A fascinating report on NPR this morning highlights the tragic fact that the US is more concerned with pursuing its national interests abroad than it is in supporting emerging democracies.
For U.S. policymakers trying to gauge how American interests are at stake in Egypt, the popular uprising there is a tale of two risks. The democratic process, if allowed to run its course, could bring to power a new government unsupportive of U.S. priorities. But if the democratic process in Egypt is blocked, the outcome could be equally damaging to U.S. interests. The uncertainty over the Egyptian scenarios has brought even the most hardheaded foreign policy analysts to different conclusions. The U.S. aims in Egypt are longstanding and clear: maintaining peace with Israel, keeping the Suez Canal open, and supporting U.S. and allied efforts against al-Qaida and other extremist groups. Republican and Democratic administrations alike have seen these as vital U.S. interests, and they have consistently ranked them above the promotion of human rights and democracy. In practice, this has meant supporting Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, no matter his faults.
In short, we would rather support a tyrant who does what we want than a democratic movement that may not be our puppet. So much, then, for America’s grand talk about wanting democracy all around the globe. We really don’t. We want tools so we can implement our foreign policy without interference. And that’s quite shameful.
So, to the rising democracies around the world, I apologize on behalf of the good people of the US who value true freedom above imperialism. Choose your own paths. You may not get foreign aid, but you’ll have freedom of choice- and that’s more valuable.