Why the United States Should Stay Out of Egypt

Much like Festivus, American diplomacy to the Middle East usually begins with an airing of grievances. These are not the American grievances over decades of terrorism and acts of violent hatred. These are the grievances that are supposedly infuriating the Arab Street. The list begins with Israel, continues on to the “Arab Dictators” supported by America and concludes with warnings to respect Mohammed by not making any cartoons or movies about him.

During his first term, Obama kept his distance from Israel, locked up a Christian who made a movie about Mohammed and withdrew his support from the dictators. The street should have been happy, but now it’s angrier than ever. And much of that anger is directed at America.

Mohamed El Baradei, once the administration’s choice to take over Egypt, has refused to meet with Secretary of State John Kerry. Joining him in this boycott is Egypt’s liberal opposition.

When Mubarak was in power, the “Arab Street” of Islamists and Egyptian leftists was angry at America for supporting him. Now the “Arab Street” of Egyptian leftists and Mubarak supporters is angry at America for supporting the Muslim Brotherhood.

Washington’s foreign policy error was to assume that the political grievances of the Arab Street could be appeased with democracy. They can’t be. The various factions are not truly interested in open elections. What they want is for America to elevate their faction and only their faction to power. When that doesn’t happen, they denounce the government as an American puppet and warn of the great and terrible anger of the Arab Street if America doesn’t make them its puppet instead.

There is no actual solution to the Arab Street that will please all sides and keep their hatred of America down to a dull roar. Whichever side the United States of America backs will leave the others full of fury. If the United States doesn’t back a side but maintains good relations with the government, it will still be accused of backing that government.

The only way to disprove that accusation is for the winning side to demonstrate its hostility to the United States. Accordingly even governments that are friendly to the United States must demonstrate their unfriendliness as a defense against accusations that they are puppets of the infidels. And as a result, no matter whom the United States supports, all the factions, including those we support, will continue to engage in ritual displays of hostility against us.

Demagogues can lead the street from bread riots to toppling governments, but cannot fix the underlying problems, let alone change the bigotry of people who blame all their problems on foreigners, rather than on themselves. Each faction promises that the anger will subsidize and stability will return when it comes to power, but the anger will never go away because it’s too convenient to blame America for everything. As long as America is around, no one in the Muslim world ever has to take responsibility for anything.

The United States has supported different factions in the Muslim world for the sake of stability. The latest of these is the Muslim Brotherhood. With terrorism from the religion whose name none dare speak running rampant across the world, the Muslim Brotherhood was supposed to pacify the violence by showing that Islamists could come to power without flying planes into buildings.

While Washington was culpable in supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, the Egyptian opposition was far more culpable for forming an alliance with the Brotherhood to overthrow Mubarak. The same Egyptian leftists who are warring with the Brotherhood now were assuring us two years ago that the Brotherhood would never come to power. They gave American policymakers and diplomats those same assurances and now they are condemning them for taking them at their word.

El Baradei was entirely willing to ride the Muslim Brotherhood’s numbers to the presidency. Instead the Muslim Brotherhood rode him and then rode over him. Now El Baradei, who applied eagerly for the job of being America’s puppet, is denouncing America for supporting a puppet government. America is, if anything, more the puppet of the Muslim Brotherhood than the other way around, but accusations of evil puppetry are as common a theme in the politics of the Middle East as giant puppet displays are at leftist protests in America.

Every faction in the game understands that America’s goal is to achieve regional stability while ending the anger and hatred directed at it. Stating a vulnerable goal in the region is a piece of tactical clumsiness that leads the opposition to promote instability and spread anger toward America because they know that is what it fears. And so the very act of defining a “love and peace” goal not only makes attaining it completely and utterly impossible, but actually leads to the very opposite result.

The United States withdrew its support from Mubarak because it did not want to support a leader whom the proverbial Arab Street hated, but now it is stuck supporting another leader whom the Street hates. After all that effort and the sacrifice of national interests, the United States finds itself right back where it started even while its strategic interests have taken a beating.

