of the revolutionary Cairo winds merely reflects the indecision of a superpower reaching the end of its grip on the region, and the world.

Ideology has always driven US foreign policy, not its responsibilities as global superpower, or even its own national interests. For the US encouraging “freedom and democracy” takes on a religious fervor, and religion is faith-based, not worldly. Sympathy with protesters crying out for justice is moral. But is it moral to destabilize the a regime which the US strongly supported for decades, a regime that returned the favor in kind? Is it moral to humiliate Mubarak and, through him, Egypt? Was Obama and his advisers even aware that the message they were sending to the region and the world is one of loyalty limited by the religion of revolutionary freedom and democracy over loyalty to alliances? Was the fact that the Saudi king berated the US president over his failure of respect, that not only would the Saudis replace threatened US aid to Egypt, but, thumb in the eye, invited the hated Iranians to send a delegation to the Saudi court for “discussions?”

But Obama is only the most recent proponent of dogmatic diplomacy. In 1979 Carter sided with the street against US long time ally, the shah. Bush overthrew Sadam because, “[i]t is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world;” and created an ally for Iran. 3 years later he forced Abbas to allow Hamas to run in Palestinian elections. Hamas won, so Bush launched a coup against Hamas which also failed.

Trump, in saying he might run for president, said that the world does not respect the US. Another religious zealot, but correct and well earned.

The US is losing (has lost?) the ME. Religious self-righteousness is a poor substitute for realpolitik national interests.

David Turner is right on. The Table article,
“Daybreak: Army Backs Mubarak, Crowds Don’t” shows a picture of some very sad looking Egyptians. How wrong is the title and picture you presented. Is it that the Tablets choice of a fake friend, that you have to pay off year after year over what the Egyptian people really want is what Tablet advocates for ? I think in this case we hope Egyptians want to ” Give Democracy a Chance “. I for one advocate to give them the chance.
Sy, Fort Lee NJ.

Neveragain says:

All Americans believe in democracy. But, free elections got us the mullahs and Hamas in the middle-east.
There is no history here that would suggest a western style republic will be established.
At best, a military dicatorship will take over. At worst, an anti-Israel Muslim Brotherhood theocracy will rule.

Neveragain, Hub Gedult. We are in a state of flux. The NEW
World Order is the Internet. We will not go back to say Never Again. Check out http://www.forward.com/articles/135322/#
Egypt’s Other, Overshadowed Revolt Is a Demand for Economic Justice.
Letter From Cairo By Abdallah Schleifer
Sy Fort Lee NJ

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Daybreak: Army Backs Mubarak, Crowds Don’t

Plus the White House scrambles, and more in the news

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