Democracy Promotion

DEMOCRACY PROMOTION….From the LA Times last night:

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice canceled an official visit to Cairo on Friday amid growing tensions between the United States and Egypt over what the Bush administration views as Egypt’s resistance to democratic reform.

….In an interview this week, Egypt’s ambassador to the U.S., Nabil Fahmy, said he believed that the U.S.-Egyptian relationship would remain strong. But he said he was concerned that the administration’s criticism of Egypt was hurting Americans’ view of his country, as well as Egyptians’ view of the U.S. government.

“In Egypt, the effect has not been useful. People don’t like interference by anybody,” he said.

Not useful? Here’s the New York Times 12 hours later:

President Hosni Mubarak asked Egypt’s Parliament on Saturday to amend the Constitution to allow for direct, multiparty presidential elections later this year for the first time in the nation’s history.

The devil is in the details, of course, and this might turn out to be mostly window dressing in the end. But as a frequent critic of the administration’s sincerity about democracy promotion, let me say that their conduct over the past couple of months has been better than I imagined it would be. Baby steps, to be sure, but hopeful ones. I hope they keep it up.

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