chapter  8
15 Pages

Mugged by reality: Democracy promotion and Egyptian political reform during the Bush era, and the options for President Obama

WithPresident Obama ROBERT BOWKER

The first decade of the twenty-first century saw two remarkable expressions of American values to Arab audiences. Both speeches were made in Cairo. In June 2005 US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called on President Hosni Mubarak to lead Egypt and the region toward the establishment of constitutional and liberal democracy.1 The ‘objective standards’ that she urged Egypt to meet were not fulfilled, however, during the course of the George W. Bush presidency. The second speech, which was delivered by President Barack Obama in June 2009, envisaged a ‘new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world . . . based on mutual interest and mutual respect’. On the issue of democracy, Obama noted that each nation would ‘reflect the will of the people . . . in its own way, grounded in the traditions of its own people’. But Obama affirmed that all people,

yearn[ed] for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and that doesn’t steal from the people; the freedom to live as you choose.2