Egypt, Osama, and George Washington

The piece below the broken line appeared today on the National Interest’s foreign affairs blog. It is a reflection on the costs Americans pay for their elite’s relentless interventionism, as well as for the failure of the U.S. educational system. I suggest at the end of the piece that we all could stand to closely reread George Washington’s Farewell Address; indeed, I suspect that Obama, Clinton, McCain, Cantor, Biden, and most of the Congress and media would benefit from an initial reading.

On leaving the presidency, Washington provided a clear and concise guide for what America should not do overseas; namely, (1) do not intervene in affairs in which you have no genuine national interest; (2) do not intervene in issues you do not understand; and, above all, (3) do not intervene in the name of imposing America’s political system on others as we are the model, not the war-causing installer of republicanism and/or democracy.

Had any in our governing class been familiar with Washington’s guidance, the makers of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East for the past half-century would have been preparing always to be ready to ask one simple question and answer it with another simple question:

Question: Who rules in Cairo? (Or Amman, Tunis, Riyadh, Tel Aviv, Damascus, etc.)

Answer: Who cares?

Alas, the America-protecting path delineated by President Washington was not taken. As a result, we have just seen Obama’s administration and the Republicans not only intervene in Egypt, but intervene on both sides, just as it and its predecessors have mindlessly intervened in the Israel-Muslim war by frenetically funding and arming Israel, while simultaneously arming and providing for the defense of Saudi Arabia.

The wages of both intervention and historical ignorance are quite painful.