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| 1/24/2011 12:00:00 AM

The Egypt-Colombia dichotomy

January 24--American foreign policy, like any nation's, can be hypocritical, selfish, riddled with contradictions and double standards.

A president may proclaim his commitment to democracy in soaring rhetoric one day and in the next turn a blind eye to repressive behavior by some government deemed important to U.S. interests. Squaring ideals with more tangible interests is a tricky business.

But sometimes American policy is as incomprehensible as it is regrettable, as damaging to our interests as to our ideals. Consider the case of two countries: Colombia and Egypt. They're both important to American interests. Colombia is on the front lines in the war against narcotics traffickers and narcoterrorists in Latin America. It is a staunch pro-American ally in a region threatened by Venezuela's tyrannical Hugo Chavez and his various cronies in Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua. Egypt has been an important player in the Arab world; it maintains a cold but durable peace with Israel and is an ally against Iran and in the fight against radical Islamic terrorism. Both Colombia and Egypt have received billions of dollars in U.S. aid over the years.
 
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