Bi-Partisan Consensus on Egypt?

Former National Security Adviser to President Carter, Zbigniew Brzezinski, appeared on ABC’s This Week to express his worried fear that the failure of Mubarak to depart the scene may exact a high cost. Recommending that outside forces need to begin the difficult and unglamorous work of shaping a post-Mubarak future, he outlined the alternative scenario: a brutal crackdown by Egyptian security forces that perpetuates a corrupt and lawless status quo. Echoing this concern, Senator McCain appeared on CNN’s State of the Union invoking the “lessons of history.” He sketched these as follows. “Autocratic, repressive regimes cannot last forever, and the longer they last, the more explosive the results.” Despite the long, cruel reign of Mubarak, McCain considers fears of an Islamist takeover somewhat overblown. “There is a real [democratic] awakening,” he said, declaring his “confidence” in the judgment of the Egyptian people if properly channeled in the democratic process. The most important focus presently, he advised, must be to take “the right side of history” and stand “strenuously for human rights.” The conclusions drawn by these political opposites seems oddly aligned: The world, to say nothing of Egypt, would pay dearly for maintaining this dictatorship — if Vice President Biden will forgive the expression — instead of hastening a transition to democracy.

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