What Would a Post-Mubarak Egypt Look Like?

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As Egyptian protesters plan for a "march of millions" in Cairo tomorrow, the U.S. has begun aligning itself with the demonstrators, calling for an "orderly transition" from President Hosni Mubarak's three-decade reign to a more representative interim government. "It needs to be done immediately, with a process that brings people to the table, and that the Egyptian people can see," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Sunday on CNN.

So with the proverbial vultures swirling above Mubarak's head, the question now is what Egypt will look like without him. Here's what pundits are saying:

  • Egypt Has Two Paths  "The Egyptian upheaval could be an important turning point in world history," writes Walter Russell Mead at Politico. "The consolidation of a reasonably moderate and democratic government in the cultural capital of the Arab world could put the region, and the world, on the road to a more durable peace. A radical victory could drive a wedge not only between Israel and the Arab world, but deepen the divide between the West and the whole Islamic world."
  • Don't Expect a Friendly U.S. Ally  "When the dust settles Egyptians will be taking stock of the Mubarak period and the relationship with Washington is not likely to be a bright spot," writes Steven Cook at The Daily Beast. "To be sure, the United States has contributed mightily to Egypt’s development in everything from road building and rural electrification to health care. Still, there are many Egyptians who believe that the strategic alignment with Washington has warped Egyptian foreign policy and, as a consequence, undermined Cairo’s traditional regional influence."
  • Fear Not the Muslim Brotherhood, writes Bassma Kodmani at Financial Times:

Leaders in Cairo and Washington worry about Islamists taking over. Yet it seems the Brotherhood was as surprised by the uprising as the government and opposition, while its leadership has been slow to read the new politics of Egypt. They have been reluctant to fall in behind the social movements that have mushroomed across the country, and are now divided over strategy. Their younger members are also frustrated with the movement’s ageing leaders – a picture that replicates exactly the structure of the regime they seek to overturn. A weakened, fractured Brotherhood should present no mortal threat to Egypt’s future.

  • We Simply Don't Know What Will Happen "History makes fools of us all," writes Ross Douthat at The New York Times. "We make deals with dictators, and reap the whirlwind of terrorism. We promote democracy, and watch Islamists gain power from Iraq to Palestine. We leap into humanitarian interventions, and get bloodied in Somalia. We stay out, and watch genocide engulf Rwanda. We intervene in Afghanistan and then depart, and watch the Taliban take over. We intervene in Afghanistan and stay, and end up trapped there, with no end in sight. Sooner or later, the theories always fail. The world is too complicated for them."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.