The bogus conflict between American interests and values
(Mondoweiss) -- by Philip Weiss --
This morning on "Morning Joe" and last night on NPR's "On Point," an American conversation began about the conflict between our "values" and "interests" in the Middle East. The simple outlines of the discussion are: We have a strong interest in Middle East peace, and Mubarak enforced it for us. But supporting a dictator conflicts with our democratic values.
The desperate tension at the heart of the conversation, which Pat Buchanan managed to sneak into MSNBC this morning, is: the Egyptian people do not want the peace treaty with Israel.
And therefore, the Egyptian people must be tyrannized forever-- 85 million people denied human rights, the rights of assembly and free speech, their children's futures blighted, all to preserve an American interest.
What is not brought up in these conversations-- what Pat Buchanan knows and so does the crew on the NPR show last night, Stephen Kinzer, CFR's Susan Glasser, the NYT's Nick Kristof, and Harvard's Nicholas Burns know it, and all are afraid to bring up-- is that the peace in the Middle East has come at a terrible price not just for the people of Egypt but for the people of Palestine. Let us remember that the treaty that Sadat signed and Mubarak upheld said that it was to bring self-determination to the Palestinian people, but that principle has been ignored by the U.S. for 30 years. And negotiation and "dialogue" between vastly unequal parties has replaced any idea of fairness, with the unsurprising consequence that the weaker party, the Palestinians, have seen their lands usurped, their grandfathers evicted or shot in their beds, a third of their population forced to live in an open-air prison, and their political culture split in two (between resistance and collaboration).
And the Egyptians people's understanding of these political realities, which surpasses the understanding of them in the American Establishment, is why they don't like that peace.
As the Muslim Brotherhood's Essam Al-Aryan explained to a baffled Robert Siegel the other night on NPR:
"The [Egyptian] people are not rushing for war. But it is not our duty to protect Israel from Palestinians. We are not guards for Israel."
Siegel was baffled because he seemed to need to ascribe this feeling to Islamic fundamentalists...MORE...LINK