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Egypt Political Turmoil | A Leadership Challenge for President Obama | An Independent Voters View

Updated on October 2, 2011

It would be fair to say that I have been fairly critical of the leadership skills of our President. I should mention that in the area of foreign affairs he has done a bit better than in the domestic arena. He has followed through on the plan for our withdrawal from Iraq in an orderly way, and stepped up the pressure on the Taliban with both a surge on the ground, and an increase in the predator strikes on the insurgent leadership hiding out in Pakistan. Early indications are that it is having the desired effect but the true measure will be in the coming spring when ‘Fighting Weather’ comes to Afghanistan and the mountain passes are more open to insurgent traffic. War is a fluid thing and what seems right at the time sometimes doesn’t work out in the way it is planned, so I commend the President on the process but it is too early to applaud the result. As an American I hope in a years time I will be able to do both.

The current turmoil in Egypt has us (the US) between the proverbial rock and a hard place. On the one hand President Mubarak has been a faithful ally and a pivotal player on the Israeli and Palestinian problem. On the other as an American you cannot help but feel an affinity with the people of Egypt who are trying to break some of the political chains of what is essentially a dictatorship that is now in it’s thirtieth year. A more open democracy is a great ideal but we also have to recognize that groups like The Muslim Brotherhood, or for that matter Iran’s Al Quds, or by proxy Hezbollah, have the capability to hijack this grassroots movement, if they haven’t started to already, and ultimately turn it into something that is neither good for Egypt or the rest of the world.

The economics of the Suez Canal play a central role in our need to help foster and develop an orderly transition of power in Egypt. One seventh of the world’s goods move through the canal, and its shutdown would mean an immediate increase in the costs of pretty much everything; but most particularly in the price of oil. So far things on the canal have been stable and I think the unsung heroes in this is the Egyptian Army.

The Army is the primary institution of trust in Egypt. That is how Mubarak came to power and I would suspect that his replacement would as well. If not from the Army, than the Air Force, either way a military branch will likely be the source of leadership. His Intel Chief, Gen Sulieman, that he has appointed Vice President may be the guy to lead the transition but the fact that Mubarak has appointed him means he will not be the one to move the country beyond a transition. 

Some talk of Mohammed El Baredi being the leader the Egyptians want to shape a new government is developing and it is mixed with the idea that he is in talks with the Muslim Brotherhood. The word that is getting out from the relatives of Egyptians here in the US is an Islamic Republic is not what they want. But whether or not that is accurate remains to be seen. All of these complications make this a difficult leadership problem for the president with limited opportunities to affect the outcome.

So it seems to me this may be one of those times when quiet diplomacy, may serve the President and the Egyptians best. We do have $1Billion in annual aid as leverage, and over the years have developed a close relationship with the Egyptian Military. I would counsel our own press and pundits to keep a more measured eye on the expectations of these events, and allow some time for these efforts to bear fruit. As an American I hope the President is able to facilitate a good solution for Egypt that bodes well for the rest of the world, God’s Speed to you sir.


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    • Hmrjmr1 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Thanks A-C, Lets hope it works out well for them, though I think they still have a hard road ahead, Hope they're up to it.

    • American_Choices profile image


      8 years ago from USA

      A business associate is over there and sends emails on a regular basis. He just wrote that the Army is in control. Sad that we must intercede. However, there is a silver lining, it does send an important message to other countries to listen to their populace before it is too late. Peace is the item we all must hope for - in every corner of the world.

      Important information - very well done. Thank you for your hard work.

    • Hmrjmr1 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Georgia, USA

      WMH - At this writing, Mubarak is now gone and the Army is in control and the people are happy with that result. It will be interesting to see it play out further and lets remain hopeful that Egypt remains 'secular' and wanting a continued peace with Israel.

    • Wealthmadehealthy profile image


      8 years ago from Somewhere in the Lone Star State

      This was a good article. My personal belief is this. They will not remain "free" for long. They will be taken over by Islam. As far as them maintaining a "democracy" of any kind, I am sorry, again, I do not see this happening and yes, Israel is a major player. It is all about control of Israel. And Egypt is in the perfect geographical location to complete this control. They secure the southern border and shortly we will see this last security for Israel in a shambles. As it already is.

      We will watch and see how this plays out. Again, these are just my personal thoughts ...Great hub hmrjmr!

    • Hmrjmr1 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Georgia, USA

      DatChic - Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I would point out a bit of history for you, The folks who gunned down Anwar Sadat during a military parade were all members of the Muslim Brotherhood. Why did they do so, because he made peace with Israel. Seems a bit extremist to me. Now what is apparently happening, is a grassroots movement that TMB may be trying to hijack. I cannot say I am an expert in the politics of Egypt, but from what I've been reading and hearing the goals of TMB are not necessarily aligned with the goals of this movement. My understanding of Egypt is that it is one of the most diverse societies in the Middle East. When I deployed to Egypt many years ago on exercises in the military, I met many fine folks that seemed to be pretty reasonable and tolerant of different religions.

