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Obama gets tough on Egypt's weakened strong man

Mark Mardell | 03:53 UK time, Wednesday, 2 February 2011

President Barack Obama has suddenly got tough on America's ally of 30 years. What's more, he's abandoned the language of a law professor and adopted the tone of a civil rights leader. He's made it crystal clear he's on the side of the street, not the weakened strong man. As mass demonstrations turned into a revolution, under the benign but watchful eye of the army, the White House has been struggling to keep pace. Maybe now Mr Obama has caught up. Just about.

Mr Obama watched President Hosni Mubarak's defiant and grudging speech, promising he had always intended to step down in September, in the White House Situation Room in the middle of a meeting of the national security council. He evidently wasn't over-impressed by what he heard. The American president then phoned the Egyptian president. They talked for half an hour.

Then it was Mr Obama's turn to make a speech. He didn't quite call for Mr Mubarak to quit at once. He did say "an orderly transition must be meaningful, it must be peaceful, and it must begin now".

An official has told the Washington Post that the emphasis is on the word "now".

Mr Obama said that Mr Mubarak recognised that "a change must take place", adding pointedly: "All of us who are privileged to serve in positions of political power do so at the will of our people."

This is a step change from Friday's talk of the need for dialogue. But if Mr Obama is being somewhat more forthright in public, the language of officials has changed completely in private. From being cagey and guarded even off the record, they are now blunt. Mr Mubarak's promise to go in September "is no longer enough", one told the BBC.

Western diplomats say that they and the US state department have come separately to the same conclusion: Mubarak must go now. Real reform will not work while he is at the helm.

But Mr Obama's most important shift was to give whole-hearted support to the Egyptians on the street, who Mr Mubarak portrayed a couple of hours before as violent looters motivated by some sinister political force.

Mr Obama was no longer the law professor talking of "legitimate grievances". He was the man whose political career has been driven by the spirit of the US civil rights movement, telling Egyptians their passion and dignity were an inspiration to the rest of the world. His rhetoric soared as he became almost the guarantor of a successful revolution:

"To the people of Egypt, particularly the young people of Egypt, I want to be clear: We hear your voices. I have an unyielding belief that you will determine your own destiny and seize the promise of a better future for your children and your grandchildren."

He lavished praise on the "professionalism and patriotism" of the Egyptian army in allowing peaceful protests while protecting the Egyptian people. Without the army the revolution would be over, and Mr Obama and his whole administration is trying to ensure it stays on side. He said: "We've seen tanks covered with banners, and soldiers and protesters embracing in the streets. And going forward, I urge the military to continue its efforts to help ensure that this time of change is peaceful."

Mr Obama sounded as if he wanted to join the Egyptians on the streets. The army, the people, the American president. It is a powerful alliance. He may redeem himself with the demonstrators. It is less certain Mr Mubarak will take a blind bit of notice.

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  • 1. At 04:10am on 02 Feb 2011, McJakome wrote:

    As President Obama will be damned if he does, and damned if he doesn't do something, he may as well do what conscience and "a decent regard for opinions of mankind" suggest that he do.

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  • 2. At 05:04am on 02 Feb 2011, U14752247 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 3. At 07:32am on 02 Feb 2011, j_to wrote:

    "Mr Obama sounded as if he wanted to join the Egyptians on the streets."

    Mark, the emphasis should be on the "sounded." Obama is good at sound bites, however the problem is that he, and every other President in the last thirty years has backed (financially and politically) this brutal tyrant. Enough of the Obama love-fest, this "man of peace" has largely continued Bush's policies, with the only difference being his ability to articulate a liberal spin on the same old meddling project in the middle east.

    Not committed to Mubarak hey? So who has been funding him and declaring him a stable pair of hands over the last two years? The jig is up. Obama knows that, and that's why we now hear the soaring "tone of a civil rights leader." How silly do we all look to get hoodwinked by this about-face?

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  • 4. At 08:09am on 02 Feb 2011, Oldloadr wrote:

    3. At 07:32am on 02 Feb 2011, j_to wrote:
    How silly do we all look to get hoodwinked by this about-face?
    ______________________________________________________


    I think you’re giving The One too much credit. He continued the Bush foreign policy mainly because he had no choice since he had no plan of his own to start with. The rhetoric about closing GITMO, and getting out of Af’stan and Iraq was just red meat for his uber-liberal base. However, I’ll give him credit for being able to read the writing on the wall (or at least able to appoint subordinates that could) and knew when it was time to jump. He’s doing better than Carter did with Iran. The key was the military, when they stayed with the people, the fat lady started singing Mubarak’s swan song and fortunately, Obama wasn't tone-deaf, this time.

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  • 5. At 08:11am on 02 Feb 2011, Henok wrote:

    I am happy with the strong message conveyed to Mubarak by Pres. Obama. The question raised by Egyptians is Mubarak to leave now. I, therefore, commend Obama to finally stand by the people, not by the dictator.

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  • 6. At 08:30am on 02 Feb 2011, RoyaltyinTheChampionship wrote:

    Having supported this brutal dictator financially and politically the US now realises that their man is done for. Having overthrown one Middle East dictator in the name of democracy (although that was an afterthought because the other reasons like WMD and links to Al Queda failed to materialise) they would appear foolish indeed to stop another tyrant being overthrown in the name of freedom.

    The consequences of now not supporting the Egyptian people are that they may well choose anti-Western leaders that jeopordise the enormous arms contracts and of course the status quo between Egypt and Israel (with notably the blockade of Gaza being reliant on Egyptian complicity).

    Allowing a time of transition will allow Western powers to invest money in their preferred candidate (like in Afghanistan) to ensure their new man gets an advantage over his rivals by being able to buy more air time on tv and radio.

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  • 7. At 08:36am on 02 Feb 2011, asybot wrote:

    To all of you, Osama , (go over the history of O"s political agenda). JMM he has always been a community organizer, all he did at the various Universities he was "tenured" at: He rarely taught, spend most of his time writing books that actually turned him into a millionaire. Most of his students and prior classmates cannot even remember him !. I just wonder how much of those millions that he was paid for those books he spread around, the same as Van Jones and the leaders of the unions that are now exempt from his health care plan, which means fewer and fewer people pay more and more to support the the people that live on entitlements who do not pay a dime into supporting anything, I can on and on just look at the amount of "Green Money" he spends traveling around the planet with just not 1 brand new 747 but two! designed to his (and His Wife's) needs, the security details on many more planes, hummer's etc the amount of money this guy wastes is beyond comprehension. When Chairman Hu visited Washington, he used a regular Air China commercial jet. You Know THAT is power, knowing you can walk down the street on "enemy territory" and no one will touch you!!

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  • 8. At 08:44am on 02 Feb 2011, JClarkson wrote:

    "Then it was Mr Obama's turn to make a speech. He didn't quite call for Mr Mubarak to quit at once. He did say "an orderly transition must be meaningful, it must be peaceful, and it must begin now"."


    So Obama called the winning horse, after it crossed the finish line?


    "Mr Obama sounded as if he wanted to join the Egyptians on the streets."


    He might as well, it's not like he's busy with anything else.

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  • 9. At 08:49am on 02 Feb 2011, JClarkson wrote:

    #7

    "You Know THAT is power, knowing you can walk down the street on "enemy territory" and no one will touch you!!"

    Chairman Hu is a master of Troll-Fu. You are but a grasshopper.

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  • 10. At 08:59am on 02 Feb 2011, Sam wrote:

    What a fair-weather friend!!!

    I am so glad that he was not the president of the USA in the 1930s and 1940s. Had he been, he would have been Adolf's best buddy from 1939-1942 and would have jumped over to the allies when the tide turned in 1943.

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  • 11. At 09:22am on 02 Feb 2011, mypov wrote:

    Does Obama or anybody seriously expect reform (democratic or otherwise) to make any difference? 82 million people with most of them being under 30, living on the banks of a river in a desert scrub land, where it rains about 3 times a year, so they have to import pretty well all food and very little manufacturing of note. Tourism helped but that will probably now decline. I'm sure Obama's advisors are expecting things to get a lot worse in the whole region. Oil $200 by Xmas!

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  • 12. At 09:22am on 02 Feb 2011, calmandhope wrote:

    A fair response from Obama there must be said. I do question why the beeb has been reporting more on what Obama says rather than our own prime minister (and yes I am aware that this is the american blog) but it still seems slightly odd.

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  • 13. At 09:26am on 02 Feb 2011, Oldloadr wrote:

    10. At 08:59am on 02 Feb 2011, sammy1975 wrote:
    he would have been Adolf's best buddy from 1939-1942 and would have jumped over to the allies when the tide turned in 1943.
    ______________________________________________________
    You're describing the Italian grand strategy for WWII. However, you have to expect realpolitik pragmatism from somebody who voted present more than yea or nay in the Illinois legislature.

