Ahdaf Soueif writes:
This wasn’t slipping poison into the honey; it was smearing chemical sweeteners on to toxic pellets. Barack Obama listed what he sees as his country’s “core interests” in my country Egypt and my region; his country’s “core principles” governing how it will act towards us, and his policies to promote US interests within the frame of US principles. Let’s translate the US president’s description of his “core interests in the region” into effects on the ground:
“Countering terrorism” has implicated (at least) Egypt, Syria and Jordan in the US’s extraordinary rendition programme, turning our governments into torturers for hire and consolidating a culture of security services supremacy and brutality that is killing Syrian protesters today and manifests itself in Egypt as a serious counter-revolution.
“Stopping the spread of nuclear weapons” highlights consistent US double standards as Arab nuclear scientists are murdered, the US threatens Iran, and Israel happily develops its illicit arsenal.
“Securing the free flow of commerce” has meant shoving crony capitalism down our throats, bribing governments to sell our national assets and blackmailing us into partnerships bad for us.
“Supporting Israel” has led to land, resources and hope being stolen from Palestinians while Egypt becomes their jailer and dishonest broker, losing its credibility and self-respect.
Obama has all the information above; he knows that Hosni Mubarak’s dedication to delivering US “core interests” is why the Egyptian millions demanded his departure, why Tahrir proclaimed him an “agent of America and Israel”, and why he is now under arrest.
The blame is not all with America. We had a regime that was susceptible, that became actively complicit; assiduously finding ways to serve US and Israeli interests – and ruin us. But: we got rid of it. Peaceably, with grace and within the law. We Got Rid of It.
So when Obama says, “We will continue to do” the things described above, it’s a challenge. When he adds, “with the firm belief that America’s interests are not hostile to people’s hopes; they are essential to them” – it’s obfuscation and an insult to every citizen across the world – including Americans – who followed our revolutions with empathy and with hope.