When I saw the headline, “Muslim Brotherhood inherits U.S. war gear,” I assumed this was re-telling us the story that the winner of the election gets all the stuff that his predecessor had. Whatever tanks or missiles or ships the United States sent to Egypt under Mubarak are now under the control of Morsi, the ex-Muslim Brotherhood president who has “given himself” unaccountable powers. (His status as “ex-Muslim Brotherhood is a minimalist PR move; he quit in order to run for President and is still backed by the Muslim Brotherhood.)
This basic principle is inescapable. It is why terrorists in Libya now have Gaddafi’s weapons. Once you give a leader weapons or other things, you don’t get them back when his authority comes to an end. Those weapons pass on to the successor.
But that’s not what the news story was referring to. The point isn’t that the Muslim Brotherhood gets stuff we’ve sent to Egypt. The point was that there is stuff we agreed to send to Mubarak and now we’re going to send it to Morsi. We are, right now, in the process of sending weapons to a person who made himself the dictator of Egypt:
“For Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood-dominated government, more battle tanks and jet fighters are on their way from the United States. Cairo’s military link to Washington has remained intact, meaning the U.S. will continue to modernize the biggest military in Africa — even as President Mohammed Morsi has decreed near-absolute power for himself and his supporters and opponents battle outside his palace. Analysts say Egypt’s military buildup presents risks for Washington — and Israel — with the growing influence of the Brotherhood, whose overriding goal is to establish Shariah, or Islamic, law worldwide. A Pentagon statement to The Washington Times on Thursday said: “We are always reviewing our foreign assistance to make sure foreign assistance advances U.S. objectives and is being used for the right purposes.” For now, Egypt is due 200 M1A1 Abrams battle tanks, the same mechanized firepower manned by American soldiers, bringing Egypt’s inventory to a robust 1,200.”
So if we read about protestors being opposed with tanks, like what happened on Tiananmen Square in China, soon we will have to ask ourselves, “Are those our tanks being used to put down people who are protesting dictatorship and demanding democracy?”
Why do we do this?
One reason is the military industrial complex. If we give a tank to Egypt, we have to order one and pay for one. There are people making good money because the US sends weapons overseas. Those businesses hire lobbyists to make sure that the weapons keep being ordered.
Another reason is to buy our place as the world policemen. For all our might as the world’s only superpower, I think there is a constant fear that people might decide they don’t need us. Even when our embassy was attacked, suggestions that we stop giving Egypt foreign aid were treated with fear and loathing by establishment defenders. Without a stream of (borrowed!) money flowing from the United States all over the world, the nations might stop caring what we say or think. That is an unthinkable future. So we have to keep sending arms.
The whole thing is entirely perverse. Basically, our rich ruling class ravages the middle- and lower-class in order to send toys to the ruling class of other countries. And we can no longer afford to give away such gifts even to people whom we really like. Degrading our economy to prop up a corrupt usurper dictator is both stupid and immoral.