A Facebook acquaintance mentioned how it's pretty miserable that the West has refused to take a firm stand on Egypt.
What would we have the West do, though? The worst thing we could possibly do is send in troops or something like that. A declaration of unequivocal support for the protesters would certainly be a great gesture, but there is the obvious problem that a)unlike Tunisia, the old leadership has not actually been driven out of the country, and b)it does not seem like the protesters have an organized leadership structure of their own that the West can recognize.
Economic sanctions against Mubarak's regime - like the Lukashenko travel ban and asset seizure - are probably the most viable active measures Europe can take at the moment.
The consideration that the Mubarak regime is more or less secular and the protesters' emergent ringleaders are fervent Muslims is not necessarily a deterrent for European support. It would be useful for Europe to show that it stands not against Islam, but against fundamentalism, zealotry and oppression; that it is willing to back a moderate, progressive force that uses Islam as its uniting ideology. Such a force, backed by Europe and therefore forced to adopt a large chunk of European values, would certainly be a great (additional) precedent in the region.
More than anything else, though - and I'm saying this as a New European from the Baltics - Egypt needs to complete its revolution without outside interference. Without either the West or the rest of the Middle East getting involved. However flawed the next regime is, however much of an improvement or a regression it may turn out to be, the people of Egypt need to own it. They need to see that they can affect their own destiny, so that even if they get it wrong this time, they will be inspired to try again.
A short note on Bloomsbury
2 days ago