The rebellion in Egypt the past couple weeks has come to a climax as the defunct ex-president Mubarak has finally decided to relinquish power and flee the country. Now the top military officials are left in charge of a country which essentially has no leader, and there is a lot of uncertainty in the air about what kind of government will rise up from the ashes. For the protesters of the anti-Mubarak movement, this is a great day to celebrate as it marks the ending of a 30 year rule by a tyrant and the triumph of freedom and the prospects of democracy. However, when looking at this event one also cannot forget the role of the United States in Egyptian affairs over the past three decades.
Egypt’s one of our biggest recipients of foreign aid and military training and Mubarak was one of our closest allies in the Middle East. We have given over $70 billion worth of direct foreign aid in the past years and all for what? To prop up a puppet dictator. Look back on any picture of the Egyptian rebellion and know that the weapons the military was using to the beat protesters was bought with our foreign aid. It took a lot of courage for the people to finally rise up and revolt in the streets. It was reported that over 200 citizens died and many more were injured. Now that they’ve finally disposed of the ruler who has ruled over them for probably a majority of their lives, how do you think the Egyptians will view the US, a long time supporter of their foe? To put it mildly, it will be not very favorable.
It angers most conservatives when our government tries to pick winners and losers in our economy, but our foreign policy shouldn’t any different. If there are any future confrontations or calamities with Egyptians, it should be pretty obvious it will not be because they hate our freedoms or lifestyle, it will be because of our history of meddling in their affairs (or what the CIA labels as “blowback”). Without foreign aid, Mubarak would have not been in power as long as he had been. And the same goes for the multitudes of other countries we are giving money to in efforts to support a leadership we agree with at the time being. It was once said that American foreign policy takes money from the poor in a rich nation and gives it to the rich in a poor nation. In other words, it is a waste of perfectly good taxpayer money. Republicans once campaigned on ending all foreign aid, and we need to once again adhere to this philosophy. It doesn’t help other nations by making them more dependent on us, and oftentimes it doesn’t make us any safer. It is time for us to take a more hands off approach with our foreign policy, much like our Founding Fathers espoused when our nation was young. In Thomas Jefferson’s first inaugural speech to the nation he simply said, “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none.”
Jack Hunter (ie. The Southern Avenger) details this issue perfectly in the following video: