The Corner

Re: Stability & Shock

Jonah, those are good points, but I’m still skeptical. On stability, no, it wasn’t France and Germany, and yes, it was like the stability you get with a lid on a boiling pot. But it is the Middle East. If the pot isn’t boiling over, you’re probably doing pretty well. All things being equal, I’d obviously prefer a reforming to a non-reforming autocracy, and I’d favor as a theoretical matter steps to encourage it. But, since five U.S. presidents dealt with Mubarak and none of them pushed him very hard to reform, including the president who made democracy in the Middle East central to his foreign policy, I assume that siding with Egyptian democrats was much easier said then done. If it didn’t put at risk any of our interests (and if the money we promised Egypt to buy its peace with Israel didn’t drastically reduce our leverage), I’m sure George W. Bush would have simply insisted on reform and that would have been the end of it.

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