If only it weren’t science fiction.
This is the choice for the US in Egypt:
A. Do nothing. Do not stop the pile of cash or pile of weapons going to the Egyptian generals. And just watch as yet another brutal military dictatorship overthrows a democratically-elected government (well, it did that already) in an Islamic country, and al-Qaeda goes home to its ideological roots in Egypt. If you think Libya was (is) bad. If you think Syria is awful. If you try not to think of Iraq at all any longer—then the Qaeda war in Egypt against the US-supported military dictatorship is something you’ll REALLY want to avoid.
Therefore, choice B:
B. Do something. WHAT? We’d better discuss that.
Most people would say it is US doings in Egypt that have set up the problem in the first place.
It took a while for Barack Obama and the American foreign policy elites to even tepidly sign on to the Arab Spring. Only when they realized that it was going to happen, with or without them, did they acquiesce, and start making lame, clearly disingenuous, comments about hope for a better future through democracy—blah, blah, blah.
While giving very qualified public approval to the Egyptian democratic process, the Obama regime was always an enemy of the Morsi regime. Obama viewed Morsi and the Egyptian Brotherhood, which after all gave rise to the ideology that inspired Osama bin Laden, as the worst possible outcome of the Arab Spring's liberation of the electoral freedom of millions of Muslims.
Republicans pointed to the election of Morsi as just one more example of Obama's foreign policy bumbling, and why allowing the Egyptian people to force the removal of Mubarak was a big mistake. Implied in that critique of course was the idea the US "allowed" the Arab Spring to take place in Egypt, and that Obama, if he had wanted to, could have picked up the phone (say at 3am) and told the Egyptian military back in 2011 to sweep away that little Tahrir Square dustup. Obama wanted the American people to think that standing in the way of the democratic will of the Egyptian people would be the last thing he would do. And Mubarak fell.
And, so all the Millennial children thought, the forces of liberal Facebook liking, having triumphed fairly peacefully, would now take over in Cairo.
The children forgot two things.
They forgot about the illiberal Egyptian military, that well understands the path to powerlessness for them would be to let the Egyptian people vote in a bunch of Islamists.
And the children forgot about the illiberal forces of the Muslim Brotherhood, whose general critique of the vapid idiocy of American consumerist culture is neither all wrong, nor is it in any way interested in establishing a US-style democracy (itself hardly functioning these days). Just doing the democracy thing was bad enough for the MB. But they did it. And they won. And they figured they should win something for it.
Yeah. Right. Not when the US is running the Egyptian military.
Finally, the phone call from Obama did come, as LOTS (but in no way all) of Egyptians showed up to demand Morsi be removed from office the old fashioned way—by a military coup. Obama signed off on it, and that was the end of the little democracy experiment in Egypt.
The next question was what the large MB portion of the Egyptian population would do about it. Well, you didn’t really need to be a Middle East expert to figure that out. The MB denounced the coup, declared the Islamist political movement to be entirely incompatible with democracy (which as practiced is just another name for “owned” by the USA), and began pushy, occasionally violent, protests all over Egypt. Finally, the Tahrir Square group of MB protesters settled in the last few weeks. Their idea was to stay put until Morsi was placed back into power. Uh-huh.
The Egyptian military, correctly calculating that just about everybody except the MB was backing anything they did that might quell the move towards civil war, decided a really good idea would be to finally, ruthlessly, wipe out the Muslim Brotherhood.
Of course, whiny little liberals in the USA, who had actually spoken up in favor of the coup against Morsi, suddenly were not so sure they liked watching stability-sausage made. It was so icky, with all those dead people and everything.
It was almost like, you know, maybe Obama should not have given the go command to the Egyptian generals to do the coup. Yeah, like that.
Too fucking late now.
The US is in this.
It always has been, since it has spent well over 100 billion dollars in Egypt over the decades to prop up the country, and especially to enable the Egyptian military to suppress the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamic movements.
Asking silly questions like—is this the right thing to be doing?—is just stupid, since those questions should have been asked and answered quite differently than they were, for a long time now.
If the US had any interest in supporting the spread of democracy, instead of supporting the spread of USism by using democracy like it was the one, true, religion, it would have cut aid to the Egyptian military, and increased it to the Egyptian government (especially the Morsi government) to promote economic development.
But, Obama's regime assessed that idea the same way the Republican Party in the US assessed doing the same thing to Obama and against the American people the last fives years. In other words, why spend a bunch of money to help the guy you want to fail actually have a successful tenure?
Funny how that irony thing works, huh?
No, the best, the only, idea Americans can come up with in the world is “let ‘em vote” (unless they’re 47%ers in the USA) and then when the US government doesn’t like the outcome of the vote, “let the tanks roll in” to fix it.
That’s really winning Arab hearts and minds and making the world safe for—al-Qaeda!
So, oh yeah, the choice: well, let’s pretend for a moment that the US just wanted to do the right thing in Egypt.
How about?—the US pulls all its aid from the Egyptian military, and in doing this the US also retroactively applies a military aid rescission.
What does that mean?
But of course, we said that’s the choice if the US cared about doing the right thing. Unfortunately, when it comes to foreign policy, the United States hasn’t done the the right thing—nor even the intelligent thing—since about 1945 (assuming you count nuking a quarter-million people to death good foreign policy).
So, our little adjustor item, to being us into better compliance with the Prime Directive, will not be happening.
The blood and the vengeance are just getting going.
Isn’t Spring great?