Let's look at Eric Margolis' article "Time to apologize for the West's shameful support of dictatorship in Egypt"
Egyptians clearly want democracy and parliamentary government, as do people across the Arab world. But Egypt’s mighty military-security establishment and its western backers do not: they are fighting a bitter action to slow down real democracy and to safeguard their privileges and power.There is not much to add to Margolis' statement, except that when he says that the Western backers of Egypt's dictatorship are fighting to prevent democracy from arising in the country, it raises the question of how that works, how these Western backers of Egypt's dictatorship justify their efforts to prevent Egyptian democracy.
Egypt’s military gets nearly $3 billion in US funds and arms each year, plus millions more in “black” money from CIA and the Pentagon – in addition to millions in economic aid. The US supplies all of the military’s key weapons systems and retains control of the spare parts keeping them operating. The most important US intelligence and security agencies maintain large stations in Cairo to protect the regime. Half of Egypt’s food imports are financed by the US.
Many of Egypt’s key generals “trained” at US military colleges and defense courses where they were vetted by CIA and DIA. As with Turkey’s large armed forces – at least until nine years ago – Egypt’s military was joined at the hip to the US defense establishment and arms industry. In exchange, Egypt agreed to become a tacit ally of Israel.
Given Egypt’s role as a virtual US protectorate, the flood of hypocrisy now issuing from Washington, London, Paris and Ottawa over their alleged support of Egyptian democracy is striking. For the past thirty years, these powers have ardently backed Egypt’s notably ruthless, brutal dictatorship whose security forces used torture, rape, and murder to terrorize its citizens.
While Egyptians want democracy, the military wants political figureheads and the right to intervene in politics to protect its interests aka “national security” – the same demands used for decades by the rightwing Turkish military to block democracy. Egypt’s generals insist there be no investigations of human rights abuses. Washington is trying to sustain the Egypt-Israel alliance that all Egyptians detest.
George Friedman gives us a look into the perspective of current Western colonialism in his article "Egypt and the Idealist-Realist Debate in U.S. Foreign Policy".
Then pose this scenario: Assume there is a choice between a repressive, undemocratic regime that is in the interests of a Western country and a regime that is democratic but repressive by Western standards and hostile to those interests. Which is preferable, and what steps should be taken?Friedman's basic argument is that an Egyptian democracy would be repressive by Western standards so the United States is in an ambiguous position in that it supports a colonial-style dictatorship, but is, in the minds of US officials such as Barack Obama, saving the Egyptians from a democratic government that would be repressive.
These are blindingly complex questions that some observers — the realists as opposed to the idealists — say not only are unanswerable but also undermine the ability to pursue national interests without in any way improving the moral character of the world. In other words, you are choosing between two types of repression from a Western point of view and there is no preference. Therefore, a country like the United States should ignore the moral question altogether and focus on a simpler question, and one that’s answerable: the national interest.
Egypt is an excellent place to point out the tension within U.S. foreign policy between idealists, who argue that pursuing Enlightenment principles is in the national interest, and realists, who argue that the pursuit of principles is very different from their attainment. You can wind up with regimes that are neither just nor protective of American interests. In other words, the United States can wind up with a regime hostile to the United States and oppressive by American standards. Far from a moral improvement, this would be a practical disaster.
When Westerners like Barack Obama and George Friedman tell the story, the colonial dictatorships that the US implements to save countries like Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait and others from repressive democracies just happen also to follow US directions on policies that the US considers important. It just happens that if these countries did not follow US direction in their foreign policy, Israel as a enforced Jewish political majority state would not be viable. Friedman's entire article does not mention Israel. Obama often speaks before Jewish audiences in the United States without whom he could not be elected and tells them that the viability of Israel is his primary foreign policy objective.
Does Friedman believe that a democratic Muslim majority regime in Egypt would necessarily be repressive by his or Western standards? I can't read his mind. It is a stupid thing to believe if he really believes it. More likely this is an example of directed reasoning. The US has to oppose democracy in Egypt for Israel to be viable. He wants Israel to be viable. So he believes what he has to believe to advocate US opposition to democracy in Egypt. It is quite possible that he does not even notice it happening in his thought process.
It's striking how little has changed. Friedman writes an article that could have been used to justify Great Britain's colonialism a century ago. Whether he is lying primarily to us or to himself, Friedman's reasoning is ultimately motivated by the idea that preventing fewer than six million Jews from suffering the indignity of losing their majority state the way white South Africans have outweighs the right of over 80 million Egyptians to control the policies of their government.