The Blog

Who Cares About Human Rights?

12:00 AM, Aug 19, 2009 • By ELLIOTT ABRAMS
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Mubarak has ruled for 28 years and done next to nothing to prepare Egypt for democracy; indeed this very week his government once again refused to allow the formation of a moderate Islamic party that would draw votes away from the Muslim Brotherhood. He has in fact created a dangerous two-party system: the ruling "National Democratic Party" and the Muslim Brotherhood are the only organized political entities. Moderates have been crushed, imprisoned, exiled, and forbidden to organize. This is sowing the wind and when Mubarak is gone the reaping may begin. So it was tragic to see all of this swept under the Oval Office rug, as we repeat the errors of the past. The story of Kim Dae Jung should have reminded the White House that handshakes and smiles for dictators are a bad policy for the United States, while support for democracy and human rights will ultimately vindicate our interests as well as our principles. The happier Mubarak was about his visit, the less reason we have to be about this week in Washington.

Elliott Abrams, senior fellow for the Middle East at the Council on Foreign Relations, was a deputy national security adviser in the Bush administration.