It can tempting to look at an uprising against an oppressive government and automatically take the side of the protesters — the students in Tiananmen Square or the pro-democracy marchers in Iran for example — but in Egypt, the nature of the uprising is a little different.
Here’s John Bolton on the Muslim Brotherhood that is behind the uprising in Egypt:
I donâ€™t think we have evidence yet that these demonstrations are necessarily about democracy. You know the old saying, â€œone person, one vote, one time.â€ The Muslim Brotherhood doesnâ€™t care about democracy, if they get into power youâ€™re not going to have free and fair elections either.
And I think there is substantial reason, for example, to worry the minority Coptic Christian population, about 10% of the population will be very worried if the Muslim Brotherhood came to power.
Letâ€™s be clear what the stakes are for the United States. We have an authoritarian regime in power that has been our ally. We donâ€™t know at this point what the real alternatives are.
In a democracy and freedom sense, that says “the enemy you’re allies with is better than the enemy you don’t know.” Don’t automatically support a movement for no other reason than that they want to get rid of Mubarak, lest we reaffirm the old adage “be careful what you ask for.”
Did you hear Joe Biden say that Hosni Mubarak is not a dictator? Not at all! Mubarak is just a leader who has held onto power by force for 30 years and autonomously decides to shut down lines of communications when that power is threatened — but definitely not a dictator.
As far as Obama’s reaction to all this, the “Tweet of the Week” winner is here.
Update: China has blocked the search term “Egypt”:
China has blocked the word “Egypt” from the country’s wildly popular Twitter-like service, while coverage of the political turmoil has been tightly restricted in state media.
China’s ruling Communist Party is sensitive to any potential source of social unrest.
Given the similarities between China and Egypt’s social policies, Mubarak might be wondering when he’s going to get a state dinner at the White House.
(h/t Michelle M)