On Morning Joe this morning, Richard Haas, Jamie Rubin, Chuck Todd, Mark Halprin and few others talked about the situation in Egypt. The conversation that took place revealed the confusion of thought in the US political realm and the America-centric mindset among most pundits, foreign policy experts and politicians. It also revealed how statists justify our working relationships with dictators by taking the sophisticated, realist position. Joe Scarborough, the foreign policy expert extraordinaire, said that some people "unthinkingly" call for the ouster of Mubarak when after all is said and done Mubarack has helped keep peace with Israel, helped in the War on Terror, and has been good for US interests, and the billions we've paid to Egypt is a bargain compared to what we've received in return.
Mika played devil's advocate and wondered why we can't use aid as leverage to force a transition to democracy, but her heart wasn't really in it. They all gave lip service to democracy, although they feel it will take a long transition and that the people will need more time to understand democracy and prepare themselves for freedom. Joe even suggested that Obama's Cairo speech might have spurred the Egyptian's movement toward reform -- but, Chuck Todd, to his credit, said that Mubarack had restricted attendance to the speech and that hardly anyone in Egypt heard it. This is when the discussion devolved into babble and America-centric BS. The word "democracy" was thrown around quite a bit, but I don't think anyone mentioned economic freedom.
Clips of John McCain and John Boehner were shown, both agreeing with the President's middle road position. It was decided that the McCain and Boehner are also realists who realize that Mubarack has been good for America, although he has never liberalized his country as we've suggested for the last thirty years. In fact, Mubarack has ruled with an iron fist, and the government is known for their proficiency at torturing their enemies. It was brought up that Obama has to be careful not to insult other allies who run goverments which oppress their people, so Obama can't just call for the ouster of Mubarack. We don't want to give dictators the wrong ideas, that we favor freedom and think what they do to their people is wrong and should end (this last sentence is my sarcasm, which is sprinkled throughout).
Seriously, though, has Egypt done us any favors? Could it be that Israel would destroy Egypt if they ever started a war with Israel, so Egypt is not maintainng peace with Israel for our sake, but for their sake? I imagine Egypt has done what it has done for Egypt's interests, not ours. Could it also be that if America is open with the world that we stand for classical liberal values, we wouldn't have to practice deception and develop arrangements with dictators? But, first, we need to be sure of our values.
The realist approach is that our govenment must practice deception, say one thing while meaning another, deceive dictators to use them for our benefit, claim the values of freedom and "democracy" while supporting repressive regimes. The realists say this is the sophisticated way of the world. The Egyptian people are right to wonder what we really stand for.
American statists are on the wrong side of global developments among peple who are tired of being controled by dictators and repressive regimes. The realist approach is simply a justification for the protection and stability of State power whereever it exists and in whatever form it exists. America should not have relationships with regimes which violate the rights of their people, at least not relationships which give them the impression we go along with their violations of human rights -- this sends a message to the people that we are no better than the repressive regime, and it prevents us from being honest. This of course is the naive approach. I'll write more about this later to justify my position.