Egyptian Divides

Feb 15 2011 @ 11:23am

Beinart outlines them:

When it came to Egypt … the relevant divide wasn’t between neoconservatives and liberals, both of whom generally supported the folks in Tahrir square. It was between neoconservatives and Islamophobes, the kind of folks who think the real problem with the Middle East is the Koran itself. The other divide was between the neoconservatives and Benjamin Netanyahu, whose government yearned for Mubarak to stay. The parting of ways between the American and Israeli right over the past few weeks should end once and for all the canard that neoconservatism is a creed hatched in the Knesset. For all its flaws, contemporary neoconservatism is a deeply American doctrine, very different from the more pessimistic worldview that dominates Likud.

But there is also a middle ground where many conservatives belong. It is one that celebrates, embraces, rejoices at liberation from tyranny, but worries about the possibility that such transitions may be coopted by opportunistic forces. History is full of this. I'm optimistic about Egypt, but not delusional. This will take time and, crucially, the kind of political statesmanship and prudence that makes all the difference in history and for which there is no substitute. So far, I must say, the most prudence I have seen has come from the Egyptian people themselves. But who knows who waits in the wings?