They Don’t Hate Us For Our Freedoms after All

Over at the Awl, we find this enlightening piece on Egypt and Egyptians attitudes towards the US. Far from being the fever dream of our own would-be theocrats on the right, the situation is a lot more complicated and positive. Turns out the majority of the Muslim world doesn’t actually hate us for our freedoms, they’re just suspicious of the bullshit we peddle:

The other argument for popular sovereignty in the Muslim world is far more straightforward: It’s what the vast majority of Muslims actually want. The 2005-2007 Gallup World Survey of more than 30 Muslim majority countries found that, far from hating Western freedoms, most respondents coveted them—especially the freedom of speech and worship. It’s true that they also overwhelmingly endorsed the idea of Sharia law—but that is not a prescription for jihadist theocracy, as witless American commentators and state legislatures are prone to conclude. Sharia, rather, is a cultural tradition seeking to imbue broad ideals of personal conduct under the rule of law—and far from a monolithic regime of hand-amputating, honor-killing and adulterer-stoning one encounters in dispatches from the American right. Here, yet again, the Iranian theocracy has been made the poster regime for a wide panoply of Muslim believers it does not, in fact, actually represent. You’d think a conservative movement so besotted with lip service to the idea of democracy in the Islamic world would pay closer attention to such pesky details.

That’s because the Egyptians and most everyone else, rightly suspects that our leaders are feeding them a line when we start nattering on about democracy and liberty and all that happy Tom Paine bullshit. The US sells 1.2 Billion dollars worth of military hardware to Egypt. They’re our biggest client in the Middle East, (after Israel, naturally) and those Abrams tanks and RPGs aren’t exactly in the hands of the nicest guys in the government. So when our leaders stand up and say, “Fuck yeah, Egyptian democracy! We’re with you!” and then hand Mubarak another boatload of anti-demonstration hardware, people tend to notice. Especially the people who are getting the boot to head. They can look up and see “Made in America” stamped on the heal on their throat. You may be able to sell that as promoting Liberty to the FoxNews mouth breathers but the rest of the world knows a turd sandwhich when they see one. And they ain’t buying what we’re selling.

I am far from an expert on Egypt and have no idea how this whole thing will play out. But if there’s a chance that the Egyptian People can take their country back form a dictator, I’m all for it. Even if it means a strongly Islamic-identified government that isn’t necessarily pro-US rises to take it’s place. Sometimes the price of freedom means loosing a client for our big shiny weapons.But I think the Military Industrial complex will get over it, somehow.