Wednesday 06 Oct 2021 | 19:10 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 06 Oct 2021 | 19:10 | SYDNEY

Reader riposte: The US and Mubarak

5 April 2011 10:17

A. Jay Adler writes:

Not that it isn't always so, but perceptions of the Arab upheaval and US reaction to it are especially skewed by vantage point, no doubt because of the extraordinariness of the phenomenon: Anne-Marie Slaughter challenged the terms of what is always an intense debate about interventions, interests, and values even when the debate is not about so complex a region. Scott Burchill actually challenges Slaughter's limiting use of the word 'perception' regarding US treatment of Mubarak. Perception' What perception' 'The US backed Mubarak till the death', Burchill says. Well, first, clearly not. And very much to the point, if one tracked the opinion of many American and Israeli conservatives — who were, under prevailing conditions, selfishly quite content with Mubarak — the US, according to them, threw him over the rail with last night's leavings.

I'll suggest that neither is so. The Obama administration hedged its bets every step of the way, believing it in US interests not to turn on Mubarak if it seemed he would prevail in the end, while also knowing it had to make voicings in support of those who were protesting in the name of democracy. With world attention so great, and the outcome appearing clearer, the administration began to push, even while wary of what might follow Mubarak. It could never determine circumstance, it tried to manage it, in truth it really only accommodated it. I think it very much a matter of perception to take a sterner view one way or the other. But then again, that's my perception.