Saturday, February 12, 2011

What Happens Tomorrow? - Redux

Boy, what a difference a few hours make. After my previous blog post, former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak stepped down. And in the spirit of the times, I hereby take full credit for it happening.

Seriously, though, we're moving into new territory, yet it's familiar from the standpoint of who is stepping out to accept praise for the immediate turn of events. The media have all but said President Obama and his Administration were the catalyst behind Mubarak stepping down and ushering in a new era of freedom. Some have gone so far as to call the Egypt situation Obama's "Berlin Wall moment," referring to the efforts of Ronald Reagan to bring down the Berlin Wall and signaling a new era of freedom in the former Soviet Union and former Soviet Bloc.

I, on the other hand, am not so quick to jump on that bandwagon. I grant you the Egypt situation was difficult to stay ahead of, but that doesn't excuse what the Administration and Obama himself did during it to erode confidence in our foreign policy. It may seem to be insignificant that we had so many government officials from Obama on down giving contradictory statements, but the world was watching us as intently as it watched Egypt to see how we would handle the situation. When push came to shove, we basically stood out of the way, issued statements, and left it at that.

Yeah. Way to show leadership, guys and gals.

The truly funny thing about the Left praising Obama's efforts with Mubarak is that no one can really point to anything he did that had any direct impact on the events of the past week. They point to a speech Obama gave in 2009 that they claim inspired the people to rise up against Mubarak, but having read the speech and watched a portion of it as it happened, I didn't find anything that had any direct correlation. It was a typical Obama speech: full of high-toned rhetoric, but short on actionable items. Plus, the fact it was given almost 2 years ago makes me less inclined to believe it had any lasting impact on the people of Egypt.

In a way, giving Obama credit for Mubarak's departure is a slap in the face to the Egyptians we're supposed to be lionizing right now. They are the ones who risked their lives. They are the ones who took action when we didn't. They were the ones who saw an opportunity to change the world and took it. Anybody who chooses to praise Obama for the Egyptian situation is disregarding the actions of those who took the risks.

Now, it's up to Egypt to take the next tentative steps towards a new world. Let's not get caught up in the emotions of the moment that we overlook the real struggles ahead. Given America's tendency to get all worked up about an issue like this only to forget about it when something insignificant but more "sexy" comes along, I get the feeling Egyptians may have to go this one alone. And don't think they'll be nice enough to overlook our lack of long-term support, either. If we ignore Egypt once the thrill of Mubarak's leaving is gone, it will take more than an Obama speech to get them to trust us.

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