“Egyptian President Mubarak’s decision to step aside was the right thing to do. I hope his resignation allows healing to begin and Egypt to move toward free, open, and transparent democratic elections.
“The Egyptian military, the most respected institution within the country, has an obligation to help ensure democratic transformation occurs in an orderly and peaceful fashion. When it comes to forming an Egyptian democracy, we must keep in mind the basic institutions of democracy are virtually non-existent right now. There is much work to be done in forming viable political parties and the basic foundations of democratic institutions. It will take them time to build capacity. And from the United States perspective, it is in our own national security interests to assist them, where appropriate, in the forming of democratic institutions and a civil society.
“I do believe the Egyptian people have taken to the streets to embrace freedom, not radical Islam. I fear that a quick, rushed election could end up empowering the most radical elements in Egyptian society.
“Finally, one of the lessons to learn from these recent events shows us how vital it is to build effective communications and relationships throughout the world. For the past 30 years we have spent American tax dollars to build relationships between the United States and Egyptian military. This long relationship bore at least some measure of fruit during the recent crisis when the Egyptian military remained loyal to the people of Egypt – not its ruler. This should serve as both a reminder and an example of why the United States must always resist the temptation to disengage from the world.”