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JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: EGYPT AND THE UNITED STATES ARGUE OVER FUNDING DEMOCRACY GROUPS – REALITIES OF AMERICAN INVOLVEMENT AND OF EGYPT’S SITUATION   Leave a comment

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSES TO A COLUMN IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

“Ms. Colton, The U.S. Embassy spokeswoman, told The Associated Press on Thursday that the U.S. is not interfering in Egypt’s politics.”

Well, if that were true, it would mark a first.

CIA bribes and influence are the norm in all such countries; the CIA maintains a huge secret fund for just that purpose.

I also think the situation in Egypt is more complicated than this story suggests.

The United States always maintains a noisy public commitment to words about democracy, but that is a very different matter than what goes on behind closed doors.

Not only is the United States comfortable with the stability and predictability of rule by military groups in the region, it must always be looking to the interests of its client-state, Israel.

A truly democratic Egypt is unlikely to be overly friendly to Israel, but a group of well-bribed military men or others keeps things on course.

I have heard an eloquent expert speak on parts of the situation in Egypt, and he said that Egyptian military is perhaps the country’s greatest industrial operation, controlling many profitable factories and businesses, much as the military in China or the Republican Guard in Iran.

The small number of people who control these enterprises are reluctant to give up any influence to popular notions about democracy.

The feeling is that if they, the military, just go slowly, the people will tire of their demonstrations and demands, and things can settle to something they regard as normal.

It is hard to believe that the United States government would seriously oppose this strategy, although, as always, it will do some public blubbering.

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‘Claims of a “meddling foreign hand” have routinely found resonance among Egyptians.’

And, considering Egypt’s history, why would it be otherwise?

That kind of statement is completely naive or it is dishonest.

Once controlled by Turkey. Once controlled by France. Once controlled by Britain. Britain, France, and Israel conspiring to take over the Suez Canal in the 1950s?

A popular hero like Nassar the target of foreign plots and plans for assassination?

A tyrant president like Mubarak, completely in the pay and in the pocket of the United States, for thirty years?

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“Noticably absent from this is how Saudi Arabia has been furiously funding fundamentalist groups as they are also terrified about the spread of democracy in the Middle East. Why don’t the world powers call Saudi Arabia out on this?”

Sorry, but that is very naive.

Behind the scenes, the Saudi princes, the United States, and Israel have long been great pals.

They often work together secretly towards certain ends.

None of them would value democracy in Egypt, each for its own reasons.

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“Never trust muslims [sic].”

I prefer never trusting people who make ignorant statements like yours.

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“Democracy is not for everybody. To make it work you need an educated, enlightened and engaged population.”

That is a very old and rather trivial idea. It is also quite arrogant.

Just where, among advanced democratic states do you see these conditions?

In the United States?

The United States that believes in polls that Saddam assisted in 9/11 and had secret weapons of mass destruction?

The United States that has ignoramuses like Michele Bachmann or Sarah Palin seeking the highest office?

The United States whose greed and complete lack of self-control just pitched the planet into a years-long financial disaster?

“As a nation, Egypt would be better served by a benevolent tyrant.”

And who selects the tyrant? And who determines that he is off on the wrong path?

Churchill had it right when he said that democracy was the worst form of government, except for all the others.

The historical truth is that democracy comes when a society has a large enough middle class who feel that their many interests cannot be properly looked after by a tyrant or king. Peasants don’t have many interests beyond keeping alive, but the middle class has business needs, investment needs, property-law needs, and many other interests.

Democracy flows naturally out of economic growth, always and everywhere.

The flow is often temporarily interrupted by old established interests, but only temporarily.

There is no reason to believe Egypt is not ready for democracy. It has a large middle class. It has millions of educated people.

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The Egyptian military has made deals with people like the Muslim Brotherhood in order to broaden its base of support.

That fact only points to the United States and Israel not being afraid so much of “Islamists” as democracies where people disagree with them.

The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, by the way, is not a terror organization of any kind. It is a rather tame organization.

Actually, many of the Muslim organizations in Egypt expect a form of Sharia Law to be established.

Now, we have been trained by an endless bombardment of Islamophobic propaganda to think that sounds terrible, but in fact is not much different to the fundamentalist Christians – millions of them – in the United States who demand the Ten Commandments in courts and prayers in schools and other public institutions.

And it is little different to the laws of Israel which enable ultra-orthodox Jews to practice their many ancient and backward rules, especially those concerning the inferiority and submission of women and the complete control of children by the husband.