      You have dragged Israel into this but it is not about Israel this time. It is about people needing some hope that there is a better life ahead and not seeing it with their current leadership. So while I wish them well in generating democratic reforms, it is my hope that they do it in a peaceful and as orderly a way as these kinds of revolutions can be done. Thanks again for stopping by and commenting.

    • Hmrjmr1 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Health Advisor - Much thanks glad you liked it.

    • Hmrjmr1 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Simey C - Thanks for stopping by and your comment. So far I think it has been pretty reasonable.

    • DatChicLeeLee727 profile image


      8 years ago from Tampa Bay, FL

      I'm a Christian, but even I know the Muslim Brotherhood isn't a total extremist group. They only care about the Egyptian people and their rights. They also feel Palestinians are suffering under Israel's illegal occupation and want to help them. I have to agree. Sure! Hamas has made it difficult for people living in the West Bank, but Israel isn't doing much to make things better for them either. Something has to give and the Muslim Brotherhood just might be what we all need to resolve this crisis. The Brotherhood is backing Elbaradei because he calls for Mubarak to leave so there can be real reform, and he also wants to end Israel's occupation of Palestine. I say more power to them! During Christmas in Jerusalem the Jews blocked Muslims and Christians from entering holy sites, but they let other Jews in. That's not a partnership the US should involved in.

    • Health Advisor profile image

      Health Advisor 

      8 years ago from Topanga,CA

      Hi~ Hmrjmr1, That was well written & informative.Thanks.

    • SimeyC profile image

      Simon Cook 

      8 years ago from NJ, USA

      Excellent commentary, and I agree that it's a very fine line that President Obama has to tread. The line "I would counsel our own press and pundits to keep a more measured eye on the expectations of these events, and allow some time for these efforts to bear fruit." touched a chord in me - my repsect for the press of the USA is at an all time low and I sincerely hope that they can be more measured in their approach - but I doubt it!

    • Hmrjmr1 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Mic - don't know why you dragged all the old guys into this, you need to let that go man, As for Egypt what they have is the Canal, business is very very interested in keeping that open, just watch the price of everything skyrocket if some clown with an RPG hits a freighter in the middle of it.

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 

      8 years ago

      Yo Hmrjmr1! You mention, "It would be fair to say that I have been fairly critical of the leadership skills of our President. I should mention that in the area of foreign affairs he has done a bit better than in the domestic arena." He like GW before him will only do what BUSINESS wants. This is America and every politician will comply to money or how will they exist? George Bush has NO leadership skills whatsoever. Dick Cheney? Biden? Sarah? Gee willickers. American forces are pretty dang thin. All resources are drained. America has little or no action to do with this crisis. Great write. But Egypt doesn't have the resources that businesses want.

    • Hmrjmr1 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Georgia, USA

      tony - happy Sunday to ya and thanks for stopping by, I think the Muslim hard liners are as caught by surprise as the rest of the world, Egypt is a unique situation in that area, they have a very large minority of Christians and they get along well with each other, to the point that on Friday Christians acted as human shields for the mosques could pray in peace and on Sunday there are Muslims doing the same for the Christians. That is one of the reasons I think there might be a real hope that this can be done with minimal casualties and if we lead the right way we can instill confidence in our friends that we will with in reason keep a degree of faith and loyalty with them even as change occurs. It's a tough thing and I hope we are up to the task.

    • tony0724 profile image


      8 years ago from san diego calif

      Hmrjmr , Egypt is indeed a complicated problem. I believe all people shoud be free. I had read in the Guardian UK that somehow we had funneled money to the revolutionaries in Egypt. I take that report with a grain of salt of course.Iran had a simlar uprising like this a couple of years ago and unfortunately it was not successful. The picture of that young Iranian women dying is still very haunting to me.

      I am kinda taking a Liberitarian outlook on this one. I think Egypt will have to work this one out by themselves.We cannot keep running interference on the world stage.Not to mention we do not have the money to do this. But I do hope the Egyptian people are successful in their revolution and I also hope the hard line Muslim radicals do not win their hearts and minds otherwise we may have to chime in. I have come to conclude that the middle east will be a perpetually unresolved problem.

    • Hmrjmr1 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Thanks POP it is indeed an amazing time. I wonder how the history writers 100 years from now will characterize the twitter revolts throughout the middle east.

    • breakfastpop profile image


      8 years ago

      I was thinking about writing about this tomorrow but you did such a fine job that I think I'll probably pass. Let's hope the people prevail and the Muslim extremists stay away. This is truly an amazing time in history. Voted up and useful. It's awesome too, but I can only vote for one thing.


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