Of course the U.S. has a tough hand to play. Mubarak has pursued a reasonably responsible policy toward Israel, no doubt at some cost to his popularity. As was the case in Iran, the alternative to a corrupt autocracy could easily prove to be a corrupt, theocratic, anti-American autocracy. But the short-term gains from propping up one of “our sonsofbitches” have to be weighed against the long-term costs of further alienating those Egyptians who agree with Americans in disliking tyranny.
The day after Biden says Mubarak isn’t a dictator, the dictator Mubarak turns off the Internet all over Egypt. Not good.