Egypt protests: US conservatives divided on how to view them
Egypt's street revolution represents a threat to the US and the capitalist system, some tea party icons say, while in the GOP establishment others see it as the spread of freedom to the Arab world.
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“Nor is it a sign of health when other American conservatives are so fearful of a popular awakening that they side with the dictator against the Democrats,” he wrote.Skip to next paragraph
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Responding on "The Glenn Beck Program" on radio Tuesday, Beck charged that “people like Bill Kristol” no longer stand for conservative principles. “All they stand for is power,” he said. “They’ll do everything they can to keep Republican power entrenched.”
The rift in conservative ranks over the US response to Egypt also extends to issues such as how deeply to cut government spending or even whether to provoke a government shutdown.
“The newer voices in the Republican Party – the Becks and Palins – have been the most vocal in warning about this [Egyptian] revolution,” says Julian Zelizer, a congressional historian at Princeton University. Their attack is not just on Mr. Obama, he says, but on Mr. Bush’s foreign policy aims to promote freedom in the Arab world.
“Beck says that’s not going to happen," Mr. Zelizer says. "It’s just going to be fundamentalism.”
“Today, Republicans and conservatives are more divided on national security than they have been since 1930s,” says Brian Katulis, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and a member of the bipartisan Egypt Study Group.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee set a cautionary note in a hearing Wednesday on developments in Egypt and Lebanon. One of the first on Capitol Hill to call for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to step down, Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R) of Florida charged that the stance the US has adopted toward Egypt, one of advocating gradual reforms and inclusive negotiations with opponents of the regime, had failed to address the demonstrators’ frustrations and prevent violence and had opened the door to “nonsecular actors,” such as the Muslim Brotherhood.
“The Muslim Brotherhood had nothing to do with driving these protests, and they and other extremists must not be allowed to hijack the movement toward democracy and freedom in Egypt,” she added.