US must take responsibility for the mess in Egypt

SOME people say that the US is always blamed for what happens in the Middle East. And they argue that laying blame in such a manner is not really justified.

But in the case of Egypt, the US must take the blame. There are no ifs and buts about it. The 400-odd people who have died would still be alive if the Obama administration had indicated clearly that it did not approve of the people’s choice of leaders being ousted in a coup.

That never happened. From the time the military ousted Mohammed Mursi, Obama and his cohorts began to indulge in semantics. By not condemning the coup, and even refusing to class it as one, the US clearly gave the military its support. Aid was not cut off as would have been necessitated had the Obama administration labelled the toppling of Morsi as a coup.

Hence the generals felt emboldened to continue on their clumsy course, knowing that the US would keep silent and criticise later. As a result, there has been mass bloodshed in the streets of Cairo. It was only a matter of time before this happened.

When mediation efforts were being made by outsiders, the US screwed up again. There was a call for reinstating Mursi briefly, and having the 2012 constitution restored. The plan was for him to then resign and for fresh elections to be held.

But then the US put a spoke in the wheel again when Republican John McCain visited the country and denounced the toppling of Mursi as a coup. It was the wrong time to make such a statement, given the type of negotiations that were going on.

Hours after McCain made his pronouncement, the Egyptian authorities announced that foreign mediation had failed. The US screwed up on both occasions.

There is no value in US secretary of state John Kerry using any kind of adjective to condemn Egypt now. It will not bring those ordinary people, who have given their lives in the cause of democracy, back to life.

By refusing to call the coup for what it was when it happened, the US effectively killed off any chance that Egyptians will again have a chance to choose their own leaders. It suits US interests, it suits Israel. And in the US scheme of things, that is that really matters.

When it was a time for quiet diplomacy, we had the buffoon McCain open his mouth wide and try to be a hero. I guess the world has to be grateful that he never became US president; the scale of screw-ups he would have perpetrated is difficult to imagine.

The Egyptian people chose the Muslim Brotherhood as their rulers when given the chance. If they wanted a change, it should have come about at the ballot box. The rulers of a country do not have to be acceptable to any other country, only to the people of that country.

As in Pakistan, the military in Egypt has become the major force in every walk of life. The military draws its strength from the $US1.3 billion that the US sends each year. A blind eye is turned to all the embezzlement that goes on, as has happened in Pakistan.

But given that Israel is nearby, Egypt will not be allowed to deteriorate into chaos as Pakistan has. No, there will be a military government in place, much like that which was run by Hosni Mubarak. There will be no more experiments with democracy ever again.

For that, you can thank Uncle Sam.


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