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Obama in Egypt: Realism at What Cost?
Obama in Egypt: Realism at What Cost?
In this past weekend’s New York Times, James Traub writes about the ideological tightrope President Obama must walk in his upcoming speech to the Muslim world in Cairo on Thursday.
Tuesday, June 2,2009 10:50
by Max pomed.org

In this past weekend’s New York Times, James Traub writes about the ideological tightrope President Obama must walk in his upcoming speech to the Muslim world in Cairo on Thursday. Obama has so-far managed to use the language of both “realists, who typically address the behavior of regimes, and of idealists, who…have sought to speak directly to the aspirations of ordinary citizens” in balancing strategic relations with less-democratic allies while sustaining hope for democratic reform.

But, Traub writes, “consensus-seeking has its limits.” While Obama administration accommodates Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak by removing conditionalities on reform from aid, he does not “want to be seen as the architect of a policy that gives a dictator free rein in exchange for strategic cooperation.” Traub closes with a comment by Tom Malinowski who, during a recent POMED symposium on democracy in Egypt, argued that the Obama administration is still struggling with how best to promote democracy, and has yet to find an answer.

 

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