    However, as I said, his choices were limited in terms of US national security and at least he knew when to jump. Remember, the US electorate expects the Commander-n-Chief to put America’s interests first, period; if he can do that without compromising America’s founding values, that’s a plus…

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  • 14. At 09:26am on 02 Feb 2011, monkeypuzzletree wrote:

    Good old Obama, the dance lessons were not wasted, you just change step and pick a new partner. What a clasical and transparent bit of theatre for the world to view. I wonder if many other Western politicians attended the same class.

    Pure poetry Obama you deserve an OSCAR. Compared to the wannabe actors of Hollywood you rank in a class of your own.

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  • 15. At 09:32am on 02 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    6 I know that I promised to shut up but overnight here I have been pacing about thinking about this situation and trying to develop a sense of what is dangerous about our debate here...and quite apart from the three dimensional problems in the Middle East itself.

    We would have known little or nothing of dynamics/events like the ones Royaltyinthe Championship is correctly describing@6....but decent people who were just doing their best have always had to get on with the often grubby task of meeting our demands for oil or peace or order in the ME outside our gaze and understanding.

    And what worries me about our shouting match here is that other people`s lives have become a sort of peep show or entertainment for anyone with a computer to participate in.....and not just as observer but as actor/audience..cheering and booing and crying "off with their heads".

    Last night I watched in horror as the television crews interviewed ordinary people on the streets of Cairo and Alexandria.They were shouting warlike things with the sincerity that an angry rabble often do ....and if we were caught up in the events there it`s very likely we would do the same after years of hopelessness and repression.

    But this is not a movie or play....and later that evening how many of those people were beaten to death by security police who themselves are just ordinary people full of fear for what will happen to them when Mubarak goes?

    And let`s just remember that Mubarak and all his friends are just the most recent in a long line of people WE have casually used like puppets in our game of Middle East snakes and ladders.

    One minute he`s rescuing us and the sun shines out of his bottom....then events change and we are full of media induced self-righteous anger about his "dreadful human right`s record". O yeah? Well you run a country in the north of Africa and act like Mother Theresa of Calcutta and see how long you last!

    The media are a dangerous mob of sensation seekers...and crisis inducers. Yes...they too are just human like us ..but conflict resolvers they aint! Nor are they good at understanding and seeing the world and other people in a humane and three dimensional way.

    In fact the power of being a journalist "just reporting the facts" (ho ho!)is in some very dubious hands and often misused by people with all sorts of conscious and subconscious agendas over which the rest of us have no control.

    So before you post any more please remember that this is not a game or interactive sport...people are hurting and dying out there....and it`s not just our favourites...the supposed "good guys"...but everyone. And if you imagine that you could never be a bad guy ...I have news for you..you are wrong...really wrong!

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  • 16. At 09:51am on 02 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 17. At 09:52am on 02 Feb 2011, blogvoice wrote:

    Good on you people of Egypt you are all freely "elected", expressing your democracy of "spirit" while fighting with the "spirit" of democracy.

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  • 18. At 09:57am on 02 Feb 2011, Oldloadr wrote:

    15. At 09:32am on 02 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    1. Although I understand your sentiment; I don’t think it applies since nobody on this blog is an internationally known decision maker that can change anything other than their own single vote (if they are citizens of a democracy). However, we do get an insight into how those who do come on this blog feel about Islam, Christianity, the Middle East, oil revenue and international politics. We see the cultural differences in how people here interact with each other. Therefore, I think the comments here have value, even the ones that disagree with me :).

    2. As far as the “press;” if it bleeds, it leads is all you need to know. The “4th Estate” now has a lot more in common with the “Oldest Profession” than with anything resembling a watchdog for the people.

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  • 19. At 10:28am on 02 Feb 2011, JClarkson wrote:

    #15

    "I know that I promised to shut up but overnight here I have been pacing about thinking about this situation and trying to develop a sense of what is dangerous about our debate here..."

    The lack of chamomile tea?

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  • 20. At 10:33am on 02 Feb 2011, JClarkson wrote:

    #12

    "I do question why the beeb has been reporting more on what Obama says rather than our own prime minister..."


    As far as I know, in the hierarchy of governmental job titles, a minister (any minister, prime or otherwise) ranks a couple of spots below a president, premiere, chairman, beloved leader, majesty or ayatollah. That may explain the snub.

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  • 21. At 10:43am on 02 Feb 2011, Pancha Chandra wrote:

    President Obama has hit the right key strokes by urging the Egyptian leader to listen to reason and to the pulsating chorus of Egyptian voices for him to step down immediately. The jury is still out on whether President Mubarak would act on this sensible advice or not. If he does not, the peaceful demonstration could turn ugly. Thirty years of bottled pressure is waiting to explode. President Obama is trying to support the democratic aspirations of the Egyptian masses. In the same breath he is going down memory lane to recognize Egypt's contribution to the Middle East process and peace with Israel.

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  • 22. At 10:49am on 02 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 23. At 10:50am on 02 Feb 2011, Ad wrote:

    One important aspect of the present crisis in Egypt that deserves attention is the Suez Canal's situation. The Canal authorities report that traffic is passing through peacefully despite the chaos in nearby cities. The Army is guarding access to the Canal.

    But how important is the Canal to the USA? For Europe of course it is a vital trade route, traditionally for oil, but the Sumed Pipeline has replaced a lot of the tanker traffic. In recent years, it's trade with the Far East that heads the bill. Yesterday's Financial Times (if memory serves me) reported that half the trade heading towards Europe through the Canal consists of shiploads of imports from China and other Asian countries.

    But what about the USA? I assume that it is of vital importance for the United States Navy to be able to move its units quickly between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea so as to reach the Gulf and the Indian Ocean within a minimum of time in a crisis.

    This is a point worth bearing in mind: any President, as commander-in-chief, would today be aware of this concerning aspect of the Egyptian crisis. How would the USA react if a new Egyptian government denied access to the Canal for the US Navy? Egypt has a strong hand to play if the 'wrong' (for the USA) party / parties gain control. I expect there are worried faces around the White House.

    There will be unforseen consequences to the recent events in the Middle East, you bet!

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  • 24. At 10:53am on 02 Feb 2011, j_to wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 25. At 10:54am on 02 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    MM: "He [BHO] lavished praise on the "professionalism and patriotism" of the Egyptian army in allowing peaceful protests while protecting the Egyptian people."






    Mr. Obama should have instead lavished praise on some of his precessors who had subsidized the Egyptian army and its leadership for decades.

    [ long-term investments which now start to pay off, it seems]

    But of course he won't, for obvious reasons. :-)

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  • 26. At 10:58am on 02 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Mr Obama sounded as if he wanted to join the Egyptians on the streets."


    He might as well, it's not like he's busy with anything else.







    Please remind me of any BHO's accomplishments in the last half a year.


    Or even of any important decisions he's made within that time frame.

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  • 27. At 11:00am on 02 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    18 Thanks Oldie ...for you thoughtful and unsentimental and accurate observation.
    But can I suggest a possibility to you that I think we all may uderestimate in a media age.
    The people you describe as "internationally known decision makers" are really just like us....but with a great deal LESS freedom than we have.

    Also the media have become the virtual arena in which our politics are now conducted....and in a way that never existed before. And as you yourself say "if it bleeds it leads".

    They create the stuff of politics out of their own agendas....and ignore those things that would frustrate their often ill-considered fashionable fashioned objectives.

    Quiet intelligent reflective diplomacy is elbowed aside by what APPEARS to be "transparent" observation of "the facts"....as though there was just one credible reality brought to us by a camera that never lies!

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  • 28. At 11:05am on 02 Feb 2011, Oldloadr wrote:

    16. At 09:51am on 02 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:
    While this sort of Jewish mentality appears to be much appreciated by some contributors -

    http://www.jdl.org/
    _________________________________________________

    So, you see a problem with an organization that stands up for Jews? Do you have the same problem with an organization that stands up for Muslims, e.g. the Muslim Brotherhood?

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  • 29. At 11:11am on 02 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Oldload'r : "the US electorate expects the Commander-n-Chief to put America’s interests first"


    No kidding. :-)


    As shocking as some America-hater's comment that "United States doesn't have any other friends than United States". :-))))))))))))))))))))))))))


    [Nations/states don't have friends, comrade; merely temporary allies]

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  • 30. At 11:12am on 02 Feb 2011, Magaloof wrote:

    What utter twaddle. Egypt supports the Israeli blockade of Gaza and Obama's just sent tanks into Afghanistan. Right on power to the people!

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  • 31. At 11:15am on 02 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    #15: "I know that I promised to shut up but overnight here I have been pacing about thinking about this situation and trying to develop a sense of what is dangerous about our debate here..."










    This is not Wikileaks.

    And as long as you don't name any names here, and nobody gets his head chopped off as a result you can stop pacing.


    Although BBC reports that pacing is good for one's health.

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  • 32. At 11:16am on 02 Feb 2011, Bangkok Swan wrote:

    Obama realised that Mubarak won't survive, so he's suddenly sided with the people. Funny how the USA help prop up Mubarak for the last 30 years. And funny how Obama didn't call for democracy before this happened.

