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U.S. Diplomacy Trumped Freedom, Democracy in Egypt

Over the weekend, I heard one commentator say he thought what was happening in Egypt was like a Berlin Wall moment. Well sort of. When the wall came down with the collapse of the Soviet system the west was waiting to catch the fallout and help clean up the debris. Western Europe and the United States as beacons of freedom always had a certain moral authority over their communist counterparts. Ronald Regan stood in Berlin and said Mr. Gorbachev tear down this wall. Decades of U.S. foreign policy was behind him. When Barack Obama was in Cairo two summers ago, he didn't say Hosni Mubarak you should quit. Because the United States has partnered with Mubarak for 30 years, the stability of his regime trumped considerations like freedom and democracy. Hard to have moral authority in a situation like this. To the people in the streets the United States was Mubarak's ally -- not theirs.

Just a minute, I'm Harry Smith, CBS News.