US Was Right on Egypt

Tuesday, 15 Feb 2011 11:59 AM

By Jon Friedman

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Ultimately, the Obama administration showed wisdom and restraint in its proclamations toward the Egyptian revolution — and it will be rewarded.

The future belongs to no one — except the young, 20-something Egyptians who, astoundingly, rewrote the history of their country's course in only 18 days. But the United States should receive credit from the next permanent Egyptian leader. The U.S. supported the revolution, acting in the name of democracy. Every American ideal was supported in Cairo — freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and peaceful protests.

Mubarak showed himself to be an obsolete 20th-century dictator. He was mired in the old way of doing things. He refused to accept reality, that Facebook and Twitter are now worth more than his guns and tanks and army.

The change can be felt in the new regime and the fact that the victors showed the Arab world that it can feel a special sense of self-esteem. This is a major outcome of the revolution.

Rulers all over the world should heed what happened in Egypt. Mubarak was in power for 30 years. He first held power before many of the protesters were even born. Think about it! In the U.S., back in the Watergate age, our transfer of power took more than two years. Nixon held on from 1972 to 1974.

In Egypt, in the 21st century, the revolution was accomplished within three weeks. That may well be the most profound development of all that we have witnessed — the swiftness of the uprising. The surrender of Mubarak was an event of historical import, to be sure. But the fact that it occurred so quickly made all the difference.

Jon Friedman writes the Media Web column for MarketWatch. Click here to read his latest column.

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