The U.S. and Egypt
5:49 PM, Feb 2, 2011 • By JAMIE M. FLY
Our policy for the last thirty years was flawed, because by propping up Mubarak, we wrongly assumed that we were eliminating the extremist elements in Egyptian society. The fact is that Mubarak crushed Western-oriented democratic forces and did little to quash the Brotherhood, in many ways building them up because he was supposedly the only thing standing between them and power. U.S. policy thus helped create the uncertainty we now face. It is therefore not surprising that there will be some anger on the Egyptian street toward the United States in the months to come. The key is what we do in the days and weeks ahead to minimize that anger, and stand on the side of those peacefully protesting for real, not just promised, change. To do otherwise and cling to Mubarak denies the reality of the situation unfolding on the ground and is just as wrongheaded as the previous U.S. policy toward Egypt – a policy that is now in shambles.
Jamie M. Fly is executive director of the Foreign Policy Initiative.