We’ve all watched events unfold in Egypt and across the Middle East. We all know that the non-violent revolution has reached critical mass in Egypt. Western governments have pretty much sided with the aspirations of the Egyptian people (albeit guardedly so), choosing to stand for democracy over the realpolitik that justifies an ally like Mubarak.
And what’s Hosni Mubarak like? How does our ally respond when it’s clear that his reign is at an end? What is his response when President Obama insists that September is not soon enough for him to step down? Well, Obama sent a message and Mubarak heard it loud and clear. His response was to show his true colors, to expose himself for the coward that he is. He introduced violence into the non-violent protest. He’s trying to meet hope with fear, to incite violence in hopes of discrediting the protesters. He’s trying to scare the West with the notion of a radical Islamist state emerging from the chaos on Israel’s border.
He could have stepped down. He could have left with dignity and at long last done right by his people. He did not do that. He chose violence, cowardice and thuggery.
And now, we’re left to wonder what will happen next. Will the protesters be able to hold their ground in the face of Mubarak’s savagery? Or will the country erupt in a civil war that will have global consequences. Most of us are on the sidelines now. Most of us can only hope and pray for peace at this point. The West has very limited options at the moment. I applaud President Obama’s handling of this situation, but even his options are limited. I also have to applaud the Republicans, particularly the majority in the House. They’re staying out of the way and letting Obama do his job unfettered. Whether it’s appropriate deferrence to the President on foreign policy or simply that they don’t know what to do, I have to give them credit for behaving appropriately under the circumstances.
And the revolution continues…