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Opinion: Op-Eds

The thousand-year thaw in Egypt

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Op-Eds,President,Secretary of Defense,Egypt,Foreign Aid,Analysis,Pentagon,Military Budget,Islamic Jihad

Once again, the people of Egypt have defied the world's expectations and done something courageous, beautiful and wholly democratic. They've taken to the streets, literally by the millions. and demanded a government that truly represents them.

And once again, Egypt's army, which is more and more looking like George Washington's army, have made it clear, they won't support any political solution that doesn't make the people happy.

This isn't a spring; it's the thawing of a thousand-year winter. Over and over, we've had to hear one pundit after another, all of them dead wrong, postulate on what the U.S. needs to do to ensure our safety from the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, never even mentioning what this revolution means to those people in the streets.

This is the Egyptian people's 1776. This is the moment they have chosen to say: It's our government and we want it to listen to us, to respect our rights, not just to change so bread is a little cheaper, or to clean up the years of corruption and control they have endured and suffered under.

They don't want to be controlled by the old regime, the Muslim Brotherhood, or anyone who wants to make the peoples' power temporary or even controllable. They want a say in their laws and leaders and they are determined to get it.

We fought a revolution ourselves to win these rights and a bloody Civil War to extend it to all our people. So far, the military in Egypt has been behind the people and our president needs to do everything possible to keep it that way.

President Obama has been late, indecisive, even vacillating back and forth at critical times. That needs to stop. Our president, the leader who speaks for the freest people on the planet, needs to do three things immediately, and if he does them well, he won't need to do anymore.

The first thing he needs to do is communicate openly with the Egyptian military that their decisions have been correct, fair, in the interest of the people, and that he is grateful to them for this. Military aid to this group should continue to be assured. They've earned it.

The second thing he needs to do is take the record wheat and corn crop we've experienced this year — and make it clear to the military that we will make up for the five million tons of wheat they didn't grow this year, a crop failure that is due largely to the mismanagement of the farming sector under the incompetence of the Muslim Brotherhood.

If we make it clear to the Egyptian army that as long as they continue to allow democratic institutions to grow and rise, the people will not starve, the army won't be forced to make hard choices that threaten the U.S. in our worldwide battle with jihad.

Finally, and most importantly, he needs to make a statement about what constitutes the U.S government's core position on all foreign government composition. Specifically, that we don't oppose regime change, provided the civil rights of the people are respected and that the people continue to have a chance to change again, if they need one.

The Muslim Brotherhood is not a threat to the United States any more than the Muslim religion is. The stripping of any people, anywhere, of their basic, inalienable civil rights, is.

Karl Spain is the former president and publisher of The Journal Newspapers.

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