Egypt: Lessons For America
This week, the crisis in Egypt pointed out things that could have a serious impact on the United States.
Before I get into that, let's look at some history. France and Egypt build the Suez Canal which opened in 1869. Twenty years later the British bought out the Egyptian interests and it became a joint British / French entity. After World War II, Egypt wanted greater control over the Suez Canal and they nationalized it. This jeopardized the trading routes of Britain and France so together with the Israelis they invaded.
The Egyptians fought back and it was a ferocious war. Peace was brokered in 1956 by the United Nations. The United Nations Emergency Force was created to monitor the peace. The British and the French continue to have a strong interest in the Middle East. As the United States role in the Middle East has diminished under Barack Obama, the English and the French are filling the vacuum.
Mohamed ElBaredei lived in France. Until 2009 he was Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). This fact has not been covered well in the American press which initially considered him to be an exile living in Paris. ElBaredei returned to Egypt last week to be a contender to replace Mubarak. He has strong contacts to Iran and to the Egyptian Brotherhood, which is dedicated to implementing Sharia Law throughout the Middle East and the rest of the world.
ElBaredei was in charge of the investigation of the Iranian nuclear efforts. His investigation lasted many years and concluded that Iran was not working on a nuclear bomb. Now we find out that he is clearly a supporter of Iran. This leads me to believe that the investigation by the International Atomic Energy Agency may have resulted in a false conclusion.
In 2009, the IAEA under ElBaredei concluded that Iran sees nuclear weapons as an "insurance policy". Really??? I believe they want nuclear bombs to attack Israel and other countries in the Middle East. Therefore, the first thing that comes out of this Egyptian crisis is that Iran may have the atomic bomb and that the investigation into their nuclear efforts might have been a sham.
France and Britain know that the administration does not understand the situation. They may be working together to organize a new government in Egypt. They know that Mubarak is 82 years old and there is no succession plan.
France was where ElBaredei lived and the French may have encouraged him to return to Egypt (my supposition only, I have not seen this reported in the press). Britain provided asylum to Mubarak's sons and will likely give him asylum when he resigns. Israel has also offered Mubarak asylum as well.
In my opinion, the three countries that fought Egypt in 1956 are working together again to ensure that Egypt has a government friendly to them and that ensures free passage through the Suez Canal. The surprise is that the Muslim Brotherhood openly supports ElBaredei. The goal of the Muslim Brotherhood is to ensure that Islam becomes the main and only religion in the world. They are second only to Al Qaeda as a terrorist group.
America has lost influence in this region because of Obama's policy shifts. Our method to ensure peace in the Middle East since the Camp David Accord (1978) is to use bribery. Every year, we provide Egypt with over $2 billion in foreign aid and possibly hundreds of millions more in non-reported funds. Thanks to our government, Mubarak will leave Egypt a very wealthy man.
The new generation of Egyptians will not hate the British and French as they did before. Now they will focus their hatred on the "American Imperialists". We can expect an upsurge in terrorist attacks against America from the Egyptians.
It is likely that the British and French will dominate the Suez Canal and the rest of the Middle East as our popularity wanes. As China gains strength in Asia and the third world, we will lose our influence there as well. This will happen because of policies of past and current administrations to fund dictators and prop-up governments using foreign aid.
We cannot buy our friends, nor can we purchase peace. As we can see from the events in Egypt, other powers are moving into the vacuum created by the present and past administrations failed foreign policy.
There are other lessons to be learned from the crisis in Egypt. The shutdown of cell phones and Internet prevented communications by the protesters and those wishing to avoid the protests. Landlines were also down much of the time over the last few days. I suspect that with cell phones down, the volume of landline calls swamped the network as people switched from cell and Internet communication to landlines.
Parents could not contact their children to get them to safety, nor could businesses contact their staff and customers. During a crisis, such as riots or societal breakdown, communication is necessary for Americans to protect their homes and families. We also need to be able to contact our friends and neighbors to provide help and assistance and to ensure our communities are protected.
President Obama wants the ability to shut down the Internet without congressional or judicial oversight. The revised bill is before the senate now. In this legislation, there is a clause that prevents the courts from having any jurisdiction over this law when it passes. This means that there will be no court review of the law and that no judicial review or warrant is required prior to shutting down the Internet. Further, there will be no legal review after the crisis is over. Clearly this bill attacks the constitutional powers vested in the judiciary.
I was in California during the Northridge / Simi Valley earthquake. Landlines were "commandeered" to prevent residents from making local calls. Only long distance calls could be made. ATMs were shut down, as were credit card terminals. Yes, there was an emergency, but it made it very difficult to contact family members to ensure that they were safe. With the ability to shut down the Internet, texting, and Twitter, just to name a few of the services we use, the government can stop us from communicating any time they want. Will they test this at future Tea Party demonstrations in Washington DC?
If the president is given the authority to shut down the Internet, then we should be prepared. When I was a child, ham radio networks and short wave broadcasts were used to communicate in emergencies. In Hurricane Katrina, when phone and Internet services were down, it was the ham radio operators who enabled communication with the outside world. I believe it is time for a few people in each community to sit for the examination and receive an amateur license grant from the FCC. Once this is obtained, they can set up their amateur radio broadcast capability as a hobby, and as a public service during disasters. Using a combination of ham and CB radio, the operators can keep the public informed during a phone or Internet outage.
We need to be ready for the time when the president decides to shut down communications, be it the Internet or phone service. Since judicial review is not an option, only concerned citizens, who prepare in advance, can enable essential communications during a government mandated shut down. The government should not interfere with the lawful private communications of Americans. They have no right to take away our ability to call our friends or access the Internet.
When the Egyptian crisis is over, watch out for new legislation that will be proposed to limit the constitutional rights of our citizens and permit government control of all communications and information distribution. We must be vigilant to ensure our constitutional rights are not eroded as a result of the crisis in Egypt.
© 2011 Gordon Smith All Rights Reserved