If Hosni Mubarak is a crooked card dealer guaranteed to stiff anyone who plays at his table, most conservatives’ reaction to the events unfolding in Egypt has been to throw their support to the house rather than pro-Western Egyptian protestors, simply because the latter might not win the game against the Muslim Brotherhood.
In the early 1990s, when the U.S.S.R. disintegrated and Soviet provinces began deposing their Communist overlords and electing pro-reform leaders, I must have missed the barrage of sworn affidavits from fringe groups in every Eastern European state promising they would never attempt to form voting blocs that would influence their nations’ parliaments.
I don’t recall President Reagan speaking out against demoralized Eastern bloc peoples who yearned to breathe free, telling them to zip their lips, stay home, and put up with political oppression, because neo-Communist groups might someday try to swoop in and fill the power vacuum.
The number of conservatives who have been getting it wrong, and liberals who have been getting it right, on Egypt is embarrassing.
Mark Levin claims that the Eastern European revolutions were different, because those nations had a “tradition” of democracy before they were enslaved by Communists. Oh? So no nation can become democratic unless it was democratic at some point in the first place? Doesn’t that preclude half the world from ever becoming democratic?
When did the political party that won the Cold War decide it would be prudent to wave the white hankie and let monsters—I mean sweet, dear friends of the U.S.—like Mubarak stay in power over the wishes of their subjects?
If Mubarak were to stay in office, as most on the right are demanding, he would be unlikely to unilaterally meet protestors’ demands to institute freedom of the press and assembly, release hundreds of incarcerated political prisoners, and revoke the never-ending so-called emergency laws that give the Egyptian government perpetual unchecked power to crack down on anyone deemed a threat to its rule.
But a new leader—even Mubarak’s recently named vice president, Omar Suleiman—would have a plausible excuse to implement new policies, and the changing of the guard would allow Mubarak to save face. Such pro-liberty developments would be especially likely if buttressed by the support of Egypt’s armed forces, which have pledged not to fire on the Egyptian people and have so far come down firmly on the side of the anti-Mubarak protestors.
Mubarak may be the new Iranian Shah of 1979, and President Barack Obama may be the new President Jimmy Carter, but that doesn’t mean the Muslim Brotherhood is  the new Ayatollah Khomeini.
The Muslim Brotherhood, evil as it is, has 100,000 supporters in a country of 80 million, about .1% of the population. Recoiling in mortal terror over the possibility of the Brotherhood managing to take over Egypt is like worrying that the Natural Law Party will win the U.S. presidential election and force everyone to practice transcendental meditation.
Even if the Brotherhood is better organized than most other political groups in Egypt, the bad example of Carter supporting the toppling of the Shah only to let him be replaced by the Ayatollah serves as a valuable warning that the West cannot let just anyone take Mubarak’s place.
As I wrote  last week, the problem with our administration’s reaction to the turmoil in Egypt isn’t that Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are doing too much—it’s that they’re doing too little. They should not only encourage this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring down a dictator, but work with regional players, pro-Western dissident groups in Egypt, and opposition leaders (excluding the treacherous Mohamed ElBaradei) to ensure that power is transferred to the right people after Mubarak goes. They should be threatening to freeze military aid and withhold recognition of any new Egyptian government that does not meet certain preconditions  such as honoring Egypt’s existing peace agreement with Israel.
No one agrees more than I that neither Egypt nor any Middle Eastern country would be safe with anything like the Muslim Brotherhood or any other faux-moderate, terrorism-supporting, Sharia-loving group close to the reins of power. The fact that Obama would even speak to members of such an organization other than to tell them to get the hell out of the way is a deep, disfiguring scar on his foreign policy.
But when you’re playing a high-stakes game like regime change, sometimes you have to roll the dice and take a risk ; you can’t always guarantee the outcome. The Right should man up, encourage pro-Western forces to exert their utmost influence on Egypt, and stop lecturing Egyptians to accept the status quo of tyranny and terror.
Conservatives would do well to remember these words  from George W. Bush’s second inaugural address: “The great objective of ending tyranny is the concentrated work of generations. The difficulty of the task is no excuse for avoiding it. America’s influence is not unlimited, but fortunately for the oppressed, America’s influence is considerable, and we will use it confidently in freedom’s cause.”