Thank you all for your ideas and comments regarding the topic of discussion for this week.
With the recent wave of “people’s revolutions” in the Middle East, I feel it is important to discuss America’s role in promoting its democratic ideals while ensuring a self-sustaining and longer lasting government in the region that is “of the people, by the people, for the people.”
Let’s begin with Egypt. According to the U. S. Department of State, Egypt is the most populous country in the Arab world. With the region’s largest publishing and broadcasting center, Egypt has long been the cultural and informational hub of the Middle East. It has also served as a strong military and strategic partner of the United States, playing a key role during the 1990-91 Gulf crisis (Egypt had the third-largest coalition force, after the U.S. and U.K). Given this, our role during the Egyptian revolution needed to be one of careful deliberation.
With mass demonstrations against the 30-year rule of their President, Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian people demanded greater freedoms and a more democratic government. To ensure that we did more good than harm, President Obama and his administration allowed these people to free themselves and build a greater pride in their country that was not inspired by hate to the Western world.
In the past, our efforts to engage with foreign nations to spread democracy have rarely turned out well. Instead of creating lasting peace, we have only fueled anti-American sentiments and deterred citizens from achieving a sustainable form of government. Specifically, when the U.S. invaded Iraq, it quickly became all about us and American imperialism, and much less about getting rid of Saddam and instituting a stable democratic government.
This time, by preventing a full scare war in the region and supporting a peaceful transition toward a democracy led by the Egyptian people, the U. S. has strengthened its relationship toward a key ally and allowed its people to pursue a longer lasting form of happiness.
Our response has been similar in response to the recent uprisings in Libya. Instead of using force, Obama has called on the help of international leaders to work together on building a stronger, more unified defense against Moammar Gadhafi’s repressive regime to help the Libyan people.
"In a volatile situation like this one, it is imperative that the nations and peoples of the world speak with one voice, and that has been our focus," Obama said.
While condemning all violence in Libya, Egypt, Bahrain and other North African and Middle Eastern nations where protests have erupted in recent weeks, the Obama administration has taken the correct measures to ensure a true and self-sustaining democracy prevails in the region.
As the White House Press Secretary Jay Carney stressed, "we are not dictating outcomes, and we are not telling the people of any country who their leaders should be or should not be."
I think this should be a key element to any foreign policy the U.S. ensues, and one that has been severely underrated in the past administration.