US Policy in Egypt – A Battle of Principles and Interests
The US is dealing with conflict on many fronts but perhaps its most significant battle is taking place between its principles and its interests. Espousing democracy and freedom and making this the excuse to invade countries or oversee their political processes, America is appearing more and more hypocritical in Egypt as it continues to speak about democracy, but at the same time favors Mubarak and his tyrannical police state.
The US wants Egypt to go along with Israel and submit to US policy. However, the average Egyptian and his plight have been invisible to the US for decades as their focus on their interests takes precedence over human rights and social equality.
The US has been affected by the manipulation of dictators who will do anything to stay in power and who feed on the ‘Islamic bogeyman’ concept to keep western powers funding and supporting their regimes, with the idea that the regime is the only thing standing between them and the ‘bogeyman’, and that without a police state, the Islamists will rise up and wreak havoc.
If there is to be stability in Egypt there must be some movement now; some change. The US, moving on principle, sees there are three alternatives for transition in Egypt. First, the youth in the streets, second, the military – which is too inflexible to reform and change – and third, the Muslim Brotherhood whom they see as a potential threat because of the ‘Islamic bogeyman’ threat they have been fed. The regime is incapable of running the transition and the youth on the streets – who aren’t radical Islamists, but just want democracy – are too inexperienced to take the helm.
When it comes to the Muslim Brotherhood a new frame of thought is required. Being continually suspicious that every Muslim is an Islamist will prevent the US from being objective in its approach to the Egyptian revolution. Adopting the policy of paranoia will also affect the US’s ability to discuss and analyze events and people. In recent times in Egypt a large part of American’s discussion and analysis have centered round whether or not it is an ‘Islamic’ revolution, even though there has been no word about jihad or terrorism.
The US’s obsession with the Muslim Brotherhood could well drive its focus away from the real issues like the existence of police states that only serve to increase terrorism and that they must be eradicated in order to achieve economic development and democracy.
When the US talks about stability in the Arab world, they are talking about Israel and the interests of one tiny country in the region should not dictate the policies and reactions of super powers. The US’s attitude toward Egypt has to be about the future of Egypt for itself, not Egypt as Israel’s neighbor. The US has to acknowledge that they have been running the peace process for years but is has run into the ground. It is obviously time for a new approach.
The US’s paternal approach to the Arab world coupled with their overwhelming paranoia, is preventing it from conceiving of the idea that Islam and democracy can stand together. The US should take a lesson from the moderate approach of the Muslim Brotherhood, and if the word ‘moderate’ is to be used in the political arena, it should not be used when talking about corrupt regimes. A dictator is extreme, a tyrant can never be moderate and anyone who supports dictator police states should be called extremist.