- Hosea 8:7
During the Cold War the United States supported a host of corrupt dictators who oppressed, brutalized, imprisoned, tortured, and murdered their own citizens. In the name of protecting us from the monster in the closet, monolithic communism, a succession of American presidents, both Democrats and Republicans, promoted a foreign policy that knowingly and willingly sacrificed the liberty of other people in order to secure a false sense of safety for Americans.
American foreign policy was based on the specious premise that as long as a ruler professed he was anti-Communist, it did not matter whether or not he was pro-democracy. Whenever one of these petty potentates got in trouble, when the people in his country dared to challenge his authority and seek liberty and freedom, American officials were quick to step in and “mediate” or “moderate” under the subterfuge of “preserving democracy,” “insuring stability” and “protecting American interests.”
If things got really out of hand, we “facilitated” a “change in government,” which actually meant changing dictators. In some cases, the regimes eventually were overthrown by popular uprising that resulted in a government that turned against us.
We sowed into the wind of tyranny and when the wall came down and the iron curtain was lifted, and the monster was revealed as a fabrication and a fable, America began to reap the whirlwind of resentment, anger and hatred from the people who suffered under the thumb of “Made in America” despots.
Yet since 9/11, another succession of American presidents has continued this failed and fallacious policy by simply replacing one monster with another. Instead of the monster in the closet, we have the monster under the bed - called by various names such as jihadists, Islamist, terrorist.
Whatever the monster is called, American foreign policy makers are still willing to sacrifice the liberty of other people in a vain and foolish effort to assure our own security. We continue to sow into the wind, and if we do, we will continue to reap the whirlwind.
The Egyptian people, along with other peoples in the Middle East, have suffered for decades under a succession of dictators propped up by the United States. While claiming to be a beacon of freedom and democracy, American Middle East policy has been driven by factors that directly contradict these claims - illusionary strategic interests, oil, and an irrational need to support “friendly” nations regardless of their internal politics.
The much despised and maligned Arab-on-the-street is finally sick of it. The wave of uprisings that began in Tunisia, spread to Egypt and may soon engulf other Arab nations are inspired by the same spirit that swept through eastern Europe in 1989 and brought down the Soviet empire. At their core, they are driven by the same spirit that motivated the Tea Party movement.
The people in the streets of Cairo and other Egyptian cities are not Islamists, jihadists or terrorists. They are shopkeepers, street vendors, small businessmen, professionals, housewives, and families; Muslims and Christians united in a common cause. They are not chanting anti-American or anti-Israeli slogans; they are demanding their birthright as human beings - liberty and freedom.
America’s true interests in the Middle East, and in the world, lie not in sustaining dictators but in nurturing liberty and freedom. America’s interest are best served by being on the side of the people, which means letting them decide their own future for themselves. The question about who is to rule Egypt is not a question that can or should be decided by anyone in Washington DC. It is a question to be decided by the Egyptians alone.
There will be a revolution in Egypt, if not today then tomorrow or the next day. Even if the current uprising is taken over or co-opted by extremists, the clear trend of history is that tyranny and oppression will ultimately fail. The universal desire for freedom and self-government will inevitably triumph. America should urge all nations to join us in supporting the people of Egypt by leaving them alone to decide their own form of government as they exercise those blessings given to all mankind - Liberty and Freedom.
R. Lee Wrights is a writer and political activist living in Texas. He is the co-founder and editor of the free speech online magazine Liberty For All. Lee is considering seeking the Libertarian Party presidential nomination. Contact Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org.