Thursday, July 11, 2013

The U.S.-Egypt relationship is like a bad episode of The Bachelor

Seriously, this is a dating relationship gone unbelievably wrong. I think the only way for normal people to think about the relationship between Egypt and the U.S. so that it makes sense is to view it as a tangled matrix of people who are or used to be dating. It's like an episode of The Bachelor, but with a couple extra guys thrown in.

Look at it this way: the U.S. is the main dude in this relationship; we'll call him Sam. Egypt is three different women, all of whom have recently dated Sam. They are the military (Millie), the pro-democracy, secular liberals (Libby), and the Islamists, including recently deposed President Mohammed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood and the even more radical Salafists (we'll call this group Sally, even though the Salafists weren't the leading element in the Islamist coalition backing Morsi).

Also in the mix is another dude,  Hosni -- that would be Mubarak, the president who got thrown out a couple years ago with the almost-instant approval of the U.S., when Barry (sorry, I mean Sam) announced that our ally of more than 30 years had to go after less than two weeks of protests. Millie, Hosni, Libby and Sally all live in the same house, but Hosni is in charge, Millie helps him stay that way, Libby is ignored and Sally is locked in the basement.

So the setup is this: Sam and Hosni are friends, and Sam is dating Millie. Sam sends Millie lots of gifts, and about once a year Sam and Millie go target shooting out in Millie's back yard. Many people view these outings as joint military exercises, but Sam and Millie know they are dates.

Through all this, Libby is a wallflower, silent and unnoticed. Then, Libby decides she's had enough and tells Sam's friend, Hosni, that he's not a nice person. Suddenly, Libby looks more attractive to Sam when Libby starts talking about what a sack of crap Hosni is. Sallie isn't even on the scene yet, but still hilarity ensues.

Sam has dated Millie for a long time, lavishing expensive gifts on her. Millie was tight with Hosni. Millie didn't really understand why Sam had so quickly turned on his old friend, Hosni, but Sam kept buying Millie gifts -- like F-16s -- so Millie hung with Sam.

When Libby started protesting against Hosni, Sam was, as noted above, really quick to ask Libby on a date and announce that Hosni was really no friend of Sam's. Libby hated Hosni, so she was digging Sam for wanting to toss him out. Libby didn't give much thought to how little loyalty Sam showed Hosni. Libby figured that after Hosni was out of the picture, she and Sam could really get close.

Instead, as soon as Hosni was gone, Sally came on the scene and kind of took over the house. Sure, it was an election, and Sally won, but Libby got pushed to the side and Sam quickly forgot all about Libby, spending all his time talking about what a great chick Sally was -- despite her long, well-documented history of being a nasty bitch who had been waiting decades to sink a knife into the back of that nice Jewish boy next door. Sam insisted that Sally was just talking smack and didn't mean any of it. Meanwhile, Sam kept giving expensive gifts to Millie, so she was cool with it all. Libby fumed.

After about a year, Libby started pointing out that Sally was kind of a worse sack of crap than Hosni had been. After a little discussion, Millie decided she agreed and locked Sally in the basement, telling Libby to figure out how to run the house. Sam said nothing when Millie locked Sally in the basement, leading Sally and her friends to decide that all the nice things Sam had said over the past year or so were just pickup lines Sam was using in hopes of getting in Sally's pants. Sally was glad she'd kept her knees together and decided Sam was a sack of crap.

Libby, pretty much in line to run the house again, can't forget how Sam ran from her to Sally about a year ago without even saying goodbye. She, too, thinks Sam is a sack of crap.

Meanwhile, Sam keeps sending Millie expensive gifts. No one knows whether Millie thinks Sam is a sack of crap, but it is pretty clear that Millie only loves Sam for his money.

Naturally, many people wonder whether Ivan, a Russian who dated Millie for years before Sam did and also gave her many expensive gifts, might reappear on the scene. After all, Millie might not really care who buys her presents, and Ivan does love to stick it to Sam, just because Ivan really doesn't like Sam.

On the one hand, The Bachelor usually doesn't bring in ex-boyfriends. On the other hand, let's face it, this could be the first reality TV show with triple-digit fatalities.

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