The Arab Spring now poses a significant problem for American geopolitics and interests. Since President Woodrow Wilson, America has promoted democracy and human rights as part of its foreign policy. This especially came to the forefront under the presidency of George W. Bush and the “neoconservative” agenda. After the revolutions in the Arab world, the people are now electing political parties that act and believe antithetically to our interests. One of the more deleterious cases has to do with Egypt, where the people have elected the Muslim Brotherhood to represent them. It is important to remember that just because someone was democratically elected does not instantly make them an ally of the United States.
Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood has a long history of deception, promotion of Sharia law, anti-Semitism, and anti-Western values, yet, this does not seem to concern President Obama. Recently, the Obama Administration wholeheartedly welcomed a delegation from the Muslim Brotherhood to Washington. It even suspended normal screening processes for them, including one member who, according to the Investigative Project on Terrorism, was “implicated—though not charged—in a U.S. child pornography investigation.” In addition to turning a blind eye to suspected criminals, the Obama Administration has overlooked the Muslim Brotherhood’s policies and beliefs. The Brotherhood has explicitly stated it will not accept Israel as a state “under any circumstances.” The organization referred to Osama bin Laden with the honorary title “Sheikh” and called him a “shaheed” (martyr) after he was killed by U.S. forces. They also have an intricate connection to the terrorist organization HAMAS, which regularly attacks Israel. Is this the kind of political party with which the Obama administration wants to work?
U.S. relations with Egypt have soured not only due to the ascendency of the Muslim Brotherhood, but also because of the transitional government’s witch hunt against pro-democracy workers in the country, including members of nongovernmental organizations funded by the United States (NGOs). But none of this has phased the Obama Administration; Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said that America will continue to give Egypt $1.5 billion in annual aid. According to Heritage’s James Phillips, the Obama Administration’s “see no evil” policy means that the Muslim Brotherhood “can continue to exploit anti-American sentiments whipped up by the state-controlled media with little fear of the consequences. Granting U.S. aid on an unconditional basis also signals weakness and virtually guarantees that the NGO show trials will continue.”
Past actions of the Muslim Brotherhood indicate they will continue to support terrorists and disrespect individual rights. The U.S. needs to start using its foreign aid to promote democracy and our values. This is our money, and we should be allowed to attach any strings we want. America should not give Egypt any financial aid until it is clear that the incoming Muslim Brotherhood-dominated Egyptian government will act responsibly, respect the terms of Egypt’s 1979 peace treaty with Israel, and respect the human rights of its own people. Soft power has its place, and this is an appropriate time for it.
If the Muslim Brotherhood chooses to act irresponsibly, then Washington should halt its foreign aid. U.S. foreign aid is not an entitlement program, and the United States should not subsidize foreign governments that adopt policies hostile to American interests. The U.S. can no longer continue to support authoritarians or other governments just because there is a modicum of American interest in the country. Our policies should directly support our interests. The Egyptian government must act as a sovereign state and promote individual liberty. If the Muslim Brotherhood chooses not to act in a responsible manner, then not only should the United States not give them aid, it should ostracize Egypt from the international community.
Authoritarianism does not only come in the form of dictators; it also comes in the form of revolutionaries. Although America promotes democracy, this must be a democracy based on fundamental principles of the dignity of the human person, which the Muslim brotherhood does not respect. Even a far leftist like Thomas Friedman agrees with this position.
Obama is hurting America’s security by wooing the Muslim Brotherhood before they have attempted a proper political platform of respecting people. This is not the first time Obama has endangered American interests by either apologizing to foreign leaders or limiting missile defense or refusing to take tough action against Iran or refusing to side with Israel. This is just another in a long line of actions where Obama has made America less safe. He needs to stop courting the Muslim Brotherhood and begin supporting American interests.