Mubarak's Fall Hailed as a 'Berlin Wall Moment'

Friday, 11 Feb 2011 07:12 PM

By David A. Patten

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Middle East experts are comparing the ouster of Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak to the fall of the Berlin Wall — with the obvious and important difference that it’s too early to be sure that democracy will take root.

Michael Singh, a visiting fellow at The Washington Institute for Near egypt,democracy,berlin,wall,mubarakEast Policy, tells Newsmax: “People have been saying that this is a Berlin Wall moment in the Middle East, and I think there’s some validity to that. It’s too soon to tell of course what the result will be.”

He adds: “I think the idea of a popular, peaceful uprising unseating such a formidable, powerful ruler, can only change the region in pretty significant ways, in terms of what people think they can accomplish through protests and through popular means.”

 The idea people should have a voice in their own government is sweeping the Middle East, Singh says.

“It’s forced all the leaders in the Middle East to take more account of the popular will than they have before,” he said. “When former President [George W.] Bush and Secretary [of State Condoleezza] Rice spoke about people in the Middle East wanting and being ready for the same kinds of freedoms we enjoy in the West, they were on to something.

“Now, we still don’t know how this uprising in Egypt is going to turn out,” Singh cautions. “We don’t know what the end result will be or the ultimate impact on U.S. interests will be.

“But to the extent there is this kind of movement in Middle Eastern countries, this kind of popular sentiment in favor of rights and democracy, I think it makes sense for the U.S. to first get on the right side of it . . . then also to see it in the long term as very much in our interest for these countries to move toward democracy,” he said.

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