Washington should never have withdrawn its support from Mubarak and now that the tactic of appeasing the Arab Street has proven futile, it should stop supporting the Muslim Brotherhood out of some misplaced commitment to Muslim democracy, a mythical creature that no one in the Muslim world actually believes in, and the even more misplaced notion that the Muslim Brotherhood can restore stability to the region.

As the past year has shown us, the Muslim Brotherhood is not capable of bringing stability to Egypt, let alone the region. It is a violent sectarian organization incapable of running the country without resorting to violence. Refusing to support the Muslim Brotherhood should not however lead to any further fallacies about freedom and democracy. These two attributes are not about to arrive in Egypt in any enduring form.

A chaotic Egypt will likely drift into one kind of tyranny or another. The United States should stay out of the process, providing no support to any of the factions, until a stable non-Islamist government that is willing to cooperate with the United States on security issues arises. That should be the only American criteria with respect to who rules or misrules Egypt.

The Arab Street is not America’s problem. It is the problem of those who wish to rule it. If the Egyptian people truly wish democracy, then they will fight for it and obtain it without our support. If they do not, that is also their business.

America’s interests in Egypt do not involve a crusade for democracy, but keeping heavy firepower, a large population and nuclear technology out of the hands of our enemies.

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  • http://www.adinakutnicki.com AdinaK

    The Arab/Islamist Nightmare, aka the "Arab Spring", would not be sweeping across the region, but for the meddling of the Islamist-in-Chief. This is without a doubt. His footprints are found herein – http://adinakutnicki.com/2012/08/13/coming-full-c

    That being said, the question becomes:what's to be done, now that the Islamic genie is out of the bottle? Nothing. Let them fight for hegemony and that is that. The broader picture is what matters, and supporting one warring faction over another is akin to six of one and half a dozen of another, equal parts of a nightmare, whether in Egypt, Syria or beyond – http://adinakutnicki.com/2012/08/31/islamists-wha

    Paradoxically, the one place where the POTUS should have meddled – but didn't – was in Iran, in 2009, when Iranians struggled to break free of their Hitlerite regime. It's too late…

    Adina Kutnicki, Israel http://adinakutnicki.com/about/

    • Glennd1

      What a surprise, finding you here first again, Adina. In the spirit of giving credit where credit is due, the linked post actually made some interesting points, while being peppered with the usual paranoid and wild statements – "Islamist in Chief" may sound cool to you, but it announces you as a bomb thrower, not a serious commentator on the scene. On to the subject at hand.

      Obama's hands are likely far dirtier that most Americans will ever know when it comes to the Arab Spring. I remember the Cairo speech, and the 5 nations Obama called on to embrace Democracy have reacted to his call. His state dept and intelligence agencies were imbued with a concept of doing diplomacy with people, not states and there was a huge push in the activist/ngo community globally by the U.S. govt, encouraging these "liberal" (but they were leftists, not liberals) movements onwards. He signaled very strongly what he wanted, but also stood down when the Iranian people took to the streets, sending a very clear signal about which governments were legitimate in his eyes and which were not.

      I can only imagine their shock and then horror as the Arab Spring unfolded. Just as George Bush I abandoned the Kurds when they rose up against Saddam Hussein, after promising to support them because he couldn't really go the final mile poltically, the reality of their rhetoric paralyzed the administration. Ultimately overthrowing a govt is about force. What these hopeful amateurs seemed to believe is that there was real common ground between the Muslim Brotherhood and the "liberals" on building a pluralistic democracy. What the likes of this author – or Ms, Kutnicki – won't admit is that the Muslim Brotherhood is actually a better alternative in Egypt than the much more radical, hard core Salafist forces which would impose Sharia immediately. So, given the choice, one has to work with the MB. Where the Obama admin failed is in believing he glib rhetoric of the MB. It's very slick and designed to appeal to pseudo-intellectual amateurs like Obama, Clinton and Powers. So blinded by their ideology, they fall prey easily to such rhetoric which has been passed off in Progressive intellectual circles for years as 'truth'.. They are not in cahoots with the MB but rather, they have been conned by them. The real issue with the likes of Obama and Clinton is that they are naive and arrogant. They see the world as they wish it to be, not as it is, and nowhere is this more dangerous than in foreign affairs. The slick CAIR and MB types play them like fiddles. They seem unable to process that the MB is also a Salafist organization and that it only disagrees with the likes of Al Qaeda or the harder cores Sallafists in Egypt on the means of achieving their goal.

