Foreign and Defense Policy, Middle East and North Africa

Picking Winners in Egypt

Amid all the debate about whom we all wish to run Egypt, if not the inestimable Mr. Mubarak, there should be a simple answer: The United States will work with any partner that meets these criteria:

—Supports democracy, a legitimate electoral process, and the rule of equitable and just law.
—Explicitly and demonstrably rejects terrorism, support for terrorism, and groups involved in terrorism.
—Honors Egypt’s agreements with Israel and with the United States.
—Respects religious, political, and civil liberties, particularly those of national minorities.

If that rules certain parties out, then that’s the way it is. The Egyptians can certainly elect whom they wish, but they cannot do so and continue to enjoy billions in support from the American taxpayer.

If Washington conversation centered around these standards, rather than the current obsessive discussion of the virtues (or lack thereof) of the Muslim Brotherhood or the NDP et al, perhaps things would be a lot clearer. We may not be able to pick winners and losers, but we can certainly embrace our own principles, loudly and publicly.

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