    So what about all the other countries? Will Obama be demanding democracy for these as well? There is absolutely no hope of that. Repressive regimes are ok, as long as they serve the interests of the USA.

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  • 33. At 11:22am on 02 Feb 2011, j_to wrote:

    Worcesterjim 15

    "But this is not a movie or play" - Absolutely...it is serious. There is nothing
    wrong with critique and trying to understand events miles away, and of course people
    take sides.

    "Well you run a country in the north of Africa and act like Mother Theresa of
    Calcutta and see how long you last!"

    Now this is one of my least favourite western "truisms." Arab people are not capable
    of democratic governance? Perhaps they are inherently violent and need repression?

    The Arab world has had tin-pot dictators due largely to outside support (and sure, a
    corrupt 'indigenous' political and economic elite). Here we have a non-violent
    uprising with relatively mild demands for democratic reforms, and people still
    cannot grasp that perhaps that old 'truism' is just a myth.

    The Arab world needs less dictatorship (or puppet regimes), and hopefully western attitudes will shift after seeing these recent non-violent uprisings in north Africa and Jordan.

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  • 34. At 11:23am on 02 Feb 2011, kasper6034 wrote:

    How refreshing to hear Mr. Obama take a stand. Having princilpes is not enough. He can't change the world as he might want to but he can take a stand. Now is the momentum with others, one by one beginning with the Saudis and those whom the US had pampered for so long. And if the momentum is not there let's help it arise. Now is the chance.

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  • 35. At 11:23am on 02 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    So, now lets do ´Freedom of speech´ in stages. Now that my #16 has been victimized

    More than one can play this game !

    http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/02/2011218490882163.html







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  • 36. At 11:25am on 02 Feb 2011, mwibawa wrote:

    At last president Obama is succinct in stating his position on this matter. I completely understand Washington's diplomatic limbo in this very precarious uprising especially with all the uncertainties surrounding who could assume power, will he be pro-Israel and pro-USA? It is gratifying to see Obama on the right side of history!

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  • 37. At 11:26am on 02 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Oldloadr wrote:
    16. At 09:51am on 02 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:
    While this sort of Jewish mentality appears to be much appreciated by some contributors -

    http://www.jdl.org/
    _________________________________________________

    So, you see a problem with an organization that stands up for Jews? Do you have the same problem with an organization that stands up for Muslims, e.g. the Muslim Brotherhood?









    Oldlod'r, PHHHLEEEASE!!!


    Are ya gonna claim that "All animals are equal"?

    Convenietly forgetting that "some animals are more equal than others"?


    This is a British blog, so I'd assume everybody had read George Orwell's "Animal Farm". ;-(



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  • 38. At 11:33am on 02 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    Not all Jews or contributors express such views -- but neither should they be considered as a part of American Middle East ideals.

    http://www.jdl.org/

    This should !

    http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/02/2011218490882163.html

    As the saying goes those who live by the sword -- shall die by the sword !



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  • 39. At 11:38am on 02 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Bangkok Swan wrote:

    Repressive regimes are ok, as long as they serve the interests of the USA.





    Is that while Thailand has finally decided to extradite the "Merchant of Death (Soviet GRU's Victor Bout) to the U.S.?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

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  • 40. At 11:40am on 02 Feb 2011, Alia wrote:

    Obama's stance will make all the difference in the world. Egyptians have always been ambivalent about him, because they are not familiar with the rhetoric of the political scene in America. Continuing support of the Egyptian people, over the government, will give him more credibility, as well as make him more relatable, and less of a vague icon. This statement involves him in the dialogue, finally.

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  • 41. At 11:45am on 02 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    #16 Oldloadr

    -- Thanks !

    I was winding up into `war mode´ after #16 was sabotaged.

    --- Fascistic ideas, behavior and symbol similarity just do not seem appropriate for the Jewish people.

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  • 42. At 11:46am on 02 Feb 2011, Andy wrote:

    "He's made it crystal clear he's on the side of the street, not the weakened strong man."

    I don't know what speech you were listening too, but in the one last night he did not sound crystal clear at all. He was ambiguous and did not even mention the internet.

    He supports Mubarak's continuation of power for at least the next 6 months.

    This is NOT what the protesters want, they want the end of his tyrannical regime NOW, now PERHAPS sometime later.

    Obama is out of step with the man on Egyptian streets, and so are you Mark Mardell.

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  • 43. At 11:50am on 02 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    33 j-to...You make an excellent point....and let me say I don`t believe that I live in anything more than a pretend democracy myself...as I regularly point out!

    As for Arab people being "less capable" of successfully creating democracies ...please don`t think I see the world in that way at all.

    It`s just that North Africa hasn`t a hope of creating its own politics of ANY sort because it has oil....and where there`s oil there`s an interesting phenomenon I think of as a "fraudulent mission to extend freedom and democracy and the rule of law to the region" ...aka imperialism in pursuit of oil at the lowest price achievable!

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  • 44. At 11:50am on 02 Feb 2011, aa2239 wrote:

    I really don't get all of this Obama-bashing on this forum; I find it so naive and no doubt politically prejudiced.

    What was ANY major world leader meant to do in response to the Egyptian situation?? How many world leaders (even within the Arab world) did you hear about coming out and expressing clear support for one side or the other?? Has Cameron clearly nailed his colours to the mast yet?? Of course not!

    Anyone with half a brain realises that the world (Obama included) had no choice but to play a waiting game over this past week or so; to sit back for a while and see if the Egyptian people could successfully force revolution... if Obama had stabbed Mubarak in the back too early and Mubarak had survived the revolution, America probably loses a key diplomatic ally in the Middle East. Now that the protesters have clearly gained the upper hand and forced an initial concession from Mubarak, NOW is the right time for leaders like Obama to express clear support for them, in accordance with American ideals and principles (democracy, liberty, rule by the people for the people, etc).

    International diplomacy has always required a fair degree of pragmatism; I daresay it's a major political skill. Americans should be pleased that Obama is displaying such a skill at the right time, and by doing so he positions himself as a friend to the (eventual) new Egyptian regime, thereby maintaining Egypt as a key diplomatic ally in the Middle East.

    For the obviously politically prejudiced among you: what do you think Bush would have done in this situation??

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  • 45. At 12:13pm on 02 Feb 2011, bbony wrote:

    @23 Ad

    "The Army is guarding access to the Canal."
    ----

    It's indicative here that mostly all of the comments are fine with the "army providing order". It gives a sense of security. Not to me. I would say army and anarchy are twin brothers. Therefore, the true gardian of order resides in the question: who is the civilian at the helm?

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  • 46. At 12:17pm on 02 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    Oldloadr

    Normally -- if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and raises its wing like a duck --then it must be a duck !

    --- irrespective of its habitat or accent.

    The idea that Fascist ideals and behavior can be justified, when both recent and past history has shown --- the mindset leads to DEAD (MURDEROUS) ENDS -- is hardly an argument for its continuation.

    --By ANY group or nation !

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  • 47. At 12:39pm on 02 Feb 2011, Jussi wrote:

    There is no way Mubarak will stay until september. There is nobody on the opposition's side that could make such an agreement, there is no common leader, and now the media doesn't even work, so that that people could discuss it. The demonstrations would continue even if el-Baradei said that he is satisfied. And besides, Mubarak would only use that time to try to manipulate the elections to his favourite's favour.

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  • 48. At 1:13pm on 02 Feb 2011, McJakome wrote:

    18. At 09:57am on 02 Feb 2011, Oldloadr wrote: "...2. As far as the “press;” if it bleeds, it leads is all you need to know. The “4th Estate” now has a lot more in common with the “Oldest Profession” than with anything resembling a watchdog for the people."

    The 4th estate, politicians and "the Oldest Profession" share one outstanding characteristic, they do whatever the cash carrying john [er customer] wants. Some of them may have some residual scruples, enough to say [or sing] "Never on a Sunday."

    President Obama is already being criticized for doing too much, not doing enough, and for the foreign policies and actions of previous administrations. As the French would say, "plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose" or the more things change the more they stay the same.




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  • 49. At 1:49pm on 02 Feb 2011, Dellmor wrote:

    I really can't understand why certain people in Egypt support Mubarak. I mean such people should stop being 'highly INSENSIBLE'. How can a president rule for 30 yrs? That's TYRANNY! President Mubarak should be considerate & listen to the voice of his people for ONCE!! I mean c'mon, even his age should tell him that. He should resign IMMEDIATELY! There is no need to be soft about this whole thing. I fully support the protests. Democracy is the best way a country/state can make progress. Now on Obama, it is high time he stopped 'sounding like' & started being more blunt. I'm not saying crudely but reasonably & significantly. He is almost always sugar coating or 'too' indirectly speaking on matters. I believe if we are all honest with ourselves, it has actually become monotonous. Finally, Egypt I wish you gain democracy & peace forever as soon as possible.

