We can’t be neutral in Egypt conflict

[imagebrowser id=10]For the past few weeks, it has been difficult to turn on the television or go on the Internet without seeing a headline about the unrest in Egypt.

The graphic videos of the protests in the streets of Cairo are stirring and clearly show the amount of contempt the Egyptian people have toward their government.

At a pivotal time in Egypt’s history, the United States needs to stand by those protesting the regime of President Hosni Mubarak and do anything possible to ensure that the outcome of this situation is peaceful and democratic.

Uprising in Egypt has been a long time coming, considering Mubarak has been in power since the assassination of Anwar Sadat in 1981.

Inspired by the fall of Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, supporters of democracy in Egypt took to the streets to show their contempt for the Mubarak regime.

Mubarak, being placed in a situation he has never been in before, has repeatedly refused to step down and has instead replaced his cabinet and those who surround him.

So far, his actions have only infuriated protesters more and are fueling the movement.

When it was announced that Mubarak would step down and not run for re-election this coming September, an estimated 4,000 people began a demonstration in the Suez region.

Thousands more prepared similar marches across the country, demanding him to instead step down immediately.

The U.S. cannot stand by and watch any longer. The country needs to take a stronger attitude with the Mubarak regime. We also need to show the protesters that we are on their side and support the “pro-democracy” wave that has taken over the country.

Presently, the U.S. and President Obama are in a difficult situation with Egypt and how to handle the problem.

For years, the U.S. has been pro-Mubarak and has had a strong relationship with Egypt.

Dating all the way back to the Camp David Accords of the 1970s, Egypt has upheld their end of the treaty and has been a pro-Israel ally in the region for the U.S.

For years, the U.S. has provided the Egyptian government with tanks, weapons and aid.

Many of the weapons being used to stop the protesters reportedly have “Made in the USA” printed on the side of them.

For the most part, the president and his administration have handled the situation fairly well.  As I mentioned before, this is an extremely sensitive diplomatic situation for the U.S., considering that the Mubarak regime maintains a healthy relationship with Israel, something the U.S. needs.

If the successor to Mubarak were anti-Israel, such as a member of the Muslim Brotherhood or a similar organization, the repercussions could be devastating.

Right now, the U.S. needs to take a strong stance on the subject and ensure that the successor to Mubarak is someone we can work with as a country.

One thing the U.S. must avoid is strong-arming Mubarak from his position. This would send the wrong message to those demonstrating, as well as a negative message to the entire region.

In his column published this week, former Ohio secretary of state and gubernatorial candidate Ken Blackwell mentioned Ronald Reagan and his undying support for the Solidarity movement inside Poland in the 1980s.

The U.S. needs to take a similar stance in Egypt.  By letting the protesters and pro-democratic demonstrators know that we are on their side, the chances of democracy succeeding are much higher than if we were to stand by and take a neutral stance.