MARK STEYN: AMERICA HAS SQUANDERED ITS OPPORTUNITY TO LEAD:
I’ve been alarmed by the latest polls. No, not from Iowa and New Hampshire, although they’re unnerving enough. It’s the polls from Egypt.
Foreign policy has not played a part in the U.S. presidential campaign, mainly because we’re so broke that the electorate seems minded to take the view that if government is going to throw trillions of dollars down the toilet they’d rather it was an Al Gore-compliant Kohler model in Des Moines or Poughkeepsie than an outhouse in Waziristan.
Alas, reality does not arrange its affairs quite so neatly, and the world that is arising in the second decade of the 21st century is increasingly inimical to American interests, and likely to prove even more expensive to boot. . . . The short 90-year history of independent Egypt is that it got worse. Mubarak’s Egypt was worse than King Farouk’s Egypt, and what follows from last week’s vote will be worse still. If you’re a westernized urban woman, a Coptic Christian, or an Israeli diplomat with the goons pounding the doors of your embassy, you already know that.
We made a mistake by not continuing the democracy-promotion in 2005, when people were afraid of us and we looked like the strong horse. Now, not so much.
UPDATE: Here’s something The Anchoress posted back in 2005 making the same observation.