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An Open Letter to President Barack Obama About Egypt

As political scientists, historians, and researchers in related fields who have studied the Middle East and US foreign policy, we the undersigned believe you have a chance to move beyond rhetoric to support the democratic movement sweeping over Egypt. As citizens, we expect our president to uphold those values.

For 30 years, our government has spent billions of dollars to help build and sustain the system the Egyptian people are now trying to dismantle. Tens if not hundreds of thousands of demonstrators in Egypt and around the world have spoken. We believe their message is bold and clear: Mubarak should resign from office and allow Egyptians to establish a new government free of his and his family’s influence. It is also clear to us that if you seek, as you said on Friday, “political, social, and economic reforms that meet the aspirations of the Egyptian people,” your administration should publicly acknowledge those reforms will not be advanced by Mubarak or any of his adjutants.

There is another lesson from this crisis, a lesson not for the Egyptian government but for our own. In order for the United States to stand with the Egyptian people it must approach Egypt through a framework of shared values and hopes, not the prism of geostrategy. On Friday you rightly said that “suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away.” For that reason we urge your administration to seize this chance, turn away from the policies that brought us here and embark on a new course toward peace, democracy and prosperity for the people of the Middle East. And we call on you to undertake a comprehensive review of US foreign policy with regard to the major grievances voiced by the democratic opposition in Egypt and all other societies of the region.


Jason Brownlee, University of Texas at Austin

Joshua Stacher, Kent State University

Tamir Moustafa, Simon Fraser University

Arang Keshavarzian, New York University

Clement Henry, University of Texas at Austin

Robert Springborg, Naval Postgraduate School

Jillian Schwedler, University of Massachusetts at Amherst

Noam Chomsky, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Chris Toensing, Middle East Research and Information Project

And over 100 other scholars

Artvoice reserves the right to edit letters for content and length. Shorter letters have a better chance at being published in their entirety. Please include your name, hometown, and contact number. E-mail letters to: or write to: Artvoice Letters, 810 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14202

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