Why won't Obama read the writing on the wall? Mubarak must go.
President Mubarak staying in power fuels instability in Egypt, jeopardizes the region, and threatens the process of free elections to come. After delayed statements of US support for freedom in Egypt, Obama can no longer afford to equivocate on Mubarak.
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No room for halting position on Mubarak
While it may seem prudent for Washington to take a wait-and-see attitude, the historical nature of these demonstrations demands a strong moral position that accepts the popular grievances of the Egyptian people and calls for the removal of the target of their anger. The administration simply cannot afford to take a halting position on Mubarak’s staying in power any longer.Skip to next paragraph
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After 30 years of authoritarian rule, it is rather absurd to suggest that Mubarak will suddenly commit himself to the democratic process, overseeing free elections. Whatever concessions he makes now are too little, too late. The genie is out of the bottle, and there is no way to put it back. As Obama is fond of saying, this is a teachable moment.
Egypt has never witnessed this kind of mass unrest, not even during the 1952 revolution that overthrew King Farouk from power. The 1952 revolution was organized by army officers, and people simply celebrated in the streets.
This mass revolution, let’s call it the Nile Revolution, is a popular revolt against an aging autocrat. The people simply had enough of the corruption. The people had enough of 29 years of martial law. The people had enough of an economy that leaves them impoverished and destitute. Under Mubarak, Egyptians cannot vote freely, speak freely, express themselves freely, or assemble freely.
Listen to Egyptians, Mubarak must go
If the Obama administration truly wants a free Egypt that can enhance its relationship with the United States, it will ask its former ally, Mubarak, to step down. What price is the White House willing to pay in order to maintain the status quo ante?
It is time to end the US silence on the immediate future of an aging and corrupt ruler and give democracy a fighting chance. It was Obama who prophetically anticipated this event. During his speech at Cairo University back in 2009, he said, “You must maintain your power through consent, not coercion; you must respect the rights of minorities, and participate with a spirit of tolerance and compromise; you must place the interests of your people and the legitimate workings of the political process above your party.”
Mubarak has lost the consent of the people. What do Locke, Rousseau, and Jefferson tell us about governing by consent? Obama was correct to point out these democratic ideals to the Egyptians. Now that the moment of truth is at hand, he needs to take the moral high ground and fully support the legitimate aspirations of the Egyptian people, who could not be clearer in their demand that Mubarak must go.
It was Obama who said, “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek." The Egyptians are the change that they seek, and the US must support them wholeheartedly, not just in word, but in deed.