No doubt he is a brutal authoritarian, and that the Egyptian nation and the world would be better served by a democratically elected president committed to human rights.
But there are far worse thugs in the recent past of the region. Unlike the first Assad in Syria, who leveled Hama and killed thousands, or Saddam, who didn’t hesitate to use of chemical weapons against his own people, Mubarak’s authoritarianism as chronicled, for example, by Robin Wright in her 2008 book “Dreams and Shadows,” allowed for the emergence of some opposition, some personal freedom, some religious liberty.
It also, of course, maintained the peace with Israel and supported the United States in its interventions in the region.
Much, much worse could be around the corner. Would any of the talking heads care to argue that the world is better off for the shah having fallen in 1979 as opposed to a quieter exit a year or two further down the road with anyone except the fanatical mullah as Supreme Leader?
Most astonishing is the ease with which some on the various sets dismiss the idea that the Muslim Brotherhood is a movement of great concern to the classically liberal minded. Again, read just one chapter from Wright — left-of-center and beyond challenge as a voice of mainstream American foreign policy elites — and the prospect of a Brotherhood role ought to alarm anyone concerned with the rights of women in Egypt or the future of the Copts.