Jeff Neal for C.U.R.E. - Certain Unalienable Rights Endowment

Egypt, Freedom, America – (Cont’d)

In foreign policy, Opinion, Political Critique on February 14, 2011 at 10:33 am

Obama administration supporters, among them Rep. John Boehner in his attempt to be civil and bi-partisan, one supposes, are lining up to tell us how well things have turned out in Egypt.  The outcome is a good one according to this group of cheerleaders.

How do they know?  To borrow a phrase from George F. Will, “how do they know what happens after what happens next?”

A military led by men who grew wealthy off the graft of Mubarak is now in control, because a relatively peaceful mob forced a tyrant to run for his life – don’t be fooled into thinking he woke up on Friday and said “Ya know, that democracy thing might work – let’s give it a try.”  No.  He fled for fear of being beheaded.  No man who holds complete power for 30 years hands over that power because, suddenly, a better idea comes along.

And our foreign policy establishment wants credit for watching it happen.  They want credit for standing on the sideline, not taking a position and letting nature take its course.  Indeed, they want praise.  I am looking for something to praise….but, praise for what?  No one knows what is in store for Egypt and to praise this temporary calm in the storm is to reveal an immature world-view and an adolescent’s understanding of  what being “on the right side of history” means.

To coin a phrase, making history takes a long time – and there is no micowave.  We don’t know if the Egyptian mess will end nicely or with brutality.  We do know the situation is delicate; we know events can turn momementum for or against freedom at any moment, and that, more often than not, it is the latter.  So, the cheering is premature and short-sighted and is a distraction from the strategic contingency planning that should be occupying the time of the cheerleaders.

Saying over and over that we are for an “orderly transition to free and fair elections” is not a policy, nor is it a strategy.  It’s barely a good slogan.  For what purpose and with what power are the winners of such an election put into office?  To implement the “legitimate wishes of the people.”?  What does that mean – what is the context – what powers will that government have?  Might the government demand that all property is deeded over to the state to be parceled out in equal amounts to all natural-born Egyptians?  Might that government demand that all men should stop protesting in favor of going home and doing the dishes?

In Egypt, there is nothing, NOTHING, pointing in the direction of a constitutionally-based, democratically-elected government that protects ‘certain unalienable’ individual rights.  Short of that, nothing matters – short of that, any temporary calmness is mere prelude to a different tyranny.  Until the United States makes it clear that we are available to help build the foundations for that outcome – a building process that could take a generation – we are not being helpful, we are being spectators, hoping that none of the blood sloshes over the barricades and onto our shores.



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