Ideals versus Interests

Half the world has its eyes on Cairo at the moment, and there is every chance that this blog post will be overtaken by events. One aspect of the reporting which has fascinated me is the way in which it has shown the uneasy tension between the west’s ideals and interests. On the one hand, democracy is canonized; on the other, the west’s diplomatic and commercial interests seem paramount.

I’m not sure any western leader would really like to see a democratic Saudi Arabia (Osama bin Laden for President, anyone?) but it’s difficult to press purely selfish concerns in the light of what is happening in Egypt. Personally, I was much heartened by President Obama’s latest speech, in which he came down firmly on the side of his ideals. But he knows, as we all know, that if President Mubarak doesn’t go, he’s got to continue to work with him for many months. That is realpolitik, twenty-first century style.

To pray for our leaders, to pray for our governments, is no idle prayer.

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3 thoughts on “Ideals versus Interests”

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Ideals versus Interests « iBenedictines -- Topsy.com
  2. I am very wary of the West getting involved in other countries’ politics, particularly the US. All that talk about democracry from the White House is well and good, provided that whoever gets into power later is to the USA’s liking.
    Just think about Palestine. The US and others were calling for elections to fair and democratic, and it was, but Hamas won and suddenly, the West refuses to accept the results! Shambolic.

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