Cameron’s Egyptian hypocrisy….
Egypt’s revolution won an important victory today with the resignation of its erstwhile President, Honsi Mubarak. Congratulations are surely due to the Egyptian people who have won an important, but probably not final, battle. Not surprisingly, Western politicians finally shuffled off the fence and lined-up to offer warm words. Both David Cameron and Barack Obama welcomed the revolution. Rather vomit-inducing when you consider the fact that France was one of the few nations who took something even approaching concrete action against the Mubarak regime.
Even now, Mubarak’s financial assets in London remain untouched which show just how weak ‘muscular liberalism’ is when it comes to practising what it preaches. Some people will say Egypt has the ‘right to self-determination’. I agree. However, this right belongs to the *people* of Egypt and therefore not necessarily the government of a nation. The two things are not the same, liberal hypocrites will tell you they are, but they clearly are not. Egypt’s people never ‘determined’ their own government in any way shape or form so why should we support its right to ‘self-determination’ above the struggle of the Egyptian people?
Since the people of Egypt were not free to determine their own government therefore any action in support of them against Mubarak would in reality be fully consistent with supporting the ‘right of nations to self-determination’ because this right is exercised and only democratically meaningful when it’s a right for a nations people.
Consistent democrats do not recognise any ‘democratic right’ for dictatorial regimes to suppress their own people free from consequences. This doesn’t mean regime change should be effected from above by military invasion but rather the regime in question should be weakened by every mechanism possible to allow the people in the given nation the maximum opportunity to overthrow the offending regime. This means no arms sales of any kind are supportable. Indeed, it might well be correctly aruged that arms sales to a regime constiute active intervention on the side of a government.
In practice, it means some tough decisions being taken about trade too. Generally, I am weary of embargoing nations totally (except when it comes to arms or weaponry) as they constitute a form of collective punishment. Getting the balance right on that issue would have to be done on a case by case basis. However, it certainly should mean that all these regimes are treated internationally as pariahs and they are stripped of all forms of diplomatic and legal legitimacy as sovereign governments.
Certainly it should also mean that these ‘heads of state’ have all their travel privileges revoked and their financial assets are treated as the proceeds of criminal activity which is in actual fact what they actually are. Practical steps like these are ones that Western governments can take to choke dictatorships of the oxygen of international support. They are short of military intervention to effect regime change from above but do open up the space for a nations people to topple their government and actually determine their own future.
How about that for some truly ‘muscular’ policies, Mr Cameron?