Last week our puppet show in Egypt ended, but it was a good run.
The problem is that the USA would rather deal with the thug we bought and paid for, Hosni Mubarak, than a theocracy we don’t know.
So a nation in the Middle East, one of the few that kind of does not hate us, is acting crazy and chaos ensues. Wow — what a shock. Have we not sent more than $2 billion a year to Egypt, sold them fighter jets, and backed them militarily? Now they hate us. Who do they think they are — France?
There is a good chance that radical Islamists in Egypt will come to power, as happened in Iran when students were used as a front to depose the Shah. Obama is Jimmy Carter reincarnated, throwing a reliable ally under the bus, which will usher in Islamic fundamentalists like the mullahs of Iran. Carter had to deal with mad Middle Easterners in the 70’s, but his administration underestimated the world’s contempt for our disco music.
Oil prices rose, markets tanked, and America seemed like a deer caught in the headlights. The crisis in Egypt is déjà vu all over again, as Yogi Berra said, and a 70’s redux is good news for only one group: Kool and the Gang.
Obama might support the Muslim Brotherhood, thinking it is a union. But make no mistake, the Muslim Brotherhood has spawned terrorists, including Dr. Ayman al-Zawahri, the current al Qaeda #2 man. We have killed several #2 ranked al Qaeda leaders, which sounds impressive until you realize our #2 person is Joe Biden.
Even the stars in our Hollywood think tank don’t feel compelled to opine on this complex issue, except maybe Charlie Sheen. I hear he would like to visit the Middle East because he hears that women get stoned there.
We need to be very careful here, since a political uprising that presents a quick chance for leadership is a great jerk magnet. How else do you explain the Ayatollah Khomeni, Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro, Hamid Karzai, and the Il family of North Korean fame — Kim Jung and his son, Mentally?
In the wake of the upheaval in Egypt, hard-line, conservative, religious radicals and fundamentalist Islamic extremists are ratcheting up their disparate campaigns for power. The Egyptian people must decide if their future lies in the hands of the far-right extremists or the far-far-right extremists who really hate America and Israel. Will the fanatics who control these countries win, or is Egypt ready for a new stripe of fundamentalists who will take authoritarianism, stoning, and beheading in an entirely different direction?
And what are they rioting for, no one seems to know. With names like ElBaradei, Zawahri, Khentimentiu, and Ankhsepuntepet, they might just want to simplify the spelling system. However, I think we all know what “Hose-me” Mubarak means in Arabic.
We need to let the situation in Egypt play out. We need to trust in capitalism and self-interest, the only language all nations really understand. Egyptians’ desire for iPads and Levi jeans will far outweigh any overbearing government that imposes its will by shutting down Facebook and using tear gas. Here’s an incentive: If they don’t figure it out, they do not deserve Twitter.
America will probably do what it always does when faced with a complex situation involving an oppressive government that is of strategic interest to us: Bomb and invade a neighboring country. It is the same thing the NCAA does when Kentucky cheats at basketball recruiting: it puts the University of Memphis on probation.
In fact, most of us wish we had left the thug-ocracy and its thug-in-chief, Saddam Hussein, in control of the mess that is Iraq. Instead, we have spent a trillion dollars and thousands of American lives to convince the complex religious and tribal factions there to eat at McDonald’s and get fat on democracy like we have. Even a neo-con will admit to that after his third cocktail. We should only use our military to defend the U.S., not to interfere in wayward, third-world countries to try to convince them to see things our way.
Democracy takes time, so let’s not rush these Arab countries. They will adopt it like they did our disco, just 30 years later. We just need to keep Staying Alive, Staying Alive!
Ron Hart is a syndicated op-ed humorist, author and TV/radio commentator. Email Ron@RonaldHart.com or at visit RonaldHart.com