What's going on in Egypt makes me wonder: haven't I seen this movie before? Don't get me wrong, I am all in favor of REAL democratic political change in the Middle East. But all too often in the past the radicals have usurped the move for democratic reform and used it as a mask to gain power.
I'm thinking especially of Iran where the Mullahs used widespread discontent to displace the Shah of Iran, then institute the current Islamic theocracy with all the ills and worldwide death and destruction from terrorism that have flowed from that result.
I'm not alone in expressing this concern. Writing for the Daily Telegraph, an Iranian by the name of Helia Ebrahimi warns that "Dark forces lurk in the shadows of hope." Ebrahimi continues:
The unfolding tide of revolution in the Arab world is a bittersweet moment that is bound to open the tinderbox of Islamic fundamentalism.More troubling is the sign of possible Iranian backing in this current situation coming from state controlled media in Iran where the "revolution" is being hailed.
The downfall of 30 years of oppressive rule, and a people's uprising should create a sense of hope.
But as a Persian born in an early period of revolution, the prospect leaves me stone cold scared.
This is not the Berlin Wall. And what is waiting on the other side is not West Germany.
The Iranian revolution had many of the hallmarks of today's Egypt.
The Shah of Iran was the corrupt despot. He had lined his pockets, was ruthless against political opposition, and was seen by his subjects as a puppet for the West.
When the young took to the streets 32 years ago they thought they were signing up for a new era where they would be able to determine their own future.
But the youth were superseded by another group who were kept in check by the Shah - the clerics. Just as Mubarak today keeps the Muslim Brotherhood, the radical side of the Muslim faith, under control.
Within months the revolution unleashed the Islamic Republic.
While some dismiss concerns about radicalism in the Muslim Brotherhood, which is the largest opposition group in Egypt, it's worthwhile to recall that a radical faction of this group was responsible for the assassination of Mubarak's predecessor, Anwar Sadat, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for making peace with Israel. The Brotherhood also gave birth to Al Queda and Ayman al Zawahiri, second only to bin Laden came from that background.
Does Obama Know What He is Doing?
My other chief concern is the lack of any real foreign policy experience in the Obama Administration. In the last two years Obama has shown such incompetence in his disrespect to our allies and to fumbling and naive approaches to nations like Iran. Not one of the serious problems in foreign policy that he cited as a reason for change during the 2008 campaign has been successfully addressed.
Like the Carter Administration in the late 1970's it seems the Obama Administration has no solid grasp on events. I fear we may find ourselves six months from now with the loss of a great ally and an Egypt that is spiraling towards the same radicalim we saw in Iran with the result that the poison that was unleashed by the Ayatollahs will spread further.