Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Future of the Middle East Hangs in the Balance

Egypt is a key ally to the United States because it is the largest Arab nation with a large influence on other smaller Arab countries. After three decades in, the Egyptian Revolution led to the resignation of  President Mubarak who handed the political power to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.
American policymakers are searching for a balance between getting involved (further fueling anti-American sentiment in an already hostile region) and non-intervention (with the risk of fundamentalist groups taking power and becoming aggressive towards Egypt's new democratic system, Christian minorities and their neighbor, Israel.
One of the leverages the US has is the 3 billion dollars of aid provided to Egypt of which 1.3 billion dollars is military aid.

“If, over time, the most powerful political force in Egypt remains a roomful of unelected officials, they will have planted the seeds for future unrest, and Egyptians will have missed a historic opportunity,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The decisions that are made today regarding Egypt could determine the future of the relationship between the United States and its allies and Muslim countries. If the United States continues to support military rule the chance to create a large new democracy will be lost, and the losers won't hesitate to blame Americans (the kind of thinking that inspired the 9/11 attacks). The same hostility would probably rise from an democracy enforced by the presence of the US military. However, a hands off approach would create a virtual anarchy resulting in a possible civil war and/or a new totalitarian government.

This is an extreme case of the importance of balance. History has showed us that both isolationism and interventionism can have catastrophic effects. In the Middle East specifically non-intervention policies allowed the Taliban to come to power while American involvement encouraged the development of terrorist cells such as al-Qaeda. It is up to the Obama administration to rise to the challenge and find a way to promote democracy and stability, a chance to truly justify the Nobel Peace Prize that he was given for not being George Bush.


Shane, S. (2011, November 20). Balacing us policy on an ally in transition. New York Times. Retrieved from