America and Autocrats

As Egypt staggers toward an uncertain future, a familiar complaint is making the opinion rounds in the United States — namely that Egypt’s current predicament is at least in part traceable to the supposed American fondness for propping up corrupt dictators around the globe. From the left, Salon magazine offered that “this is a good moment to take a look at where else in the world American taxpayer dollars are helping to prop up dictatorships with poor human rights records,” while on the center/right Robert Kagan demanded, “What are we going to do — support dictators for the rest of eternity because we don’t want Islamists taking their share of some political system in the Middle East?”

The U.S. has been accused of backing autocrats and therefore engendering the enduring hostility of persecuted populations for more than half a century. Throughout the Cold War, the standard accusation was that America was responsible for every act of every authoritarian regime on the planet — provided it was outside the Soviet sphere.


About Well of Knowledge Tour Guide

I am a public policy thinker and amateur historian. My interests are seeking knowledge in all areas of life.
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