It is an unfortunate reality that the US foreign policy establishment, from left to right, sees Egypt's dictatorship as a good thing. Good thing may not be strong enough. The US foreign policy establishment sees Egypt's pro-Israel dictatorship as possibly the most positive foreign policy outcome of its generation - certainly the most positive foreign policy outcome in the Middle East in recent history.
The over 60 million Egyptians who live under this colonial dictatorship with no leverage that could be used to hold their government accountable (Mubarak is accountable to Israel's AIPAC lobby through the US Congress but not to the people of Egypt) and all of whose civil rights are indefinitely suspended are of no importance compared to the security the dictatorship gives to a majority state for around 5 million Jewish people living in Palestine.
Barack Obama spelled this out clearly in June 2009. Flynt Leverett spells it out clearly in a discussion about Iran's domestic politics earlier this month: (In embedded video above.)
[13:01] Second argument I want to take on is that this government is too ideologically anti-American, or that more particularly, that there’s something about President Ahmadinejad, that he’s too ideological, too anti-Israeli, too hardline, too this or that to be a serious negotiating partner for the United StatesThis segment was delivered in a presentation about evidence regarding the size and popularity of Iran's protesting opposition. As has been apparent for months now, the presentation further confirms that no evidence exists that the opposition has as much or more popular support than Iran's government.
[13:20] And we’re happy to talk more about Ahmadinejad and his views on foreign policy and why I think it’s going to be important to engage the system in Iran and that system is going to include its elected president
[13:37] But let me just end with another historical analogy.
[13:43] In the early 1970s Anwar Sadat was widely viewed, in Egypt as well as abroad, as an extremely weak, not very capable leader. He was widely derided in Egypt at the time of his succession as Nasser’s poodle, the wholly inadequate successor to the great man who had proceeded him as President of Egypt. He was in his attitudes anti-Israel. He could be quite anti-Semitic, rhetorically, and he launched an aggressive war in 1973 to avenge Egypt's defeat in the 1967 war.
[14:37] But Sadat was open to strategic realignment with the United States. And that realignment and the Camp David peace accord that facilitated it has been not just an enormous boon to the United States’ position in the region, it is the biggest boon to Israel’s position in the region since the founding of the state of Israel.
[15:02] It took Egypt out of the Arab Israeli military picture and made a generalized Arab-Israeli war of the of the sort that we had seen previously in '73, '67 and before that and has rendered that impossible.
[15:17] Think about what a US/Iranian breakthrough would mean for the United States. Think about what it would mean for stability of this critical region. And then ask yourself what you really know about Iranian domestic politics.
But with Leverett expressing hope that Iran should, for the sake of Israel's strategic position - what he terms "the stability of the region" - follow the path of Egypt (which is of course, also the path of Iran's Shah), he reduces the differences between himself and his more virulent anti-Iranian colleagues in the US foreign policy establishment to mere tactical disputes.
Like Obama earlier, I'm stunned and for the same reason. Even if Leverett really feels this way, I'm shocked that he is so detached from what to me are the immediately obvious ramifications of his words that he could just deliver them casually as he does here.