"May you live in interesting times."
Egypt is living out this ancient Chinese curse as thousands have taken to the streets to protest, confront government forces, and/or loot. People on the outside have a difficult time making out precisely what they stand for, although it is easy to see that they are definitely against the current president Hosni Mubarek. Counter demonstrations have zealously supported Mubrake and his administration which has generally been non hostile to Israel and the United States while strongly opposing Islamofascist terrorism. That being said, under his governance, there has been corruption and the suppression of democracy.
If this falls into a real revolution, it could follow a pattern set for hundreds of years. Moderates take control first with the desire to right the wrongs of the old regime. They are quickly shoved aside by ruthless radicals whose aim is power and control. They will shed blood and lives to get what they want. Radical Puritans in Britain in the 1600s, France in the 1700s, Russia in the 1900s are the most well-known examples. We must watch for the same pattern here.
If radicals do seize power in Cairo, we must be ready. A coalition of countries led by the United States, but including African and Asian countries must be ready to seize the Suez Canal and place it under international control. Not United Nations control, but a temporary trusteeship. India, South Africa, and other non traditional powers should be party to this, but ready to move quickly if Islamofascists gain control of Egypt.
This is dangerous and could spread quickly. Where was our president at the beginning? A star studded party. Where is our Secretary of State?
We need the experienced hand of a Condoleeza Rice right now. Or a George H. W. Bush. Obama is once again in over his head and needs to ask for experienced help to try and prevent the worst from happening.