Lee Wrights: Who rules Egypt is none of our business

by R. Lee Wrights

“They who sow the wind will reap the whirlwind.” (Hosea 8:7)

BURNET, Texas (Feb. 7) –During the Cold War the United States supported a host of corrupt dictators who oppressed, brutalized, imprisoned, tortured, and murdered their own citizens. In the name of protecting us from the monster in the closet, monolithic communism, a succession of American presidents, both Democrats and Republicans, promoted a foreign policy that knowingly and willingly sacrificed the liberty of other people in order to secure a false sense of safety for Americans.

American foreign policy was based on the specious premise that as long as a ruler professed he was anti-Communist, it did not matter whether or not he was pro-democracy. Whenever one of these petty potentates got in trouble, when the people in his country dared to challenge his authority and seek liberty and freedom, American officials were quick to step in and “mediate” or “moderate” under the subterfuge of “preserving democracy,” “insuring stability” and “protecting American interests.”

If things got really out of hand, we “facilitated” a “change in government,” which actually meant changing dictators. In some cases, the regimes eventually were overthrown by popular uprising that resulted in a government that turned against us.

We sowed into the wind of tyranny and when the wall came down and the iron curtain was lifted, and the monster was revealed as a fabrication and a fable, America began to reap the whirlwind of resentment, anger and hatred from the people who suffered under the thumb of “Made in America” despots.

Yet since 9/11, another succession of American presidents has continued this failed and fallacious policy by simply replacing one monster with another. Instead of the monster in the closet, we have the monster under the bed – called by various names such as jihadists, Islamist, terrorist.

Whatever the monster is called, American foreign policy makers are still willing to sacrifice the liberty of other people in a vain and foolish effort to assure our own security. We continue to sow into the wind, and if we do, we will continue to reap the whirlwind.

The Egyptian people, along with other peoples in the Middle East, have suffered for decades under a succession of dictators propped up by the United States. While claiming to be a beacon of freedom and democracy, American Middle East policy has been driven by factors that directly contradict these claims – illusionary strategic interests, oil, and an irrational need to support “friendly” nations regardless of their internal politics.

The much despised and maligned Arab-on-the-street is finally sick of it. The wave of uprisings that began in Tunisia, spread to Egypt and may soon engulf other Arab nations are inspired by the same spirit that swept through eastern Europe in 1989 and brought down the Soviet empire. At their core, they are driven by the same spirit that motivated the Tea Party movement.

The people in the streets of Cairo and other Egyptian cities are not Islamists, jihadists or terrorists. They are shopkeepers, street vendors, small businessmen, professionals, housewives, and families; Muslims and Christians united in a common cause. They are not chanting anti-American or anti-Israeli slogans; they are demanding their birthright as human beings – liberty and freedom.

America’s true interests in the Middle East, and in the world, lie not in sustaining dictators but in nurturing liberty and freedom. America’s interest are best served by being on the side of the people, which means letting them decide their own future for themselves. The question about who is to rule Egypt is not a question that can or should be decided by anyone in Washington DC. It is a question to be decided by the Egyptians alone.

There will be a revolution in Egypt, if not today then tomorrow or the next day. Even if the current uprising is taken over or co-opted by extremists, the clear trend of history is that tyranny and oppression will ultimately fail. The universal desire for freedom and self-government will inevitably triumph. America should urge all nations to join us in supporting the people of Egypt by leaving them alone to decide their own form of government as they exercise those blessings given to all mankind – Liberty and Freedom.


R. Lee Wrights, 52, a libertarian writer and political activist, is considering seeking the presidential nomination because he believes the Libertarian message in 2012 must be a loud, clear and unequivocal call to stop all war. To that end he has pledged that 10 percent of all donations to his campaign will be spent for ballot access so that the stop all war message can be heard in all 50 states. Wrights is a lifetime member of the Libertarian Party and co-founder and editor of of the free speech online magazine Liberty For All. He was born in Winston-Salem, N.C. and now lives and works in Texas.

Brian Irving
Press Secretary



14 thoughts on “Lee Wrights: Who rules Egypt is none of our business

  1. Gains

    I saw Mr. Wrights speak for the first time when he addressed the LNC regarding the Keaton affair. His principled defense of her, and the dressing down he gave her persecutors floored me.

  2. Robert Capozzi

    lw: …illusionary strategic interests, oil, …

    me: I generally agree with Wrights effort here, and the prose seems particularly well phrased. I sometimes get the sense that some Ls, perhaps Wrights, too, completely dismiss the importance of ME oil. Oil is a more-or-less fungible commodity. Under a worst-case scenario, if ME oil stopped flowing, the world economy would be hit very severely, near as I can tell, making this current recessionary environment seem tame, I suspect. There does seem to be a kind of strategic economic interest in seeing the oil flow as it does not, at least in the short to intermediate term.

    The question is does that strategic economic interest justify the sort of intervention and influence-wielding that the USG now engages in? And, if the USG ceased those interventions, would the worst case happen?

    IMO, the intervention isn’t justified, even if the worst case happened. I doubt most Americans would support outright colonization of, say, Saudi Arabia, but the USG’s policies — while not so dramatic — have a cloaked, empire-like quality to it.

    To say that the ME peoples would choose to stem the flow of oil without US meddling seems arrogant and probably false. Oil is their economic lifeblood. Tourism is another major source of income. Most in the ME probably recognize that civil relations with the west is in their own interest.

    Yes, there are some zealots in that part of the world who simply don’t have a regard for economic considerations. They are few, just as we in the US have a few violent white separatists, for ex. On balance, neither represents much of a threat to the way of life of most citizens, near as I can tell.

  3. paulie Post author

    The question is does that strategic economic interest justify the sort of intervention and influence-wielding that the USG now engages in? And, if the USG ceased those interventions, would the worst case happen?

    Of course not. Middle easterners’ economy would crash most severely of all if they stopped selling their oil.

  4. Robert Capozzi

    p9, I agree. What the neocons want us to believe is that the jihadists don’t care about economics and that the only thing standing between the jihadists ceasing control of ME nations is the US, using various forms of influence. I think neocons are prone to comic-book interpretations of world politics as much or even more than absolutist Ls do. Neocons are skilled in misdirection and prevaricating, though, so they can be a pesky bunch.

  5. paulie Post author

    Neocons/neocrusaders/neoimperialists are actually the best and biggest excuse that jihadists, much like hardliners in the old USSR before them, use to get and maintain converts and power.

    The hardliners/extremists/militants on “both” sides have a symbiotic relationship. As one grows stronger, so does the other.

    Who grows weaker/more damaged at their expense? The rest of us, and the cause of peace.

  6. Robert Capozzi

    p11, yes, Siddhattha told us the middle way is (virtually always) the way of peace. It even applies in the LM: absolutists to the left of me, Reagan L to the right, here I am…. 😉

  7. Mashed Potato with a Twist

    Well said Mr. Wrights!

    I get the feeling Tom Knapp may have helped with this one. Is that just my imagination?

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