Monday, February 7, 2011

Egypt and the Failure of Global Diplomacy

Egypt and the Failure of Global Diplomacy

It is simplistic to say that the situation in Egypt is for the Egyptians to resolve. This, because we are global community. To complicate matters, different countries have different cultural norms. To complicate matters further, efforts to understand the cultural norms of other countries routinely involve explaining “our” culture to others rather than asking others to offer us insight into their cultures.

Now, to diplomacy.

The Egyptian people have called for the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak. They have stated their resolve not to leave The Square until he resigns. They have issued a fait accompli.

President Mubarak has stated he will not resign as President. In effect, he has issued a fait accompli.

We have called for President Mubarak to step down. We did so publicly.

We can focus on the Egyptian Constitution and the constraints it places on all parties. We can also focus on the remarks by the pundits and analysts to the effect that our failure to support President Mubarak will cause other allies to be concerned about our fidelity. No one, however, has addressed the issue of “loss of face”.

For the Egyptian people to recant their demands, they will suffer what the world knows to be “loss of face”. For President Mubarak to capitulate to the demands of the protestors will result in his suffering “loss of face”. Then there is the American position—stated publicly.

We became Pontius Pilate the moment we entered the fracas.

If the Egyptian people do not prevail, there will be bitterness among the Egyptian people. By extension, if this is attributed to our support for President Mubarak, there will also be a bitterness shared by all who looked to us as a symbol of freedom.

However, if the Egyptian people do prevail, if President Mubarak does step down, it will do more that cause concern among our allies with respect to our willingness to support them. 1.3 billion Chinese people will see that we have caused President Mubarak to lose face. 1.3 billion Chinese will wonder when we will cause their leader to lose face. This question will be asked by people all around the world.

Rather than regard America as supporters of the Egyptian people, people around the world will see America as the betrayer of the Egyptian peoples’ leader. This, notwithstanding the call by the Egyptian people for President Mubarak to resign.

Lastly, if we recant our position, our global status and stature will suffer.

What to do?

The best possible way to resolve the problem is for the United States to defer to a neutral third party nation who will meet, PRIVATELY, with both the leaders of the Egyptian people and with the Egyptian leaders. Yes, there is a difference. This is not to suggest that the U.S. should not be present at the table. After all, Egypt and The United States are allies and have been for a long time. However, we should not head this delegation.

This neutral third party nation will be able to help both the Egyptian people and the Egyptian government under President Mubarak, to resolve the contretemps in a matter that will avoid humiliation and mitigate rather than propagate enmities.




Copyright © 2011 Slim Fairview

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