Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Anya And Her Friend Debate The Egyptian Revolution

My friend (who's Pakistani, for the record, and a great guy) had this on his facebook Sunday morning:

"Got up this morning thinking what if the revolution in Egypt is another American supported act to remove a powerful President and install another puppet government to control its interests in the region? This I say considering the fact that the US has decided to throw its weight behind the Egyptian Vice President (the puppeteer in this case) in its bid to oust Mubarak. Second, ElBareidi the IAEA guy has suddenly found prominence in this case, and virtually all opposition has decided to band around him. Really Egypt? ElBareidi for President? A guy whom most of the Muslim world think of as another western installed puppet?

Third, the prominence given to the notorious 'Muslim Brotherhood' in this whole crisis by the Western media is absolutely ridiculous. A search led me to discover that the "Muslim Brotherhood' has virtually remained on the sidelines ever since the crisis started, whereas Western media particularly, has created an either or situation with regards to the Muslim Brotherhood. This was done, to propel the power (or in this case the real democracy) from going towards the common people of Egypt. By creating fear about the supposed fallout that would result, a puppet government would be installed bringing further chaos to the region.

Fourth, the fact that Obama's office has only issued seemingly calculated statements on the crisis further disturbs my conscience. So Mr. Obama you were not concerned when Tunisia went down, and you failed to notice the first few days of the Egyptian crisis? I guess then I must say that a fall of a (supposed) Ally fails to stir any emotions in you? If you were such a great proponent of Democracy why didn't your criticism of the Mubarak Government come early? (Yes Mubarak was in power for the last 30 years). I guess all allies face similr fate. Take the example of the popular Pakistani leader Bhutto, hanged to death when he went against American interests. President Zia ul Haq, used against the Russians in the Afghan war, later blown up in a plane crash(along with an American ambassador, perhaps to garner sympathy?). I guess CIA really knew its work back then. My point is the fact that Governments are 'used' all over the world, they are only thrown out when these 'dictators' become all too powerful to defy authority.

Now, I'm never one to let a foreign policy discussion stand without my input (it's a curse?) and my thoughts on Egypt are long, complex, and still trying to get sorted into one coherent post, but this is what I put together:

Hm okay. Well obviously my perspective is a bit colored because I’ve lived in the US all my life, but I think their foreign policy is generally a total fail, and Egypt is just one example of that.

About the Muslim Brotherhood, all the frenzy about it is Western fearmongering at best, lies at worst. While they may be the biggest (organized) opposition party, they’ve promised not to put forward a candidate for president and the protestors in the street have been doing a pretty goo job of shutting them down. I wouldn’t worry about them and I wouldn’t listen to any coverage Western mass media puts out about them.

The US's policy towards democracy in other countries, especially ones in the Middle East is that it’s good only as long as the people vote for those who benefit the West. Example: Palestinians need self-determination, but as long as they vote for Hamas, we’re not going to help them. It’s stupid, counterproductive, and hypocritical.

That being said, I’ve been surprised at how much the us has tried to stay out of Egypt’s revolution (unlike, say, what we’ve done in Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, etc) and that’s been an encouraging sign to me. Revolutions, if they’re going to bring any true change, have to be legitimately by the people. And this one is, driven by too many human rights abuses and not enough food.

I’m actually encouraged that the opposition is beginning to coalesce around ElBaradei. For any transition to be effective, there has to be a leader for the protestors, otherwise this will dissolve into chaos. Perhaps ElBaradei is not the right person to lead Egypt (I think he is, at least during transition; then again, I don’t know how the Arab world views him) but he is the right person to be a leadership figure at this moment.

The thing is, Mubarak was *already* the US’s puppet government. He was a dictator unsupported by his people. we give billions and billions of dollars and military equipment to them a year, and in return they keep up their peace treaty with Israel (which leads me to: everything the US does in the Middle East is aimed at protecting Israel, which is an unsustainable and harmful policy. But that’s another story). For the first ... four days or so of the revolution, the US government was actually firmly supporting Mubarak. It was naive and made them look like the didn’t know what was going on, but they did. I mean, Joe Biden even said Mubarak wasn’t a dictator, which is perhaps the stupidest thing he’s ever said.

Point being, the US didn’t want this revolution to happen. I’m not ruling out the possibility that they’ll try to manipulate these protests into something good for them (we have a history of putting our own ideas of “good” for other countries ahead of what’s actually good for those countries. reasons I have issues with palin complaining that Obama thinks America isn’t a “force for good” in the world, because no, we’re not and we’re not supposed to be).

I suppose my final conclusion would have to be: this is a revolution modeled on Eastern Europe in 1989, not Iran in 1979, the Obama administration has a failed foreign policy, and I have to disagree with your idea of this being a us set up.

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