Rick Alan Rice (RAR) is the Publisher of RARWRITER.com and the Revolution Culture Journal.

I was all set to thank the progressive Arab world, or at least the 25 percent of it that is situated in Egypt, for taking charge of U.S. foreign policy and forcing it to make sense. Then those pro-Mubarak thugs showed up and shocked the global community back to reality.

The people of the United States, including the leaders of the United States Government, seem to have so little comprehension of what is going on in the hearts of the protesters in Cairo, and those who would use violence to keep the pro-American Mubarak in power. It is a slice of the broader problems the U.S. has in the Middle East, almost all our own making.  We have concentrated on protecting and perpetuating regimes in that part of the world who are successful at maintaining stability in what we imagine might otherwise be a disastrously unstable region, particularly as it regards international business interests. This approach has maintained a status quo punctuated only by our own military interventions in the region (Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan), and it has apparently insulated the U.S. from engagements with what we like to call “the Arab street” that might give us a deeper understanding of the dynamics in the region.

If the unrest in Egypt, of all places, is any indication, this shortsighted U.S. foreign policy may be about to come cascading down under the weight of its own lack of substance.  We have been worried about international terrorist cells capturing nuclear weapons stocks, when it now seems likely that our real focus should have been on the developing Arab world, the one with a large population of the educated and the uneducated who are sick of being left out of the equation as the wealth that is generated in those Middle Eastern countries is proportioned…well, disproportionately, and certainly not to the benefit of the citizens and workers of the region.

In fact, the disproportion we see in the Middle East mirrors, with frightening similarity, that which we see in the United States when we look at our own poor and minority populations.

Remember that line in the Alec Baldwin-Meg Ryan comedy Prelude to a Kiss when the Baldwin character wondered why the Jamaican hospitality workers, waiting on them hand on foot, didn’t just chuck it all? “Don’t you wonder why they don’t just rise up and kill us?”

That seemed a cheery enough thought as long as a corrupt regime (Mubarak) was being brought to its knees, but not so much when it seem to further refer to the thugs who exist to enforce the status quo, i.e., those guys on camels and horses, riding into the Cairo protestors with whips.

The Obama Administration seems a little behind the beat on this one, not that anyone could have seen what was coming; unless, of course, somebody had people on the ground who was talking to the locals. Probably too much to manage. The Obama Administration’s worst misstep so far has been holding on to the belief that somehow the United States is in a position to dictate the outcome in Egypt. That won’t cement any relationships on either side of the Mubarak issue, though one senses that the Obama team doesn’t get that yet.

They will, probably a little after historic change has occurred, which they will then step in and claim as being of their own making. That, of course, assumes that somehow unrest in the Middle East can resolve itself peacefully.

The best that could happen for the U.S. is if we got kicked out of the region altogether, which would force an entirely new paradigm, where Israel has no choice but to become a cooperative member of the region’s fabric and the U.S. is forced to make the kind of changes in energy policy that are a couple decades overdue. You know, the kind of change Obama promised. – RAR