Elliott Abrams

Pressure Points

Abrams gives his take on U.S. foreign policy, with special focus on the Middle East and democracy and human rights issues.

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U.S. Policy and the Crisis in Egypt

by Elliott Abrams
January 28, 2011

A protester holds an Egyptian flag as he stands in front of water canons during clashes in Cairo on January 28, 2011. (Yannis Behrakis/Courtesy Reuters)

My views on U.S. policy toward democracy in the Middle East and the demonstrations in Egypt were published in the Washington Post online this afternoon. In this op-ed, I argue that supporting democracy in the Middle East is the best policy for the United States to follow, as dictatorships are in the long run fundamentally unstable.

Post a Comment 6 Comments

  • Posted by Dan Friedman

    “democracy in the Middle East is the best policy for the United States to follow”

    But what’s your next trick after Egyptian “democracy” produces a Muslim Brotherhood government?

  • Posted by Ed Houlihan

    What is the risk of the unrest spreading to Saudi Arabia 0=none to 5 = high

    Thank you

  • Posted by Chase

    Dan Friedman:

    You seem to imply that the Muslim Brotherhood coming to power would be a bad thing.

    There is a lot of confusion and mystery among Americans about who the Muslim Brotherhood is. The Mubarak regime has played the US (and the West) by saying it is either me or the religious fanatics of the Muslim Brotherhood. In reality, the Muslim Brotherhood has become a social party that is seeking to oust a harsh regime. Yes, they are nominally religious. No, they do not support Al Qai’da or other Salafi Jihadi groups ideology on a global caliphate.

  • Posted by Ax D WhiteMan

    Mr. Abrams, I enjoyed and agree with your WP piece.
    I wrote a similar (but less elequent) blog post
    Which also asked, “Did Facebook Topple Egypt?”
    Of coursed its been widely trashed by most “conservatives”

    I think its time that Americans use this oppotunity
    To go over the heads of the State Dept. and Administration
    by using their own twitter and facebook status
    Updates to say Egypt,if you stand for Liberty and Justice for
    All – I am America – and I stand with you.

  • Posted by Sandra Sweeney

    I just read your WP article and found it very enlightening. I must admit to agreeing with your views completely. I do have a question that I was hoping you might address in the future.

    I would be interested to hear your views on Saudi Arabia; their society is also quite restrictive. Religious jewelry, such as a Christian cross or Jewish Star of David, are not permitted in public. Women – even American women – must have a male escort and are not permitted to drive a car by themselves. Yet the Saudis are considered a valuable US ally. How do the Saudi people feel about the ruling family? Do you have a prediction for the future of Saudi Arabia?

    Thank You.

  • Posted by Elliott Abrams

    Thanks to everyone for these comments. Events in Egypt have been moving so quickly I’ve been unable to reply.
    Briefly: I don’t expect the unrest to reach Saudi Arabia, although long run stability is threatened by the very large number of unemployed and underemployed young men. I don’t expect a Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt, but they will certainly have a role in any successor regime and that will mean policies most Americans do not like. At best, we’ll have a relationship with Turkey more like the now prickly and difficult one with Egypt. Thank Hosni Mubarak for all that, as he crished the moderate alternatives to the Brotherhood and thereby enhanced their influence.

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