I want to state something obvious about this Egypt situation because I know it’s not obvious to many of my fellow Americans. Let’s be clear about what’s happening. The Egyptian people are rising up to protest an undemocratic, repressive, tyrannical dictatorship – one that has been the second highest recipient of U.S. foreign aid over the past 30 years, second only to Israel. Most of this has been in the form of military aid.
The United States - which espouses values like freedom and democracy, and frequently intervenes in the affairs of foreign countries to allegedly promote these values – has been sending about $2 billion each year for the past three decades to a dictatorial, undemocratic regime with a horrendous human rights record.
Stated more simply: The US has been heavily subsidizing repression in Egypt.
Pardon the redundancy but I’m emphasizing this point because I know it will come as a surprise to a lot of Americans. Prior to this week’s events most were probably unaware of the nature of the Egyptian government and the plight of its people. And it’s likely even less were aware of the kind of money flowing to Egypt from the US.
I’m mentioning it here because in my experience Americans genuinely cannot understand why many foreigners, especially in the Middle East, view the United States so negatively. The US’s support of Mubarak is but one small example of how America comes to be seen as a hypocritical nation that supports violent dictators when it serves its interests to do so, and makes war against them in the name of freedom and democracy when it doesn’t.