By Joseph S. Nye
In my last posting, I agreed with my colleagues that Libya did not involve vital interests, but I said that it did involve humanitarian interests and they can be important. In general, I agree with my friends that humanitarian intervention is a dangerous process, fraught with unintended consequences and costs. Thus the presumption should be against such interventions. After all, John Quincy Adams provided sound advice when he said we should not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. There are too many of them, and we cannot control or police the world.
Why then do I support the Obama Administration actions on Libya? Read more
Graham Allison weighs potential alternative futures for Egypt in an assessment of the potential implications for the United States in the turmoil engulfing its largest Arab ally.
In a contribution to a virtual panel of experts on The Mark, a Canadian online forum, Allison says the aspirations of those taking part in such uprisings don’t always dictate the outcome. Just think of the Iranian and Russian revolutions.
Protestors from Al Azhar University gathered in Tahrir Square, Cairo, on February 1, 2011. (Iman Mosaad photo)
Allison, director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard Kennedy School, says it is highly unlikely that any successor government in Egypt would seek to disrupt the flow of oil to the United States. However, other events in the region might do so, especially if the revolts prove contagious and spread to countries such as Saudi Arabia. Read more
By Nicholas Burns
The people’s rebellion in Egypt is the most daunting and dangerous foreign policy test of the Obama Presidency. And, it got a lot harder on Wednesday. Shocking violence by pro-Mubarak armed gangs against largely peaceful protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square raised the stakes both for an embattled Hosni Mubarak and for the U.S. government.
The attacks appear to be the first strike in a counter-offensive by Egyptian security forces to take back the streets of Cairo and reverse the momentum of the reformers who, until Wednesday, appeared on the verge of unseating Mubarak after thirty years in power. Watching the discipline and uniformity of the pro-Mubarak forces in Cairo on Wednesday led many around the world, myself included, to suspect that they were acting in concert with security forces or were part of the security establishment themselves. Whoever they were, they have turned this crisis in a new and more menacing direction. Read more