Thursday, February 10, 2011

Egypt: The Inside Struggle for the Direction of U.S. Policy

By Barry Rubin

This is an extremely important article. Let me explain why briefly. The point is to analyze the split within the Obama Administration: Should it let the current Egyptian regime manage the process of “transition” or press for the regime’s fall and replacement by…who knows what?

And it isn’t surprising. In favor of the moderate and sensible approach are Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, national security advisor Thomas Donilon and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, “who worry about regional stability and want to reassure other Middle East governments that the U.S. will not abandon an important and longtime ally.”

In other words, the people who actually have some experience with international affairs understand that the administration’s original policy would produce a disaster.

And who wants to dump Mubarak and the regime immediately while having no fear of the emergence of a radical Egypt? Why the ideologues, of course: National Security Council members Ben Rhodes and Samantha Power, who say “that if President Obama appears to side with the remnants of Mubarak's discredited regime, he risks being seen as complicit in stifling a pro-democracy movement.”

This split which has existed all along now becomes visible for the first time. We are going to be hearing more about this conflict in future.

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