Feb 022011
Authors: Courtney Stuard

While the rumble of raging revolution shakes the streets of Egypt, the world awaits America’s response. Media have framed the Egyptian crisis as an issue the freedom police (aka U.S. government) must solve. But is it the duty of the U.S. to intervene?

The revolution began in Tunisia to oust a despotic regime and inspired Egyptians to revolt. Since January 25, protestors have poured into the streets of Cairo, crying for the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak. Police and military stepped aside to permit protest without opposition. Egyptians want a voice in government, which is something they have been denied for many decades.

In the wake of revolution, U.S. officials seem reluctant to call for the removal of Mubarak. Their hesitation stems from the bind the U.S. government has worked its way into by providing the Egyptian government with $60 billion and weapons since Mubarak became president 1981. During that time, the U.S. –– in conjunction with Mubarak –– did not allow any opposition candidates to run in democratic elections. Essentially, Mubarak served as a U.S.-supported dictator, not a democratically elected president.

Now, as protestors fill the streets screaming for freedom, the U.S. government has a choice to make: let the Egyptians handle Mubarak or intervene. This is not the first time the U.S. has been put in this situation.

In 1953 the U.S. ousted democratically elected Mohammad Mosaddegh from power in Iran and appointed the dictator Shah as Iran’s leader. After 26 years of oppression, Iranians rebelled in 1979, and the Islamic Republic took control. Had the U.S. not placed the Shah into power in 1953, Ahmedinejad would not be president, and Iran would not have nuclear capabilities.

Again, in 1954 the U.S. removed democratically elected Jacobo Arbenz from his position as president of Guatemala. After ousting Arbenz, the CIA provided military dictator Carlos Castillo Armas with an army so that he could take control of the government. As dictator, Armas removed the right of Guatemalans to vote in democratic elections. In both instances, the “champion of democracy,” (the U.S.) removed democratically elected leaders in order to install military dictators to do its bidding.

Considering past hypocrisy, non-intervention is the best option in response to the Egyptian crisis. Non-interventionism, as supported by the founding fathers, means respecting state sovereignty and self-determination by not interfering with the internal affairs of another state.

Thomas Jefferson directed government to establish, “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliances with none.”

That would mean the removal of the U.S. military from the more than 150 countries it occupies, ending involvement in the Middle East, permanently suspending aid to all countries, including Israel, and stepping down from the position of global police.

The revolution that started by the hands of Egyptian citizens, should stay in the hands of Egyptians. They must be allowed the freedom to choose their leader because a leader supported by the U.S. often times is tyrannical and can have unforeseen effects on the U.S. in the future.

Critics of non-interventionism in Egypt and the Middle East claim that the U.S. must be involved anywhere and everywhere in order to prevent extremism and terrorism. However, U.S. intervention is perceived as malicious rather than benevolent by those who are controlled, thereby giving terror groups a target. Non-intervention may actually reduce the presence of terrorists because there would be no perceived threat.

Dwindling dollars, an abysmal record of intervention and waning support suggest it is in the best interest of the U.S. to sit this one out. Let us return to the policy of President John Quincy Adams: “America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.”
Courtney Stuard is a senior journalism major. Her column appears on Thursdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com._

 Posted by at 4:50 pm

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