Contradiction in rhetoric and action is a pretty standard feature of foreign policy for countries around the world. We were reminded of that this week; while President Obama and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton were giving speeches about how Egypt‘s President Hosni Mubarak should listen to the demands of his people, Mubarak’s army was flying American-made jets over protests sites and tossing cans of “Made in USA” tear gas into the very crowds of people Obama and Clinton demanded Mubarak listen to.
Here’s the contradiction: while supporting a government that suppresses its people with nearly than $1.3 billion in military aid a year, you demand a change in that country’s ruling scheme, but only when the country’s people rise up and protest.
The gaffes don’t help either. Vice-president Joe Biden said it was too early for Mubarak to step down and called him “very responsible.” Later, adding this, “I hope Mubarak … is going to respond to some of the legitimate concerns that are being raised,” according to the linked article above. He hopes.
Yes, the US is now reevaluating the aid package it sends Cairo’s way every year, but only AFTER Egypt’s governmental actions have become worldwide knowledge. Only AFTER everyone knows the reality of Egypt’s political situation and its effect on society.
This is far from the worst regime the US has ever supported. But it isn’t the best, and that $1.3 billion could do a lot of good instead of what it’s currently doing. Helping to suppress a people utterly fed up with a hostile government.
Ps. I came across this video today that deserves a look. This was made in 2007, when Mubarak was in office for 26 years. It calls for an end to his regime. Very powerful.