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When best thing for our president to say is nothing

Reader comment on item: Better Dictators than Elected Islamists

Submitted by Richard Stoecker (United States), Dec 12, 2012 at 07:19

I have never understood why President Obama called on the long-time Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak to "step down."

With the intelligence reports he receives as president, Obama must have known there was a danger that Mubarak would be replaced by the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization with an unsavory history and probable ties to terrorists.

At any given time there are multiple conflicts in the world, and it is often in our best interest to say something diplomatic and stay out of it. Is this isolationism? Not necessarily--it is common sense. We Americans do not have the resources to be the knights of the world saving every dragon spotted anywhere around the globe, but in the case of Egypt, there are other important considerations.

Mubarak was an important ally of the U.S. and it was an affront to him, and a form of disloyalty, to call for him to leave office. It was awkward for the U.S. to publicly state support for a dictator, since we represent democracy, but something could have been said along the lines of, "while we sympathize with the longing for democracy of others around the world, President Mubarak has been a staunch ally of America. Issues in Egypt are best decided by the Egyptian people themselves, not Americans."

Also, Mubarak stood out as a leader who had a lasting peace treaty with Israel, something that any number of other countries in the region did not have. Israel and America have the same enemies, and share many of the same values such as pluralism and tolerance.

Mubarak had a long 30-year run and might have been replaced in the natural course of things; without our interference, perhaps his replacement would have been more like him than Morsi. Better a calm dictator than fiery and unpredictable Islamist.

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