Martian Talking Heads on Egypt

February 2, 2011

In News

American response to uprising in Egypt shows Washington has no qualms about ‘dropping’ long time ally. Is Israel in danger of receiving similar treatment? Experts say ‘possibility always exists,’ recommend strengthening relations with India, China

The United States sided with protesters over the weekend, threatening to stop aid to Egypt if President Hosni Mubarak does not promote reforms in the country. Washington also added that the Egyptian public’s grievances require an immediate response from the government

“The possibility of being abandoned over interests is always possible,” says Hebrew University Professor Michal Pomerantz, an expert on international law and US foreign policy.

American Pressure

According to Pomerantz, “The United States is not completely committed to a state, and what happened in Egypt as well as in Iran – with which it had such close relations at one point, that Carter was considering transferring it nuclear technology – proves that it is always possible, especially when there are changes in the administration, as has happened in the United States.”

However, the Hebrew University professor emphasized that such a scenario is still far from becoming a reality.

Prof. Pomerantz notes the United States must decide what is worse – the current situation, in which there is no real democracy in Egypt, or the possible outcomes. “Not only the local population will suffer, but also the United States’ interests and of course its neighbor Israel,” she claims.

In a conversation with Ynet, Prof. Eytan Gilboa, an expert on US policy from Bar Ilan University, recommended to take precautionary measures and “think over” our relations with Washington, despite the support in congress and positive public opinion.

‘Obama stabbed Mubarak in back’

According to Prof. Gilboa, Barack Obama stabbed Mubarak in the back and has already turned his back on Israel once, and therefore we must “take a good look into the future. We must develop our foreign relations with the rising powers – India, with whom we already have military cooperation, and China. However, we must also focus on improving our complex relations with Europe,” he added.

Obama is working tirelessly to spread democracy, and is leading the Egyptians toward a monarchy, claimed Prof. Gilboa. The implications, he warned, will also reach Israel.

“He’s doing what Carter did when he tried to meet with Khomeini. It happened also in Lebanon, when the Americans thought they would ‘expel the Syrians,’ and also in Gaza. These were all done under a wrong misconception, which eventually influences us,” he said.

“All of the United States’ Middle Eastern allies will have to think things over, and Israel loses here as well, because Iran will consider this as another Iranian victory, just like any other blow to the United States.

“Obama’s shortsightedness might change the world order by serving Iran’s interest – which is to change the regimes in the regional countries that are still moderate. Not to mention a situation in which there is a nuclear Iran, and the United States is completely out of the Middle East,” Prof. Gilboa noted.

However, Prof. Gilboa stressed that there is also some room for optimism. “We have a democracy, and our stocks may even rise in Washington because Israel is stable, and the only one that can be trusted in the Middle East.

“In addition, the American public opinion is on our side – some two thirds of the public supports Israel, and in the congress the biggest agreement is over issues revolving Israel,” he concluded.