Thursday, February 3, 2011

Mubarak Massively Misstepped

Given the swiftness that US rhetoric changed with, I'd bet that the administration had decided days ago that if Mubarak used violence that we'd abandon him.  Bypassing the army for crowds probably led to a meeting or two to see if this counted, but we turned on a dime here (for international dialogue anyway).  We won't know unless someone publishes a book afterward but I think we put out a landmine and didn't let Mubarak know it was there.  Alternately, we told him no violence or we'd abandon him, and got really, really pissed off when he tried to pull a fast one on us.  Now that I've written it, second option seems likeliest.  Nothing harms relations like someone feeling that someone else tried to play them for the fool.


  1. I am a bit skeptical here. In Romania, after the fall of Ceausescu, I lived through 2 popular uprisings against old guard turned new democrats, and twice these people brought the miners to the capital (plus the ethnic violence in another area). The script is all there and ready. I was waiting for the mobs pro Mubarak to show-up. He might step down on the next elections, but he will not be compelled to go now, no matter what the US desires.

  2. Cornel,

    That sounds plausible to me. My thought on the subject is that whatever the crowds and the US desires the outcome is being decided within the military. They rely heavily on US support so would probably be unwilling to accept a long term decline in US support.

    However, the situation in Egypt is unusual because there was already an election scheduled for later this year. I think it's perfectly plausible that as a face saving measure Mubarak may be allowed to stay on in some role since the military could probably live with strained relations for a few months, while they couldn't if the next election had instead been years out.

    I think the difference the use of the mobs made is that the military will have to seek to isolate Mubarak more to insure continued US support in the future, though it is not unlikely the outcome will be sufficiently ambiguous to be argued over by generations of political scientists, assuming that internal documents of the last few days are never released.