How A U.S. Push To Defuse Egypt Ended In Failure
Online, failure was not an option - the current headline at the Times website is
How American Hopes for a Deal in Egypt Were Undercut
The URL header gives a third choice: pressure-by-us-failed-to-sway-egypts-leaders
Ross Douthat says it is time for us to go:
Now, though, the calculus has to change. Egypt is rolling back into authoritarianism along a track that’s soaked in blood. The cycle of crackdown-radicalization, crackdown-radicalization is likely to get worse, the cost of being intimately tied to the military regime is getting higher, and the window for demonstrating that America’s favor really is conditional is closing fast.
Right now, the Obama administration is trapped by its client state the way that great-power patrons often are. Because our aid to Egypt is our most obvious leverage over its military, and because we can really only pull that lever once, Washington is afraid to follow through and do it.
But leverage can be lost through inaction as well. If we can’t cut the Egyptian military off amid this blood bath, we’re basically proving that we never, ever will.
Far better to act like the superpower we are, and make an end. It’s time, and past time, to let this client go.
Just to belabor the obvious - if President Bush were backing this sort of murderous crackdown in 2007, Candidate Obama would be railing against it.
Charles Kupchan, "a professor of international affairs at Georgetown University" writes in the Times that the US should slow the dash to democracy:
Rather than cajoling Cairo to hold elections and threatening to suspend aid if it does not, Washington should press the current leadership to adhere to clear standards of responsible governance, including ending the violence and political repression, restoring the basic functions of the state, facilitating economic recovery, countering militant extremists and keeping the peace with Israel. At this fragile moment in Egypt’s political awakening, the performance of its government will be a more important determinant of its legitimacy and durability than whether it won an election.
More generally, Washington should back off from its zealous promotion of democracy in Egypt and the broader Middle East for three main reasons.
His three reasons are that, although democracy may provide stability in the long run it often leads to instability during the transition; that the entrenched power of politcal Islam creates special problems in the Middle East; and that the promotion of democracy puts us at odds with certain key allies, such as Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the Persian Gulf sheikdoms.