Column by Tim Hartnett.
Exclusive to STR
John Kerry graduated Yale, served as a naval officer in Vietnam, became a prosecutor, was Lt. Governor of Massachusetts, spent nearly three decades in the US Senate and now is the Secretary of State, so he should be able to tell if anybody tried to pull a coup d’etat over on him. What our top diplomat saw going on in Egypt last month was something entirely different that he called “restoring democracy.” Putting it that way allows for the interpretation that the process isn’t completed yet. The military can return the country to majority rule by thinning the ranks of Morsi supporters down to the point of a minority. Then Kerry can pronounce we are in business with a democracy again and add fortune teller to his resume.
Internationally minded sophisticates, who lurk along the East coast between 38 and 43 degrees North latitude, see un-funding Cairo as an idea more extreme than 86ing the rule of law. They’ve gotten away with paying this protection for 35 years; Americans don’t seem to miss all those billions. Proponents of the payoff often ask what would happen if the sop ever stopped. Opponents are wondering the same thing. The present arrangement is related to the assassination of Anwar Sadat, 30 years of mass suppression by junta rule followed by a popular uprising put down in what only an expert could call a faux-coup. Meanwhile, the US shut down embassies all over the region after getting word terrorists are on the attack. This came at the same time Congress voted to keep paying a regime that has been openly mowing down the Muslim Brotherhood on the streets. Even Stalin brought the Polish officer corps to the Katyn Forest first.
John McCain said in debate that an amendment to cut off the aid “would send the wrong message at the wrong time.” So, massacre or no, we keep shelling out is what McCain wants to make clear to Arabs sympathetic to the Egyptian victims. His bipartisan foreign policy camp has been telling Americans that US actions are not related to Islamic terrorism for decades. Some people have a hard time getting the message.
An August 1st WP article by Dana Millbank called debate over the subsidy the “Senate at its best.” The piece never does come out and actually say what it is we are buying for all that money. About as close as it gets is a quote from Bob Corker from Tennesee: “One of the reasons we are the greatest nation is because of the values we extend around the world and the fact that we have been a voice of calm.” So the 30 years of Mubarak’s rule in Egypt was an extension of our dearest values. Underground political movements and victims tortured in the dungeons there could hear the American “voice” loud and clear.
The August 1 column doesn’t pretend to be neutral on this subject. Dana is rabidly pro-aid, although why that is can’t be determined from this article or anything else the man has written. He calls Rand Paul an “isolationist gadfly” and makes no effort to conceal contempt for the senator. Internationalists vs. the Isolationist talks about a “proud tradition of internationalism in the body” and claims Paul’s opponents are “his party’s most respected voices on foreign policy.” But no mention is made of the fact that McCain was dead set against renewing the Egyptian package until a voice from somewhere the senator respected reminded him what it was for.
Another dose of Corker goes:
“I think most people on this side of the aisle understand that this is terrible public policy. This is a vote that gives us an opportunity to step away from those short-term, hot, poll-tested amendments that have nothing to do with furthering the greatness of this nation.”
By now we get how great the Tennesseean thinks our homeland is, but it might be helpful if he could bother to explain why paying an Egyptian junta makes this so. This kind of mushy posturing works for Dana Millbank and the rest of the posers pretending statecraft is an opaque art that can’t be translated into the vulgate. No one in the “internationalist” faction writes coherent copy describing how the policies they advocate work to accomplish any specific goals.
In the case of Egypt, the $1.5 billion goes to keep Israel unmolested from the south into the indefinite future. But polite society never just up and says this. The media will not admit we are paying protection money. Some of them are so confused they may not be aware that this is what’s going on. What’s funny is in this rare instance, the scheme is generally working. The few who are still paying attention are supposed to read between vague lines like “US interest,” “make the world safe for democracy,” “projecting American power,” “war on terror,” etc. to get the establishment’s dull point. None of the details can be openly discussed because in about ten minutes the whole thing gets exposed as a Rube Goldberg contraption.
The internationalists, as Millbank pegs them, like to think of themselves as highly skilled professionals who consistently choose the narrow path toward world salvation. The media accommodates this delusion by giving the facts a wide berth, with Newspeak descriptions of anything involving foreign intrigues and adventures. Bradley Manning wasn’t convicted of aiding the enemy, but the truth is American rulers are not on the same side as the American people anyway. It is primarily US citizens that the hierarchy is interested in concealing so many things from. Whatever he was charged with, it was informing on the civilian and military hierarchy to his countrymen that got the boy prosecuted.
We don’t know what will happen if we discontinue subsidizing corrupt leadership along the Nile. Israel may get attacked and be compelled to crush Egypt’s feeble forces again like they did in 1967. Muslim extremists might take over and make the place as oppressive as Saudi Arabia. There are a lot of possibilities. But if we aren’t helping finance things, diplomats and politicians can stop tormenting us all with idiotic hypocrisies, inane lies, phony speeches about the “greatness” of paying tribute or 180 degree turns in talking points based on who is winning the latest Third World power struggle. But the real benefit is it crosses one of the legitimate grievances off the list of reasons an Arab militant can use as an excuse to attack us.