The Middle East in the last three weeks in terms of the political upheaval in Egypt has completely changed the strategic and political landscape for the United States in terms of its policy formulation framework. Lulled by the non-existence of challenges to United States unparalleled predominance especially since the end of the Cold War, a certain complacency had set in and distorted the policy perspectives of the United States policy establishment. Currently, the United States faces the challenge of a virtual complete transformation of its Middle East policies.
Many believe that the silent and peaceful revolution in Egypt has failed to take off and that the Mubarak regime has defied United States calls for a political transformation in line with the political aspirations of the hundreds of thousands of Egyptians demonstrating in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. It is a rather premature summation as any increased reluctance of President Mubarak to step down from the presidency carries in itself the seeds of the silent revolution turning into a violent upheaval.
The United States faces serious predicaments in that if it becomes complicit in not pressurizing the Egyptian President strongly enough to step down it runs the risk of alienating the Arab World masses and especially the youth who are spearheading the Egyptian political upheaval. This Arab alienation with the United Sates could then spread widely in other US-allied Arab nations which are already being headed by fragile regimes.
Should the United States intervene strongly in favor of the Arab masses in Cairo protests and force President Mubarak to immediately step down from power then the United States runs the risk of alienating Israel and Saudi Arabia which do not want a regime change in Egypt and are strongly in favor of the continuance in power of President Mubarak.
What call should the United States make in the current uncertain scenario? To break out from its existing policy frameworks which have fostered the existence of authoritarian and monarchial oppressive regimes in power in the Arab world and take a bold gamble?
Or should the United States continue in perpetuating the status-quo in the Middle East and subsidize the continuance of fragile authoritarian and monarchial regimes that are totally in a state of disconnect from the political aspirations of their peoples?
In my opinion, the United States should be bold enough to take a gamble in paving the way for a genuine transformation of the Middle East political landscape by assisting the emergence of genuine democracy in the region by not opposing the fall of authoritarian regimes which have suppressed their nations for decades and which in any case are ripe for falling by virtue of their inherent disabilities. Such a bold gamble by the United States would ensure United States long term strategic interests in the Middle East are secured.
Contrarily, should the United States fall for the traditional temptation of fostering and subsidizing oppressive Arab regimes, the United States runs the dangerous risk of being swept aside by the forces of history in the Arab World and the Middle East. The United States then runs the risk of an endangered embedment in the Middle East.
What call would the United States make in the current volatile strategic and political landscape in the Middle East? The Middle East and the world is watching for the United States to make its intentions clear.