Ideology vs. the National Interest

When a nation fights for its life,
ideology goes by the board.

Gen. Washington
danced a jig when he heard King
Louis XVI had become a

fighting ally
in our Revolutionary War against the
Mother of Parliaments.

In our Civil War,

Abraham Lincoln made himself a dictator
, closing
newspapers, suspending
habeas corpus,
and locking up editors and legislators.

Woodrow Wilson went to war to
make the world safe for democracy"
five of the most rapacious empires on earth: the
British, French, Russian, Italian and


During World War II, our ally that
did most of the fighting and dying was the Soviet Union
of Joseph Stalin.

During the Cold War, America
welcomed as allies Chiang Kai-shek, Salazar,

, Diem,

, the

, Suharto, Syngman Rhee, Korean generals, Greek
colonels, militarists in Brazil, Argentina, Turkey and
Pakistan, and Marcos and


But with the end of the Cold War
and the coming of George W. Bush, America set aside a
national interest-based foreign policy for a policy
rooted in ideology, political religion. Not until the
world is democratic, said Bush, can America be secure.
We must

"end tyranny in our world."

"The requirements
of freedom apply fully to the entire Islamic world,"

said Bush in 2002. At the National Endowment for
Democracy, he

"essential principles common to every successful
society, in every culture."

societies limit the power of the state and the power of
the military—so that governments respond to the will of
the people, and not the will of an elite."

Comes now the acid test of
democratist ideology.

Hosni Mubarak has been a loyal
ally. He kept the peace with Israel and helped keep
weapons out of Gaza. He fought beside us in Desert Storm
and stands with us in the War on Terror. But he is also
an autocrat who rules a regime where state and army are
virtually one and where the opposition is squelched,
when it is not imprisoned.

If a democratic Egypt is America`s
goal, we will push for the removal of Mubarak, for the
army to go back to the barracks, and for parliamentary
and presidential elections where all parties

But before we do this, we should be
on notice what a democratic Egypt, where the government
reflects the will of the people, may look like.
According to the most recent Pew Research Center poll.

  • Twice as many Egyptians
    identify themselves as Muslim fundamentalists as
    identify themselves as

  • By 95 to 2, Egyptians
    believe Islam should play a large role in Egyptian

  • While 48 percent of
    Egyptians say suicide bombings are never justified, 32
    percent say "rarely," 12 percent say "sometimes," and 8 percent say suicide bombings are
    justified. Half the people of Egypt believe there are
    times a suicide bomb is the right answer.

  • Half of all Egyptians
    have a favorable view of Hamas, and one in five has a
    favorable view of al-Qaida.

  • Three in four Egyptians
    believe cutting off the hand of a thief is proper
    punishment. Four in five favor stoning adulterers to
    death. And 84 percent favor executing

    Muslim converts to Christianity.

  • Eighty-two percent of
    Egyptians regard the United States unfavorably, and 48
    percent rate America
    "very unfavorably."

  • In a Zogby poll in 2010,
    90 percent of Egyptians named the United States and
    Israel as threats, 86 percent said Iran had a right to
    pursue nuclear weapons, and 77 percent thought it would
    be a good thing if Tehran got the bomb. [Egypt,
    Democracy and Islam
    , Pew Research Center,
    January 31, 2011]

Thus, if free and fair elections
are held and the new government of Egypt, in Bush`s
words, responds "to the will of the people, and not the will of an elite," Egypt
will become more Islamic, more

hostile to us
and Israel, and more supportive of

If that is a likely result of free
and fair elections in Egypt, why does the U.S.
government favor free and fair elections in Egypt? And
if democracy in the Middle East could get us kicked out
of the Middle East, why do U.S. policy-makers favor
democracy in the Middle East?

Does the U.S. government

believe what it professes to believe?

Would we support a
"million man
in Riyadh, as President Obama did in Cairo?
Will we call for elections in Bahrain, where a Sunni
king rules a Shia-majority statelet and the U.S. Fifth
Fleet is anchored?

Not one of our Arab allies is a
democracy. Should they all, as Mubarak has
been told by Obama to do,
prepare for a

Across the Middle East in the last
decade, we lost 6,000 soldiers and spent hundreds of
billions of dollars. Yet we have never been more
disliked, more reviled, more hated in that part of the

If the advancement of our
democratic ideals imperils what the U.S. government says
are our vital interests, is there not something
fundamentally wrong with our Middle East policy?

Why keep borrowing untold billions
from China, putting America`s children eternally in
debt, to pursue a policy in the Arab world that has made
this once-admired nation thoroughly detested across the
Arab world?



Patrick J. Buchanan


no introduction
VDARE.COM readers; his book
of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and
Conquest of America
, can
be ordered from His latest book

is Churchill,
Hitler, and "The Unnecessary War": How
Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost
the World,



Paul Craig Roberts.