Sunday, February 06, 2011

US ‘Orderly Transition’ in Egypt Really ‘Business as Usual’ in Disguise

The Fake Moderation of America’s Moderate Mideast Allies

by Asli Bali and Aziz Rana, CommonDreams.org, Feb 4, 2011

As the Mubarak regime turns to violence in a vain attempt to repress the peaceful protests that have swept Egypt’s streets for over ten days, the risks associated with current U.S. strategy for Egypt and the wider region continue to grow. In its response to the events, the Obama administration has subtly shifted its message, incrementally increasing pressure on the regime over the last week. But the more important story is the remarkable continuities reflected in the administration’s approach.

[President Obama listens to Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak on Sept. 1 in Washington. Washington's response to the Egyptian uprising has repeatedly invoked the language of moderation, order and stability. Such language encourages protesters to accept incremental reforms in place of the peaceful democratic revolution that ordinary Egyptians have created and sustained. The call for orderly transition and managed reform is, in fact, a call for more of the same.  (Charles Dharapak, AP)] 
President Obama listens to Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak on Sept. 1 in Washington. Washington’s response to the Egyptian uprising has repeatedly invoked the language of moderation, order and stability. Such language encourages protesters to accept incremental reforms in place of the peaceful democratic revolution that ordinary Egyptians have created and sustained. The call for orderly transition and managed reform is, in fact, a call for more of the same. (Charles Dharapak, AP)
 
Indeed, Washington’s response has departed little from its original script. This script involves repeatedly invoking the language of “moderation” and order and stability. Such language defends a wait-and-see approach and encourages protesters to accept incremental reforms in place of the peaceful democratic revolution that ordinary Egyptians have created and, against all odds, sustained. The call for orderly transition and managed reform is, in fact, a call for more of the same.

This approach – including any U.S. backed effort to remove Mubarak while retaining the larger regime through the new Vice President Omar Suleiman – is no longer viable. Nor is a belated demand for an end to violence sufficient. A definitive break from the scripts of stability and moderation and a reorientation of American policy toward Egypt -and the broader region – around the democratic aspirations of protesters is the only way forward.

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