THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING

Unrest in Tunisia, Egypt exposes inept US foreign policy

February 2, 2011

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ONCE AGAIN, our government has failed us. Reminiscent of inept US foreign policy in Central America in the 1970s and ’80s, our leaders have invested heavily in dictatorial regimes, ostensibly for security reasons, in the Middle East. Now, as the people of Tunisia and Egypt push for basic freedoms and rights, the United States finds itself immobilized, unable to take a stand for democratic principles. These are principles to which we give lip service, but often fail to support.

Even more disturbing is that we apparently failed to see these uprisings coming. As a result, thousands of tourists and students are at risk. I shuddered with disbelief when I read that a Colby College student from Concord arrived in Cairo Jan. 21 to study at the American University (“Boston area natives cope amid turmoil in Egypt,’’ Metro, Jan. 31). With diplomats and intelligence agents scattered throughout Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries, how in the world did this happen?

Paul Mendelson
Newburyport