Who said a pro-democracy movement in Egypt, or any Arab country for that matter, meant that an American element permeated the vibe of the Egyptian revolution? How deeply can the American government’s affinity for the neoliberal economic order seep into the subconscious of the masses? Could it seep so deeply as to make us believe that globalized capitalism lead by America equates the Red, White and Blue with any people’s, any country’s call for democracy? Could it seep deeply enough to make us believe that calling for democracy meant there had to be some sort of Americanization to the demands of the people? Democracy started before America.
Two US Congressmen, John McCain and Joseph Lieberman, visited Egypt this week in a move that some analysts are calling phase I of US self-insertion in the formation of a new Egypt. They met with Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq – whose role is widely rejected by Egyptian protestors – and Amr Moussa to, and I quote the media here, “support Egypt in its development”.
I find this humorous and obscene at the same time, primarily because Lieberman apparently wrapped himself in an Egyptian flag during a Tahrir Square tour, while applauding the people for not using religious extremism to attain their goals; Lieberman repeatedly emphasized the importance of achieving democracy without religious zeal. “This revolution is a repudiation of Al Qaeda”, he was quoted as saying by the French state news agency. Egypt’s state-run news agency reported Lieberman saying that the US would do its best to assist the Egyptian people in their fight for freedom. I will do my best to stay on track with my point and not ruffle my own feathers by conjuring American rhetoric on freedom throughout the entire War on Terror campaign, and how much good that did for Iraqis, Afghanis, and strikingly, for Egyptians suffering under Mubarak, long-considered a friend of the US fight against terror.
Lets take a look at Lieberman’s background and what his comments really mean, so that we can understand what real freedom – an organically Egyptian democracy characterized by the revolutionary movement’s demands – would look like, and how much of a threat it would actually pose to American hegemony over global affairs. Its not their fault mind you, the US government is only exercising Real Politik and safeguarding its interests, as any true neorealist system would.
So, back to Lieberman: Lieberman, although a democrat, holds conservative stances such as supporting the Republican move for a war against Iraq in 2003. He’s also a prominent member of AIPAC (American-Israel Public Affairs Committee) and is protected by them while he reportedly lobbies policies that place pressure on Obama’s ability to force Israeli concessions towards the occupied territories and Arab governments. He’s also been reported to have pushed for an attack against Iran “on the inside”, which means he has no problem cutting through democratic notions of people’s right to choose their government, take to arms and speak freely. He also outspokenly supports Republican foreign policy methods, which are unequivocally preemptive and bellicose.
Lieberman is also one of john McCain’s frontrunner advocates during his election campaigns, and McCain could best be known for his staunch support of Bush’s pro-war policies against the Middle East region in retaliation for 9/11. He and Lieberman helped draft the 9/11 Commission Report, and McCain was reported to have criticized Rumsfeld for not having enough troops in Iraq. So these guys are pro militarization, and they have no problem forcing people to accept a system of governance that is best for their own agenda, to put it simply. So they’re parading around Tahrir, naively congratulating the Egyptian people, unaware of the fact that a gaping void still exists between the ruling military regime and the popular movement which toppled Hosni Mubarak. Or perhaps they were there for the void, to help fill it up with a soup of their flavor. All of this is taking place while the US Navy closes in towards Libyan shores – perhaps to leverage a situation that could work in their favor? Or is it really to avoid further crimes against humanity? Yes, politiking can be ugly, and the way of the current order stipulates that each free-rider covers his/her own backside. Still my question remains, can Egypt bring the voice of its majority to light, without the United States forcing its brand of democracy down their throats?
I’ll leave that question open to all of you, and welcome your comments.
Our next post will hopefully deal with constitutional re-drafting taking place inside Egypt.
– Love in a Box