      That said, I do agree with the author's point that we should "get out of Egypt" – but I'm very surprised he would say that. Our real entanglement with Egypt comes from the Camp David Accords which sets up the U.S. as providing aid to Egypt and Israel, with Egypt agreeing to not be aggressive towards Israel. Even in this current state, the agreement is in force and the MB has been careful to not formally break it yet. I say we should stop paying Egypt and Israel aid immediately and we should step back and let the fur fly. Is this what they author wants?

      The Camp David Accord is our security agreement with Israel – which Egypt is also a party to. You'd think a writer in a Zionist mag would mention this when discussing our meddling in Egypt. It's like an alternative reality here, where history doesn't matter. The "record" on any issue starts whenever Zionists or conservatives want it to, facts are ignored, historians are ignored – just keep the pro-Zionist drumbeat going. Produce more Zionist porn here for the audience to gobble up so they feel like they are actually "informed".

      So, Greenwald, you want the U.S. to abandon the Camp David Accords, yes? Me too! A rare moment of agreement here on FP.

      • Drakken

        It is rather amusing to watch you twist yourself in knots thinking that the islamist and the Zionist are on equal footing and that you think that by sacrificing Israel to the muslim savages that the islamist will spare us, you could not be more wrong. Here, let me help you out with the mental gymnastics you seem to have gotten yourself into. Israel, is a western ally and a part of us, western civilization. The muslims and their god forsaken eastern mindset are not allies and completely opposite of what we believe, there will be no meeting of the minds and never will, one of us has to perish, I'm betting on us and western civilization over the eastern muslim savage.

        • EarlyBird

          Drakken, I'm sure Glen can answer for himself, but the obvious retort to your standard "death to Muslim savages!" is "Okay. How does anything Glen wrote conflict with that, or America's desire to be in alliance with Israel?" The ridiculous, binary dementia afflicting this site is amazing.

          • defcon 4

            Shouldn't you be off ranting: "Khaybar Khaybar ya yahud, Jaish Muhammad saya'ud" on some Arab street corner somewhere?

          • EarlyBird

            "Defcon 4" What a great name for a hysterical ninny like you.

            Moron, try to follow along: a person can be entirely 100% pro-Israel, accept that there is nobody in Egypt who is that way, and deal with that reality. Even Israel accepts this reality.

            Get under your desk and cover up. A communistIslamistMuslimMarxist atom bomb is on its way!

      • EarlyBird

        Yes, I almost fell over when I read this article from Greenfield too, since he actually makes a bit of sense.

        You do to, but your analysis falls down when you state that Obama et al., were "conned" by the MB. Actually, as you stated yourself, he simply didn't have anyone else in Egypt to deal with after Mubarak was overthrown. As you stated, not only are the MB preferable to the Salafists, but they are actually the legitimate government given the fact that they won an election there.

        We're already hearing from the wingnuts that Obama "lost" the Middle East, or "lost" the Arab Spring, as if the US does or should have much control over outcomes there as they want.

  • Mary Sue

    Particularly they should stay out given the current administration, who is ONLY helping THE WRONG PEOPLE!

    • Gee

      The US should stay out of the entire Middle East. The only place where the US is popular is Israel.

      And Israel doesn't need America's help.

      Arabs – hate period. They hate all non-Arabs, and non-Muslims, they also hate all other Arabs and all other Muslims. In short there is nobody they don't hate.

      • Mary Sue

        but they love our money! (I guess they consider us buying their oil a kind of jizzya or something)

        • Drakken

          It's called Tribute Mary Sue and they want it or else.


            They'll get the same "tribute" that Thomas Jefferson gave the Barbary pirates.

