I have slipped into another addiction in the past weeks: I have become an avid neo-Egyptologist. As long as we have 12 degree temperatures in the AM, when the Fuzz crawls out from under our aubergine, Martha Stewart, 700 thread-count comforter to have me escort her into the back for her morning yap, I will sit in front of Morning Joe to watch the comings and goings over there. I have recently read Cleopatra a fairly interesting tome about her finagling with Caesar (hmmm that’s Kayzar BTW) and Anthony, all of the romance, according to the author, contrived for the protection Egypt, to keep the Romans, if not away, at bay. Really, not a bad deal- her making love to save her country. What’s going on over there at the moment is so much more interesting than the novel; any country that can send out camel riders armed with whips and sticks to beat down a crowd of protesters has got to be a fun place to watch. CAMELS! Way cool.
Being constantly tetchy in my disposition, I cannot resist commenting on the irony on display as Egypt camel-rides its way into a revolution of hope. The democrats are shoveling sound bites and forking money to make it seem that they are the political power which can assist Egyptians in their search for democracy; the republicans are sort of hooked because while they seem to be saying that they support Egyptian people in their search for free and fair democracy, one knows secretly that they are hoping that the KGB will take over so that republicans can blame Obama for the whole damn, failed uprising. I really liked the line from one of our silver-coiffed leaders from Congress, “We support Egypt and any country that has legitimate, free and fair, elections and democracy.” Egypt has not had a legitimate election in, forever. Although our politicians have for 30 plus years pumped about 2 billion a year into Egypt, mostly money for Egypt to buy weapons, we have never asked Egyptian leaders to do much more for democracy than keep the Suez Canal open and not shoot at the Jews. Our boys and gals in DC could care less if Egypt is democratic, that it has forty percent unemployment, that the army bakes and controls the daily bead, and that Mubarak has a Swiss account simply stuffed with US dollars, his reward from the US for not plugging Jews and if you believe it for helping us out with foreign terrorists. Can you imagine how many, FBI, CIA, NSA, KGB, Mossad, and M16 agents must be skulking around Tahrir Square, right now? Good grief what a Tom Clancy book this fight for freedom will make.
It is not lost on this poor ol’ socialist that the Romans, during the time of the Triumvirate, knew more about what was going on in Alexandria than our country with jillions of spy agencies and military officers knows about what’s going on in Cairo. Despite the slowness of communication in those times the slimy Romans were all over what Cleo was up to while all of our nefarious agents seem to know not much at all about Mubarak. The Egyptian president sure had us believing he was abdicating only to pull the old Egyptian rug right out from under their most beneficial sponsor, probably the identical rug that the queen used to secret herself into Caesar. Can you imagine all the tax dollars wasted on speech writers, paper, computers,and think-tanks in preparing for the unctuous press releases about how democracy had succeeded in yet another Middle Eastern country, how our initiatives in Iraq and Afghanistan, our embargoes in Iran and Libya, our drone strikes in Pakistan have all been successful in promoting a burgeoning democracy in Egypt? Mubarak, with the adept skill typically reserved for republicans, spoke so sepentinely that we still don't know what he meant and refused to go, moving power to his vice-president and setting our gubment and media into an incarnadine frenzy. What are we going to do now? Our guy won’t make nice and fly out to the Rivera to live the sumptuous life off the US tax payer. I suspect that Mubarak,having learned,no doubt from Kim Jung-il, and being an excellent father, is holding out for a sumptuous US charge account for his son to use for giving up his rightful position in Egypt. I wonder which agency will cut that Master Card or Visa?
While we jockey for a defendable position about our Position in Egypt, we are getting some help from Ahab the Arab, King Abdullah, who claims he will take the pressure off of us by picking up the tab for the Egyptian army in case we have to suspend funding (heck, we won’t suspend anything. Remember “arms for hostages” and the Iran-Contra affair? The boys and gals up on the Hill will positively not undercut the defense industry, no way, no how). But the good King Abdullah in a press release which clearly shows how he feels about democracy in the Middle East, “Egypt is a country of Arabism and Islam. No Arab and Muslim human being can bear that some infiltrators, in the name of freedom of expression, have infiltrated into the brotherly people of Egypt, to destabilize its security and stability and they have been exploited to spew out their hatred in destruction, intimidation, burning, looting and inciting a malicious sedition.” The astute, Eh-Rab, Sarah Palin also weighed in, though taking an opposing direction to the good King, "Even foreign aid — and I say that, you know, as a Republican, as a true American who wants to make sure that there is peace in the world and that America's interests are being heard — even foreign aid and the level of dollars that are spent to these foreign countries, that shouldn't be some holy grail where we can't even discuss the level of financial assistance given to countries." You-betcha. And the presidential hopeful, Rick Santorum, sounding like King Abdullah criticizes, “We’ve turned our backs on… almost all of our allies. What does the president do? He sides with the protesters.”
Once again, we are staked out over an angry ant-hill because of our hypocritical meddling. For thirty years we have dumped billions into Egypt without giving a democratic-hoot about free and fair (this ol-communist is guessing the figures are way higher than the official line; if one could find out all the non-published earmarks to Egypt and to Israel, mainly bribes to encourage them to make nice, one would fall aghast from his easy chair, apoplectic over the excesses). And now,oh boy, oh girl, there’s a whole lot of squealing going on about cutting foreign aid and equal squawking about supporting free and fair elections in Egypt. All this fun is a pleasant respite from the political harangues from both parties about the condition of OUR condition. And, I watch, too, praying for those dang camel-jockeys to come back to fight against the guys on the mules. That was beyond ultro-cool.