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The Mind of a Dictator and His Enablers

 Egyptian military dictator Abdel Fattah el-SisiThe New York Times recently carried a profile of Egyptian military dictator Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

The piece discloses what goes through not only the mind of a dictator but also the minds of the U.S. officials who continue to support him with money and armaments.

The article begins with a promise by Sisi to install energy-efficient bulbs in every home even it that entails sending government officials into people’s home to install them. He thinks that that will help revitalize Egyptian society. Consider what he said: “I’m not leaving a chance for people to act on their own.  My program will be mandatory.”

Sound familiar? Isn’t that also the mindset of President Obama, especially with respect to his Obamacare program? Like Sisi, he doesn’t want to leave a chance for people to act on their own when it comes to healthcare. That’s why Obama made the program mandatory.

As the Times’ article points out, “Mr. Sisi has shown that he, too, sees himself as a morally superior father figure responsible for directing and correcting the nation, with a firm hand if needed.”

Isn’t that the mindset of U.S. officials, one that views the federal government as a parent and the American people as children? Isn’t that what Social Security is all about—forcing people to take care of the elderly? Indeed, isn’t that what the entire welfare state is all about, with the income-tax and welfare-state system forcibly taking people’s money from them to help the “poor, needy, and disadvantaged,” while permitting the adult-children of the nation to have an allowance from what is supposed to be their income?

Sisi told fellow officers in a secret briefing that the military is “like the very big brother, the very big father who has a son who is a bit of a failure and does not understand the facts.”

Aren’t the U.S. military, CIA, and NSA viewed as big brother here in the United States? Doesn’t the U.S. national-security state apparatus operate in secret, arresting, incarcerating, torturing, executing, renditioning, spying on, or assassinating people, all with the aim of protecting “the security of the nation”?

Just like in Egypt, the adult-children here in the United States are not supposed to question the apparatus or reveal what it is doing. If they do, they are considered to be enemies of the state — i.e. communists, terrorists, drug dealers, subversives, etc. Like the citizens of Egypt, American adult-children are expected to trust big brother, defer to his authority, keep their heads down, conform their mindsets to that of the military, NSA, and CIA, and always “support the troops.” In the halls of power both in the United States and Egypt, that’s what being a “patriot” is all about

The Egyptian government is going bankrupt. According to the Times, in “10 months, the Egyptian government has burned through $20 billion of financial aid from supportive Persian Gulf monarchies….”

That sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Doesn’t out of control spending (and debt) also characterize the welfare-warfare state here in the United States?

So, what does Sisi say about Egypt’s economic and financial woes? He says the same thing that U.S. officials do: that it’s not the fault of the state but rather the fault of the private sector.

People just have to work harder, Sisi says: “I will not sleep and neither will you. We must work, night and day, without rest.”

Why not? He’s the nation’s daddy, isn’t he? Isn’t that what some parents tell their children?

Sisi has some specific proposals for Egypt’s economic revitalization. According to the Times, he plans to compel private companies to reduce prices and profits. He wants to give trucks to the unemployed so that they will have a job. He’s also got a massive public-works irrigation system in mind.

In other words, massive government involvement in economic activities, which means, not so coincidentally, that the Egyptian military will continue to maintain its permanent and exalted position in Egyptian life. “The state has to be in control here,” Sisi declared.

Sound familiar?

Oh, that’s not all. Sisi also sees his job as improving public morals and “presenting God” in the right way. No doubt we’ll soon be seeing the same increased cooperation between the drug enforcement agencies of the United States and Egypt that we see between the militaries and intelligence forces of the two governments.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the U.S. government continues to be one of the major supporters of Sisi and the military coup that brought him to power. It has been decades of U.S. money and armaments that have built up and fortified Egypt’s decades-long military dictatorship.

Ironically U.S. officials don’t even view Sisi’s ouster from power of the democratically elected president of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi, as a coup. They view what Sisi has done, including the brutal suppression of dissent and a sham election, as a necessary step in the restoration of democracy.

What Sisi obviously fails to understand is precisely what U.S. officials fail to understand: That the problem with Egypt’s economy lies not with the private sector but rather with the public sector, especially the continued existence of a massive national-security state apparatus that sucks the lifeblood out of society. Until that apparatus is dismantled, not reformed, the Egyptian people don’t have a chance.

It’s really too bad that the U.S. government continues to fortify and reinforce Egypt’s military tyranny. But the support shouldn’t really surprise us, given that so many U.S. officials share the same paternalistic, national-security mindset as that of Egypt’s brutal military dictator Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

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