It is easy to envision political change in Egypt that would be in the direction of greater democracy, would be consistent with principles that President Obama laid out in his speech in Cairo in June 2009, would present no threat to Israeli security (especially given the state of the Egyptian military), and would be consistent with U.S. interests as long as Washington accepted the change rather than trying to reject and undermine it, but that would be very distasteful to Israel. Such a new Egyptian political order might involve a major role for the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, which recently joined the protests in the streets. Israel would not like the change because of a reflexive distaste for Islamists and because the new Egyptian rulers would depart from such policies of Mubarak as cooperating in Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip. An acid test for the Obama administration would be whether to embrace change consistent with long-term U.S. interests or to bow in the customary way to short-term political interests growing out of Israeli displeasures.
Friday, January 28, 2011
At the Nixon Center's "National Interest" blog, Paul Pillar imagines how the U.S. and Israel might diverge over Egypt: