In Egypt's first free presidential election last Sunday, the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi was proclaimed the winner. Tahrir Square, the site of numerous large and bloody protests, erupted into cheer when the results came in. In response, conservatives like Congressman Joe Walsh (R-Ill) and Congressman Alan West (R-Fla) called for the cutting of aid to Egypt because of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood's supposed desire to become closer with Iran and re-negotiate their peace treaty with Israel.
While I completely agree that not a cent of taxpayer money should be sent to Egypt, what the Egyptian election and the Arab Spring really reveal is a microcosm of U.S. foreign policy and the errors of an interventionist foreign policy.
Decades before the Arab Spring, the U.S. government began supporting, both financially and military, Hosni Mubarak due to the peace agreement he signed with Israel. While receiving over $2 billion steadily every year, Mubarak was bribed to leave the Israelis alone and allowed to run a brutal police state inside Egypt that lasted until he was finally ousted last year. For almost forty40 years, Mubarak was the perfect puppet of the U.S., cashing Uncle Sam's checks and spending them on American made military equipment, making sure Palestinians couldn't escape into Egypt from the Israeli-controlled Gaza strip, silencing any dissent, and acting as a major partner in America's torture-rendition program.
But as disgust and opposition to Mubarak's regime grew among Egyptians, the U.S. realized that their precious puppet was in danger of falling and quickly stepped in. The much- lauded April 6 Youth "pro-democracy" movement of 2008 that was billed as a spontaneous uprising of solidarity was in fact trained, funded, and equipped by the U.S. State Department and various government-funded American NGOs as an attempt to foment, co-op and control the (largely Islamic) resistance to Mubarak's regime.
A few years later, the Muslim Brotherhood wins the Egyptian presidency. And while it is fairly predictable that many American politicians have a knee-jerk reaction against any foreign entity with the world "Muslim" in it, the Muslim Brotherhood are not "anti-Western" at all. As Tony Cartalucci in the Land Destroyer Report notes, "Despite the Brotherhood's lofty rhetoric, it has from its inception been a key proliferator of Western foreign policy. Currently, the Syrian arm of the Muslim Brotherhood has been involved heavily, leading in fact, the U.S., Israeli, Saudi, and Qatari-backed sectarian violence that has been ravaging Syria for over a year."
In other words, the U.S. used the decline of its dictator in Egypt to, as Caralucci puts it, give Mubarak's replacement, the pro-American-foreign-policy Muslim Brotherhood, "a spin of legitimacy." The narrative of radical America-hating Islamists taking over our former loyal ally in Egypt, while no doubt imposing sharia law, is Pentagon PR meant for American consumption at home.
What almost a half of century of direct and indirect intervention into Egypt highlights is how futile this process is in acheiving peace and stability, especially coming at the cost of the liberties of the Egyptian people as well as the Americans whose paychecks are stolen from in order to fund it. Egypt's example is truly a microcosm for how counterproductive and costly U.S. intervention in the Middle East is and how it can lead to blowback, boomeranging back to us.
In Iraq, Bahrain, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Tunisia, Syria, Iran, and other Middle Eastern countries, the U.S. has used the installation of monarchs, bribes, coups, the turning of a blind eye to human rights abuses, the fomenting of uprisings, arming of rebels, taking sides in civil wars, and outright war and occupation in order to achieve its desired "national security interests." The result? An inability to negotiate and use diplomacy, populist hatred of American presence resulting in terrorism, a staggering loss of innocent life, and exploding Pentagon budgets. Just like in Egypt, "peace" earned through government intervention has been fragile and fleeting.
It's time the U.S. quits this unnecessary meddling in the internal affairs of other people's countries and relate to the Middle East, and the rest of the world, with a policy of neutrality, free trade, and enforcing the Bill of Rights here at home, leading by example to the rest of the world of what a free country looks like. After decades of swatting at hornet's nests and sponsoring police states abroad, the lessons of intervention into Egypt prove that what the U.S. needs now more than ever is a policy of humanitarian non-intervention.