MSNBC.com Transcript

What you need to know about the unrest in the Mideast: Experts explain why what happens

in that volatile region matters to you

Question: To what degree is U.S. foreign policy contributing to or responsible for the unrest sweeping the region?

Answer from Lawrence Pintak, dean of the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University, longtime Mideast correspondent and author of “The New Arab Journalist”: In the long term, U.S. support for the region’s rulers has interfered with the ability of these nations to evolve politically. That has led to a view that American policy is hypocritical, espousing the values of democracy and human rights yet supporting those who stand for anything but that. Even this week, we see many Arabs reacting negatively to the fact that Hillary Clinton has essentially been calling on Iranians to rise up against the regime while taking a much more muted approach to Bahrain, where the U.S. has a major naval base and thus a strategic interest in the status quo.

Question:  Why should Americans care what happens in Egypt?

Answer from Lawrence Pintak, dean of the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University, longtime Mideast correspondent and author of “The New Arab Journalist”:  Egypt is a critical ally. It has played a very important mediating role in the Israeli-Palestine conflict, in the confrontation with Iran and, politically, in the Iraq war. And there can be no peace between the Arabs and Israelis without Egypt. If Egypt were to turn on the U.S., it would have a major ripple effect on U.S. Middle East relations.

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