In his Aug. 30 column, Newsmax editor Christopher Ruddy's praise for moves to get rid of Middle Eastern dictators is weirdly tempered by their supposedly good side.
Ruddy writes that while Egypt's Hosni Mubarak was corrupt, he was also a U.S ally:
At the time of the Cairo demonstrations, I praised President Barack Obama's decision to move against the Mubarak regime and push for his ouster. Since then, the developments in Egypt are worrisome and should create anxiety about what's next for Libya, Syria, and other Arab states, including Saudi Arabia.
We should not forget that Mubarak was, in fact, a staunch ally of the U.S. over three decades. He kept alive the Camp David peace accords signed by his predecessor, Anwar Sadat. The peace with Israel was a cold one, but real nonetheless. He also kept Islamic radicalism at bay.
Still, Mubarak, his family, and cronies were corrupt and his regime fell under its own weight after a popular uprising, and perhaps with a helpful push from the Obama administration.
Now, Mubarak, on his death bed, is being tried in a Cairo court, lying in a cage. This image of Mubarak in a cage seems a terrible symbol of what happens to leaders that befriend the United States and champion their interests.
Similarly, while Ruddy condemns Syria's Assad regime for crushing protests, it's mitigated by keeping the peace with Israel:
With Egypt and Libya cooked, the Obama administration appears anxious to overthrow the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad. But we need to ask again, Who replaces al-Assad?
Al-Assad is a dictator, but we should note several things. First, he and his father, have kept stability along the Syrian and Israeli border since war lasted erupted in 1973. It appears Syria has been anxious to modernize and even to be accepted by Western powers, but it has been rebuffed for several reasons.
Nevertheless, the al-Assad government’s recent efforts to crush civilian protesters should be universally condemned.
Al-Assad himself had been educated and trained as an ophthalmologist in England. The young al-Assad who took power in 2000 after the death of his father appeared to bring a whiff of fresh air into Syria.
Ruddy concludes: "The U.S. would be wise to go slow in demanding regime change, until we have a clear plan on who replaces the 'bad guys.'" Does Ruddy really think that support for the U.S. and their allies somehow make repressive dictators somehow less "bad"?