Op-Ed: In the halls of power in the United States, some seem to think the old regime is still in power. But big things have changed in Egypt, says the writer, including Cairo’s bowing to Washington’s every whim. A viewpoint on the eve of the Mubarak trial
CAIRO - It seems that many American policymakers and think tanks are unaware that Egypt has had a revolution. Even after the fall of Mubarak, they still want us to keep his domestic and foreign policies. They still handle Egyptian affairs in the same haughty manner.
The US has even picked policies for Egypt that are tailored to their interests and Israel's, and issued threats and warnings if Egypt rejects them.
The US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, for instance, recently proposed a bill to impose strict conditions on security aid to Egypt. According to the proposal, if Egypt wants to continue receiving US security assistance, the US president must certify that the Egyptian government is not controlled by a terrorist, is fully implementing its peace treaty with Israel and is taking action against underground smuggling along its border with Gaza. The bill adds that Egypt should stop all incitement to violence against the United States and its citizens, and Egyptian authorities should stop the broadcast of any hostile material on satellites under their control.
Even if the bill is not enforced, it fosters a political atmosphere that encourages this type of discourse. Indeed, here in Egypt, we must keep an eye on what's going on in the American media and think tanks. Their ideas are similar to those in Congress, and aim to uphold Mubarak's policies.
The US establishment expresses deep concern over Egypt's decision not to borrow from the IMF and the World Bank and are furious at the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces for making such a decision. US policy experts advocate the signing of a US-Egypt free trade agreement, but the Latin American experience shows us that such agreements crush any hopes for the development of domestic industries, the defense of labor rights and the protection of the environment
The US is acting as though Mubarak is still in power. In response, Egypt should reject any interference in its domestic affairs on three levels.
First, Field Marshal Tantawi should not accept the new US ambassador until he/she presents a list of all the money that has flowed into Egypt since the January 25 revolution.
Second, Egypt should tell Congress that any threats to withhold military assistance will no longer work after the ouster of Mubarak. Egypt receives this assistance as a guarantee for its adherence to the peace treaty. Cutting military aid means that Egypt may rightfully reconsider the treaty.
Third, if American think tanks feel such an overwhelming longing for Mubarak's era, then we're sorry to tell them that we're not interested in their advice.
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