Egypt: Fruit of the Poisonous Olive Tree

The emerging democracy in Egypt is yet another blow to US influence
and yet another boost to the region’s local superpower, Iran. Perhaps
fifty years from now, the disadvantages of democratization will be
erased by its benefits. In the meantime,
a democratic Egypt virtually assures the end of secular government in
the Middle East. As Egypt reorganizes under some form of
religion-dominated democracy, it is also inevitable that they will turn
away from the United States.

Not that we didn’t ask for it, mind you. We’re getting ready to eat the fruit of the poisonous tree we
nurtured. For most of the last century, the United States has aligned
itself with Middle-East dictators and thugs. The net effect of our blood
and treasure has been to over-weaponize dictatorships while
simultaneously giving their people reasons to hate us.

In all fairness, back when we started meddling in the Middle East
(meddling became really popular after World War II) there were only
tribal leaders to choose from. But our foreign policy never attempted to
nudge these monarchs toward a better form of government. We didn’t even
want to. The truth is that democracies are harder to deal with and,
well, we chose selfishly.

Arguably, the worst of our dictator buddies was the Shah of Iran,
Reza Pahlavi, who was fond of making dissidents wear metal boxes
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