Let Mubarak Fall?

Jim Gerghaty thinks its time we just let Hosni Mubarak fall from power:

If you support the right of American Tea Partiers to gather together and protest their government, I don’t quite understand why you would deny the average Egyptian the same right. It’s not like angry Egyptians can write a letter to the editor or vote out their representatives to get better results. Even if the protesters are anti-Israeli, want a more Islamist government, and can repeat every bit of anti-American propaganda they’ve ever heard, who are we to say to them, “You deserve no better than Mubarak”?

Leaving aside for the moment the question of how we would deal with the consequences that could possibly result from political change in Egypt, I cannot think of any single reason why this isn’t absolutely correct.

Thoughts?

FILED UNDER: Middle East, Quick Takes, World Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. The idea that the wise people in North American and Europe can guide the Egyptian unpleasantness is proven false by our past history in this area. Things didn’t work out all that well when we guided the Shah or Iran out of power…or when we guided the Iraqis to combat the Shah’s replacements…or when we guided the Afghan rebels to battle the USSR. The world is too complex to be guided from a State Department desk.

  2. Tano says:

    What is the imagined alternative to “letting Mubarak fall”? Is this an argument against sending in troops to support the regime? Would anyone even entertain the thought of something like that?

  3. PJ says:

    @Tano:
    “What is the imagined alternative to “letting Mubarak fall”? Is this an argument against sending in troops to support the regime? Would anyone even entertain the thought of something like that?”

    The alternative would be to let him crush the opposition and get away with.

    And the reason for not letting him fall would be one thing. Realpolitik.

  4. ratufa says:

    “Letting Mubarak fall” sounds more like a possible future right-wing talking point than a coherent position. Seriously, (as Tano said), what would “not letting Mubarak fall” mean in practice?

  5. ratufa says:

    PJ:

    OK. You mean we could actively push him over the ledge by threatening to withhold foreign aid and other goodies if he cracks down too hard on the protesters. That’s a bit different from passively “letting him fall” and sounds like a political minefield, depending on who seizes power afterwards.

  6. PJ says:

    The US can’t, not after waging war in Afghanistan and Iraq and “promoting and bringing” freedom and democracy, aid in helping Mubarak.

    While Israel prefers Mubarak to what might come, they can’t, of obvious reasons, do anything either.

    I doubt that Libya, or any other North African country, would be willing to send any military help, especially since they all have problems of their own.

  7. Ben Wolf says:

    Withdrawing our support, without actively taking steps to remove Mubarak or create a replacement would be a major step in restoring American credibility in the region. Popular support for our Islamist enemies is exacerbated by our continued meddling in the internal affairs of Arab nations and our support for their corrupt, brutal governments. It’s also an opportunity for us to live up to the principles we claim to believe in.

  8. Tano says:

    “The alternative would be to let him crush the opposition and get away with.”

    This makes no sense.
    The alternative to letting him fall is to let him crush the opposition?/?

    That is not an alternative US policy – it is an alternative outcome that could arise from the same US policy – i.e. letting whatever will happen, happen.

    The question is simply this – should the US try to exert control over the direction that this revolution takes. And if so, then how exactly is that to be done.

  9. Andy says:

    “Let Mubarak Fall?”

    The question assumes it is within the power of the US to determine Mubarak’s fate. Not a very good assumption.

  10. michael reynolds says:

    Right after we “let” Mubarak fall, why don’t we “let” the sun rise in the east and set in the west.

  11. Ben Wolf says:

    Right after we “let” Mubarak fall, why don’t we “let” the sun rise in the east and set in the west.

    True, but we’ve amply demonstrated an ability and desire to make things far worse for ourselves by trying.

  12. David says:

    Mubarak is probably better for the US than any likely alternative, given that he’s been generally supportive of us in Israeli-Palestinian issues, even in defiance of Egyptian public opinion. Democracy would probably bring an Islamist government to Egypt who are almost certainly not very sympathetic to US goals and interests in the region, and it’s far from certain that a military coup or other dictatorship would be as helpful to us as Mubarak has been. As such, we should support his government to the extent that we can.

  13. PJ says:

    @David:
    “As such, we should support his government to the extent that we can.”

    And what the people in Egypt and the rest of the middle east will see is support for democracy in the middle east only when it suits the US.

    By keeping digging that hole, when the regime in Egypt actually falls, what will come after will be much. much worse.