I tend to side with Abu Muquama and others who think it's kind of dumb for Americans who don't speak Arabic, haven't lived in Egypt, etc. etc. to act like they have even one clue about what's really going on there.
....buuuuut, I do think it's more than appropriate for the amateur commentariat to try and figure out what our interests are, and what are the best positions - given the lack of clarity about what's going on - to defend and extend our interests.
So what are our interests in Egypt (and in Tunisia, and Yemen, Syria, and Jordan)?
Well, it seems like we have three core interests:
1) Protecting the lives of the people in the region; anything that is likely to lead to widespread war - either among Arabs or between Arabs and Jews - is pretty safely a Bad Thing. Especially since the Jews are likely, if pressed too hard, to take things to a level where all bets will be off.
One reason why it's a bad idea to abandon Israel, is that the Israelis, feeling abandoned, may act less moderately, not more so (that's ignoring the equities and moral issues between the two sides for the moment). Note that this also explains our absurd behavior toward Pakistan.
2) Protecting the world economy; if Middle Eastern oil is unshippable, of the powers in the Middle east decide not to ship it for a bit, things will get quite dodgy everywhere else in the world.
3) Keeping the crazy Islamists out of power; if we stipulate that there is a fundamentalist Islamist movement within Islam, and that that movement has significant ambitions to power both in the Arab world and the West, it's safe to say that keeping them out of power is a good thing. This brings up the crux question which is are the Muslim Brotherhood part of that group or not? Here we have Marc Lynch on one side and Robert Spencer on the other. A whole lot is going to depend on which one of them is right in the next year or two.
What do you all think?