Egypt Riots Put U.S. in a Bind

What does the domino effect of protests sweeping the Middle East from Egypt to Tunisia mean for U.S. policy? The U.S. has pushed for greater democracy and political participation throughout the Middle East, but, in the past, the U.S. has backed some authoritarian governments in the region to help combat terrorism. The latest unrest in Egypt—in which nearly 900 people were arrested in Cairo Wednesday—has prompted Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to urge restraint and reform, since the country’s government has been a close ally of the U.S. But not supporting the protesters is problematic for the U.S., which runs the risk of losing support of young Arabs involved in the rallies.