One of the promises the Obama administration made when it came to foreign policy was simple and straightforward: Don’t do stupid s*** (stuff). While they’ve been successful in living up to that mantra by doing things like making the nuclear deal with Iran, they’ve failed miserably and disgracefully in Egypt.
A recent piece from the AP not only illustrates this fact but should be very disturbing from a national security perspective. The article points out how the young in Egypt, who supported the democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood, are now disillusioned with the idea of democracy and are turning to jihad. A startling tidbit from the story says it all:
Once sympathetic to Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, some of them resent it as weak and ineffectual.
“Now we know there is only one right way: jihad,” said the law student, Abdelrahman, showing off scars from pellets fired at him by police shotguns during protests…He spoke bitterly about the series of ballot box victories in 2011 and 2012 that gave the Muslim Brotherhood political dominance and made Morsi the country’s first freely elected president.
“Democracy doesn’t work. If we win, the powers that be, whoever they are, just flip things over,” he said. “The Brotherhood thought they could play the democratic game, but in the end, they were beaten.” (Emphasis added)
The article goes on to describe some of the brutal tactics the state has employed against protesters and notes the young man quoted above is on his way to supporting and joining ISIS.
And what has the Obama administration done about this abuse of human rights that is driving more people toward extremism? Supported and armed the abusers even further and has now boasted about those arms in a YouTube video, which was recently pointed out by Glen Greenwald.
Greenwald also adds a quote from a recent piece in the NYT (mostly fluff) about Secretary of State John Kerry supposedly taking a stand (but not really) against Egypt’s human rights abuses. The quote should not just be noted. It should be burned into the brain of everyone that thinks the U.S. is always on the right side of things when it comes to who we support around the world. It just speaks volumes and no democracy with any morals should allow this type of thinking from their elected government:
“American officials . . . signaled that they would not let their concerns with human rights stand in the way of increased security cooperation with Egypt.”
That quote should turn everyone’s stomach.
And this isn’t to say the Muslim Brotherhood would have been a perfect friend to the U.S. or that they didn’t do things that were seen as utterly awful in the eyes of many. It was a fledgling democracy and things got very ugly and even fatal at times. But it was the choice of the people of Egypt at the time and, most importantly, the alternative appears to be incredibly worse with the disaffected now looking toward joining ISIS.
The cycle of violence here is as black and white as it gets. The Muslim Brotherhood is overthrown and an authoritarian regime takes power and abuses human rights. The United States then backs that regime by arming them and allowing them to abuse their power even more. The angry youth who lose faith in democracy take up arms and choose a path of violence. The U.S. sells more arms to a brutal regime to crackdown further.
This is the equivalent of handing Jack the Ripper a set of knives, knowing he’s already killed people, but politely asking him to just use these on food. There’s no mystery as to how this will work out.
Egypt looks like a bad situation getting worse at the moment and the United States is exacerbating the problem by knowingly arming an abusive government. We’ve done it many times before and many innocent people have been slaughtered by U.S.-backed regimes around the world. It’s yet another example of how not to do foreign policy yet the Obama administration is doing the same old stupid s*** we’ve seen too many times before.