The chimera of stability

However one views Hosni Mubarak, can anyone in their right mind still hold on to the idea that he is an anchor of stability?

Haaretz reports:

Israel called on the United States and a number of European countries over the weekend to curb their criticism of President Hosni Mubarak to preserve stability in the region.

Jerusalem seeks to convince its allies that it is in the West’s interest to maintain the stability of the Egyptian regime. The diplomatic measures came after statements in Western capitals implying that the United States and European Union supported Mubarak’s ouster.

Israeli officials are keeping a low profile on the events in Egypt, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu even ordering cabinet members to avoid commenting publicly on the issue.

Senior Israeli officials, however, said that on Saturday night the Foreign Ministry issued a directive to around a dozen key embassies in the United States, Canada, China, Russia and several European countries. The ambassadors were told to stress to their host countries the importance of Egypt’s stability. In a special cable, they were told to get this word out as soon as possible.

Stability is of course a political cypher — like moderate — a term far removed from its literal meaning.

When Israelis and Americans refer to Mubarak’s capacity to maintain stability, they are simply referring to his willingness to implement policies that serve Israeli and American interests. He’s been useful. And the fact that calls are now being issued from Western capitals making it clear that now is the time for him to step aside, have less to do with support for the democratic aspirations of the Egyptian people than the fact that Mubarak has clearly suddenly lost his utility.

Still, if the US and its allies have provided a less than spirited defense of democracy, this does not mean that whatever government eventually replaces the Mubarak regime will be a Western-approved government. Mubark’s rule and his departure reflect the limits of Western power, while those who see an American imperial hand shaping all events are in varying degrees victims of the most disabling political mindset — one born from surplus powerlessness.

What Mubarak demonstrates is that stability is not a function of the power to exercise control, but on the contrary the ability to adapt. In a world in flux, adaptation is the key to survival. Stasis is not stability — indeed the longer change remains frozen, the more violent the subsequent rupture.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

8 thoughts on “The chimera of stability

  1. delia ruhe

    This is not good news for Egypt, given that Israel gets what it wants. Period. Watch for Obama and Hillary to climb down from yesterday’s statement.

  2. Paul Woodward

    I do believe that those who were convinced “we” can’t afford to lose Mubarak are in a rapidly dwindling minority as most now recognize “we” can’t afford him to stay. Every effort he makes to retain his grip on power prolongs a period of uncertainty that is rapidly having dire economic repercussions. At the end of the day I think money has an even louder voice than Israel. I could of course turn out to be wrong. We’ll see.

  3. Vince J.

    The War Criminal Hillary Clinton call Honduras’ military coup a “Democracy”… God knows what they mean when they say ” Stability…

  4. Norman

    I think Paul is right as far as a dwindling minority goes, also that money is a prime mover. As long as the scene remains relatively peaceful, then the Egyptian People will prevail. As for Israel, well, they are the ones pushing buttons, so as the old saying goes, you reap what you sow, it would serve them right to find that they don’t hold the cards they thought they had. To bad that they can’t see the handwriting on the wall. Arrogance always has its limits and this time it seems that limit has been overshot. Just hope they don’t start throwing those bombs around.

  5. dickerson3870

    Egypt, 2011: “Stability…stability…stability!”
    Lebanon, 2006: “A durable peace…a durable peace…a durable peace!”

  6. scott

    Reports on Marketplace are discussing the interruptions of banking services and trade, meaning food shortages. This is another tool of gov’t to assert it’s control, and this is genius in that they can declare they were assaulted by over eager youth who got carried away. But, they don’t have any answers, and at the end of the day, it takes grown ups to run a country, keep banks open and ensure proper operation of the nations food distribution. This could go either way, they might heel or they might go ballistic.

    There’s another self inflicted wound here. It is Western financial speculation, irresponsible federal subsides and the conversion of food into fuel that have driven up food and commodities prices. As I noted, the two states showing the most instability Egypt and Tunisia are resource poor and tourism based. Well, Western tourism is off and they have no buffer against the commodities spikes. I would carry this off to predict what nations are most likely to suffer in this region; Lebanon, Jordan and Morocco come to mind, each rely on tourism and Western largess. “Foreign aid” was the top item on the chopping block for over 75% of respondents, so political cowardice means that Western support will fall for these countries, as recessions strain their economies, their largess and tourism dollars too will diminish. The strains on the commodities markets could break these countries, or utterly break NATO. We’ve focused too much on the impact of Twitter and Wikileaks on these revolutions; what we’ve failed to consider is their reaction on us, and Europeans. Again, reflect again on budget constraints, and as they cut into sinew and into the bones of social programs, I assure you voters WILL consider this foreign adventurism and perverted policy.

Comments are closed.