Carlyn Meyer writes in a guest editorial for Informed Comment
The Egyptian Uprising is not a Revolution – “Chaos’ Fear a Cynical Red-Herring
Over the last few days, Hillary Clinton has been pushing the Mubarak/Suleiman ‘orderly transition’ hype hook, line and sinker. But why would Mubarak leaving bring chaos? The protesters demands are: no Mubarak, rewrite of constitution (including rescinding decades of martial law), free and fair elections.
These are demands for reform, not revolution. The uprising is not calling for dismantling the authority of the state or the army. This is not 1917 Russia, 1949 China or 1776 New World. The demands of Egyptians are much less extreme than the destruction of the Iraqi state and army after the 2003 US invasion. Now that resulted in chaos.
In fact, the Egyptian popular revolt has been exemplary in discipline and unity of purpose. The only chaos in two weeks of massive outpourings was caused by paid pro-Mubarak thugs. But the discipline of the protesters pushed back even these horse and camel night-riders.
Clinton says there needs to be time to set up free and fair elections. Who disagrees with that? Who in the opposition is calling for immediate elections? After all one demand of the protesters and legal and banned opposition is that the constitution be re-written first.
There is no reason the state apparatus would not function at least as well under an interim government as it did under Mubarak. An interim government composed of the opposition, military and Suleiman could surely handle any transition.
So people might ask, if Suleiman, Mubarak’s confidant,stays, why it is so important for Mubarak to resign. First, the opposition secures its credibility when Mubarak leaves. Second, without the participation of the opposition in setting the course for free elections, transparency is a joke. Currently, the opposition has no way to monitor the actions of government, nor are there any credible proposals from the government that would permit popular oversight. Promises mean nothing after the cameras are gone and the world turns to another crisis.
Do Clinton’s remarks mean President Obama is backing down from his demand that Mubarak leave? He hasn’t yet. But Clinton is obviously trying to sway Western opinion to accept that possibility.
Every organization within the Egyptian opposition has pledged to uphold Egypt’s treaties and international obligations. The only danger of chaos or regional upheaval comes from Mr. Mubarak, Vice-President Suleiman and the Egyptian military ignoring popular demands for the most basic of democratic reforms.
Looked at another way, Mrs. Clinton, what if Mubarak, an ailing 82-year-old, were to drop dead tomorrow? Surely there is a plan within the Egyptian government for carrying on without him.
Carlyn Meyer blogs at Read Between the Lines