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Friday, August 16, 2013

What America's interest in Egypt ought to be

Stanley Kurtz urges the United States to give up its pipe dreams of democracy and to look out for its own interests in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East.
No peace without including the Muslim Brotherhood, which represents so much of Egypt? Quite right. No peace. What this argument fails to recognize is that the image of a national reconciliation that encompasses all parties in Egypt — the goal the Times and the Post want us to work toward –- is a chimera. The minimum consensus on social fundamentals necessary for democracy to function is simply not present in Egypt, and there is no reasonable prospect that it will be any time soon.
Play out scenarios of a “democratic transition” in Egypt in any serious way and you will see that the solution America’s right-thinking establishment is working toward in Egypt is no solution at all. (I’ll have more to say about this in the forthcoming issue of The Claremont Review of Books.)
What we ought to be doing now is tending to America’s key interests and giving up ill-founded fantasies of liberal democracy in a still thoroughly illiberal region. In any case, Times and Post notwithstanding, our capacity to influence events in Egypt is fast disappearing. With their literal and political survival at stake, the actors on the ground are no longer much subject to what we have to say. The Gulf states are giving more money than we are, and they want the Brotherhood crushed. So whether the military stabilizes Egypt or we get a civil war, it’s now largely out of our hands. The best we can do is keep the treaty with Israel intact and the Suez Canal open and secure.

Shabbat Shalom everyone.

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