That's the question that Egyptian democracy leader and Nobel laureate Mohamed ElBaradei has put before Western leaders today.
Police fired water cannons at one of the country's leading pro-democracy advocates, Mohamed ElBaradei, and his supporters as they joined the latest wave of protests after noon prayers. They used batons to beat some of ElBaradei's supporters, who surrounded him to protect him.
A soaking wet ElBaradei was trapped inside a mosque while hundreds of riot police laid siege to it, firing tear gas in the streets around so no one could leave.
What does it say that ElBaradei, a Nobel Prize winner, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, a former assistant to the Egyptian foreign minister, not to mention a 68-year-old man - is not allowed to peacefully raise his voice in protest against the Egyptian government?
Some folks in Washington still seem to be laboring under the illusion that the US can wash its hands of this matter, like Pontius Pilate.
If the Egyptian government were not one of the largest recipients of US "foreign aid," largely military "aid," it might be a different story. If the protesters in Egypt weren't painfully aware that the US has long backed Mubarak to the hilt, it might be a different story.
But that's not the world in which we live. The world in which we live is the one in which people in Egypt know that the US has backed Mubarak to the hilt. FDR famously said of the Nicaraguan dictator Somoza, "He may be a son of a bitch, but he's our son of a bitch." But FDR didn't say that in 2011. The world has changed. Expectations have been raised. US leaders today have to meet a higher standard today. "Our son of a bitch" isn't going to wash on the streets of Cairo.
ElBaradei told CNN on Tuesday:
"I was stunned to hear Secretary Clinton saying that the Egyptian government is 'stable,' and I asked myself at what price stability. Is it on the basis of 29 years of martial law? ... Is it on the basis of rigged elections? That's not stability. That's living on borrowed time. Stability is when you have a government that is elected on a free and fair basis. And we have seen how elections have been rigged in Egypt, we have seen how people have been tortured. And when you see today over 100,000 young people, getting desperate, going to the street, asking for their basic freedoms, I expected to hear from Secretary Clinton ... democracy, human rights, freedom."