Years of supporting Israel against the Palestinians have taken their toll on Egyptian views of the United States. We are not popular there. A democratically elected Egyptian government would likely have less friendly relations with both the US and Israel.
For three decades, Mubarak has maintained a steadfast alliance with the United States (lubricated by about $1.5 billion in annual aid) and presided over a cold-but-durable peace with Israel. Yet, Egyptian public opinion is overwhelmingly hostile toward both countries. In Pew’s 2010 global survey, just 17 percent of Egyptians expressed a favorable view of the United States; that tied with Pakistan and Turkey for the lowest rating the U.S. received in any of the 21 countries tested. Nearly three-fourths of Egyptians said they opposed U.S. antiterrorism efforts, and four-fifths wanted the U.S. to withdraw from Afghanistan.
Egyptian attitudes toward Israel are even chillier, despite the landmark 1979 peace treaty. In a 2007 Pew survey, a stunning 80 percent of Egyptians said that the needs of the Palestinian people could never be met as long as Israel exists; just 18 percent said that the two societies could coexist fairly. That was far more pessimistic than the results in Turkey and Lebanon—and essentially no different than the attitude among the Palestinians themselves. “Of all the countries in the Middle East,” Walker says, “the population of Egypt is the most hostile to Israel.”
So, hey, give them the vote. Let them express their hostility thru the ballot box. What could go wrong?
With Egypt's growing population and declining Egyptian oil production the government's continued ability to subsidize food and fuel purchases for its poor seems in doubt. Since half the population lives on under $2 per day or less a failure of the Egyptian government to keep food prices low could easily spark a large scale revolt.
That is Mubarak's Egypt, where about half the population lives on $2 a day or less, and walled compounds with green lawns and swimming pools and names like Swan Lake spring up outside cities. It is a place where those with money have built a parallel world of private schools and exclusive clubs, leaving the rundown cities to the poor.
Egypt's troubles will continue and become more severe regardless of whether a faction of the current elite stays in power or elections sweep an Islamic party into power.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2011 February 06 11:27 PM Mideast Poverty|