Denial: Also a River in Egypt

According to George W. Bush, Egypt is making progress toward "greater political openness." That's, um, not true.

I'm not sure there's very much the US government can or should do, in practice, to push Egypt into becoming a democracy. And, certainly, I grasp the pragmatic need to get along with governments willing to get along with us. But I don't really understand why this need is pragmatically construed as the need to lie and pretend to believe that Hosni Mubarak is moving his country toward democracy when everyone knows that he's cracking down on the opposition and trying to install his son as the next pharaoh. The schizophrenia of American policy -- invading Iraq to spread the flame of democracy, and then spinning on Mubarak's behalf in Cairo; between demonizing Hugo Chavez as a totalitarian menace and then hanging out with Saudi officials at the president's vacation home -- is really absurd.

The idea that these tin pot dictators would somehow turn on us if we didn't kiss their assess doesn't hold much water. We need Saudi oil, and the Saudis need our money. We have interests that can be advanced through collaboration with the government of Egypt and the government of Egypt has interests that can be advanced through cooperation with our government. The pretense that every country we have a dispute with is run by the New Hitler while every country we opportunistically ally with is run by a Bold Reformer is incredibly dumb and something a grownup country ought to be able to move past.

Presented by

Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

Google Street View, Transformed Into a Tiny Planet

A 360-degree tour of our world, made entirely from Google's panoramas

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Google Street View, Transformed Into a Tiny Planet

A 360-degree tour of our world, made entirely from Google's panoramas

Video

The 86-Year-Old Farmer Who Won't Quit

A filmmaker returns to his hometown to profile the patriarch of a family farm

Video

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Video

Carrot: A Pitch-Perfect Satire of Tech

"It's not just a vegetable. It's what a vegetable should be."

Video

The Benefits of Living Alone on a Mountain

"You really have to love solitary time by yourself."

More in Politics

Just In