  • pierce


    • Edward Shick

      You are right ,,There is only one country in Mid east or north Africa that we should be concerned with and that is Israel ,, We showed what a rotten government we have in Washington with The 20 F-16 fighters an 200M-1 Tanks ,,,, but then we have a Muslim Communist running our Country by Voter fraud

    • poetcomic1

      Tiny Israel invented the flexible virtually painless proctoscopy tool with a tiny camera at the end which is in use worldwide saving THOUSANDS OF AMERICAN LIVES because so many more will get checked out. (Before the tool was like a scary broom-stick!). To me and all Americans over 50 this is worth several billion dollars a year by itself. The Arab world has given the 21st century nothing except the 7th century.

      • EarlyBird

        Not true, Poet. The Arabs did give us the suicide bomber!

  • WilliamJamesWard

    The entire Administration should go to Egypt and see for themselves the problems of poverty,
    political mayhem amidst seas of lost souls and lack of hope within screaming mobs of
    hungry individuals, hungry for lives they do not have. The Muslim Brotherhood weakens and
    then through the weakness imposes thier insane marching orders and scapegoat Israel.
    May I suggest the administration see all of this from and Egyptian hot air baloon, they would
    be at home……………………………………William

    • JacksonPearson

      There is no indigenous nation called Palestine, or people called Palestinians, because the Jews wanted their new sovereign nation be called Israel. Israelis are now occupying their own country.

      Do some homework as regards lands won using aggression, vs. lands won by defense!

    • Beagle

      In apartments, near shopping malls, with a water park?

    • Mary Sue

      The Palestinians living in Israel proper are doing quite well. If they're complaining it's because they're either terrorists or mistaken for terrorists.

      Now the ones living in Gaza where Hamas and Hezbollah have free rein to run the show…

    • Drakken

      How can I put this as nicely as I can? Oh yeah EFF the fakestinians and may they all rot in hell where they belong. Hope that helps!


        Drakken AKBAR!

        False "prophet" muhammed ETERNAL NAKBA!


      paleswinians belong in their pig pen.

      They make a mess of their homes and blame others for their own fascist behavior.

    • defcon 4

      I find it strange that the "palestinians" profess to be persecuted, yet have plenty of time and energy to persecute the few Christians among them, everyone not male and still fire off ten thousand rocket and mortar rounds into Israel.

  • Loyal Achates

    We're so wonderful, the only reason anybody could possibly dislike us is envy or irrational hatred. It's not like we supported Hosni Mubarak for 30 years just so he would make nice with Israel and keep the Gazans locked up – and if he turned Egypt into a kleptocracy that wasn't our problem either.

    • EarlyBird

      The trade off in the Arab world always seems to be support of a dicator for the sake of stability. But don't forget the Egyptians wanted stability too. Among the bad things that our support of Mubarak gave, US money also:

      – Kept Egypt from lashing out not just at Israel but Egypt's southern neighbors. Egypt was very aggressive.
      – Got them to clamp down on the MB, which at the time were aggressive domestic and regional terrorists.
      – Enormous improvement in infrastructure, e.g., Cairo's modern water treatment system, where prior to US money children were dying of waterborne illeness at a horrendous rate
      – All which helped Egypt create one of the strongest middle classes in the Arab world.


        If Egypt would "lash" out at Israel,

        Egypt would be the loser again.

        Morsi would be deposed, the muslime brotherhood would be blamed for ANOTHER defeat.

        • EarlyBird

          Nor would they. The real power in Egypt is the military, which runs about two thirds of the economy. The last thing they want is another war with Israel or anybody else.

          • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

            Morsi has been busy neutering the independence in the military.
            Dictators do that, just like Obama here at home.

            Who was it that called the VP "BiteMe", isn't he retired?

          • Drakken

            Would you bet your life on that statement? Once the call for jihad is given by the mullahs, the army will fall in line with the rest of them.

          • defcon 4

            When the Egyptian muslims invaded Israel in '73' they were screaming Allahu Ackbar as they crossed the Suez. If that doesn't qualify as jihad I don't know what doesn't.

          • EarlyBird

            What is your point?

    • defcon 4

      Yeah the Gazans are so "locked up" that they still have the wherewithal to have fired over TEN THOUSAND rocket and mortar rounds into Israel over the last 8 years. After all, rocket and mortar rounds are readily available via mail order aren't they?

