Sunday, January 30, 2011

Woody Hayes, Hosni Mubarak and the Future of Egypt

Legendary Ohio State football coach Woody Hayes famously said, "There are three things that can happen when you pass the ball, and two of them are bad."

The same might be said for the imminent demise of the dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt. Egypt may emerge as (1) an anti-American and anti-Israeli Islamist state under the control of the Muslim Brotherhood, which repudiates the 1979 Israel-Egypt peace treaty; (2) an anti-American and anti-Israeli secular democratic state with a strong Islamist influence, which repudiates the 1979 Israel-Egypt peace treaty; or (3) a secular democratic state that embraces the West and maintins peace with Israel. Unfortunately, the last alternative appears to me to be the least likely.

College football, even at Ohio State, evolved past the "three yards and a cloud of dust" offensive philosophy of Woody Hayes. The great Ohio State teams of recent years have fully embraced the forward pass.

Likewise, the United States and Israel cannot expect that Egypt and the rest of the Arab world will remain under the rule of pro-American but corrupt dictators who ruthlessly suppress dissent while the economic well-being of their peoples slips ever lower. The Egyptian people insist on democracy and freedom now, even if like Iran they may surrender their democracy to Islamist authoritarianism after a single election. All one can do is watch and hope and pray for the best. God has a plan and it is in his hands.


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