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Take a Deep Breath, America

Author: Leslie H. Gelb, President Emeritus and Board Senior Fellow
June 18, 2012
Daily Beast

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Only American foreign-policy experts who know only "policy" and nothing about actual countries would dare to choose sides in Mideast killings and turmoil. Only such experts would dare to suggest U.S. military intervention as the solution. And they do. But to stare Mideast realities in the face is to understand that we don't understand where events are leading—save toward more conflict and more blood.

No one will really "win" the Egyptian presidential vote now being counted. If Hosni Mubarak's last prime minister, Ahmed Shafik, comes out on top, the Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi won't accept the results, and vice versa. In any event, whoever prevails, the military will retain control, at least for a while. On Sunday, the military issued a constitutional decree asserting the necessary authorities. As likely as not, turmoil will return to the streets, and this time, it probably won't be limited to Tahrir Square in Cairo. There could be prolonged unrest or much more. If Morsi prevails, the military will clamp down on him, and chaos is almost certain to erupt. In any event, Egyptian-Israeli relations will continue to worsen, and shootings can't be excluded.

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