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  • 50. At 1:56pm on 02 Feb 2011, freeegypt wrote:

    this is enough for the dectator .
    he is hijaking the country killing evry one he wants blood his "so called suportares"the thugs hired for every election is storming to intimedate peoble "not in a peacful demostration like an egyptian "see the anti mubarak".
    i have never said a political opinion before yet never mised a vote as it is my resbonsability "even the government nows better and change it "i am a muslim not an islamist but this is our only chance to through this dectator out of our country no one can ever trust him he alwayes promise never deliver and what he is doing brove it he does not care for egypt only for power at any price so he will cut esential suply secret police do crimes by oder....

    hiring thugs to terrise the peoble
    enough enough

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  • 51. At 2:00pm on 02 Feb 2011, lochraven wrote:

    #44, aa2239

    I want to remind you and others like you that this forum is not to used for logical debate. As you can see here most people comply with this rule. Please, get your act together or sigh off.

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  • 53. At 2:26pm on 02 Feb 2011, Alchemist wrote:

    At sammy1975

    What a fair-weather friend!!!

    I am so glad that he was not the president of the USA in the 1930s and 1940s. Had he been, he would have been Adolf's best buddy from 1939-1942 and would have jumped over to the allies when the tide turned in 1943

    The basis for your critic isn't entirely accurate!

    Maybe you need to read the book "American Appeasement: United States Foreign Policy and Germany, 1933-1938" by Arnold A. Offner. It examines the history of America's role in the appeasement of Germany during the European crises of 1933-1938.



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  • 54. At 2:27pm on 02 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    #50 freeegypt

    I hope that in the near future when `Egypt is an ally´is mentioned --- they mean the people and not the dictator --which some still tend to confuse.

    Keep up the good work !

    (but be careful ! )

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  • 55. At 2:28pm on 02 Feb 2011, PartTimeDon wrote:

    Obama may yet find he is creating problems for himself.
    What will an ordered transition look like? Is the army responsible enough to cede power once elections can take place?
    Who are the likely parties to contest an election? What is the relationship with Israel likely to be? According to the BBC this morning, without Mubarak a two-state solution is not possible.

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  • 56. At 2:29pm on 02 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    49 and 50...I understand your sense of urgency but the whole world holds its breath and crosses its fingers and looks to one of our oldest civilisations to show us a civilised example and stage a bloodless coup.

    There may be a precedent in the way the American backed Somoza regime in Nicaragua was replaced by the Sandanista Movement and Somoza was allowed to leave and live in Guatemala.

    And be careful to appoint leaders who are prepared to stand down if a majority of you become disatisfied with them.Few governments remain popular for very long....however wonderful they seem at first!

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  • 57. At 2:56pm on 02 Feb 2011, Malenko wrote:

    Obama has found a wagon to jump on that will no doubt play well with his liberal fan base and their delusion that democracy and 'freedom can and should be spread to all parts. By not supporting Mubarak to stay long enough to ensure an orderly transition, the baby will likely get thrown out with the bath water. In that, the people capable of keeping Egypt on an even kiel will be forced out for guilt by association with Mubarak.

    The result of this purge will be either be an opening for a general with ambition (if the west has the common sense to support him) or it will mean elections in which the Muslim Brotherhood gains power and whole Mid East is suddenly much deeper in the mire than at present. The MB are anti zionist, in principle socialist and anti western - if BO is stupid enough to not see the consequences of that then George W Bush will have been suplanted as the dumbest ever US President.

    It might be is nice idea to think replacing regimes in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Syria or Lebanon with 'governments of the people' is beneficial, but the reason the west has support the regimes in these countries is because they have kept a lid on radical and repressive islamist forces - for once the idea of domino theory actually is realistic.

    Ultimately, real leadership is about seeing the bigger picture and making the tough choice, not just the popular one. True leaders make a choice not between the right choice and the wrong choice, but between the wrong choices - loose little or loose big. It's time for the US and all interested parties to stop the populism and be real leaders.

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  • 58. At 2:58pm on 02 Feb 2011, rightwingnutjob wrote:

    @7
    Everybody gets to walk down the street and express their views in the US. It's a sign of the power of a free democracy and a strong right to free speech, not any power by Hu. Hu could do the same thing in the UK. We don't kill people that disagree with us.....well, USUALLY.

    Now, let's see if the Chinese let Obama or Cameron do it in Beijing. How powerful are you if you can't allow the opposition/"enemy" to speak? Hello....MUBARAK?

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  • 59. At 3:00pm on 02 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    Peaceful demonstrators ATTACKED IN CAIRO by men on horses and camels

    http://english.aljazeera.net/

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  • 61. At 3:03pm on 02 Feb 2011, darienpoint wrote:

    If the US, as represented by our president, expects Hosni Mubarak, Egypt's authoritarian ruler of 30 YEARS to take a close look at himself and REMOVE himself from power, then our own president should also be prepared to re-evaluate our entire foreign policy vis-a-vis the middle east and cease our largely biased and blind support of the status quo in Israel. The West would never have so needed Mubarak if he had not been instrumental in perpetuating the injustice in Palestine. Until that injustice is resolved, (and said resolution DOES lie within the US government's reach), Mubaraks may come and go but we will always be in danger of propping up another 30-year dictator to serve the ends of our own failed realpolitik.

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  • 62. At 3:30pm on 02 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    57 Malenko...

    How should "populism" (democracy?) be "stopped"...and would I be right in guessing that "real leaders" look a bit like say...Sadam Hussein or Mubarak...until they "stop" obeying orders when the US President calls them?

    I notice that it`s only when they stop following US orders that our press really get going about their dreadful human right`s records.

    And...would it be too Polyanna to suggest that our world superpower either needs a more honest way of conducting its foreign policy ....or to at least shut up about being champions of freedom democracy and the rule of law?

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  • 63. At 3:31pm on 02 Feb 2011, MagicKirin wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 65. At 3:45pm on 02 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    61 Darien...

    I entirely agree about the disgraceful persecution of the Palestinians you need to be aware that many of the people who pull the US president`s strings are religiously wedded to the idea of Zionism and completely determined to ensure the continued existence of this right wing controlled state.

    The tragic irony is that their refusal to take pity on the Palestinans may not be their undoing ....but it just could be the undoing of six million innocent jewish people in Israel.

    But...it`s been made very plain that this is not something they are prepared to discuss or review....and those brave people who try get slapped down hard.

    Sadly riches and wisdom do not always walk hand in hand!

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  • 66. At 3:49pm on 02 Feb 2011, darienpoint wrote:

    Here's a suggestion. We can have Laurent Gbago take over the presidency of Egypt and move Mubarak on to Gabon.

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  • 67. At 4:13pm on 02 Feb 2011, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #63

    To the BBC moderators why does the term: Never Again break House Rules!!

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  • 69. At 4:21pm on 02 Feb 2011, GJean wrote:

    As an American citizen I support our president in his actions concerning the current political unrest in Egypt. We are watching Egyptians call for civil rights and an end to a thug-like regime. When Egypt's current leader hired thugs to beat the peaceful people in Cairo and Alexandria it became apparent that this is what Egyptians have been dealing with for quite sometime. A leader who uses illegal means to keep his position. I sincerely hope that the new government grants peaceful assembly to it's people and civil rights to women, as well as free an open elections. Georgia Hull, Kentucky, USA

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  • 70. At 4:36pm on 02 Feb 2011, BluesBerry wrote:

    Obama gets tough on Egypt's weakened strong man:
    Really?
    I though Obama was the same-old lawyer-sort, playing with words that could mean more than one thing depending on who was listening, interpreting.
    Tough would have been a clear statement:
    Mubarek you most go, and you must go now.
    Of course, he's on the side of the street; where else could he be without causing an uprising in his own country, in front of the Egyptian Consulate (Don't forget that Americans have guns, lots of them.)
    I ask you this: If there was a way that Mr. Obama could retain Mr. Mubarek in Egypt and get away with it, do you not think that he would happily, giddily take it?
    September is not good enough!
    September is not good enough for the people of Egypt!!
    Tough would have been a straight call for Mr Mubarak to quit at once. What's with this: "orderly transition must be meaningful, it must be peaceful, and it must begin now".
    Orderly transition, in the extreme, could mean hang around, buddy, for just a little while and the United States will find a way to infiltrate its military or Africom.
    Mr Obama said that Mr Mubarak recognised that "a change must take place". What does this mean? How does Mubarek define this change?
    I think we need more of the "off the record sort of talk" because if Obama was approaching this full-heartedly he would be more direct instead of tricky-dickey.
    Western diplomats say that they and the US state department have come separately to the same conclusion: Mubarak must go now. Real reform will not work while he is at the helm. So, why isn't President Obama telling him this transparently instead of muffling his message. Is he at a loss for words? Shy?
    As for the "violent looters", who are they?
    As for the "sinister political force", who are they?
    "To the people of Egypt...We hear your voices. I have an unyielding belief that you will determine your own destiny and seize the promise of a better future..."
    Well that's nice. Thanks, Mr. President.
    Obama said: "And going forward, I urge the military to continue its efforts to help ensure that this time of change is peaceful." And what will Obama do with his military - in the Sinai and Africom?
    There is more that goes on this man's mind (Obama) than he will ever admit, but he's no street-fighter. He would fit better on Wall Street.

