O olhar de Barry Rubin sobre a situação no Egipto e Médio Oriente e sobre a política externa norte-americana:
By Barry Rubin
I hate to say this but please allow me to do my job and try to be a useful observer of these historic events.
We are not well served if everyone does nothing but celebrate the fall of a dictatorship. It is important to ask questions and give warnings. History does not end today, no more than it ended in Russia in 1917, Cuba in 1959, or Iran in 1979. Those were all negative examples. There are also positive ones: in South Korea, Central Europe, and Latin America.
A central element in determining whether the celebrations continue is whether there is a material base for stability and continuing democracy. Does Egypt have that basis, being in an unstable region, with a large Islamist movement, a proportionately tiny middle class, and lacking the resources for raising living standards higher?
That's hard to see. Since I live a little over one hour's drive from the Egyptian border, nobody would benefit more than me from a moderate, stable, democratic Egypt. I have friends there who are celebrating today and many friends among Arab reformers who are celebrating because they hope it means something better for their countries.
Discussions of Egypt are at present dominated by people who don't know much about Egypt and who make the most elementary errors. And that applies both to the celebrators and those who are saying that this is bad.
When people make the most basic factual mistakes over and over about Egyptian history and the political scene there, one has reason to doubt what they are saying.
The way it is being portrayed, 30 years ago an evil dictator named Husni Mubarak seized power in Egypt--some wrongly think with U.S. help--and repressed the people until this week. In fact, the military--the same military in charge at this moment--has ruled Egypt for 60 years. This was not a one-man dictatorship. Egypt is not a small Latin American country.
Today, the dominant narrative is that Egypt was going on as a nice democratic country, then suddenly this money-hungry monster seized power. But now this one bad man has left and so things can get back to normal. Indeed, though, when Mubarak came to power Egypt had already gone through thirty years of dictatorship. And before that, there was overwhelming dissatisfaction with the multi-party democratic system under the monarchy. The end of democracy was celebrated with celebrations as big as the ones we're saying now.
I just heard a report from an American radio reporter claiming that the only reason Mubarak stayed in power so long is because the United States backed him, as if the army and elite wasn't running the country the entire time. For Egypt's ruling circles blaming everything on Mubarak is a sensible strategy. From this point on, it does make sense for U.S. policy to support the new government, which President Barack Obama is going to do. The question is what the United States will ask of the new government and how to judge it.
We should also remember that as of this moment the regime is still in power, merely having shed its leader. The regime would have been happy to get rid of Mubarak a couple of years ago, not because he was oppressive but because he was getting too old and trying to foist his son on them.
In a sense, the regime has pulled off one of the greatest public relations' operations in history. By getting rid of one man is had transformed itself from being incredibly unpopular to wildly popular. If the regime can hold on--and the army isn't going to give up easily--the results might not be so bad as long as the army isn't radicalized. And by radicalized I don't mean Islamized but moving to a radical nationalist position.
During its 60 years in power the regime has gone through different phases but it has responded to conditions. When, in the 1970s, for example, President Anwar al-Sadat faced a leftist faction within his regime, he allowed the Muslim Brotherhood to reemerge as a counterweight. Sadat was assassinated by Islamists--though not by Muslim Brotherhood members--and this gave Mubarak (who was sitting next to him) the feeling that Islamism might just be a problem.
So the question is this: are we at the end of a 60-year-long period of rule by a regime based on the military or are the names merely changing?
Another point to keep in mind is that Egypt is not comprised only of the Muslim Brotherhood and moderate democrats. A key question is whether radical nationalists will emerge as a force also. This has, after all, been the dominant ideology in Egypt for a long time.
Remember the Muslim Brotherhood will not run a presidential candidate. They will support ElBaradei. So many will say during and after a presidential elections that this proves the Brotherhood is moderate and harmless. That is, of course, its strategy.
There was a time when Egypt was a democratic country, from the 1920s until 1952, under the monarchy, there were elections. And in 1952 when the monarchy was overthrow and multi-party democracy was ended, the Egyptian people were just as joyous as they are today. The old system was seen as a failure: deadlocked, corrupt, too pro-Western, unable to destroy Israel, and incapable of bringing rapid development to higher living standards.
A word about foreign policy, of which I will have more to say in the coming days. The United States has just lost Egypt as an asset in confronting Iran and its nuclear program. Would ElBaradei, a man who as arms' inspecting chief said it wasn't clear that Tehran was even trying to get nuclear weapons, support sanctions against Iran?Read more at rubinreports.blogspot.com
Will the new Egypt continue sanctions against Hamas? The army might want this but it is hard to believe that the Egypt-Gaza border remains closed. If it does, you will know that the army is supervising things. But I predict another joyous celebration as Egyptians and Gazans hug each other followed by the flow of weapons across the border. This would also open Egypt to increasing Islamist subversion.
The best that can be expected would be that Egypt might move from a "pro-U.S." to a "neutral" position in the region. The theory is that this will be counterbalanced by democratic upheavals elsewhere. Yet unless these take place in Iran, Syria, and Gaza that will not benefit U.S. interests.