Mubarak: Latest Victim Of The American Way of Abandonment?


Hosni Mubarak, it appears, is not
going to go quietly, or quickly.

He
is not going to play the role assigned him in the White
House script that has him resigning and fleeing Egypt in
the face of mass demonstrations in Tahrir Square.

After
U.S. diplomat Frank Wisner came to give Mubarak his
marching orders, the Egyptian apparently decided that,
if the Americans, whose water he has carried for years,
are going to abandon him, he will play out this hand
himself. And the old fighter pilot is not without cards
to play.

While
the army has said it will not fire on the demonstrators,
the army also seems to want an end to the
demonstrations—and appears reluctant to dump over a
president who has been a friend and patron for decades.

And
now that Mubarak has pledged on national television that
he will not run again, and elections will be held in
September, the cause that united the crowd—Mubarak must
go!—appears victorious. Indeed, some demonstrators took
Mubarak`s announced departure as victory and went home.
Why start an insurrection to deny the man his last six
months?

Wednesday,
Mubarak played another card—his own
"people power."

Mobs
of toughs pushed into Tahrir Square,

throwing bricks, bottles and rocks, and using whips t
o
drive out the remnant of Tuesday`s
"million-man
march."
The army did nothing.

The
ball is now in the democracy demonstrators` court.

If,
as Mohamed ElBaradei has proclaimed,

today is Departure Day for Mubarak
, it is also D-Day
for them. If the army balks, they will have to force the
president of Egypt out of power themselves.

How
do they do this if Mubarak stands his ground and the
army stays neutral? Will the demonstrators keep bringing
women, children and elderly into Tahrir Square when
there is the possibility of a riot that could get them
injured or killed?

Some
demonstrators feel they have won and ought not press on.

The
rest seem to have no clear leader, no compelling slogan,
no agreed-upon agenda, other than that Mubarak must go.
ElBaradei is seen as an international bureaucrat and
opportunist more at home in Viennese cafe society than
Cairo, who flew in to lead a revolution he did nothing
to bring about.

And
though Washington appears to have cut him loose to
appease the crowds the White House now sees as the
future of Egypt, Mubarak has sturdier allies in Israel
and Saudi Arabia. Across the Middle East, monarchs and
autocrats must be urging Mubarak to quash the revolution
and prevent its spread to their own countries, as it has
spread to Jordan and Yemen.

Mubarak
has another advantage.

He
is an old man—perhaps a sick man close to death—but a
soldier with a sense of honor, who has spent his life in
his country`s service. And he is no coward. When he
says:

"I have lived for this country. I have fought for it.
… I will die on this land,"
one ought to take him seriously.

Moreover,
he knows that if he abdicates and flees, he goes into
history with Ferdinand Marcos and the Shah as a despot
and absconder who will be remembered for having let
himself be run off by the crowd.

Only
if he survives this challenge of the streets—as

Charles De Gaulle
survived the student riots of
1968, as Richard Nixon survived the mammoth antiwar
riots and demonstrations of 1969 by calling on the

Silent Majority
to stand by him—can Mubarak hope to
maintain his place in the history of modern Egypt.

My
sense: Mubarak is determined he will be seated as
president on the inaugural stand when the next Egyptian
president is sworn in, and the crowd in Tahrir Square
lacks what it takes to deny this to him.

But what must Mubarak think of us?

He
stood by us through the final Reagan decade of the Cold
War. At

George H.W. Bush`s request
, he

sent his soldiers
to fight alongside ours against
fellow Arabs in Desert Storm. He stayed faithful to a
peace with Israel his people detested. He cooperated
with George Bush II in some of the nastier business of
the War on Terror.

A
dictator, yes, but also our man in the Arab world. Yet a
few hundred thousand demonstrators in Cairo`s streets
caused us to abandon him.

In
the last half-century,

how many others
who cast their lot with us have we
abandoned

as "corrupt and
dictatorial"
when they started to lose their
grip? Ngo Dinh Diem,

Gen. Thieu and Marshal Ky,
Lon Nol,

Chiang Kai-shek,
Marcos, the

Shah
,

Somoza
,

Pinochet
—the list goes on.

When
we needed them, they were hailed as America`s great
friends. When they needed us, we

abandoned
them in the name of our rediscovered
democratic values.

"In this world, it is often dangerous to be an enemy of the United
States,"
said

Henry Kissinge
r,
"but

to be a friend is fatal.
"

Hosni
Mubarak must be thinking something like that today.

COPYRIGHT

CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.



Patrick J. Buchanan

needs

no introduction
to
VDARE.COM readers; his book
 
State
of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and
Conquest of America
, can
be ordered from Amazon.com. His latest book

is Churchill,
Hitler, and "The Unnecessary War": How
Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost
the World,

reviewed

here
by

Paul Craig Roberts.