The Egyptian revolution is the Obama administration’s most critical diplomatic crisis to date. Egypt is the most populous Middle Eastern country. More than half of the population is under the age of 25. The tech-savvy youth have managed to organize the population via social networking and ousted a 30-year regime. Not only does Egypt border southern Israel and Gaza, but it also has direct access to both the Mediterranean and the Red seas. An open Suez Canal is vital to the flow of oil in the region.
Uncle Sam long relied on friendly military relations with Hosni Mubarak’s government. By using Egyptian airspace and equipping the army with U.S. weaponry, the United States has managed to stabilize a region notorious for being anything but. This relationship helped benefit not only the United States and Egypt but also Israel.
Egypt is Israel’s biggest and most influential Arab ally. Without Egypt’s support, Israel will have fewer armed friends and risk a weaker economic presence. An Egypt without Mubarak jeopardizes Israeli security. At the present, there is no evidence to suggest that Egypt will adopt another pro-Israeli government.
In a rapidly changing geopolitical area of the world, could it be in America’s best interest to remain quiet and avoid deciding the path of this revolution? Is this a good time for us to accept the fact that Egypt’s future is for Egypt to decide and not for America?
Newt Gingrich, former House speaker and a potential 2012 republican candidate, is critical of President Barack Obama’s response to Egypt’s revolution, saying Obama’s envoy should have pressured Mubarak to step down behind closed doors. Betraying a 30-year ally in public, he added, might cause our allies to question, “Why should I trust the United States?”
While I loathe the prospect of Egypt turning into a breeding ground for al Qaeda, I admire and support the Egyptians standing up and banding together. The United States should support Egyptians and allow them to form a new government. While American soldiers will not help stabilize Cairo, firm U.S. diplomatic support of Egypt will bring the two countries closer than before. Good diplomatic ties between America and Egypt will promote a freer Egypt and could help regional security more effectively than America’s previous armed democracy- promotion initiatives.
Sam Adams is a senior integrated marketing communications major. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.