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Martin Varsavsky

Martin Varsavsky

Posted: February 11, 2011 01:41 PM

Egyptians fought bravely, ousted Mubarak and gave power to the military. But it turns out that USA effectively controls the Egyptian Army. It financed it, trained it and should it go into conflict with it, it can easily defeat it. So Egyptian people, whether they are aware of this or not, gave considerable power to USA. In Latin America and other parts of the world, giving power to a US backed military regime would have been seen as a huge step back in time. So this situation must change quickly and in favor of the Egyptian people. It could also change in favor of US and EU foreign policy in the region.

Egyptians deserve speedy and easy visibility on how democracy will be instituted. Also USA has to be very careful not to be associated with the Egyptian military, but instead with the democratic forces which hopefully will take power. It also needs to help prevent the brewing of another Mubarak from inside the military, an Egyptian version of a Hugo Chavez. Chavez, after trying to take power as a military leader, changed clothes and took power through elections.

The Egyptian people, USA, EU, President Obama and Hillary Clinton in particular, can emerge as winners in this revolution, but there are many obstacles ahead. So far the role of USA has been pretty questionable. But there is a better way.

After failing promoting democracy in Afghanistan and Iraq, USA with the help of EU and the rest of the world, has a chance to do in Egypt with $50bn what it could not do wasting $1 trillion in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. USA and EU can fund the stabilization of Egypt and prevent the rise of terrorism and Hamas type forces to arise out of discontent. Historically in Egypt and the whole region USA's aid has been focused on the military. Now is the time to change strategy and focused on the population at large. Egypt can become the democratic model for the region that Iraq never became. But as it stands, Egypt is still one of the poorest nations on earth on a per capita basis. After the revolution it needs a stabilization fund. The new government has to prevent food shortages and provide basic necessities for all. It needs short term EU and US Aid. In short, President Obama can do with Egypt what the Neocons wanted and failed to do with Iraq. Helping Egypt at this moment would be greatly appreciated around the world and show a significant change in US policy. There is tremendous resentment for the previous role that US played in Egypt but there is still a chance to turn this around.

Lastly when things calm down and it is safe, we can do our fair share and consider Egypt for our next holiday destination. This will help restart the economy.

 

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