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A Lesson from a US Cable and the Egyptian Army! - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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One of the US diplomatic cables leaked by WikiLeaks reveals that Washington is frustrated with the Egyptian army, as it wants it to focus more open combating terrorism, guarding the border with Israel, and other such operations. The question that must be asked here is: what have the Americans got to do with the nature of Egyptian military operations? Isn’t this [combating terrorism, and guarding the border with Israel] the role of the Interior Ministry and the Border Guards? Why is this cable focusing upon the Egyptian army, rather than the Israeli army, for Washington provides aid to both Israel and Egypt.

The truth is that Washington is a confusing ally, for if the [US] president’s star rises internally, so too do the demands of the US State Department, while if the president loses popularity at home in America, his foreign demands become even more impossible [to achieve]. A Saudi Arabian source told me a story that neatly sums this up: he said that a US official asked his Saudi counterpart for Riyadh to take “serious” steps to convince Israel to come to the negotiating table. The Saudi official smiled and calmly responded “your request is extremely strange; for what should happen is for you [the Americans] to bring Israel [to the negotiations], whilst we convince the Palestinians….but you want us – Saudi Arabia – to bring the Israelis [to negotiate]?”

We can also recall an experience that remains engraved in our memories, and that is when former US President George W. Bush – who is today tending his cattle at his ranch [in the US] – viewed the world from the standpoint of “you’re either with us or against us” for what would have happened if some of our regional countries had responded to his demands during this period? Remember that George W. Bush ended his term in office as one of the least popular American presidents, and we have seen the state he left America in at the end of his second term in office. This was a man who did not listen to the advice of the entire world when he invaded and occupied Iraq without first putting a post-invasion plan in place, and the rest, of course, is history. So what would have happened if some Arab states complied with the demands Bush made at the height of his [internal] popularity? What would the situation look like today in our homelands with regards to destruction and devastation?

As we mentioned above, the US is a truly confusing ally, and the simplest proof of this is America overthrowing the non-democratic regime of Saddam Hussein, and then later supporting [Iraqi Prime Minister] Nouri al-Maliki obtain a second term in office, which is something that contradicts the simplest US justifications for overthrowing Saddam Hussein’s regime. At this point, some might ask me “what are you trying to say?” The answer is that: the best way to deal with a superpower that cannot be ignored – like the US – is to follow the Chinese model. For if you are not strong internally, and your regime is not founded upon a solid and committed front, and your country does not have a strong economic and labor system which guarantees your people a good life and their daily bread, and more importantly than this, if your policies are not based upon rationalism, but rather bullying, then you will be unable to deal with Washington in the correct manner.

China managed to recover Hong Kong without firing a single bullet, and today Taiwan cannot ignore Chinese companies, and this does not require China to fire rockets or issue threatening statements, rather all that China has to do is drown the Taiwanese economy, or in other words, kill with kindness, according to famous American actor Al Pacino, in the film “The Devil’s Advocate.”

This is the lesson in how to deal with America, rather than via the method of the Iranians and the other bullies in our region. Rationalism, and internal cohesion, providing employment to the people, and guaranteeing them a livelihood – this is what ensures that our regional countries were safe from the whims of an aggressive America during the George W. Bush era, as well as the whims of a peaceful America during President Obama’s presidency today. Some may say that China is not an ideal example, due to its human rights infringements, and here we say, there is no problem [in this] for what about India [that is also following China’s method of dealing with the US]?

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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