Larry Elder

How should the United States respond to the demonstrations against Egypt's president of three decades, Hosni Mubarak?

Scholars, experts and pundits disagree on what to do next, which group or leader to support. The fear is that the post-Mubarak regime could resemble Iran's Islamofascist "republic" after the fall of the Shah. No one really knows what will happen next.

The question is how -- or whether -- Islam can exist within an Egyptian government that is at peace with its neighbors and respects freedom, equal rights for women and religious minorities, and free market principles that build a prosperous society.

President George W. Bush and his supposedly disgraced "neocon" agenda argued that Islamofascism was a product of repressive Arab and Muslim governments and that our national security ultimately rests on the promotion and support of free, representational governments. He was right.

Bush knew that in a world of 1.2 billion Muslims, many believers of this so-called "religion of peace" support America's destruction and intend to work to achieve it. He also knew that we can't kill all Islamofascists. So terror-supporting governments must fall and be replaced by something akin to democracy -- based on the notion that free peoples tend not to invade each other.

Before going into Iraq, Bush delivered a speech in which he outlined the case for and the objectives of the Iraq War. "President Bush sketched an expansive vision last night of what he expects to accomplish by a war in Iraq," said the next day's New York Times editorial. "Instead of focusing on eliminating weapons of mass destruction, or reducing the threat of terror to the United States, Mr. Bush talked about establishing a 'free and peaceful Iraq' that would serve as a 'dramatic and inspiring example' to the entire Arab and Muslim world, provide a stabilizing influence in the Middle East and even help end the Arab-Israeli conflict."

Bush's then national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, met with Princeton professor and Middle East scholar Bernard Lewis, whom members of and advisers to the administration frequently cited for their war on terror strategy. Lewis wrote a short, profound book about the horrendous economic conditions and the stunted development in Arab and Muslim countries. He called the book "What Went Wrong?" Anti-Western hostility in the "Arab street," Lewis said, results from anger generated by their own governments' corruption and failed collectivist domestic policies, which cause high unemployment and widespread poverty. Egypt's per capita GDP in 2010 was $6,200, ranking it 137th out of 230 countries.


Larry Elder

Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit www.LarryElder.com.