President Ronald Reagan was not quick to respond to crowds in the street. He complained, for example, that we probably made a mistake in abandoning the Shah of Iran.
Consider for a moment the morality of this Egyptian Crisis and what the American government is now saying. We are telling Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, the man who helped bring peace to the Middle East, to leave power, to go. And why are we saying this? Well, because he is bad for his people. There is corruption and poverty. Well then, why didn’t we tell him to go last year? Why now? Because there is a mob in the street and it is likely that they represent a majority?
So if we can turn out a mob in the street against Obama and we can show by public opinion polls that this represents a majority, will Obama leave? Of course not. That is not democracy. Nor is it freedom. Not in American and not in Egypt either. It may very well be in our interests as a nation to advocate the removal of Hosni Mubarak but let us not hypocritically claim that this is being done in the name of freedom.
And what is the message to Jordan, perhaps the most responsible and caring of its people of all the governments in the Middle East. This country has no oil and yet. arguably, it has done more with less to improve conditions and opportunity for its people, and all within the traditions of Islam, than any other nation in the Middle East. Well, it is a monarchy. Not a democracy. If someone can get a mob going shall we oppose them?
Reagan was an admirer of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who once said, “It is permitted in time of grave danger to walk with the devil until you have crossed the bridge.” During World War Two we supported Stalin, one of history’s greatest murders, in order to defeat Hitler, one whom we decided, was even worse.
During the Cold War, when the enemy switched from Fascism to Communism, Reagan supported dictatorships under the same premise. Once more, we sometimes “walked with the devil to cross the bridge.” Reagan saw a manipulative, ingenious communist enemy that was especially good at using people on the street to push for revolutions which ultimately led to their own enslavement.
We can trace out current dilemma with Egypt and Hosni Mubarak to George W. Bush and the invasion of Iraq. When it became clear that there were no weapons of mass destruction we redefined the purpose of our attack, we said our invasion was important for bringing democracy to the world. We were attacking the Iraqi nation to bring “freedom.” Never mind that in Iraq we would be empowering a Shiite majority who would likely vote to tilt Iraq into the same camp with Iran. Never mind that Jordan, Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Islamic states would be diminished. Never mind that a carefully won balance of power in the Middle East, created over the dead bodies of millions of Iranians and Iraqi youth would be thrown into chaos, if that was what the majority wanted, that is what would be morally right.
The problem is that many believe we are once again at war. This time we are in a defensive war against Islamic Terrorists. And once again, the street mob can be used against us, even democracy can be used against us. Indeed, it is democracy that brought Hezbollah to power in Lebanon and Hamas to power in Gaza. And the Islamic terrorists are watching the drama in Egypt and they will surely adapt and provoke the same thing again, in other places.
Ronald Reagan was not afraid to recognize danger. He publicly called the Soviet Union “the evil empire.” This was roundly criticized as dangerously provocative. People were in denial.
Obama’s problem is that he has sought to defuse the war with Islamic Fundamentalists by pretending that it does not exist. The national media has concurred and sees this as a logical approach. It is quite similar to the role that liberals played in the Cold War, downplaying the communist threat, scoffing at stories of mass murder or corruption, acknowledging only what affirmed the party line. Hoping that by being nice to the enemy the problem would go away.
During the Cold War Fidel Castro came to power with the enthusiastic endorsement of Americans who had no idea he was a communist. The media didn’t say until it was too late. And today national television news stories report on Islamic – Christian wars in Africa, without explaining to viewers who is being killed by whom for what. It is driving masses to the internet to get the most basic information, for the network journalists simply will not provide it.
Today, we are giving people in the Middle East the right to vote, even knowing that they may use that power to elect Islamic clerics who will take the right away. Our announced policy of “exporting freedom” is not resonating well. Most people in the Middle East do not want our version of “freedom” which, to them, equates with “license.” When we accuse them of degrading their women they point to our massive pornography industry. This is freedom? Who is degrading women?
All of this brings us to the end game in the Middle East. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. If a mob of immigrants in that country, non citizens, take to the streets and demand a new government will we support the mob? Remember, in Saudi Arabia the immigrants outnumber the citizens. If Saudi Arabia is touched by extremism, if her oil fields are touched, America and Europe will be at risk. So, this is a question that we must answer now. And we must be prepared to stand by our answer.
What would Reagan do? Reagan would not be in denial. He would recognize that we are in a war with Islamic Terrorists. And this strategic reality should transcend any sentimental discussions about forcing American style freedom on an Islamic people who do not want it. Reagan would be prepared to stand by the House of Saud. And he would make that commitment clearly and unashamedly. And he would make it early. Reagan would focus on winning the war. On our survivability as a people. Reagan would put America first and count on her goodness to help the world when the storm and the war had passed over. Obama would do well to remember Ronald Reagan this day. We all should.
22 thoughts on “The Egyptian Crisis: What Would Reagan Do?”
So if we can turn out a mob in the street against Obama and we can show by public opinion polls that this represents a majority, will Obama leave? Of course not. That is not democracy. —> Actually, that IS democracy, but we live in a representative republic.
Never mind that in Iraq we would be empowering a Shiite majority who would likely vote to tilt Iraq into the same camp with Iran. —> WRONG again. Iran and Iraq had a long, bloody war, I doubt both of them being Shiite will help any more than the KKK will suddenly start like blacks just because they were both raised in Alabama baptist churches.
