Obama’s Balancing Act

Obama’s Balancing Act

At The New Republic, William Galston argues that how artfully President Obama balances the competing interests of enlisting active Egyptian support in the peace process and reversing the harmful effects of supporting authoritarian regimes “will go a long way toward determining whether his trip succeeds in putting America’s relations with the Muslim world on a more productive and sustainable course.”

Galston tells us to look out for the following things during Obama’s visit to Egypt next week:

  • Will he discuss democracy and human rights during his formal address to the Muslim world?

  • Will he also discuss these issues privately with Mubarak? Will his entourage publicize this?

  • Will he meet with well-known dissidents and representatives of beleaguered independent groups?

  • Will he insist that the U.S. should be able to fund any Egyptian group it chooses, whether or not the Egyptian government has officially recognized them?

“If President Obama does these things,” Galston argues, “his administration can credibly claim to have put in place a democracy and human rights strategy that may well prove more effective than his predecessor’s blunt confrontation with the status quo. If he does not, it will be much harder for him to maintain that his new policy changes only means, and not our goals as well.”


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