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What does the US want from Egypt?

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The goals of the US appear extremely vague from within Egypt, Farid Zahran writes

Farid Zahran

Farid Zahran

If what Egypt wants from the US, or to be more accurate, what Egypt’s political elite want, appears to ruling circles in the US to be vague and unclear, then it must also be said that what the US (or to be more accurate, America’s ruling elite) wants from Egypt, appears extremely vague and unclear to the political circles within Egypt, both those in the ruling coalition and the opposition.

We touched on these issues in the last two articles in which we responded to questions regarding, “what Egyptians want from America,” after which it became clear that what Washington desires is for Egypt to become more receptive to American advice and suggestions, or in other words, to become more obedient.

This does not only mean implementing those policies which Washington sees as serving its own interests in the region, but also those which Washington feels best serve Egypt’s interests as well, particularly with regards to how best to administer domestic affairs within the latter.

While such a scenario may appear to be unclear and confusing to Egypt’s elite, it is however, of utmost significance to the US, which is obsessed with the notion of exporting the American model abroad and creating a new world order in its image, albeit in a way that is oftentimes unclear and not rooted in any clear strategic approach.

It has become clear for many reasons that exporting the American model to Saudi Arabia would be impossible, due to the fundamentalism of the Saudi regime, which also happens to be America’s closest ally in the region after Israel. The Saudi regime is rooted in a series of socially oriented values, customs and traditions that conflict with those prevalent within the US.

For this reason, US administrations long ago came to terms with the fact that Saudis would have to be allowed to administer their own internal affairs, with of course some exceptions following the period after the attacks on the World Trade Centre in September, 2001, after which a number of voices within the US began calling for change to be implemented in all countries throughout the region, among them,or perhaps, most of all, in Saudi Arabia.

These calls were made based on the assumption that such regimes were responsible for funding and supporting terrorism, a view which began to lose traction after the election of Barack Obama, who sought, under the banner of deferring to the will of the people of the region, to hand the Middle East over to political Islamists, based on the idea that “if they want to eat shit…give them a spoon.”

Without the aid of Washington, political Islamists would not have been able to come to power in the first place, despite their status as the most powerful political and social force in the region. That being said, it was no shock to Egypt’s secular political elite to see the Muslim Brotherhood’s popularity decline and deteriorate mere months after rising to power.

Washington agreed to support the Brotherhood due to the latter’s willingness to adhere to the demands of the former, particularly that of working to protect Israel’s security (by way of partitioning Palestine into two separate entities; that of Gaza and the West Bank with its capital in Ramallah), implementing the dictates of the International Monetary Fund and creating a Sunni belt loyal to the United States for the purpose of confronting Iran.

However it was the willingness of the Brotherhood to adhere to such demands (and perhaps others) that turned out to be more important than any of the demands themselves, as the Brotherhood had long demonstrated after the attacks of September 11th that it was willing to cooperate with the United States to combat terrorism, making them a strategic ally who could deliver on the demands of Washington.

The convergent space within which the Brotherhood and the United States built their alliance was purely pragmatic, a fact which would help colour and formulate the policies of both sides. Such policies were therefore not dictated by any particular set of values or principles regarding notions of friendship or enmity and subsequently did not take into account their possible long-term effects on the region.

The world has long remained baffled by US political pragmatism; however this is particularly the case in Egypt, where conservative forces remain deeply entrenched and intact. To the country’s ruling elite, whose opinions are coloured by their historical experiences, such pragmatism appears both confusing and bothersome, and evidence of the fluidity of US policy in the region and the quickness with which it can change; all evidence that the United States is not a reliable partner, who one can count on and trust to live up to its promises.

For decades Washington has been attempting to convince the world that its policies are built on a strong foundation of values and principles, yet the actions of the US around the world have shown this to be a false presumption.

The pragmatism which governs US policy day by day, has not only demonstrated that the US is incapable of adhering to its own stated set of values and beliefs, either at home and abroad, but further showed that it is incapable of presenting a clear vision of how best to run and administer the world. That being said, such pragmatism has worked to isolate and confuse even those few groups who previously sought to cooperate with US policy.

Let us take a step back for a moment: while the US has been showing off its status as leader of the free world, claiming to be the primary (or at times sole) promoter of democracy and human rights abroad, the American people have long ago woken up to the fact that at one point in history, coloured people were prevented in some states in the south from sitting in seats reserved for whites on public transportation, or sending their kids to attend “white” schools.

Such a scenario helped start the civil rights movement, which was stained in the blood of Martin Luther King Jr. and other freedom and equality activists.  When will the American people wake up (and I should point out here that I am not referring to the American political elite which is, and always has been complicit) and realise that their country has not been capable of running the world since the fall of the Berlin wall and the dissolution of the Soviet Union ? When will they allow for the creation of a new world order, not ruled and administered under one government, that can be free from the violent conflicts of the past, and allow people to live in peace and prosperity? Such a vision is one that has been promised by American administrations for years, and nothing stands in the way of its implementation.

