Saturday, January 29, 2011

Egypt: What happens now?

Or Mubarak = Pahlavi?

I have the feeling I've seen this movie before. A dictator who is largely friendly to the United States and its foreign policy goals is in trouble, shaken by massive street demonstrations.

It's not quite the same as Iran, because in this case the dictator wasn't installed by the United States. Still, things are not looking too stable for Hosni Mubarak.

It's very hard to feel bad about what seems to be happening to Hosni Mubarak, who seems to be a born henchman. And it's almost impossible not to identify with the demonstrators in the street, to say, as a friend of mine just observed, we are all Egyptians now.
If you're old enough you remember the same feeling watching the students in Tehran, risking murder by Pahlavi's SAVAK. I sure did. In fact, when I was in law school I had the chance to represent an Iranian student who was arrested on campus at the University of Michigan for wearing a mask at an anti-Pahlavi demonstration.

My problem is that I also remember what happened next. All right-thinking Americans supported the Iranian students. None of us thought that the result would be installation of an Islamic fascist dictatorship that holds power to this day.

I don't know the answer, but my question is this: Is there any chance that Mubarak can be escorted out without creating and Iranian-style Islamic dictatorship?

And does anyone have any suggestions on how to get there?

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