Tom Foreman | BIO
Reporter's Note: President Obama played a role in helping end the rule of Egypt’s President Mubarak. The question is: What comes next? I mean…other than another letter from me.
Dear Mr. President,
So the deal is finally done in Egypt. President Mubarak is finished. The protesters are thrilled, and the populace must be breathing a sigh of relief over the standoff finally ending.
And for a great many folks there must now be a sense that they have arrived at their goal.
I’m not so sure about that. It’s kind of like tearing down an old, derelict building that is riddled with rot, a leaky roof, and infested with vermin. There is, of course, a sense of accomplishment when the final sledgehammer blow sends the last post splintering to the ground.
It’s a good time to grab a cold beverage, sit down for moment, and catch your breath. But in truth, the real work is just beginning at that point. We have heard a great deal about the desires of Egyptians to get rid of their long time leader…or ruler, depending on your political point of view. We have heard a lot less on who or what will take his place in the long run.
Tearing things down, even longstanding, intractable institutions, is comparatively easy compared to building up effective alternatives. And Egypt is going to need a lot of building up. The challenge facing all those eager opponents now is much greater than it was a few days ago. Now, rather than opposing one foe, they must unite to engage an entire army of problems: infrastructure, unemployment, income inequality, tourism, international relations.
Hey, you know how hard it is. You came into office on the same kind of promise to remake the country, and I don’t think I’m being unkind to say that you have found it to be a massive challenge. And that’s in a country which, by comparison, at least the tools of reform and rebuilding were in place.
So we’ve seen what the demolition crews can do in Egypt. Now we need to see their blueprints for building.
Hope all is well. Call if you can.
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