Egypt upheaval will test American policy, and QU should care about it

By on February 23, 2011

News headlines of late are dominated by the political upheaval in places like Tunisia and Egypt. Even so in Bahrain, Iran, and Jordan. Stories like the of New York Rep. Christopher Lee have gone a bit by the wayside (unless you’ve watched Jon Stewart lately, as he does not let these kinds of things go). Even with all of this media attention, many of my peers (outside of my minor in Middle Eastern Studies) seem to care little about the outcome in these countries. The most conversation I hear is “Wow, you see that stuff going on in Egypt? Crazy stuff, man. Crazy stuff.” Let me tell you why you should care.

As I see it there are two main reasons it should be a topic of interest to Quinnipiac students. One, as American citizens it is important to see our role in the world. A regime change with one of our few allies in the region is sure to pose some serious policy questions. There was a dictator who oppressed his people, gave too few job opportunities to his young population, and swindled the country out of millions upon millions of dollars. Now there is a power vacuum in the country, which can result in a democratically elected party (possibly the Muslim Brotherhood) with whom the United States is not keen on dealing. Would we rather deal with a malevolent dictator who listens to us, or a democratically elected leader with whom we do not see eye to eye? We are supposed to be the purveyors of democracy around the world, so our answer may not look too flattering to the world at large.

Would we rather deal with a malevolent dictator who listens to us, or a democratically elected leader with whom we do not see eye to eye?

The second reason lies in the roots of the protests in Egypt. It was the youth. Young and talented people without jobs who were sick and tired of a lack of future. Hosni Mubarak, the former Egyptian president, was in power for 30 years. That is longer than many of the people protesting have been alive. The people were sick of the way things were, so they took to the streets to riot in a mostly peaceful way. On a campus accused of having apathy running rampant, a cue or two may be able to be taken from the young Egyptians.

That is not to say there should be protests on the Quad. There are plenty of things we see that are wrong with our little community Dining options at North Haven are severely lacking. AT&T barely gets service at York Hill. Security patrols our hallways instead of the perimeters of campus. On-campus food prices are too high and choices too low. Get in touch with the Student Awareness Committee of SGA, and do something about these things on campus. Participate in the Big Event (April 9). Do something in our community.

Comments

About Jeremy Stull

Opinion Editor
Email: opinion@quchronicle.com
Twitter: @jpstull
Year: 2012
Major: History
Hometown: Lehman, Pa.
Dream Job: President of the United States Soccer Federation

2 Comments

  1. Ronnie

    February 23, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    OK then but what if the Muslim Brotherhood becomes a dictatorship? I’d still rather deal with a friendly dictatorship than an enemy dictatorship, bound to be much more repressive than Mubarak. This happened in Iran in 1979 and Russia in 1917, you know.

  2. Jeremy Stull

    February 24, 2011 at 11:06 am

    As this is an opinion article, I feel like a dialogue including the author is applicable. So…
    Thats why I said it poses a difficult policy question. Right now the Muslim Brotherhood garners support less than 3% in most polls (as much as you cna beleive things like that). The White House must pressure the Egpytian army to hold true to democratic principles and establish a legitimate governmental system. So far the army has been the only state institution doing any good. What seems even more intriguing is the lack of US support for other movements across the region. There is no backing of any movement for true democracy until a clear outcome has been established. Even in Egpyt, President Obama’s remarks always included some qualifiers.

    The point of this article was not solely the problem it poses for US policy, although I do appreciate the conversation. The point was that the movement was young people, including underrepresented Christains and women, doing somehting truly historic and extraordinary. Even our British University counterparts are more revolutionary than us. check out the NUS protests in London from this fall. I just want people to get up and say something. You dont even have to do something, literally just speak your mind.