Former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski told MSNBC Wednesday that, although Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s regime has come to an end, the United States cannot expect the country can be transformed overnight into a “really full-blown democracy.”
Brzezinski, who served under President Carter when the United States brokered the 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel at Camp David, warned any U.S. pressure for immediate change could end up being counter-productive.
“The point we have to bear in mind more clearly, is that our wish has to have some relationship to reality,” Brzezinski told Chris Matthews in an interview on “Hardball.” “That is to say, we can’t expect that regime to be transformed overnight into a really full-blown democracy.”
According to Brzezinski, when White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs comes out and says “now means yesterday, that’s not going to go over well with a country with a rich history, genuine pride, very important role in the Middle East.”
“I think we have to be a little more subtle and more patient,” he said. “I fully agree with the president and everybody else that there wasn’t democracy in Egypt,” but, “we have to ask ourselves whether we know the answer.”
Matthews asked whether Mubarak is holding on because he truly believes that pressuring him to step down will lead to further chaos.
“To some extent he is saying something else: I’ve been your friend, think of the future, think of the impact it has on other friends in the Middle East. So we have to play it cool,” Brzezinski said. “We have to be clear we want a democratic change in Egypt. But we have to be willing to encourage the emergence of a genuine political process.”
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