No, he doesn’t actually call for”our sunuvabitch” Hosni Mubarak to get on the next plane.
But the message ought to be clear enough to the Egyptian generals, who get a ton of U.S. money and who will decide by their actions whether Mubarak stays or goes. The message is: the place has to change, and the government needs to stop the violence against protesters and turn the Internet and cell phones back on.
“A future that is more just, more free, and more hopeful” doesn’t really leave much room for Mubarak or his son.
Of course this – not Biden’s waffling – is what I wanted to hear. I’m convinced that foreign policy “realism” is not only immoral, but terribly unrealistic in its neglect of the long-term consequences of backing folks like the Shah.
But that doesn’t mean that it will work out well. It’s entirely conceivable that the regime that replaces Mubarak will be worse; that’s what happened in Iran. And it’s not likely that the Egyptians will be very grateful to the U.S. for supporting reform at the last minute, any more than the Iranians were for Jimmy Carter’s belated decision to stop backing the Shah.
Footnote The lunatic Obama-haters, who for a moment couldn’t figure out whether to denounce the President for “throwing an ally under the bus” and “caving in to Islamist extremism,” or instead for “not speaking out for democracy,” now have to go with Plan B. Or they could denounce him both ways, just for good measure.
Update The Chairman of the House Republican Conference adopts the traditional Republican stance in favor of tyranny, as long as the tyrants are “on our side.” Franco, Chiang Kai-Shek, Salazar, Trujillo, Battista, the Somozas, the Greek colonels, Pinochet, the Argentinian colonels, the Shah, the Duvaliers, the South African National Party: an honor roll of scoundrels. And backing them often looks smart, in the short term.