Friday, February 11, 2011

Egypt: Now What?

As I mentioned in this post, we have an interest in what goes in the rest of the world. I may not be my brother's keeper, but I sure should be his helper.

The problem in Egypt is the disconnect between the people and their government. On the radio today there was a report from Cairo where the reporter repeated what he had heard from some of the protesters in the square. Apparently there was at least one protester who felt the American government should have done more for the people of Egypt, and less for the government in the form of Mubarak.

Great Idea!

Now, how do we implement it?

Governments have to deal with governments. The folks in charge may not have a legitimate claim to being in charge, but they are the legally constituted folks what be in charge. And damn the bad luck we can't do anything about that.

Take North Korea. Other that the Chinese and Iran (talk about your strange bedfellows), there probably isn't a country on the face of this Earth that wouldn't love to see a regime change in North Korea. How do we go about it?

Declare war on North Koreans? Have our army fight their army? Would China join in? On who's side? And the end game would be what?

Thousands or more dead on both sides, wanton destruction of the Korean peninsula and eventually freedom and reunification.

Would that be best for the North Koreans? Set them free, but destroy the population and the landscape?

And who knows the cost for the South Koreans? Remember, North Korea has at least one nuclear weapon, and probably wouldn't hesitate to use it on Seoul, if it could, or Pyongyang if it couldn't.

Would that be better or worse for the North Koreans than living under the current regime?

Tough call, ain't it?

And Pyongyang is on our ENEMIES list. Egypt isn't.

Maybe the best way we can help the Egyptian people is by trying to modify their government, by bribing them to cooperate, a process sometimes called foreign aid.

The trouble is, to those on the bottom, it doesn't look like we're helping them, it looks like we're supporting the crooked regime.

And we are. Change is glacially slow, and the more we spend to try and get some reform, the tighter the nets are drawn, the more the people suffer and the more power the top man consolidates to himself.

And the US Dollars keep flowing in.

Rand Paul has a plan that drastically cuts this bribery. And we should. But maybe we should make sure we are completely self sustaining and isolated first, like we were in Washington's day.

I found this chart that in some ways asks more questions than it answers. Did you know ONE THIRD of all foreign aid goes to Egypt and Israel?

And we have no real idea how much we are spending in total.


So back to the original question: What do we now do in Egypt?

The military is now in charge; we'll have to see if that is temporary, until the next election, or if this is just step one in a military coup. Elections in September. Free and Fair? Who wins?

And then what? What if the Free and Fair election votes in another Muslim theocracy? Then how do support the Egyptian people? Like we did the Iraqis under Saddam Hussein? Like the Iranians under the Ayatollah? Like the North Koreans?

It all looks so easy, doesn't it?

Until you start looking at the possible options, and the most likely results.

And no matter what happens, we're affected. The region is oil rich- damn the bad luck- Egypt is next to (and has a peace treaty with) our strongest ally in the area, Israel. What happens if the new, freely and fairly elected Egyptian government reneges on the treaty?

We are already fighting wars on two fronts in the area; are we ready for a third?

More importantly; are we ready for the consequences of our actions/inactions?

I wish I had more faith in the Democrats to handle this crisis. As is, I think were doomed.

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