Why has the United States failed to implement such a system, despite the fact that the course of world events have long been pointing towards that direction?

Another question: After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and Yasser Arafat’s signing of the Oslo Peace Accords, and taking into account the policies of most countries in the region regarding the Israeli-Arab conflict (with the exception of Syria) have come largely to fall in line with that of the United States, why has the latter failed to establish peace in the Middle East? Is it the result of weakness or complacency?

America’s ruling elite continues to criticise the perpetration of human right violations throughout the world while turning a blind eye to crimes of racism committed on its own soil. Such behaviour is irresponsible, and has been dictated by America’s pragmatism, which does not adhere to any particular set of morals or principles rooted in humanity. Today we see the same ruling elite turning a blind eye to the chaos that has spread throughout the region and the world, as if they are not responsible for its perpetuation or are incapable of reigning in its excesses.

Is the goal of such chaos to help achieve the interests of small groups of people within the United States? Or does it prove that America’s ruling elite is no longer able to control the world as it used to? Finally, what is the future of the relationship between the Brotherhood and the United States on a pragmatic level?

Perhaps the answer to these questions will be presented in future articles, God willing.

 

About the author

Farid Zahran

Farid Zahran is a publisher and writer. He is the co-founder of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party

  • Mike Goodwin

    Nice article Farid. Under a right wing government the US had a philosophy of talking quietly and carrying a big stick. In esscence you ask once and then punish. You may or may not like it but it worked and kept the world in Order.
    The US is now under a liberal government. They are fuzzy and incoherent in their thoughts. Mr Obama is so liberal that a lot of Americans think he is communist, even trying to damage American interests.
    His philosophy of leading from behind is that of someone who has no idea what to do, he may have, but that is the impression it gives.
    The US Obama philosophy is dangerous and has lead to the flourishing of anti-US groups. Personally I think Egypt was very correct in ousting the MB.
    Obama hates it as it is against his beliefs.
    Stay strong. Make your own choices for your own destiny, not that of Mr Obama. He will be history in the future and there will be time for better US relations at that time.

    • Hamid Siddiqui

      You liked “Ask once and then punish”, and then claim that US is the champion of democracy, and because you like this philosophy you think others like OBAMA who prefers to introduce America in more civilized way is fuzzy, and as far as the anti-US groups are concerned, you know it and the world knows it, that US never had friends, because US never needed friends all US required was OIL or GAS, or wealth in any form and shape from different countries at different times, US kept good relations as long as it solved their purposes, and this is been so exposed and is the main cause of anti-US feelings all over the world, Egypt was absolutely wrong in ousting the democratically elected president MORSI and his party MB, If Mr.OBAMA dislikes it it is because he is the only president with conscience in American history, American citizens are liked by every citizen of this world but it is the US government policies to interfere in matters of others that has destroyed the reputation Americans, and US may remain the super power for few more years but can never have better and real relations in the world unless they revise their policies of interfering into every matter of the countries in this world

      • Mike Goodwin

        We are diametrically opposed on one fact. In my opinion ousting Morsi was the only way to prevent Egypt turning into another Iran. I agree it was not democratic ousting Morsi but he did nothing at all to create an inclusive government. He did nothing for Jobs, nothing for other religions (bar bashing them), nothing for the tourist industry, he killed it and nothing for the development of Egypt. He should not have broken out of prison in the first place.

        Morsi was divisive and acted like and Islamic bigot not a President of a diverce nation of 80,000,000 people.

        I believe in a democratically elected government that acts in a secluar manner (is not religious). Without a secular government Egypt goes back 1400 years and also turns into IRAN2. If you wish for that then I am not going to change your mind. But you are totally and utterly wrong.

        Before you respond don’t tell me that the majority want hard Islam and sharia. Most have seen what it does NOT do and they want freedom to choice. Morsi did not tell them they were voting for MB and that they would destroy any hope they had left.

        Morsi did not bring jobs, university for the kids, progressive development, equality to women, a new car, a nice house, acceptance of other religions and a tolerence of other sexualities.

        He just offered a black shroud under which to hide a subserviant cowered nation.

        • Hamid Siddiqui

          Either you do not know the Governments
          at all or in this particular case you do not want to discuss facts, the facts
          that, it was not a secret that MORISI is from Muslim Brother hood, it is not a
          secret that Morsi won the elections with majority, another fact that he did not
          come with a Aladdin’s lamp and a Ginny, that he could start bringing jobs,
          universities, progressive developments without even getting chance to set up
          the office properly, By the way women have absolute rights in Egypt most of the
          time better than many countries in this world, you may compare it with your
          country of origin too, I bet you will find it better, another fact that he
          should be given the time to complete the tenure which is the right of an
          elected president in a democratic world , and after that period if he was verified
          a failure the people would have rejected him. And you cannot dictate that the
          president should not be a religious person, you may not be a person who doesn’t
          believe in religion but majority of this world have faith in some religion, and
          they all follow the religion for their way to live this life, all I see and any
          one can understand with your writing that it is not that you are opposing him
          for any other reason than you do not like him being Muslim, you have mentioned
          the phobia that he may implement Sharia Law, and yes you can never change my
          mind, because I know how to respect humanity, how to live this life, this life
          is more than a new house and a car, what is after this life and i am taught all
          of this by my religion ISLAM, for which I am proud of, so you just try to
          concentrate on your knowledge, try to help your own self, to be an effective
          human in spreading peace in this world.

