During his speech at CPAC Friday, Rep. Ron Paul declared that the US “propped up” Egyptian president Mubarak and, essentially, blamed the United States for his dictatorship. I’d like to put the question to Dr. Paul, what should the United States have done during the Cold War? That is when our alliance with Egypt developed, and it developed largely in response to the threat posed by the USSR. The Soviet Union posed an ideological and existential threat to the very liberties that Ron Paul rightly supports. Egypt was among the pivotal nations in a vital region of the world, and flirted with both superpowers. Mubarak himself actually trained for a couple of years with the Soviet military, but you never hear much about that from Paul or any other critic of US foreign policy. Egypt did what it did largely to get the best deal it could get from the Cold War combatants, while maintaining as much of its own autonomy as it could. A side benefit of Egypt’s alliance with the US was that, over time, it became less hostile to neighboring Israel, which translated into relative stability and actual peace. And while Egypt has had a far from perfect government, it has consistently fought against jihadists, which is not true of most of its neighboring states.
Given the realities of the Cold War and later the war on terrorism, the roots of which date back to 1928 at least in the modern context, and given the fact that Paul blames the United States for “propping up” Mubarak and, before him, Sadat, what would a President Ron Paul have done had he led the nation during the Cold War?
I think he would have ended up “propping up” Mubarak just like his predecessors did. Reality has a funny way of forcing one’s hand sometimes.