  • Cassandra

    David greenfield is right and his articles always make sense, a sense that you do not have "whatever man". I gave you the minus one and I would give you minus 10000000000000 if I could. Israel is the only democracy in the region and if the USA is still a democracy it should obviously align itself with Israel.

  • Kyra Nelson

    I thought Hamas was keeping the Gazans locked up.

    • Loyal Achates

      Hamas was the one keeping Rhodes Scholars from claiming their scholarships? Oh wait, that was Israel.

      • JacksonPearson

        Hamas are hemorrhoids on the face of the Middle East.

      • Mary Sue

        oh because Rhodes Scholarships are oh-so-important! [/sarcasm]

        BTW, Rhodes Scholarships aren't a good thing. At the very least they're a sign of a whacked-out leftist (with exceptions). At worst they're the sign of an indoctrinated Marxist.

      • Drakken

        Need a tissue and a little sympathy for the little pali savages? Sorry, I am fresh out.


        The more hamass fascists leave Gaza, the better off Gaza is – and the "better" off Eurabia is.

      • Gee

        Actually it was Fatah for blowing up the US diplomatic convey and murdering the three American security guards.

        • defcon 4

          Fatah and Hamas are two cheeks of the same ass.

    • defcon 4

      It's ultimately islam that's keeping them all locked up in its ideology of Jew hatred, xenophobia, misogyny and intolerance.

  • JoJoJams

    Typical rant from a loony leftist. All attack/name calling – and not one shred of honest rebuttal. I find it amazing how those on the left, such as Whatever-Man, have the mind reading skills to know what another persons "motivation" is. Narrow minded? You mean, like yourself? Someone incapable of "seeing the other side" and understanding "the other". I'd say, since you've only ranted and name-called, without any shred of rebuttal, that it's YOU who are teh racist ("zionist douche"), clueless (having no knowledge of "the other side" of the argument vis a vis Israel and the surrounding arab nations), and hateful (self-evident from your rant). You're also apparantly an islamo-useful idiot.

  • pierce

    I see we have some far left loons making comments. Do not stop them, they make the rest of us look like we are smarter than we are.

    • Drakken

      Well we is smarter Pierce! ;)


      Right ON pierce.

      Plus the knuckle dragging "progressive" help us sharpen our "counter revolutionary" arguments.

  • Michael Margolies

    If we want to send any money or arms to anyone in Egypt it should go to the Coptic Christians. Of course that would not happen in an Obama administration. I wish some serious Coptic Christian organization could get an hour or more with Kerry, but Kerry is such a dumb ideologue it probably wouldn't help. Still I'd like to see it happen.
    Oh well when Obama's tanks start shooting at the Copts we will know who to blame.

    • EarlyBird

      The best way to deal with Egypt's internal affairs to is deal as little with them as possible. Sending money and arms to a small minority to fight for "our side" is insanity.


        Take out the Aswan Dam if they misbehave.

    • conservatibevoy73

      I agree

  • mekus milkdud

    Muslims wont be happy until they kill off everyone else and obummer being the good citizen he is will back them and the black caucus and black leaders with the black panthers (that aint afeard to killl some crackers) will back the Muslim brotherhood for the help of killing off the honkies.

    • Mary Sue

      and then the Muslims that are arab that consider themselves white ain't afeared to be killing off the kaffir.

    • defcon 4

      Um, there are "authentic" hadiths that identify Muhammad, PASBUH, as being white.

  • mekus milkdud

    Muslims wont be happy until they kill off everyone else and obummer being the good citizen he is will back them and the black caucus and black leaders with the black panthers (that aint afeard to killl some crackers) will back the Muslim brotherhood for the help of killing off the honkies. it wont be long before there are millions of blacks converted to Islam and muslims and the war on whites will really be on

    • EarlyBird

      Dude, you're whacked.


        I'd like to see you whacked in Tahrir Square.

        • EarlyBird

          Screw Up, you're whacked too.



            I'd like to see you whacked in Mecca.

