By Wayne Allyn Root, Former Libertarian Vice Presidential Nominee and Best-Selling Author
On Thursday Egyptian President Mubarak turned a crisis into a tragedy. His disastrous decision not to resign could very well lead to the end of Egypt as we know it and will almost certainly lead to Egypt burning. Mubarak is so tone deaf that he stoked the flames of the anti-Mubarak revolution. Now there is no way for this to end peacefully. This Egyptian crisis is now all but fated to end in tragedy.
Mubarak’s right move was obvious. In order to end the crisis, clear the square, stop the protests and fighting, and return his nation to normalcy, Mubarak had only to announce his immediate resignation, hand the country to his hand-picked successor, put the army in charge of security, and announce a transition plan to allow multi-party elections in September. Mubarak could have told the protestors that they won and now it’s time to go home, go back to work, and get our country (and economy) running again. Unfortunately, the massive ego of a tyrant just wouldn’t allow it. To the bitter end he had to have the last word, even if it causes massive bloodshed and chaos, and leads to Egypt falling into the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Would anything have changed for the people of Egypt if Mubarak had resigned, but handed the keys to the country to the army, and his hand-picked successor? Probably very little, at least right away. Life would have returned to normal, business would have resumed, and tourism would one day (but not very soon) return. But the fact is, it would have allowed the protesters to save face and feel they had accomplished something historic: forced out a 30-year General and Dictator from a Middle Eastern nation, and opened the door to more freedom for themselves and their children.
But Mubarak just couldn’t get out of the way of his own ego. He couldn’t let the protesters in that Cairo square save face. He couldn’t give them even a small victory. That’s how it is with tyrants — it’s all or nothing. Mubarak has decided to go down with the ship. What comes next will not be pretty.What is so sad is that Mubarak’s decision hurts those that supported him- business owners, moderates, the army, anyone not interested in seeing Egypt fall into chaos and quite possibly the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Now we all watch a possible tragedy unfold. The protestors cannot back down now. They know to back down means Mubarak will arrest, imprison and torture all of them that the secret police can find. To leave the square in Cairo and disperse with Mubarak still in control is a non-starter. It’s either fight the revolution together, or die separately. That is their only next move.
The fear now is that Egypt will turn to the worst possible option — the Muslim Brotherhood. Mubarak could have ended his 30-year reign quietly and moved on with his legacy slightly intact. If he really cared about Eqypt, he could have paved the way toward a peaceful transition. But his ego would not allow it.
Now America can only watch and wait. In the end, none of it is our business. It is all proof of why we should never take sides in the first place. Never send billions to tin pot dictators — even friendly ones. Never send billions in sophisticated military equipment to tyrants. Because all of it can and will eventually be used against us. It is time to let the Egyptian people determine their own fate. I’m just scared and sickened at the thought of what we are about to watch happen.
Wayne Allyn Root is a former Libertarian Vice Presidential nominee. He now serves as Chairman of the Libertarian National Congressional Committee. He is the best-selling author of “The Conscience of a Libertarian: Empowering the Citizen Revolution with God, Guns, Gold & Tax Cuts.” His web site: www.ROOTforAmerica.com