Big Red Car here. Going international on ya’ll today because, well, the vaunted Arab Spring has turned into a nightmare with the chaos in Egypt coming full circle and getting ready to go ugly on an ape. Again.
A stable relationship destabilized by our own stupidity?
Egypt went through a nasty rebellion against its previous President, Hosni Mubarak, in 2011. Mubarak who became President upon the assassination of his predecessor Anwar Sadat had served as Vice President for almost six years and then had been President for 30 years.
While President Mubarak is certainly open to criticism for the conduct of his presidency — every president is, Old Sport — the United States had enjoyed a long and stable relationship with Egypt and, perhaps more importantly, Egypt had been a stable country in an otherwise unstable region and had provided a fairly safe western boundary and trading partner for our ally, Israel.
The United States threw Mubarak under the bus and the results have flowed from that fateful decision.
The Muslim Brotherhood ascends
In the first wave of the Arab Spring, President Mubarak was thrown out of office on the wings of a revolution and new elections resulted in the election of Muhammed Morsi as the President.
Morsi was a potentate within the Muslim Brotherhood, a particularly nasty group of chaps who had provided Hitler with a couple of infantry divisions who fought with Hitler’s Waffen SS in World War II. This was not the local Optimist Club’s candidate but a member of a vile organization whose focus was and is on the elimination of Israel and the emergence of an Islamic nation under Sharia law.
This is not a good thang, ya’ll.
The role of the military
The Egyptian military has been the political kingmaker in Egypt and always has been. One only has to look at the succession of Egyptian Presidents since the days of the original Egyptian Republic in the early 1950s to see that Naguib, Nasser, Sadat and Mubarak were all military officers whose ascension to the Presidency was engineered by the Egyptian military.
The original beef with President Mubarak was triggered by his insistence that he be succeeded by his son, who was not a general. The Egyptian generals objected and cast President Mubarak adrift which then gave rise to the rebellion which ultimately delivered the presidency to the Muslim Brotherhood. All of this nonsense was heralded as part of the wonderful Arab Spring.
It is worthy to note that the United States and President Obama played a direct role in unseating President Mubarak by their vote of no confidence and their continuing support of the Egyptian military — the aforementioned kingmakers in this entire unseemly process — to the tune of $1.5B annually in primarily military aid.
If you feed the beast, the beast get bigger and stronger and more demanding. America fed and continues to feed the Egyptian military beast.
If the US is providing such massive support to the Egyptian military and the Egyptian military is the invisible hand behind the selection or rejection of a president, then you are effectively thwarting the democratic yearnings of the Egyptian people. This is not a good foreign policy nor does it foster real democracy.
The current unpleasantness
Currently the Egyptian military has informed President Morsi — he who has trampled on democracy and individual rights during his thugish regime and its tilt toward becoming an Islamic country under Sharia law — that he no longer enjoys their support. This expression of no confidence has been mirrored by the wholesale resignation of key Cabinet officers.
The Morsi ship is sinking and the captain is not reading the tea leaves accurately. Goose. Cooked. Deal with it.
It is important to note that much of Morsi’s difficulties are simply the result of his famously unpopular policies and the resistance of the Egyptian people in his transformation of Egypt into a country and society aligned with the extreme Islamic views of the Muslim Brotherhood. The MB is not the Boy Scouts.
The Morsi regime is melting before our eyes like an ice cube thrown into a flaming frying pan. It is sizzling with passion and drama as Egypt again drifts toward civil war and a painful process of changing governments. All under the watchful eyes of the US supported Egyptian military.
The military has notified Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood kindred spirits that they are on the way out and may choose either to go quietly or at the point of a bayonet.
This is being acted out again in Tahrir Square in Cairo as it was at the last change of government. The people are in the streets in rebellion and unless the military were to act to clear the streets the process is inevitable. We have all seen this movie, ya’ll. The process has started and there is no reason to expect a different result.
America has placed some big bets in the Middle East and has its hands full with Libya, Syria, Iraq and Iran but had enjoyed some little bit of quiet in Egypt. Put Egypt into the gumbo, please, Paula Deen. Now we have a real stew on our hands.
The quietude of Egypt had provided Israel with at least one stable border but alas that too is now gone and the war tocsins are sounding. Not that hundreds of thousands of dead already have not been enough of a humanitarian disaster.
The massive refugee flight from Syria into Jordan foreshadows the destabilizing of Jordan also.
Russia has reared its ugly and misshapened head into the mix by supporting the murderous Syrian Assad regime while the charm school grads from the Iranian Republican Guard are on holiday providing direct military support.
Iran is still headed toward a nuclear weapon. Israel is still adamantly opposed to such a development. The region is on fire. America is not making any meaningful progress toward an independent energy policy which would blunt the strategic importance of the region.
The supposedly laudable Arab Spring has become a bloodbath of regime change in which the successors to the despots with whom America had fashioned some peaceful and stable relationship are replaced by the second best group of tyrants available on Craigslist.
OK, so, Big Red Car — WTF?
We are left with a strategically important region aflame — oil politics being the real strategic consideration here, Old Sport — and no good fulcrum against which to leverage waning American influence. And believe me, American influence is waning, waning, waning, almost gone.
Learning — folks who are opposed to despots in this part of the world are not Jeffersonian democratic aspirants but just the junior varsity band of cutthroats who lost the first round of tyrannical despotism. Think of them like the folks who are eliminated on the first round of American Idol. Not talented or good folks, sorry, Old Sport.
There is a good reason why President Mubarak had kept the Muslim Brotherhood under wraps while he was running Egypt. They are folks like Al Qaeda, ya’ll. Wake up, please.
So where we sit with the President in Africa, the American economy (the basis of American power at the end of the day) still treading water in the deep end of the ocean and Edward Snowden revealing all of our secrets while living in the Moscow Airport living on vending machine food while made stateless by the revocation of his passport. [Being made stateless by the revocation of one’s passport coupled with the necessity to live in an airport and eat vending machine food seems like cruel and unusual punishment to a Big Red Car while agreeing that this little shit, Snowden, deserves what he gets.]
Stay tuned, Old Sport, this is going to get infinitely nastier and more dangerous as the region spins totally out of control and America continues to lead from behind.