The people of Egypt should be trusted to choose their own leaders
The Observer, Sunday 6 February 2011
"......The events of the past few weeks demand an end to that approach. The policy of supporting governments that scorn democracy is a dead end. It makes a hypocrisy of western claims to support the aspirations of ordinary people. It alienates opposition movements, non-governmental organisations and civil society leaders who are the best hope for transition to more stable, plural politics in the region.
A clear-sighted appraisal of western interests in the Middle East would reveal that the choice between the idealism and realpolitik is a false one. Putting trust in leaders such as Hosni Mubarak is not a mark of strategic caution, but a reckless gamble and a guarantee of future instability. Trusting people to choose their own leaders in free elections is also something of a gamble. But that approach has a better chance of preserving the west's moral authority and retaining some popular goodwill in the Arab world. Those are far more reliable guarantors of stability and security."