  • Drakken

    Since Comrade El Presidente Obummer is siding with the islamist, too bad we can't get the Vatican to arm the Copts to protect themselves, as for the muslims in the middle/far east and North Africa? Let them slaughter each to their little jihadist hearts content, as a matter of fact we should encourage them to do so, better for us infidels in the end.

  • EarlyBird

    I can't believe it. I actually agree entirely with Daniel Greenfield. I never thought I'd write those words.


      EarlyTurd just had his twice a day moment of clarity.

      Then its back to his usual spittle flecked screaming and rolling on the floor.



      Even a depraved socialist animal can have moments of sanity, then it's back to your usual ranting and goosestepping.

    • EarlyBird

      Oh wait. I just read this: "Washington should never have withdrawn its support from Mubarak and now that the tactic of appeasing the Arab Street has proven futile…"

      Yes, when the world is watching hundreds of thousands of Egyptians putting their lives on the line to overthrow Mubarak's regime and demand popular self government, the world's symbol of freedom should not have helped Mubarak crack down on that revolution.

      And Obama is not appeasing the Arab Street. He's simply dealing with the reality that its having its day in the sun finally.

      Still, Greenfield gets a lot of credit for actually saying we should stay the hell out of it. Our little Danny may be growing up.


        Egypt, 5,000 year old civilization, just now getting around to experimenting with Democracy – and failing.

        Proof that Islamofascism is a retrograde cult.

        • EarlyBird

          Thanks for the non-sequitor to my post, Screw Up.

          • defcon 4

            Truth hurts doesn't it? Have a nice mug of steaming, healthy camel urine…on me!

          • EarlyBird

            What truth?


            Feeling lonely?

            It can't always be about YOU.

      • JacksonPearson

        "demand popular self government"

        LMAO…FYI, the Muslim Brotherhood is not a democratic government. Fact is, there's nothing democratic about Islam, or sharia law, and that's exactly what the Muslim Brotherhood want to incrementally impose on Egyptians. There'll never be peace there unless there's real democratic change.

        BTW, Daniel Greenfield's several hundred, or more steps ahead of you.

        • EarlyBird

          So, for the record, Jackson you DO believe the US should have helped Mubarak, an autocrat, crack down on the revolution in Egypt. Thanks, fascist.

          • defcon 4

            Morsi, the islamofascist dictator is so much better because Sharia law is so much better.

          • EarlyBird

            Cry baby,

            Who cares about Morsi? Explain to me why we now have to obsess with what happens in Egypt. Hate to break it to you, since you need to constantly imagine some evil Boogie Man out there that the US has to rush in and destroy, but we'd be better off focusing on our national debt rather than some far flung state in the throes of revolution that has zero impact on our lives.

            Stop wetting your pants.

  • http://twitter.com/F22Ross @F22Ross

    The only solution involves outlawing Islam as being anti-humanitarian and declaring total war against all those who follow that sick creed. Anything short of that is pure fantasy and quite cowardly and downright wrong….

  • Horace

    Daniel nails it again in a few clear words. The problem about all this for for Americans , Israelis, or rational Europeans is that they have their own homegrown enemies at home destroying their countries right now without needing any significant help from the Mohamedans, namely the left. The lefties side with whoever is the enemy of freedom at any given time. If we managed to pacify the Middle East and quiet the Muslims, the American left would be casting about looking for some enemy of America to throw in with. Russia is defunct now, so Communist China maybe, or maybe some space invaders. Anything to be naievely, evilly suicidal. Barack Obama for dogcatcher or kitchen patrol. No to sodomy, abortion, sharia, and socialism (apologies to sodomy, abortion, and socialism for associating them with sharia).

  • tanstaafl

    Stop the jizya!

  • Mike

    I heard Egypt's latest scheme is to rent out the pyramids. Do they accept food stamps ?

  • Drakken

    With islamist in charge, it is now a threat.

  • walterbyrd

    I am a US vet, and I presently work, as a civilian for the US DoD. We are being told that we will have to start taking time off, without pay, because our nation can no longer afford to pay us. Some DoD workers support families on about $30,000 a year, and they will lose 20% of their pay.

    But we have plenty of money to give the Muslim Brotherhood?

    Will somebody please explain this to me?