Egypt – Another test of Brand America’s Authenticity

I don’t pretend to know enough about the geopolitical ramifications of the current crisis in Egypt to have a valid opinion on what the economic impact might be for the United States. In researching the issue, I did find a decent article on the subject.

Complicated View

I also learned a bit more about the Suez Canal and the amount of oil that is transported through it. The Suez Canal is considered a geographic chokepoint because of its importance to the world oil trade and because its narrow width could be blocked easily. The Suez Canal provides the shortest shipping route from Asia to Europe, allowing marine transporters to skip going around Africa’s southern tip. I read that about 1.8 million barrels of oil are transported through the canal daily. In addition to the Suez Canal, the SUMED (Suez-Mediterranean) Pipeline carries an additional 1 million barrels a day. For perspective, total world oil production is roughly 84 million barrels a day. Experts are saying the current crisis in Egypt is unlikely to impede transportation of goods through the Suez Canal or SUMED Pipeline. But, just the suggestion of it caused the price of oil to hit a 2-year high.

I am certain the economic impact potential is far more complicated than what I have described above. For example, there is the whole fear of Middle East instability, rise of terrorists, increased threat to Israel, and a host of other considerations that experts will expound on as the Egypt situation continues to evolve.

Simplistic View

But, as a brand builder, I see the decision on which position the U.S. should take much more simplistically. I see it as a test of the authenticity of Brand America’s Promise. Will we walk the talk when the going gets tough? In my opinion, that is the question on the mind of many people around the world.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

I ran across a cartoon that hypothesized what it might be like if the Declaration of Independence were to be signed today. It gave me a chuckle, but I choose to believe that the pun is simply not accurate. My guess is the cartoon is copyrighted, so here is the link.

In contrast to the cartoon, I prefer this video reading of the Declaration of Independence. The emotion of the actors helps emphasize the importance of the words.

Yet I do believe the world is wondering if today’s American’s still believe as deeply in the promise of Brand America as our signing forefathers did.

They wonder if we believe in the sentiment behind Lincoln’s words “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” are intended only for Americans.

Authenticity Matters

Authenticity is key when defining a brand promise. Walking the talk matters. I don’t have any particular wisdom or guidance on how the United States should respond to the crisis in Egypt. I simply know it is a test of the authenticity of Brand America’s Promise, and that the actions taken by “we the people” should be transparently consistent with that promise. It’s a test that I hope Brand America passes with flying colors. It’s a test I don’t think we can afford to fail.

Pay it Forward

What are your thoughts on the potential impact of decisions made in U.S. foreign policy matters on the perceived authenticity of Brand America’s Promise?

Please leave a comment and share your perspective. By sharing, you help everybody get a better learning experience.

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7 Comments so far

  1. Peter Shaw

    February 3, 2011

    The problem is that we have not demonstrated a consistent Brand America position on this issue. You have the VP saying he should stay put, the Secretary of State saying he should transition peacefully, and the President calling him and demanding that he fore go his reelection bid. Meanwhile we invite the opposition to Mubarak into the US Embassy to discuss their views. You can not blame Israel and Saudi Arabia and other allies for being nervous when we have a “Sybil” like response to such an important issue.

    Its clearly obvious that we did not have a contingency plan for this to happen based on our response, which is unacceptable. The alternative is that the current administration wanted this to occur, which is beyond imagination. I am not an expert on how Mubarak has governed for 30 years, but he has maintained peace for that period. The strong presence of Egypt led to Jordan making peace with Israel and created a buffer around Israel, except for Lebanon. To think we would jeopardize peace in this region would mean that we have no Brand at all.

    When the book is written on President Obama, I sure hope it was ignorance and not meddling that resulted in our psychotic reaction to this situation.

  2. Richard Wagaman

    February 3, 2011

    For comparison, what was the loss of the deep water wells in the Gulf of Mexico following the oil spill? For the USA, both disasters are important.

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    February 8, 2011

    Thank you very much for that dazzling article.

  4. SusanPAus

    February 17, 2011

    I feel America’s in trouble.

    I’ve been very engaged with all the issues in the middle East via Twitter and the response – and often lack of – from America feels ‘unwell’ – and unwell from a values standpoint.

    Yes, America media covered Egypt but straight after that, it was like a blackout of silence. People from Libya, Algeria et al were coming into social media saying..”Where are you news services..where are you big world powers…why don’t you care?”

    And US. media over that weekend reported NOTHING. Then, the Lara Logan issue came out. I now feel sorry for Nir Rosen in many ways because the vitriol from several noted American women toward Logan e.g. Debbie Schlussel, has been jaw dropping. It is like a bitch fest with these women half suggesting Logan deserved what she got. Some of the comments have been beyond belief and suggest that, deep down, many significant Americans have been harbouring incredibly large resentments for a long time – resentments towards other women, sexual resentments, cultural resentments…. Where has the America gone that was striving to be an international role model for embracing values?

    Yes, WHERE is America? For decades most of the world knew that if there was any major crisis re freedom in the globe that the U.S. would step up and speak. Hardly a word at the moment and, most Americans couldn’t care less. I see almost no comments from Americans online re the current status in the middle east. Hardly a word about the deaths and abuse occurring each day. People would rather talk about Starbucks or what pretzels they bought (with obvious exceptions).

    At the same time, today in Bahrain, most are applauding U.S. journo Nick Kriftof who is there and reporting incredible brutality. Doctors who came out to help wounded have been threatened with rape (male doctors) and in some cases brutality beaten to the point of being unconscious.

    But, the following tweet is being repeated over and over and has been for a few heartbreaking days:

    No words; just tears. Horrific RT @joshmull @StateDept @PJCrowley Still won’t make statement on Bahrain crackdown?

    America seems to be silent – or largely silent and saying little about the horror playing out in Bahrain.

    All of a sudden the U.S. feels lacking in values and ethos; that it is so entrapped in it’s economic alliances that it doesn’t know what to say (for fear of losing some of that economic strength – additional worry because economic times have been bad)?

    Something isn’t right here..there is something not well with America…what on earth is wrong??


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    March 13, 2011

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