The New Rules: Guiding Egypt Into the Axis of Good

The New Rules: Guiding Egypt Into the Axis of Good

While there remains a ton of things that can go wrong with the unfolding revolution in Egypt, there's a strong case to be made that America, despite its low popular standing there, has been handed a gift horse whose mouth, as the axiom puts it, is best left unexamined. Because most of America's concerns center on security issues, I'll frame the argument for why this is the case in tactical, operational and strategic terms, and then finish on the most relevant grand strategic note -- namely, the new Axis of Good that may result.

Concerning President Hosni Mubarak's conditional offer to step down following the September presidential election in response to the protests that have rocked Cairo, the Obama White House should embrace the delayed transition scenario and stop trying to catch up from its initial indecisiveness by out-protesting the protesters in their demands for immediate gratification. Mubarak says he won't run for re-election, and that's enough for now. Yes, it would be fabulous to watch him run for the airport like Tunisia's ousted president, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, but if you really fear the chaotic "Iran 1979" scenario, the 8-month breather afforded by this historic concession is worth banking for now.

First, it allows the military to settle things down on the street. So far, with the exception of allowing Wednesday's violence to take place, the army has performed its national duty in an exemplary fashion by keeping the macro peace while allowing the micro unrest. Its great popularity is an asset worth preserving for the months and years ahead.

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