The protests which have led to an uprising of the people in Egypt have given new hope to democracy taken root in the Arab world. Admittedly the protests in Egypt and the response by the government seems to have been fairly peaceful to date. The military does not appear to have taken up arms against the protesters who wish to end the three-decade reign of President Hosni Mubarak. Although such is not all that surprising when you consider the very fact that the Egyptian military is largely paid for by the American government. Why a country with a $13 trillion deficit is financing the militaries of foreign governments is an altogether different issue. So let’s just leave it on the table hidden under a napkin and move on for now.
United States President Barack Obama and his administration have reportedly been discussing with Egyptian officials a variety of proposals to create a transitional government and remove Mubarak from office immediately. The odds are those discussions have been fairly one sided with the Obama administration calling for the immediate removal of Mubarak and elevation of their choice as the new president. My personal opinion is that such discussions are a mistake. And not a small mistake at that.
Many Arab countries and their citizens already have a dim view of America as a whole. There are those who believe we are a conquerer seeking to overthrow all their leaders and instill governments of our own. And they are not entirely wrong as that is indeed the impression America often presents to the world – that your form of government is inferior to our own and your country will be second class until you join us with a democratic and capitalist society that confirms to the American way in all aspects.
We’ve used our military to invade other countries with the pretense of saving their citizens and delivering them to freedom. Reality though is that has rarely been the final result. Democracy is not simply handed to a society. It is something that the people of a country must earn on their own. They must become knowledgeable about what freedom actually means and be ready to come together and stand up for their beliefs. A democracy can not happen successfully in a country where the people don’t fully comprehend what self governing requires. Most American politicians and high-ranking military officers seem to have forgotten that democracy thrived in America because the people of America rose up and fought for the right to rule themselves. It was not handed to us on a silver platter with a book of laws already written and awaiting our adoption.
I even more firmly belief that the world does not need more American-like governments. I hope that democracy flourishes around the world, but it is time that new forms of democratic society are allowed to be cultivated from infancy without undue influence from America. For it will be from those new institutions of democracy where the next great power of the world will arise. Hopefully we won’t allow our blinders to prevent us from learning from those societies in the future.
The United States does not have a perfect form of government. We’ve all seen the cracks in the system. The unbridled greed that happens with unchecked capitalism. The lack of progress on important issues which threaten to topple our very way of life as politicians argue over so called ideologies instead of coming to the floors of Congress with an open mind to freely discuss, compromise and do the right thing even when it may be painful and cost them votes in the next election. A military that is unequaled in its scope and budget by all the armed forces of the rest of the world combined. A military charged not just with defending our borders, but training, financing and arming the militaries of likely dozens of other countries.
America is out of control. Out of control within our own borders. And out of control all around the world. We are indeed a great country, but not everyone cares to listen to our opinion of how their country should be governed. Not everyone welcomes our war against terror nor against illegal drugs, development of nuclear weapons or even against dictatorships.
If the government of Egypt reaches out to us and requests our advice about their civil unrest or about transitioning their government, then by all means President Obama should offer his two cents worth. But leave it at two cents. Don’t offer more and then think you’ve bought the right to control the direction of Egypt.
The future of Egypt rests with the people of Egypt. For if it is to one day become a democratic society it will be successful only if that is what the people desire and are willing to work hard to achieve.
I wish them the best of luck in their endeavours.
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