Posted by Bob Lord
Maintaining an empire becomes damn complicated.
A case in point: The dilemma over the American Empire's aid to Egypt.
When Obama danced around describing the Egyptian military's actions as a coup, the effect of which would to cut off the flow of aid, I figured his motivation was to preserve the profits of military contractors whose weapons would be purchased with Egypt's aid dollars. But the contractors may just be incidental beneficiaries. Egypt's military actually has real leverage here. Egypt is one of the few countries that grants the US fly over permission immediately upon request for military aircraft and also allows us access to the Suez Canal.
Fly over rights and access to strategic waterways are invaluable tools when you're minding an empire.
So Obama faces a Hobson's choice. If he identifies the actions of the Egyptian military as the coup that it is, thereby cutting off aid, he could lose critical empire maintenance tools. But if he continues the aid, he creates both long-term and short-term problems. In the short-term, he makes enemies in the Muslim world, who don't appreciate much him continuing to support the murderous Egyptian military. In the long-term, if a group opposed to the Egyptian military rises to power, the current continuation of aid will prove to be a disaster.
The thing about Hobson's choices is that you're guaranteed a bad result. With empires, that just comes with the territory, so to speak.