The brave Egyptian protesters are in day 16 of their protest against the dictator Mubarak. Mubarak refuses to leave. The Egypt military is starting to make veiled threats against the protesters. Yet, the protests continue.
Every American should be proud of the civil disobedience the Egyptians are displaying. After all, Americans pretty much invented civil disobedience. Sorry President Obama, it wasn't Gandhi. Gandhi was a big fan of Henry David Thoreau.
Unfortunately, there is a segment in American society that is alarmed by the protests in Egypt. It's a segment of the population that I have a great affinity with and respect for -- conservatives.
One has to wonder how "conservatives", who champion American values, came to be alarmed by and even oppose the Egyptian's desire to be free of tyranny.
It all started with the Cold War. It continues with the desire of some "conservative" politicians (the neo-cons) to remain relevant by exploiting the fears of Americans, rather than exploiting our ideals.
During the Cold War, America faced an organized, ideological enemy (Communism) that enslaved half of the world and had tens of thousands of nuclear weapons pointed at us. America did what it took to fight this tyranny. One thing America did was prop up anti-Communist dictators -- some of whom were pretty nasty at home. American did what we had to do for the future of world. I supported it 100% and I won't apologize for it.
However, after the Cold War ended the U.S. government stopped propping up dictators in Latin America and Asia. Most countries in Latin America and Asia have progressed to market economies and pluralistic political systems.
Unfortunately, the U.S. government did not stop propping up dictators in the Middle East.
Who flew the Airplanes into the Word Trade Center? Hondurans? Chileans? Filipinos? South Koreans? NO. It was people who lived in oppressive regimes in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, that are supported either financially or militarily by the U.S. government.
Today, Tunisians and Egyptians are clamoring to be free. Others are likely to follow.
Americans should be cheering. Unfortunately, many "conservative" politician are sounding the alarm bells instead.
The GOP coalition is much more ideologically diverse than the Democrat Party. The only thing that held the GOP coalition together was anti-communism. After the Cold War ended, parts of the GOP coalition including libertarians like Ron Paul and paelo-cons like Pat Buchanan started questioning our expensive military commitments abroad.
This alarmed the "neo-cons", so they started looking for a new enemy. For a while during the 1990s, they were beating the drums against "Red" China, which in many ways is more capitalist than the U.S.
9/11 saved the GOP coalition for while. But 9/11 is not the hot topic for Americans today. So the neo-cons are reaching for new solutions. Some are starting to beat the drums against China again. Others are warning of an imminent threat that radical Muslim regimes will pop up all over the middle east. But Egypt is not Iran. There isn't an exiled Ayatollah waiting to take over. The most respected institution in Egypt is the pro-Western military.
I love my country. I often call myself a "conservative". But American conservatives who oppose the demonstrators in Egypt are on the wrong side of history.