          You asked me not to tell you that majority want hard Islam and Sharia, I would
          not say that, But majority elected him and the same majority knew what he has planned
          for Egypt and were happy with that. But right now that majority is going thru
          the hardest time by a minority because of outside influence.

          • Mike Goodwin

            Thank you for your reply.
            I agree that no government comes with an Aladdins lamp solve everything, but to Morsi /MB the Jobs, food, uni etc were not priorites at all. Morsi/MB is religiously based government.
            Their priority was to introduce a religiously lead government and that my friend is not democratic.
            You are correct that women currently have good rights in Egypt, but the fact that Morsi/MB are Islamic hardliners means womens rights would suddenly take a 1400 year leap backwards.
            I appreciate that any President has his own religion and I defend his right practice it. But for Gods sake do not inflict it on the rest when they have different views. His job as President is to bring the country together to mutual benefit not to promote only one element of the population, especially if he is in the majority. It is his duty to protect the minority groups, never forget that.
            Democracy does NOT mean vote me in and you get my views and my way forever. That is totally unacceptable.
            Democracy is negotiation, compromise and working together. These are all skills Morsi/MB dispise and refuse to accept.
            That is why Morsi/MB were ousted.
            90% of Egyptians are Muslim, but they don’t by far all want Sharia and the subjugation it brings. You can have faith in different degrees and faith changes over time. Because man wrote the stuff, never forget that. Man wrote it and every man and woman interprets it differently. In a democracy every man and woman has the right to chose any religion or if they even want a religion at all. If you don’t accept that then you don’t accept democracy and simply hide under the cover of using it for one man/woman one vote , ONE TIME ONLY just to hijack democracy into an Islamic state.
            I am pleased that you are proud of your religion and would never want to disrespect it but don’t force it on anyone, they wont submit to it like you desire. At the same time I hope you respect other religions and those without religion and those with different sexual orienations, we all live on one planet so lets do it in peace and prosperity.

          • Hamid Siddiqui

            Sorry Mike, it is very hard to understand what is your point of view, are you representing Democracy, and opposing Morsi because you thing he is a non-democratic person or you are against Islamic Values, and have a fear that Islam will take your freedom away from you?

          • Mike Goodwin

            Yes Hamid, you got the point correctly.
            Morsi is not a democratic person and the MB are certainly not democratic. They will NOT negotiate and accept other opinions they simply force their ways on people. Democracy is concensus.

            As far as Islam is concerned my view is that it to does not fit with democracy, especially radical Islam which is causing all these problems in the Middle East.

            You can’t have a democracy run in a religious manner, if you do then it is like Iran.
            I live in a Christian country and certainly would NOT want the church running things, they would stuff it up and ruin the country.

          • Hamid Siddiqui

            And why do you think everyone should believe you, when I and many see Morsi or Muslim Brother hood at least have done nothing non-democratic after coming into power, till at least they were
            removed from the power, as far as Islam is concern there is just one Islam, there is no Radical, Non-Radical, or modern and ancient Islam, it is just one Islam, which fits in every days life if practiced accordingly. Dear Mike, you
            seemed like a person who likes sharing and educating people regardless of their color, region or religion. You must have an admirable vision of the world today and its political situations, but when it comes to Islam, you are not well
            informed, you have made your point of view by the news we watch, which are in many cases influenced. I am a Muslim, but I do write for Christians and Jews as well, I have read the books they are supposed to follow, and as in Islam not every Christian or Jew is following the book, so I will never say that the fault is in Christianity or Judaism, it is in some people who either do not understand the religion or deliberately twist it for their benefits. If ever you get some time try to understand ISLAM just for understanding’s sake
            and then compare it with the action you see been related to ISLAM, you will definitely say this is not what Islam preaches, it is a misguidance or caricature. Once again I enjoyed exchanging views with you and wish you all the bests.

          • Mike Goodwin

            Me too, I enjoyed the exchange and we part as friends.

  • Nurun Nabi

    US and Israel has only one interest.
    DIVIDE THE MUSLIM WORLD

  • Nurun Nabi

    There is no news in Egyptian news paper that
    Brother hood leader had an heart attack in jail.
    Is it the freedom of press in Egypt.
    All Israely news paper has the news.


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