It’s that time of year again, everyone. Yet another Middle Eastern country has descended into bloody political turmoil, and the United States, thousands of miles away, is looking to stamp its influence on the situation.
In this episode the stage is Egypt, and the United States can relate as little as usual to the struggle, this one being between Egypt’s military leadership and its citizens. There very well may be the beginnings of a revolution brewing in Egypt, and as exciting as it may be to some, it’s just not our place to stir the pot in this matter. The Egyptian revolution is a can of worms and is not our business to meddle with for a multitude of reasons.
First of all, it should be noted that taking a stand with either side in the conflict would not serve our interests well. If we were to side with Egypt’s military leadership, it would be viewed by Egyptians as working against the will of its citizenry. Conversely, if we were to support the dismantlement of the military government, Egypt would become unstable. If the Iraq situation taught us anything, it’s that military rule, while it typically flirts with tyranny, is a very good way to secure an otherwise unstable region. Moreover, the leadership backed by a majority of Egyptians has strong religious ties and a less favorable view of the U.S.
It should also be noted, in regards to getting involved in Egypt, that we have no idea where they’re coming from. It is said that the best way to relate to another’s problems is to “walk a mile in their shoes.” Well, the U.S. haven’t worn the shoes of theo-political strife since, roughly, the late 1700s. We haven’t had to deal with many large struggles between the military and citizens, or generational animosity between religious groups. American foreign policy still, after a decade of similar muddles, has yet to grasp that we cannot empathize or rightly get involved with what goes on in the Middle East.
It’s like a rich man who lives across the street from say, a ghetto. If he hears and sees people in a house across the street arguing, does he go down and intervene? Of course not. In this particular case, the U.S. would be knocking on the door, asking them to stop and deciding whether to side with any member of the family. It’s not right in this analogy and it’s not right in this situation. Unless they ask, which they won’t, it is not our duty or privilege to intervene in their politics.
I realize as much as the next person how unfortunate the situation in Egypt is. It’s saddening that they’re working out their problems in such a violent matter, and I’d love to be able to help bring peace. However, our status does not entitle us to do so – our past mucking in the Middle East should have taught us so. Please, it’s not time for another episode.
Sean Kennedy is a freshman undeclared major who likes singing in the wee small hours of the morning and making subtle Sinatra references. Letters and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org