Moral Outrage
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Orchestrating a flawed transition for Egypt

As the Mubarak regime turns to violence in a vain attempt to repress the peaceful protests that have swept Egypt’s streets, the risks associated with current U.S. strategy for Egypt and the wider region continue to grow.

Washington’s response has departed little from its original script. This script involves repeatedly invoking the language of “moderation” and order and stability. Such language defends a wait-and-see approach and encourages protesters to accept incremental reforms in place of the peaceful democratic revolution that ordinary Egyptians have created and, against all odds, sustained. The call for orderly transition and managed reform is, in fact, a call for more of the same.

[That is to say] Mubarak and his inner circle produce another “orderly” process that maintains the regime – for instance, through Omar Suleiman. For more on Omar Suleiman

It reflects the long trajectory of American practices in the region, which have depended on shoring up Arab authoritarians who are willing to serve in an American “axis of moderation.” The members of this axis — Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan — have displayed little in common other than a commitment to sustaining current U.S. foreign policy priorities – on Israel/Palestine, the containment of Iran, and access to oil.

The Obama administration may well finally and irrevocably deplete its credibility in the region.

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