I am a Tea-Party conservative, and I support the Egyptian protesters.
First, I refer you to my motto: Freedom is wasted on him who will not make others free. Everything else is details, which begin here:
I feel that for the United States to not support the protesters is morally repugnant and strategically counterproductive.
I feel that President Mubarak should step down, that an experienced interim, caretaker successor should succeed him, and that neither man should stand in the regularly scheduled election next September.
I feel that this will create an opportunity for (not guarantee) a real democratic structure to emerge and solidify over time.
I feel that the immediate threat to Egyptian liberty is their current government which the United States seems to support but I do not, and the next threat to Egyptian liberty will be internal extremists, which the United States opposes and so do I.
I feel that the worst possible consequence of a successful revolution is an extremist-led Egypt which will simply continue the subjugation of the citizenry, with the added evil of starting a regional war.
I feel that the worst possible outcome of a failed revolution is a wave of murder and torture sweeping Egypt at the hands of government-backed thugs.
In either case, if the United States does not support the protesters at this time, in this place, then all of our words about freedom and democracy will fall on deaf ears for a generation at least. We will lose any moral leverage we might have on the streets where things are outside of the control of any government, and in coffee shops where meetings are held, and decisions made by those without marble columns and granite walls. Where it counts.
I feel that United States support for the protesters will be welcomed in the streets of Cairo and Alexandria. It will be reported favorably by Al-Jazeera (in any language) before it will by CNN (in any language). It will not only provide a moral and practical boost to the protesters who seek freedom; US support for the protesters will help inoculate the eventual democracy from domination by extremists.
I do not begrudge the United States our previous support of Hosni Mubarak. This was in the interest of peace, and dates back to the monumental Camp David Accords negotiated with Anwar el-Sadat. Things have changed, however, and the policy has, in the space of a weekend, gone from merely outdated and distasteful to dangerous and obsolete. The world is changing, and if we show adaptability while living up to our core values, we will be in a better position to deal with whatever negative consequences may accompany the good.
If, on the other hand, we demonstrate a dogmatic stiffness which causes us to betray our own stated principles, we will be in a very sorry position indeed, and even our victories will taste like defeats as we struggle to salvage credibility.
This is the conclusion of an article by Mark Levine, Professor of History at UC Irvine. The point he makes is the point I have been making all across Twitter (http://twitter.com/#!/afghanmoon), which is that America is failing its first test of Global Counterinsurgency, handed to us at a cost of zero.
If we cannot bring ourselves to take the plunge and support the citizens in Cairo and Alexandria struggling to shake off their dictator, then nowehere in the world for a quarter century will our words of "freedom" or "democracy" be believed.
We are losing the Long War right now in Egypt, not Afghanistan, not Iraq.
A gift that won't be offered again The most depressing and even frightening part of the tepid US response to the protests across the region is the lack of appreciation of what kind of gift the US, and West more broadly, are being handed by these movements. Their very existence is bringing unprecedented levels of hope and productive activism to a region and as such constitutes a direct rebuttal to the power and prestige of al-Qaeda. Instead of embracing the push for real democratic change, however, surface reforms that would preserve the system intact are all that's recommended. Instead of declaring loud and clear a support for a real democracy agenda, the president speaks only of "disrupting plots and securing our cities and skies" and "tak[ing] the fight to al-Qaeda and their allies", as he declared in his State of the Union address. Obama doesn't seem to understand that the US doesn't need to "take the fight" to al-Qaeda, or even fire a single shot, to score its greatest victory in the "war on terror". Supporting real democratisation will do more to downgrade al-Qaeda's capabilities than any number of military attacks. He had better gain this understanding quickly because in the next hours or days the Egypt's revolution will likely face its moment of truth. And right behind Egypt are Yemen, Jordan, Algeria, and who knows what other countries, all looking to free themselves of governments that the US and its European allies have uncritically supported for decades. If president Obama has the courage to support genuine democracy, even at the expense of immediate American policy interests, he could well go down in history as one of the heroes of the Middle East's Jasmine winter. If he chooses platitudes and the status quo, the harm to America's standing in the region will likely take decades to repair.
After editing and editing the Cee-Lo Green piece, Blogger got all froggy on me and I have been unable to fix it since A) it exceeded my ability and B) I stopped trying.
Well, let's get back to business shall we? Changes are coming. I may even move into my own domain, which has languished for years. Anyway--short post coming up.