Friday’s lead stories in The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal dealt with what both viewed as a national affront and outrage.
Egyptian soldiers, said the Post, “stormed the offices” of three U.S. “democracy-building organizations … in a dramatic escalation of a crackdown by the military-led government that could imperil its relations with the United States.”
The organizations: Freedom House, the International Republican Institute, and the National Democratic Institute.
Cairo contends that $65 million in “pro-democracy” funding that IRI, NDI, and Freedom House received for use in Egypt constitutes “illegal foreign funding” to influence their elections.
“A Provocation in Egypt,” raged the Post.
An incensed Freedom House President David Kramer said the raids reveal that Egypt’s military “has no intention of allowing the establishment of genuine democracy.”
Leon Panetta phoned the head of the military regime. With $1.3 billion in U.S. military aid on the line, Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi backed down. The raids will stop.
Yet this is not the first time U.S. “pro-democracy” groups have been charged with subverting regimes that fail to toe the Washington line.
In December, Vladimir Putin claimed that hundreds of millions of dollars, mostly from U.S. sources, was funneled into his country to influence the recent election, and that Hillary Clinton’s denunciation of the results was a signal for anti-Putin demonstrators to take to Moscow’s streets.
In December also, a top Chinese official charged U.S. Consul General Stephen Young in Hong Kong with trying to spread disorder. “Wherever (Young) goes, there is trouble and so-called color revolutions,” said the pro-Communist Party Hong Kong newspaper Wen Wei Po.
Beijing, added the Post, has been “jittery following this year’s Arab Spring and calls on the Internet for the Chinese to follow suit with a ‘jasmine revolution.'” The Jasmine Revolution was the uprising that forced Tunisia’s dictator to flee at the outset of the Arab Spring.
Yet one need not be an acolyte of the Egyptian, Chinese, or Russian regimes to wonder if, perhaps, based on history, they do not have a point.
Does the United States interfere in the internal affairs of nations to subvert regimes by using NGOs to funnel cash to the opposition to foment uprisings or affect elections? Are we using Cold War methods on countries with which we are not at war — to advance our New World Order?
So it would seem.
For, repeatedly, Freedom House, IRI and NDI have been identified as instigators of color-coded revolutions to replace autocrats with pro-American “democrats.”
Ukraine’s Orange Revolution was marked by mass demonstrations in Kiev to overturn the election of a pro-Russian leader and bring about his replacement by a pro-Western politician who sought to move his country into NATO. The Orange Revolution first succeeded, but then failed.
A U.S.-engineered Rose Revolution in 2002 overthrew President Eduard Shevardnadze of Georgia and brought about his replacement by Mikheil Saakashvili, who then invaded South Ossetia, to be expelled by the Russian Army.
Following the assassination of ex-Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, a Cedar Revolution, featuring massive demonstrations in Beirut against Syria, effected the withdrawal of its occupation army from Lebanon.
In Belarus, however, marches on parliament failed to overturn an election that returned Alexander Lukashenko to power.
The Tulip Revolution brought about the overthrow of President Askar Akayev in Kyrgyzstan. But that, too, did not turn out as well as we hoped.
When one considers the long record of U.S. intervention in nations far from our borders, that an ex-chairman of Freedom House is the former CIA Director James Woolsey, that the longtime chairman of IRI is the compulsive interventionist John McCain, who has been trading insults with Putin, and that Kenneth Wollack, president of NDI, was once director of legislative affairs for the Israeli lobby AIPAC, it is hard to believe we are clean as a hound’s tooth of the charges being leveled against us, no matter how suspect the source.
One recalls that, in 1960, when the United States said a weather plane had strayed off course, and Nikita Khrushchev said it was a U.S. spy plane they had shot down, the Butcher of Budapest turned out to be telling the truth.
Instead, why is the U.S. government funding Freedom House, IRI, and IDI, if not to bring about change in countries whose institutions or policies do not conform to our own?
As Leon Trotsky believed in advancing world communist revolution, neocons and democratists believe we have some inherent right to intervene in nations that fail to share our views and values.
But where did we acquire this right?
And if we are intervening in Egypt to bring about the defeat of the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis, and the Islamists win as they are winning today, what do we expect the blowback to be? Would we want foreigners funneling hundreds of millions of dollars into our election of 2012?
How would Andrew Jackson have reacted if he caught British agents doing here what we do all over the world?
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