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  • 71. At 4:48pm on 02 Feb 2011, MagicKirin wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 72. At 4:50pm on 02 Feb 2011, hms_shannon wrote:

    51. At 2:00pm on 02 Feb 2011, lochraven wrote:
    #44, aa2239

    I want to remind you and others like you that this forum is not to used for logical debate. As you can see here most people comply with this rule. Please, get your act together or sigh off.
    ---------------------------------------------------
    Lochraven,you sound just like my old Headmistress.
    Blimy,you`r not prudy Griffith by any chance ???.

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  • 73. At 5:01pm on 02 Feb 2011, REVBERN wrote:

    Egypt has been a US friend for many years and one of the few Arab countries that had peace with Israel. Mr. Obama decided to abandon our friend and in doing so, abandoned Israel. He is trying to prove to the world that we are not a nice nation, as he said. Fortunately we are still nice people, but he hasn't found that out yet. Maybe he will abandon all our friends. Rev. Bern

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  • 74. At 5:39pm on 02 Feb 2011, McJakome wrote:

    62. At 3:30pm on 02 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:
    57 Malenko...

    "How should "populism" (democracy?) be "stopped"...and would I be right in guessing that "real leaders" look a bit like say...Sadam Hussein or Mubarak...until they "stop" obeying orders when the US President calls them?"

    I recall, if you do not, what happened when the governments of Hungary and Czechoslovakia stopped toeing the Kremlin line. That was the Red Army crushing the people and the disappearance of the previous too independent leaders.

    I do not like the US setting up and taking down puppet regimes, but those who criticize the US need to criticize the actions of other players, and by comparison the US is rather mild.


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  • 75. At 5:53pm on 02 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    73 Rev

    That`s a rather cryptic comment at a time when the ME is in a very volatile state.Israeli people are probably quite anxious enough without being told they have "been abandoned"...however sincere you are in forming that impression.

    To be completely candid with you I wonder if you are part of the extremist wing of Zionism pretending to be a "Rev" ...when you are really a "Rab"....and that you are deliberately frightening people so they follow your aggressive right wing line.

    The truth is that it`s the behaviour of extremist Zionists and their misguidededly overprotective defenders in the west that put ordinary Israelis in danger.And surely it`s time moderate Israelis spoke up?

    If Israel had behaved decently and more fairly one wonders whether a lot of the tension in the world today could have been avoided....to the advantage of EVERYONE....including YOU!

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  • 76. At 6:08pm on 02 Feb 2011, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #63 and 71

    Criticizing the moderators breaks House rules too.

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  • 77. At 6:26pm on 02 Feb 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    44. At 11:50am on 02 Feb 2011, aa2239 wrote:

    "Now that the protesters have clearly gained the upper hand..."

    [[You may be speaking too quickly. The events of the day have all the appearance of a classic "rent-a-thug" crowd, brought in to initiate violence against peaceful protest. We won't know for some time if this is what has happened, but it is an old, time-worn tactic of dictatorships, they have had ample time to bus in thugs, and by the time the facts are known for certain it will almost certainly be too late to do anything to help the protesters who are seeking democratic change.]]


    "Americans should be pleased that Obama is displaying such a skill at the right time,..."

    [[There are plenty here who will never admit that President Obama has great skills. It appears that President Mubarak intends to defy both the democracy protesters and President Obama, anyway.]]

    "... and by doing so he positions himself as a friend to the (eventual) new Egyptian regime, thereby maintaining Egypt as a key diplomatic ally in the Middle East."

    [[Egypt is an important regional state, to be sure.
    But it isn't a key regional state the way that Turkey is. At least in that regard, President Obama and the government of Turkey appear to be largely on the same page on this one - and that is a very welcome turn of events.]]

    "For the obviously politically prejudiced among you: what do you think Bush would have done in this situation??"

    [[Well, in the best Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy tradition, wouldn't the answer be that he would remain silent until seated on Dick Cheney's knee?]]

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  • 78. At 6:28pm on 02 Feb 2011, Oldloadr wrote:

    37. At 11:26am on 02 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:
    Are ya gonna claim that "All animals are equal"?

    Convenietly forgetting that "some animals are more equal than others"?


    This is a British blog, so I'd assume everybody had read George Orwell's "Animal Farm".
    _________________________________________________________
    In the 70s, when I was in high school and the world was not PC, I had a history teacher that required us to read Animal Farm and the Communist Manifesto and we discussed them under the topic of, “Know Your Enemy!” George Orwell was a commie that soured on the way Communism was being played out. Maybe there will be right-hearted Egyptians that will not allow an Orwellian end to their revolution. Insha’Allah.

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  • 79. At 6:42pm on 02 Feb 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    73. At 5:01pm on 02 Feb 2011, REVBERN wrote:

    "Egypt has been a US friend for many years and one of the few Arab countries that had peace with Israel. Mr. Obama decided to abandon our friend and in doing so, abandoned Israel. He is trying to prove to the world that we are not a nice nation, as he said. Fortunately we are still nice people, but he hasn't found that out yet. Maybe he will abandon all our friends. Rev. Bern"

    ----------

    And on this basis you would deny the people of Egypt the civil rights that you take for granted?

    It isn't about Israel.
    Israel can fend for itself.

    Does it occur to you that the underlying premise of your comment is that in order to support Israel, Americans (and any other friends of Israel) are thereby required blindly to support tinpot dictators, hereditary absolute monarchies, and, among other things, the suppression of the civil rights of 80 million Egyptians?

    And you're ok with that are you?

    Do you think you'd feel that way if you were an Egyptian?
    What do you think your view of America would be then?

    America's policy needs to reflect America's long term interests.
    Supporting military dictators is not one of them.
    Neither is supporting Likud. Or Shas.


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  • 80. At 6:47pm on 02 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    74 JMM...

    I am critical of hypocrites everywhere and with NO exceptions. Since you are keen to slyly associate me with Russia can I make very clear that I have absolutely no connection with the Russians and deplore what global capitalists and organised criminals are doing in Russia anyway.

    But let`s just try to keep any antagonisms towards each other quiet and do something positive to help transform Britain and the USA from being international hypocrites into the sort of nations they have been falsely claiming to be for years.

    That will help the USA and its colony Israel... and Egypt... far more than playing fast and loose with the truth on the internet....and it will help us feel justly proud of our nations after years of having nagging doubts about them.

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  • 81. At 7:23pm on 02 Feb 2011, Scott0962 wrote:

    re.#25. At 10:54am on 02 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:
    MM: "He [BHO] lavished praise on the "professionalism and patriotism" of the Egyptian army in allowing peaceful protests while protecting the Egyptian people."






    Mr. Obama should have instead lavished praise on some of his precessors who had subsidized the Egyptian army and its leadership for decades.

    [ long-term investments which now start to pay off, it seems]

    But of course he won't, for obvious reasons. :-)

    -----------

    Careful there powermeerkat, that almost sounded like an admission that GW got something right and by implication that the annointed one made a mistake--and that would shock and anger a lot of liberals.

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  • 82. At 8:11pm on 02 Feb 2011, mscracker wrote:

    @worcesterjim:
    I rather think "extreme" Zionism is a notion many Christians embrace, at least here in the States.Zionism is not a belief exclusively held by Jews.Jews have been hounded & persecuted for centuries & even now have a perilous existance in Israel.Over the years Jews have been promised "safety" at various times by various nations, only to find out otherwise.I would think after experiencing so many centuries of duplicity & persecution, Jews would rather keep their promised land even at the cost of their personal safety.I don't see how history gives them any other option.

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  • 84. At 8:36pm on 02 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    82 Thanks for putting me straight on that Mr Cracker...but you are talking bizarre nonsense.

    The people of Israel are just human beings... and they have proven time and time again that they can live all over the world.

    Now it`s true that a small financial elite have brought misery upon the shoulders of countless jewish people ....but the ME has to be the most dangerous place on earth for them to congregate....and it`s not just themselves that their conduct is affecting.

    By the way if we all demanded a promised land then there would be even more chaos in the world than there is now. The USA has lectured the rest of us into accepting multiracialism and multiculturalism so I suggest you take your ideas up with your government!

    And if they support Zionism that strongly I want Celticism to be enforced and to throw people with non celtic names of my promised land. And what about you occupying American Indian land?Surely you should move away too?

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  • 85. At 8:41pm on 02 Feb 2011, Ad wrote:

    66 Darienpoint

    Perhaps it's a good idea to move Mubarak to Gabon and Gbagbo to Egypt, but we'd have to find someone else to be president of Ivory Coast in that case. Did you mean also to move President Bongo Ondimba from Gabon to Ivory Coast? I'm a bit confused on this one!!

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  • 86. At 8:50pm on 02 Feb 2011, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #84
    The people of Israel are just human beings... and they have proven time and time again that they can live all over the world.

