When protests broke out across the Arab world, with the people rising up in nations left and right to throw off the shackles of oppressive dictators, the initial reaction among many here in the United States was that this was a positive thing. The common people could upset the status quo, doing away with dictators in Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, and so many other nations, and finally the people would get to experience democracy the way Americans get to every four years.
But not all of us thought the Arab Spring was such a good thing. On the surface, all was positive. These people were yearning for freedom from oppression. But under the surface loomed a power vacuum, and the powers that were moving in to fill it were not benign, and they were not forces for good.
We here in the US have already experienced the consequences of buying in to the Arab Spring in the events that unfolded in Benghazi on September 11 this year.
It didn’t take long during the Libyan conflict to see that the rebels we were backing were not good, freedom-loving people. Like in Afghanistan during the Cold War, we were backing rebels who would all too soon be fighting against us.
The same was true in Egypt, it’s just that the situation there was more subtle than in today’s Libya or yesteryear’s Afghanistan. Mubarak is out of power, yes, but that does not mean that the current regime is any better than the one they displaced. Egyptian President Morsi, fresh off of a minor diplomatic win in the recent Israel/Hamas cease fire and receiving high praise from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, just granted himself extreme new powers, basically decreeing that any decision he makes is above the law until a new parliament is elected…something that will not occur for some time, as the Egyptian constitution has not yet been ratified.
This move basically cements the power of the radical Muslim Brotherhood over the nation of Egypt and puts the entire region at risk. One of the primary factors that fed into the ousting of Hosni Mubarak was the fact that he had held power for around 30 years, and it looks like with this move, Egypt will have only traded one dictator for another. We should have been standing for freedom in Egypt, not just some empty democracy that will allow the Islamic radicals to usurp the democratic process and take over.