Three decades ago revolution swept Iran, and Jimmy Carter’s legacy to America is a radical Islamist regime in Tehran, one that routinely threatens Israel, supports terrorism across the globe and is striving for nuclear weapons.
Three decades from now single sentence summaries of Barak Obama’s foreign policy achievements or failures will focus on the nature of the government in Cairo. To the president’s surprise, the biggest issue in the region isn’t Israeli building plans.
It is true, as the editorialists at the Wall Street Journal state, that the U.S. is “caught between Hosni Mubarak’s lifespan and fear of the Muslim Brotherhood.” It is also true that “[i]t’s not reassuring that the Obama Administration seems to have been caught by surprise in all of these Arab countries.” The Journal might have added that the Administration’s hostility to Israel has blinded it to the real crises engulfing the region.
Whatever the mistakes he has made and the plans he didn’t lay, the president is in charge right now and he needs to communicate right now what he wants Mubarak to do. If we want him to get out and allow for a transition to a new figure, then President Obama needs to lead by stating that and assisting a new government to take place. If he is sticking by Mubarak, he needs to communicate that as well.
Right now the late ’70s are back in reruns with Egypt playing the role of Iran. At a minimum, increase the security at the U.S. Embassy.