    _____________

    Moslems, Christians have full rights in Israel. Name me an Arab country where you can say that? Also your arguments about a Jewish homeland apply more to the Palestinians. They have no claim to the land and never have.

    As I have stated the Nbaka is a joke!

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  • 87. At 8:51pm on 02 Feb 2011, Evie Ryan wrote:

    Mr Obama seems to be stuck between a rock and a definitively hard place. If he endorses Mubarak, then the effects are seemingly obvious, however the other option could see them losing a ally in a key place. Mubarak can't really stay and 'lead' effectively (though it is doubtful he has for some time now) but I've seen little of the other options available, it will definitely be interesting to see what happens, and indeed if Obama switches his messages away from ones of ambiguity and towards a message of one side or the other. Again though, I am doubtful, seemingly it is leaning rather than speaking clearly that is the method of modern politics.

    I do, however, think it would be interesting to see the effects of the Russian or French Revolutions in a time of such media capabilities. Egypt may've turned the internet off, but had they not seen Tunisia rallying, then the situation may've been a lot different to how it is now. Who knows what the repercussions would have been in Europe.

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  • 88. At 9:01pm on 02 Feb 2011, mscracker wrote:

    @worcesterjim:
    Jews are imperfect human beings like the rest of us, it's true & I have issues with some of Israel's policies.I'm not in full agreement with all they do.But I think the reverse of what you state may be true: that the world has proven time & time again that Jews can't live everywhere safely.My thoughts.

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  • 89. At 9:02pm on 02 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    86 MK

    I have genuine respect for your many sensible ideas but we both know that this is one subject where we have no common ground.Shall we spare the others yet another set-piece uncomprehending exchange ...and just agree to differ?

    Our hearts are in the right place but we don`t share the same faith in a literal translation of the Bible

    PAX?

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  • 90. At 9:24pm on 02 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    88 msc

    As with my difference with MK..I have a genuine inability to see anything rational or compelling about your interpretation of the Bible.

    Perhaps it`s my vivid imagination but I remember reading it as a child and am I wrong in thinking that things don`t turn out well for the children of Israel anyway? Revelations? Ezekiel?

    But this is where we are having so many problems with muslims in this country...some take a 7th century text and demand to follow it literally....and then that causes strife.

    I do sympathise but just feel you can`t turn back the clock like this....and it`s just not reasonable to reclaim land after such a long time and then refuse to properly compensate those you displace.

    And boy do I know how different it would be if the Arabs had pushed Jews out of Israel.... or lorded it over them and restricted their rights.

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  • 91. At 9:37pm on 02 Feb 2011, MagicKirin wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 92. At 9:45pm on 02 Feb 2011, McJakome wrote:

    80. At 6:47pm on 02 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:
    74 JMM...

    "I am critical of hypocrites everywhere and with NO exceptions."

    Great, then that is another point on which we agree. You seem to have read my post as a direct attack on you and that I was trying to associate you with Stalin.

    I asssure you that that was not my intention. Rereading my post, I don't see how you got that impression. However, just in case any one is unclear as to meaning I will restate my thesis.

    It is neither good, nor democratic, nor safe for any country to meddle in the internal affairs of any other country [with certain very limited exceptions. This includes the US, UK, France, China and any other country.

    I agree with you that the US and UK [in the past] have done quite a bit of meddling. This should stop. My point in mentioning other countries was not to accuse you of supporting them or their interference. I was trying to ad emphasis to your post that the injunction applies to every political persuasion, not just to the Americans, the West or capitalism.

    I think we agree that international capitalism has escaped the control of governments, laws and common morality. I think we agree that the companies regularly buy and sell government officials. I am sure we agree that proper regulation needs to be reimposed and penalties enforced for violations.

    Your oft stated opinion of my government matches my own observation that the two parties are a "pushmepullyou" more or less controlled by the corporations and other fat cats. I have said that I thought the election of President Obama was not the intended outcome of the election. A young, inexperienced, black male pitted against an older, experienced war hero with an everymom guns and soccer fan running mate. I am sure he was intended to be an also-ran. The reactions of republicans and some democrats clearly show shock at the outcome.

    I don't think our views are completely in sync, but neither are they entirely antagonistic. I would not, therefore, be attacking you. It is not, in politics unusual, however, for people with rather small differences to be more viscious toward each other than toward those with distinctly different views. Look what Lenin did first to the Mensheviks and then to those Bolsheviks who were suspected of less than total loyalty. I hope I do not play that game.

    This explanation clears up any misunderstanding, I hope.

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  • 93. At 10:13pm on 02 Feb 2011, U14773164 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 94. At 10:31pm on 02 Feb 2011, mscracker wrote:

    @worcesterjim:
    Thanks.I'm not so much explaining my personal interpretation of the Bible as much as stating that there are numerous Christians in America who support Israel & believe they have a Biblical basis for that support.
    I actually belong to a church that tries to assist Palestinian Christians who sell carved olive wood items from Bethlehem. We had a family in our local church selling olive wood nativity sets & such.They have a difficult life, too.

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  • 95. At 10:38pm on 02 Feb 2011, Blackromeo wrote:

    The uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt are the beginnings of a social revolution in the Muslim world. They are not driven by religious extremists, but on the contrary by ordinary, largely secular people. They are driven by a population who are tired of seeing the cost of staple foods going through the roof, while their rulers promise but don’t deliver. In my experience, the Muslim Arab world is peaceful on the whole, and we should embrace and support their gaining of a voice.

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  • 96. At 10:47pm on 02 Feb 2011, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #93
    wikikiki wrote:
    I don't accept the premise the Palestinians deserve anything.
    Frankly screw them. The world has spent too much time on them.
    ========================================
    You really are a damn disgrace to your race and faith MK

    Palestinians expect a boost from new Egypt‎ - thank god

    __________

    Nope I just see reality.

    Some people do not want peace. the Palestinians and who follows sharia law are among them.

    I take pride in oppsoing the islamic facists just as early generations fought the Nazis.

    There is no differnce betwen the two

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  • 97. At 10:48pm on 02 Feb 2011, U14773164 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 98. At 11:18pm on 02 Feb 2011, rodidog wrote:

    Right now it appears the military is standing aside and allowing things to unravel in Egypt; perhaps by design. This could be bad news for the protestors and President Obama. IMO, the military intends to allow Mubarak to exit the stage based on the arrangement they agreed upon.

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  • 99. At 11:30pm on 02 Feb 2011, rodidog wrote:

    A side note not mentioned very much is the damage that has already been done to the Egyptian economy during all of this. Now that things are beginning to become violent it will only be that much harder for Egypt to regain what it has already lost in terms of revenue for both the government and the populace.

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  • 100. At 11:30pm on 02 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 101. At 11:39pm on 02 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 102. At 11:45pm on 02 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 103. At 11:55pm on 02 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    Thanks mods --but you were a little late !!!!!

    --and my reply --you could have published ( to #91)

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  • 104. At 00:08am on 03 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    MK..I realise you reflect a lot of opinion in the world...in fact a lot of other Arabs don`t like Palestinians...because (like your Vietnam vets)they have the aura of failure and desperation about them...rather like jewish people in the ghettos under the Nazis.

    I respect your honesty even if I feel you are unjust...and hope that some Israelis and their supporters will not harden their hearts in the way you have.

    JMM My sincere apologies for so comprehensively misunderstanding you. I now see what you mean and agree with you.

    mscracker I think Americans obviously enjoy a different viewpoint on the ME with which I am unfamiliar ... but gratified to hear about.

    Blackromeo @95 and rodidog @98 rather put me to shame for drawing our attention away from what is really important..the Egyptians.

    I fear that the Mubarak`s friends are cornered and afraid and will commit brutal acts in panic at losing everything they have.It`s a shame that they can`t be offered a safe passage of some sort.

    Blackromeo talks of secular disenchantment rather than a strongly Islamic undercurrent ...and we have to hope that the USA does not make the possibility of a re-run of Iran an excuse for going cold on democracy. But what sort of democracy is appropriate in Egypt?

    We do have a responsibility to consider how it will best work in such a different culture and tradition.... and not just wave an illusion in their faces and create an unstable society.As JMM says ....there`s been a lot of disappointment caused by the unthinking application of democratic ideas.

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  • 105. At 00:37am on 03 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    #50 Freeegypt

    If a call goes out for donations to purchase weapons to win and protect Egyptian democracy --count me in !

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  • 106. At 01:11am on 03 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    $1.5 billion to protect the Mubarak regime I do not have -however a few $ against it is available.

    Please post account number !

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  • 107. At 01:21am on 03 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    The Egyptian army officers are traitors to democracy and the Egyptian people !

    --- the path is now open for criminal prosecutions against them.

    The $1.5 billion (from the American taxpayer) should be enough to cover the costs ?

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  • 108. At 01:34am on 03 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    With members of the Egyptian army crying watching the atrocities against their own citizens ---what the heck are we getting for $1.5 Billion ??????

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  • 109. At 01:56am on 03 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    If any American on this blog is against true democracy for the Egyptian people -they deserve the same fate they wish for others !