Never mind that a carefully won balance of power in the Middle East… —> Are you on DRUGS, Doug? There hasn’t been a balance of power in the Middle East for a VERY long time, it has been a powder keg ready to explode for generations.
[Reagan] publicly called the Soviet Union “the evil empire.” This was roundly criticized as dangerously provocative. —> By who, the libs? Real Americans saw it as accurate.
En Tunisie,un commerçant est à origine du soulèvement du peuple. Injustice et la corruption,leurs nations n’en veulent plus.
I love Ronald Reagan…what a phenomenal President he was…Not sure we will ever see one like him again…;-)
Doug, you are very insightful. It’s a real issue that doesn’t have an easy solution. You can’t be reasonable with countries that are not rational. Thanks for sharing.
Politically provocative post, Doug. You sure make a person think about what and how they believe.
I believe in a democratic way of life, but I’m not so sure it truely is for everyone. If a government aides its citizens towards betterment as you have suggested with Jordan as a monarchy so be it.
With freedom comes responsibility. Yes we denegrade women in pornograghy, human slave into prostitution, and cute, alluring sex ads selling hamburgers, cars and the like. We stretch limits of ‘acceptable sex’. What is almost NEVER heard is that with freedom come responsibilty. Just because you can, it doesn’t mean you should. There are consequence for all freedoms to which everyone is accountable. We have laws that make those who take excessive advantage of their ‘freedom’. One has a right to freedom, but not the consequenes.
It is for the countries whose laws denegrade women to have them challenged and won…just like America did in gettiing the women’s right to vote, equal pay, discrimmination, sexual harassment.
Whom our country supports is grossly important …thought through with wise minds, not altruistic ideologies.
The most effective revolt for us right now is working with legislators, letting them know we are not buying their words…”This is good for you!”, on laws like the massive spending and health care. We will vote with our feet…straight to the voting booths on election day.
Yes we denegrade women in pornograghy, human slave into prostitution, and cute, alluring sex ads selling hamburgers, cars and the like. —> We also allow women to be educated and don’t stone them to death for having sex with someone different than their husband.
Doug, What interesting times we live in Politics seem to change as rapidly as the information we now receive via the internet. At times I am not sure what to believe. I so appreciate the times of Reagan and I so appreciate our political administration of today. It will be interesting to see how these events result. Thank you for your comments.
The man in the street is´nt wise, he never was. So, democracy is a miserable form of government. And yet, I am not aware of anything better. A representative democracy dampens the mob´s opinion, And a wise statesman dampens it even further. The most respected heads of government are or were all far sighted, fearless and intellectually independent of the mob´s opinion – but they cannot ignore it. Reagan was one of them. But in Europe he was harshly criticized for calling the Soviet Union “the evil empire”, particularly by liberals and left wing people.
I like the metaphor of walking with the devil to cross the bridge. It means to remain cool even in tricky situations. The best agreements among governments are made by strong characters who aren´t blinking an eye. On the other hand there are games with a variety of layers, where in one layer it may be wise to be uncompromising and in another one should be adaptable. The 1970´s had something of that with German Chancellor Willy Brandt´s politics of overcoming east-west confrontation by convergence under the shelter of the stronghold USA. The good boy – bad boy game. Let´s not be naive.
Doug, you have more insight into the inner workings of many of these foreign governments bringing to mind the expression, “there are no facts, just opinions”. Of course the reality is that there are some facts in life but, most of this political stuff is based on a persons perspective. In reference to the regimes in the middle east and there way of life, I am reminded of the first thing learned in “interviewing and interrogation”. You cannot reason with a criminal mind.
I am not sure I agree that walking with the devil can ever be a good thing. I am not seeing where this practice has served us in the long run. I think when you chose to walk with the devil eventually you become more like him.
I loved Ronald Reagan and would like to see America regain the respect we had when he was president but I believe many of our decisions to associate with dictators, when it served us, has caused us to lose credibility.
Often times the alternative to the dictator is worse. Egypt is a good example.
In my own opinion, the respect to other country’s rights is peace. As Mr. President Obama said; It should be a transition of power. However, countries with power do what ever is in their benefit. Some times it works, some times it does not.
Sometimes, peace is not possible. Ask Neville Chamberlain.
I love that you are not afraid to say what you feel. You also do not strictly stick to party lines, you take what you like and don’t like from either party and say your peace. Reagan was a great president and I think many that aspire to the office should study this man’s history and policies and learn. Great post!
I’m okay with “feelings” as well, but it would help to be factual as well.
I believe every leader of every position in America ought to be required to read, “Eye to Eye” [Facing the Consequences of Dividing Israel] by Williams Koenig. Every question anyone can have is answered in God’s Word. Its not about “walking with the devil to get a desired response…” but it IS about walking with God and adhering to His commands for our Nation and for His Nation Israel. History from the Old Testament says it all! But we want to be deaf. We don’t want to be accountable and have to do an about-face. God help America and God help those who have been given much and are required much!
Good message. Reagan had some very admirable leadership qualities that are not so readily found today.
The 2003 Iraq War Resolution and debate cited 23 Reasons for the War, WMD was but 1.
Great comments Doug. Even us from other countries perceive R.Reagan as a very good president.