Why Egypt Matters, And What America Must Learn From It

Rarely do I criticize American foreign policy. In fact over the years I’ve found myself becoming more and more hawkish when it comes to some of the questionable characters out there on the world stage. But the recent events in the Middle East namely Egypt have allowed for me to once again take the more controversial road with this simple question of why?

As we watch millions of people take to the streets in protest of a government and a dictator we in the United States have supported and aided financially for quite some time, I ask why as a country of both a free society and one with an all too dark history of oppression both by a foreign power and by domestic forces do we continue to support dictators like Egypt’s Mubarak and Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah.

People say this is like the “green” revolution in Iran that took place over the summer in 2009, but I harken back to the events that led to the assassination of Peoples Party leader Benazir Bhutto in 2007. In that case the US, under the Bush administration supported President Pervez Musharraf. Now we can get into the whole Musharraf deal, personally I thought the Bush administration was doing the right thing because really Musharraf wasn’t nearly as bad as King Abdullah and Mubarak. I mean when you’re talking about arresting Egyptian dissidents and claims of torture, or the honor killings and persecution of Christians under the rule of King Abdullah in Saudi Arabia its really a matter of which do you prefer, dictator light, in this case Musharraf or dictator heavy, Abdullah and Mubarak.

But back to the point, it seems the United States has gotten into the business of playing both sides of the field here. On one hand we like to preach to the global choir about how wonderful and perfect our system is, and how regressive and oppressive there’s is, fair enough. But then we support guys like Mubarak and King Abdullah, not to mention the former president of Honduras who tried to illegally run for reelection even though his term was over, and when the military rightfully ousted him Hillary Clinton and this White House pledged their support not to the people of Honduras and Roberto Micheletti, but to Manuel Zelaya after he was arrested and held at an airbase.

All too often in America our values don’t match our actions. We preach to a world set in its ways that our way is the road best traveled to the future. And our actions in other parts of the world say the opposite. How can we talk about women’s rights and the rights and freedoms of those who do not share the Muslim faith when we support a king in Saudi Arabia who’s country does not hide their persecution of gays, women, and christians. We give Saudi Arabia billions hand over fist, we give them state of the art military weapons and fighter jets, meanwhile they don’t allow women to drive cars or own property. We’re essentially fighting a war against an enemy that hates what we stand for and at the same time we’re giving financial and military support to a country that represents everything we’re fighting in those same terrorists and extremists in the hills and mountains of Afghanistan. The only difference between Al Qaeda and the Saudi regime is official power and rule. If you strip away the power of the Saudi government they’re no different than Al Qaeda.

We might as well give Al Qaeda billions in aid and fighter jets with advanced weaponry. And to show you just how similar they are the 9-11 terrorists were from Saudi Arabia. We’ve even gone as far as negotiating with the Taliban. They slaughter our men and women in uniform and we want to pay them off so they put down their arms. What the heck are we even fighting for over there if we’re just going to cut deals and slap em a few greenbacks under the table here and there.

We have to start looking at ourselves in the mirror. We cannot remain the last best hope on this earth by saying those words alone, we have to start putting rhetoric with action. We have to stop supporting dictators whilst they oppress a nation of people because well that guy is stable and the unknown entity isn’t worth opposing him. Some say well you know Mubarak has been strong in his support in the war on terror. So the guy carries our water and we turn a blind eye to what he does at home. Fair enough, but if it hits us in our backyard we can’t ask why. We can’t go searching for boogiemen and expect to find the usual suspects. Some of our future enemies were once those who look to us for support and instead got America’s rear end.

One protester on CNN was being interviewed and he was asking why the US was just sitting by and not doing anything. You watch, we better start supporting the people over their leaders or its going to bite us hard.