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  • 110. At 02:19am on 03 Feb 2011, Chryses wrote:

    quietoaktree, (#107. At 01:21am on 03 Feb 2011)
    The Egyptian army officers are traitors to democracy and the Egyptian people ! ...
    What promted this?

    ... the path is now open for criminal prosecutions against them ...
    On what grounds?

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  • 111. At 02:25am on 03 Feb 2011, Chryses wrote:

    quietoaktree, (# 109. At 01:56am on 03 Feb 2011)
    If any American on this blog is against true democracy for the Egyptian people -they deserve the same fate they wish for others !
    There aren’t many true democracies around these days. We make do with a representative democracy.

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  • 112. At 03:24am on 03 Feb 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    An (I hope!) overly cynical read of the situation?

    Robert Springbord @ Foreign Policyhere.

    Perhaps he too readily assumes that the military actually want to assume power?

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  • 113. At 03:36am on 03 Feb 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    Bad link above. Try again

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  • 114. At 04:19am on 03 Feb 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    Welp, made it thru the big ice storm! one inch thick plus ice...thousands of power outages...makes you feel like you are in the thirties or forties when all you can do is listen to the radio or play games, so super cold out today, but its kinda fun in its own way...I def feel like a survivor! :) And glad to know that there are still so many USA radio stations out there...

    Anyhew, thought he was on his way out, but now sounds like Mubarack is staying at least until the next election, which isn't even that far away...we're talking six or seven months...

    So I guess the real question now is Who will run in the next Egyptian election>?

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  • 115. At 05:32am on 03 Feb 2011, blitzkrieg11 wrote:

    Mark Mardell is portraying President Obama as a man of decision who has not at least been partly instrumental in Mubarak's tyranny. At least one of these propositions, if not both, lacks credibility.

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  • 116. At 07:01am on 03 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #25 PMK wrote:" Mr. Obama should have instead lavished praise on some of his predecessors who had subsidized the Egyptian army and its leadership for decades.

    [ long-term investments which now start to pay off, it seems]

    But of course he won't, for obvious reasons. :-) "




    In reaction to which Scott0962 issued that warning in #81:


    "Careful there powermeerkat, that almost sounded like an admission that GW got something right and by implication that the annointed one made a mistake--and that would shock and anger a lot of liberals."




    PMK: thanks Scott. Perhaps I should prepare myself for a lib version of "Shock and Awe"?


    [maybe oldloadr will help me with reloading when the onslaught starts.:)]

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  • 117. At 07:10am on 03 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #84 "And what about you [Americans] occupying American Indian land?"





    Methinks thou art confuseth:


    Indian land was never American nor was it ever claimed by the U.S.

    Although that "Jewel in the Crown" was for a quite a while under British control. :-)

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  • 118. At 07:16am on 03 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #98 rodidog wrote:
    Right now it appears the military is standing aside [it clearly does] and allowing things to unravel in Egypt; perhaps by design. This could be bad news for the protestors and President Obama. IMO, the military intends to allow Mubarak to exit the stage based on the arrangement they agreed upon.







    I'm surprised that nobody has claimed here yet that Egyptian Army commanders have assumed their hands-off position after receiving personal instructions from Bob Gates. :-)))

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  • 119. At 10:41am on 03 Feb 2011, Lankan1957 wrote:

    I sincerely hope that Egypt will not become another Islamic state and a generator of terrorism.
    Regret to note that at times what is democracy to the western world is not real democracy to the rest, it would only mean the start of a tyranically regime with roots traced back to encouragement given by western countries for change whihch never ever came after the overthrow of a current leader.

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  • 120. At 12:31pm on 03 Feb 2011, YH-Brom wrote:

    Dear Mr Obama
    There is really no need for you to go and join the peaceful Protesters in the streets of Cairo and other major cities of Egypt, they have enough support from more than 80 million Egyptians and few billions around the world
    But, I am glad that at last you have realised that Mr Mubarak has to leave and it should be NOW.
    After days of speculations and eeeeerrr not to worry every thing is fine and the Egyptian government is stable and listen to your people grievances and Oooooopps peaceful transition and and and and Finally, It should happen NOW.
    Again thanks a lot Mr Obama do not worry yourself about us Egyptians we are able to look after ourselves and We'll do

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  • 121. At 12:56pm on 03 Feb 2011, McJakome wrote:

    115. At 05:32am on 03 Feb 2011, blitzkrieg11 wrote:
    "Mark Mardell is portraying President Obama as a man of decision who has not at least been partly instrumental in Mubarak's tyranny. At least one of these propositions, if not both, lacks credibility."

    Some Americans are ignorant, stupid or disingenuous [covering their own tracks] enough to blame Pres. Obama for things started by George W. Bush or even earlier. NOW he is being blamed for being responsible [even in part] for Mubarak's dictatorial reign.

    Let's look at the time line, shall we.

    Mubarak took over as Egypt's strongman 30 years ago.
    Where was Mr. Obama and how much power did he have 30 years ago?
    Where was Mr. Obama and how much power did he have 20 years ago?
    Where was Mr. Obama and how much power did he have 10 years ago?
    Where was Mr. Obama and how much power did he have 5 years ago?

    Barak Obama became President of the U.S. 2 years ago, and as in all other cases he was handed the very bad hand dealt by his predecessor. In this case the bad hand has been passed on from the president in 1980 who was, are you ready for this, Mr. CIA himself, George Herbert Walker Bush.

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  • 122. At 3:26pm on 03 Feb 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    JMM wrote: NOW he is being blamed for being responsible [even in part] for Mubarak's dictatorial reign.
    ---------
    The irony to me is that Obama is doing the same thing to Egypt as with what USA did to the Shah and Iran years ago...its the same thing happening all over again...

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  • 123. At 4:03pm on 03 Feb 2011, bart wrote:

    I must be one of those weird people who see plots where they are not.

    All of a sudden every leader in the Europe and the US develops butter fingers
    on getting a hold of the situation over there.

    Another possible exists 
Obama tells Mubarack to get this over quick so the free worlds leaders can pretend shock and disappointment.

    Mubarack sends in the Thugs thinking the people in the square are tired and ready to fold.

    The people fight and the thugs do not know what to do when they were supposed to have another easy kill. They the Thugs then fall apart.

    
Unable to intimidate the people they thought the Thugs resort to machine guns and fire bombs live on camera.

    Obama tells Mubarack look we can only fumble round for so long so finish this.

    My belief is that this is all being done with Obamas OK.

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  • 124. At 4:41pm on 03 Feb 2011, bart wrote:

    PS
    After listening to the people from the Square real time and live listening to the sound of machine guns in the distance and a un armed people-with women and children expressing her right to freedom and it being denied her I have a suggestion.

    Rename the Square to Martyrs Square

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  • 125. At 5:00pm on 03 Feb 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    Bart,
    there are two sides to every story...and something tells me from your writings that you are only looking at one side...

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  • 126. At 5:13pm on 03 Feb 2011, bart wrote:

    #29
    [Nations/states don't have friends, comrade; merely temporary allies]


    Hold it is not that what this is all about partly.

    The US IS EXACTLY not changing allies every darn day.

    Not since the end of of WW2 when the US forced all of Europe to stop fighting and
    required a end to side taking and put a stop to what Europe used to call “the Great Game".

    US policy has been that we sell out no one and never betray a Ally thus for a new ally to come in to the system they can not be fighting any other person or country in the Alliance. (except for Turkey ad Greece”.

    As a result Iran left the alliance we did not leave Iran.

    And we have a natural aversion to selling out a Ally as much as possible.

    That really drove Stalin nuts at the end of WW2 with the US coming to back up Germany rather than do a slice and dice.

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  • 127. At 5:37pm on 03 Feb 2011, bart wrote:

    #125

    I spent some time in Egypt back in the 1970’s as part of the USA ARMY supporting
    the opetations of the US in operation Nimbus Star Moon the demining of the Canal during the Carter days.

    The problem is that I am looking at both sides and not trying to make excuses for murder.

    My time in Egypt and contact with the local people in Ismilia a city on the middle of the canal was one of the high points of my Army days and I have always been proad to call myself a American.

    I am not that any longer.

    one of the odd parts of that operation was that the US troops could have no weapons of any kind since we at the time were the enemy . And we never felt threatened by the locals

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  • 128. At 6:13pm on 03 Feb 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    Bart wrote: And we never felt threatened by the locals
    -------------

    The times, they are a changin'...

    You see how they treated Christine Amanpour on ABC news?

    Have you read amr's comments on the White House Emboldened by Egypt Bloodshed blog?

    It is one person, yet doesn't every person count?

    If so, you might rethink some of your statements...

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  • 129. At 6:52pm on 03 Feb 2011, essie777 wrote:

    #126 "Not since the end of WW2 when the US forced all of Europe to stop fighting and required a end to side taking and put a stop to what Europe used to call “the Great Game".......US policy has been that we sell out no one and never betray a Ally"

    ------------------------------------

    Your perception of both history and the nature of your own government is short sighted and miss-informed.

