The prospect grows that Hosni Mubarak will step down, one way or another, and the military will take charge temporarily in Egypt. Then what?
Caroline Glick, one of the most sage observers of politics in the Middle East, writes in the Jerusalem Post that the U. S. policy (wobbly as it seems) may result in a much worse Egyptian government. Whatever the balance of feelings in the Cario demonstrations, the great majority of people in Egypt, Glick writes, are anti-US, anti-Israel and supportive of greater Islamic influence in government. Writes Glick:
"According to a Pew opinion survey of Egyptians from June 2010, 59 percent said they back Islamists. Only 27% said they back modernizers. Half of Egyptians support Hamas. Thirty percent support Hizbullah and 20% support al Qaida. Moreover, 95% of them would welcome Islamic influence over their politics. When this preference is translated into actual government policy, it is clear that the Islam they support is the al Qaida Salafist version.
"Eighty two percent of Egyptians support executing adulterers by stoning, 77% support whipping and cutting the hands off thieves. 84% support executing any Muslim who changes his religion."
Numbers like that have to give pause to all (small "d") democrats in America who think democracy will work out for the best in all situations. Our own nation's Founders enacted a constitution that protected minorities, divided power and made impulsive actions by government difficult. What chance does Egypt have of achieving such checks and balances?