Thursday, February 3, 2011

Egypt: Just 59 Years! Call that Stability?

Purely for intellectual rigor, let me respond to this Wall Street Journal article:

"For most of recent diplomatic history, American policy in the Mideast has tended to emphasize the stability of friendly regimes over the democratic aspirations of Arab populations. This approach is sometimes called foreign policy realism. The reality on the streets in Egypt is one result. ... So much for that vaunted stability."

As a historian, I would note that the current regime has ruled Egypt for almost 59 years without a major internal challenge. Egypt has been an ally of the United States for about 32 years without a major bilateral clash. That's what I'd call "vaunted stability."

After Mubarak goes, is that record going to be equalled or surpassed? That's not an argument for keeping Mubarak but for keeping foreign policy realism. Realism believes in such strange notion as a country's need to keep its credibility, support its allies and punish its foes, and be strong enough to deter attacks on itself and its interests.

How archaic!

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