I’m not thrilled with the turn of events in Egypt. It appears the army put pressure on Mubarak to step down, and has stepped into his role. Military leaders encouraging him to step down might not be entirely illegitimate. As my friend PJ said, they might simply have said, “It’s our job to ensure security and non-violence, and we can’t do that if you stay in power.” But the fact that a military leader has taken the reins of government looks an awful lot like a coup, especially as the Egyptian constitution apparently specifies that the Speaker of the Parliament is next in line for power.
As with Tunisia, we’re still in a wait and see holding pattern, and I think those who celebrate are rejoicing much too soon. Fortunately Egypt’s military is one of the most professional in the Middle East, has conducted itself up to this point in a manner that hasn’t suggested a desire to take power, and has close ties to the U.S. military, allowing us to apply pressure on that route.
On the other hand, power tends to corrupt, and the U.S. could very well decide that our close relationship with Egypt’s military makes them a very desirable “our bastard.”
Cross your fingers if you don’t need to use them for a while, but don’t hold your breath yet.