America’s foreign policy can often be best summed up with this simple quote: “He’s a bastard. But, he’s our bastard”. This quote has been used a few times over the years by American leaders in reference to every horrible despot who wasn’t a Communist or a Muslim fundamentalist. Basically, it means we’ll take a violent, murderous dictator as an ally if it keeps us rich and relatively safe.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is a bastard. And, for 30 years he’s been our bastard. And Israel’s bastard. And NATO’s bastard. In fact, everyone in the world likes Hosni and wants to see him remain in power. Except, of course, the people of Egypt.

“The headquarters of the governing NDP party has been set ablaze. President Hosni Mubarak, facing the biggest challenge to his authority of his 31 years in power, has ordered the army onto the streets of Cairo.

He is due to make a statement, his first since protests began on Tuesday. Across the country, tens of thousands of protesters turned out after Friday prayers and clashed with police.

The curfew is now in effect, but live television pictures from Cairo continue to show large crowds on the streets.” – BBC NEWS

Mubarak has been in power for 30 years. Just imagine, and I mean really try to imagine, your least favorite President being in office for three goddamn decades. And the only way he’s leaving is if he dies or if you and everyone else decides to start burning buildings and flipping over cars.

Old men who cling to power eventually become walking, talking satires. Just look at Boris Yeltsin or Dick Cheney. Power is awesome and all but it ages you like nothing else on earth. It’s even worse for women in power. By the time she left office, Margaret Thatcher had to bathe in the blood of little girls just to get out of bed in the morning. Golda Meir ended up talking to her bedroom mirror to find the fairest maiden of them all.

There’s a part of me that really wishes Egypt could just go back to building pyramids and making mummies again. That just seemed like such a simpler time. Of course that would mean dragging the clock of human progress back thousands of years. Then again, that’s what a lot of the fundamentalist Muslims protesting in Egypt want.

You see? We’re not so different after all.


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