When Are We Going To Butt Out?
by James Glaser
January 31, 2011
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For almost 70 years we, the United States, have been trying to control the Middle East. We have overthrown democratically elected governments and installed what we thought would be friendly dictators. We have paid out billions of dollars to buy friendship, and given away billions more in military aid trying to prop up regimes friendly to us. But after all these years we have forgotten the millions of people who yearn for the freedom and democracy we are supposed to have here in America.

Here is how Sheldon Richman says it:

Since the end of World War II, the United States, like the European colonial powers before it, has been unable to resist becoming entangled in the region's political conflicts. Driven by a desire to keep the vast oil reserves in hands friendly to the United States, a wish to keep out potential rivals (such as the Soviet Union), opposition to neutrality in the cold war, and domestic political considerations, the United States has compiled a record of tragedy in the Middle East. The most recent part of that record, which includes U.S. alliances with Iraq to counter Iran and then with Iran and Syria to counter Iraq, illustrates a theme that has been played in Washington for the last 45 years.

Now we have the people of Egypt rising up to throw out Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president, who has held power since October of 1981.

Of course, Washington can not stand by and watch what the people of Egypt end up doing. No, we have Vice President Joe Biden telling the world that Mubarak is not a dictator. He says this as the Egyptian people see the American supplied tear gas shells with "Made in USA" stamped on the canisters fired at them. They see the American supplied battle tanks, armored troop carriers, and attack helicopters that the Egyptian Army is equipped with. Right now neither Washington nor the Egyptians know what their Army will do about this popular uprising.

In the midst of all of this, President Obama is saying Egypt needs change, but as the New York Times reports, not in leadership. Obama, like Biden wants to keep "our friend" Mubarak in power.

Some day, the United States is going to have to stop meddling in other countries' affairs. In much of the world, we are the "Evil Empire." You know that don't you? We are called "evil". On top of that, we are getting to the point that we can no longer afford to spend the money and troops to prop up our "friends" throughout the world.

We are reaching the point that we must and should let the rest of the world decide for themselves what kind of government works best for them. After that we can help where that help is requested, or we can leave well enough alone if that is what a new government wants.

It will probably take decades for the rest of the world to trust us, and our intentions. Thoughts of our CIA and military will not fade quickly, but we have to start some day, and we could start today and stop butting into what the sovereign citizens of Egypt are trying to do.

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