Unfortunately, many Egyptians think in very small spheres and always in the short term. Our unwillingness to see beyond what is being told to us and our gullibility has led to yet another dictatorship in Egypt.
However, there are things at work behind the scenes on a global scale which will lead to a radical shift in the future of Egypt; is it possible, in theory, that one YouTube video could have changed the course of Egypt’s future yet again?
The recent attack on the American Consulate in Libya and the subsequent death of the US Ambassador has altered a great deal; as we speak many meetings are being held in many private rooms in Washington. While Egyptians maybe short-sighted, Americans too are constrained by time, only for them it is in 4 year bursts: the presidential terms.
The position of America as the global police is rooted into the average US citizen’s mind as a right. The American way has been deemed by most Americans as the moral high-ground and is based on the premise of freedom of speech, righteousness and, of course, democracy. This concept of morality has played brilliantly into the hands of all recent American presidents as justification for attacks on other sovereign nations to obtain resources that will help maintain America’s super-power position (though, as we know, those aren’t the aims they say out loud). American foreign policy is therefore dictated by the idea that Western values are the most virtuous and therefore must be introduced to other nations in exchange for the valuable black stuff: oil.
The decades of turmoil in the Middle East have not been, as many suggest, the biggest thorn in America’s side for the last 30 years. No; it has, in fact, been its biggest blessing. The constant conflict has allowed America to play the role of friend or foe to any nation under the righteous banner of “democracy”. One day America is Saddam’s friend, then next it’s Operation Iraqi Freedom. One day Bin Laden is the saviour against Communism, the next he is public enemy number one. As a net result, America has benefited from billions in infrastructure contracts and oil security. Their biggest fear would be a united Middle East: imagine if, all of a sudden, a united Middle East decided to increase the export price for oil at 10 times what it currently stand at. The Middle East would become the first world and America would quickly become the type of country you see on National Geographic and wish to donate money to. This nearly happened once when OPEC was created but America learned its lesson very quickly.
The Arab Spring really took America by surprise. They thought they had the Middle East sussed – dictators in most countries were predictable and did well in keeping the Islamists at bay. Iraqi oil was nicely secured and Palestinians were being squeezed out of their own country at the behest of Israel. This explains Obama’s reluctance to immediately support any of the revolutions. What changed his mind was not a sudden surge of morality, but pressure from an American public who really did believe that America could give the gift of democracy to other countries; laughable but true. With elections not far off Obama tactically had to support the revolutions despite knowing that it could lead to an Islamic takeover.
Over the past year, much political wrangling has gone on with America sending aid and money, trying to buy their way into the hearts of the Islamist rulers. Once again, however, they are making the same mistake they did when they armed the Taliban; they were thinking in election terms. Obama doesn’t care at this point about the long-term stability of the Middle East or even the threat of violence against the US. Instead, he’s focusing on keeping things calm until the polls have been counted later this year. He should, however, that it’s likely that Islamists will happily take what you give them with a smile and then stab you in the back with it when you’re not looking.
Prior to the recent consulate killings, it was quite likely that the game of funding and turning a blind eye to the fact democracy will never be achieved through Islamists, would have continued. But just like a complicated game of chess, the status quo has changed. The American public, who were quite smug in thinking that by supporting the Arab Spring, they were bringing democracy where there once was dictatorship, will suddenly be awakened to the reality of the situation. The minute the ambassador was announced dead, Mitt Romney went on the offensive against the Obama campaign with cries of “how could Obama support these Islamic militants coming into power and killing innocent Americans?!” The death of one man might seem inconsequential to the bigger picture, but to the American nation this means war.
Obama will have two options here: start taking a hard-line attitude against Islamic militants in the “revolutionary” countries or, risk losing the election based on a patriotic faux pas.
What does this mean for Egypt? It is likely you will find Morsi suddenly worrying about his position; he knows very well that without American support things can flip very quickly. If Morsi continues with the Islamisation of the constitution and government you will find the following will start happening:
- A lot of noise suddenly being made against any decision by Morsi which could lead to the Islamisation of Egypt,
- Funding starting to dry up,
- Increased talks between the US and Egyptian military directly,
- Empowering through funding ANTI-Morsi groups.
- The above would happen in the background of course; America will be doing what it does best in clandestine operations. However, these small levers being pulled in the mechanics of a very big machine can have a massive chain reaction.
It is possible that, for the sake of winning an election, the death of one man might have led to the end of the support for the Islamic current. Just like how one video on YouTube led to the death of an ambassador, the death of that same man could just lead to the change of a nation. It would not be the first time it happened: we’re on the brink of witnessing the butterfly effect.