    Your rhetoric about the US role in the post WW2 arena is so miss-informed it's comical. Are you talking about the same war the US ignored despite US civilian deaths (on passenger ships etc) until the US navy was hit? That whole gibberish about not turning your back on allies is blatantly false. That is all the US knows how to do. The USA constantly meddles in countries they have no true knowledge of, picking sides not based on democracy and the will of the people but based on what’s good for them.

    The US hides behind its own press that it is a country of "freedom" but continually backs dictators and subversive anti-democratic "governments" and rebel groups for its own aims. And then sits back and joins the popular side when it sees that it's going to look silly if it doesn't.

    This is the same in Egypt and if anyone bothers to remember their recent history the US government helped Both Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in 1979 onwards:

    On July 3, 1979, President Jimmy Carter signed a document to provide secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Afghanistan. With the benefit of that aid, they would engage in ruthless acts of terror and sabotage, throughout the entire Afghan nation and lead to the destabilization its government. It was ultimately intended to induce a Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, drawing them into what would be called Russia's Vietnam, bringing untold misery and suffering to the people of Afghanistan. It would provide support to a new group of Islamic fundamentalists, known as the Taliban, and their allies, a secret, violent terrorist group known as Al Qaeda, run by the son of one of Saudi Arabia's princes, whose connections could provide the covert economic support to get it going.

    The principle architect of this plan was Carter's National Security Adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski. When the war was finally over, and the country had effectively been devastated to the point of living in the Stone Age, Brzezinski was asked if he regretted the suffering he had caused. His reply was telling for its sheer arrogance, hubris and shortsightedness:


    "Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter, essentially: 'We now have the opportunity of giving the USSR its Vietnam War.'"

    The interviewer from the National Observer asked, "And neither do you regret having supported Islamic fundamentalism, which has given arms and advice to future terrorists?" His response:

    "What is more important in world history? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some agitated Muslims or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?"


    Doesn’t this just prove the point that the US has no true allies anywhere as obviously now 30 years later the Taliban and Al-Qaeda are enemies to be vilified although the US was instrumental in both their formation and building what they are today.

    The is mirrored in Egypt today, after 30 years of supporting the unpopular and restrictive government that has ruled by emergency powers for years the US now needs to distance themselves and as another commentary wrote Obama is the best at dancing around an issue and swapping partners without even flinching at the hypocrisy. Go USA!! So proud! (notice the sarcasm)


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  • 130. At 7:01pm on 03 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Red#121

    Of course a question could be asked as well:



    Where was Mubarak 30 years ago?

    20 years ago?

    10 years ago?


    Just as where was Saddam Hussein 30 years ago?

    20 years ago?

    10 years ago?

    Etc.



    Now, about that Qaddafi fella... :-)


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  • 131. At 7:09pm on 03 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re#126

    bart, wouldn't you say that U.S. has no real friends, just temporary allies?

    Judging by their actual responses/commitments when push comes to shove?




    P.S. Half of Europe (including some of the staunchest America/UK allies during WWII) were sold down the river into Soviet slavery at Yalta.

    "Just facts, Ma'am". :-(

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  • 132. At 7:21pm on 03 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Zbig Brzezinski (quoted here): "What is more important in world history? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some agitated Muslims or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?"







    The answer is obvious, Commies.

    You've lost, and your Motherland of the World Proletariat is no more.

    And the world is much better of it.

    [ME being a relatively insignificant part of it. (Well, tough).]

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  • 133. At 8:34pm on 03 Feb 2011, essie777 wrote:

    @132 powermeerkat

    You show your ignorance of actual historical events and a lack of understanding about the point i was making.

    The demise of the Soviet Union was already happening, it was well down the path to self-destruction by the time the USA decided to cause a war that killed innocent people daily in it naïve attempt to control another sovereign country (Afghanistan).

    And I’m sure all those people killed through terrorism by those same "agitated Muslims" in large acts here in the US (I’m sure you haven't forgotten September 11th have you?) as well as the 1000s of soldiers fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq over the last 10 years appreciate your myopic point of view.

    The nature of US foreign policy is shortsighted and based solely on the premise that the government knows what’s best and that is clearly not true. The whole basis of the "American Dream" and freedom is not something represented in the foreign policy, otherwise why would the US support unpopular governments, like in Egypt, that take individual freedom away? Why would they form and finance terrorist groups for their own selfish aims and then act surprised when they actually try to take revenge on the same country that when it got what it wanted turned them into enemies of the whole western world.

    I am not suggesting that terrorism is acceptable. The point i am making is that this surprise at the US turncoat behavior against its ally of the Egyptian President is nothing new in its history.

    America doesn't fight for freedom anywhere but within its own borders, it's foreign policy is purely based on immediate wants and desires with no consideration for the population of those countries it meddle in. The global perception of the US is dire. Most western countries view it as some sort of marine style country whose only answer is war and fighting because they don’t actually have the intelligence to participate in world affairs in any other manner.

    The US is the bully in the playground, stomping its feet when it doesn't get what it wants and refusing to admit its own faults and responsibility when the consequences of its behavior turns around and bites them on the arse!

    Arguing that Obama is a recent president and inherited these issues as a get out of jail free justification, shows a complete misunderstanding to how true politics work. The figure heads of a ruling government have the opportunity to right wrongs, but long term policy is delivered by non-voted diplomats and political institutions which are not voted in every 4 years! And the basis of this is usually in the country image and national identity. Foreign policy tends to follow this, so what exactly is the US portraying? A lack of understanding of global issues, a lack of respect for the populations in countries it decided to play with? If the stance on Egypt was unacceptable to Obama, why did he wait until it was too late not to be ridiculed for his comments? Even seeing the way the situation was progressing he went against the global tide of opinion and ended up looking like the fool trying to ride on the coat tails of the “winning side”. Too little too late.

    And just to make it clear I’m a British woman who has lived in the USA for a number of years! I am just not hoodwinked by media and look beyond a sound bite as a basis of my opinions. And a barely hidden crack accusing me of being a communist just proves my point as I have no doubt you are American, and rather than get involved in a discussion about our views your response is to try and distract away from the point of my comment with blatantly ridiculous commentary of my political beliefs.

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  • 134. At 01:14am on 04 Feb 2011, MarteAsmae wrote:

    re#132 So what do you think the best solution for Egypt is? What should the protesters do now? The regime in Egypt has turned into a symbol of oppression. The USA of freedom that supported this regime is suddenly urging the people to stand up and fight against it. The protesters have of course that ideology in their minds, a brighter future, quite like Obama stated, even though his words have only reached a few. They will not back off in the next few days and you can see this yourself. What can they do in your opinion?

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  • 135. At 02:04am on 04 Feb 2011, Chryses wrote:

    essie777, (#129 & #133)
    Forgive me for asking, but are you serious? You must be aware that the Soviet Union could have won the Cold War. The policy of containment incorporated compromising the adversary when possible. The Soviet support of its client state in Afghanistan provided an opportunity to do so. Are you suggesting that American foreign policy should have compromised American interests by forgoing an opportunity to hamstring its opponent?

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  • 136. At 03:05am on 04 Feb 2011, Gladwys wrote:

    In response to: "82 million people with most of them being under 30, living on the banks of a river in a desert scrub land, where it rains about 3 times a year, so they have to import pretty well all food and very little manufacturing of note."

    It doesn't rain very much in Egypt, that's true, but there is a lot of food production there. I've been to Egypt, and the whole place is full of gardens and fruit orchards, the entire area outside the city is all farmland. You see, although it doesn't rain much, they have a river...but I can see you are in denial about the whole thing.

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  • 137. At 7:19pm on 05 Feb 2011, essie777 wrote:

    Chryses #135

    What exactly was the American interest in forming, funding and supporting with military arms the extremist groups of Afghanistan and wider Arab states?

    There is no way you can even conceivably argue that this was good foreign policy can you? America knew that these group were extreme in their views and their aims for power. It ignored good common sense and betrayed its own beliefs of liberty and freedom condoning the Afghan people to a brutal dictatorship. Are the values of liberty and freedom only acceptable to American people? Are they only supposed to be wanted by American people. Strangely in the past 10 years though the USA has fought against the same people it gave weapons, money and training to. Surely that would suggest that USA foreign policy is ill-conceived, misguided and solely short term in its outlook. This is why the USA is such a target to terrorist groups they make use of the lack of continuity in the policy to marginalize and give its supporters a common enemy. September 11th????? I am not suggesting it is acceptable as it isn't ever right for innocent people to be brutalized through terrorism but please don’t try and say there was American interest in helping a dictatorship and extreme political party to power in Afghanistan (Taliban) There is no excuse.


    And if you knew your history well enough you would understand that by the start of the 19080's and rapidly following from then the "cold war" as you refer to it didn't exist in the manner to which you believe. The rhetoric of western and eastern politicians was continuing it more that the true living of the cold war. Communism was "dying a death" it couldn't survive economically or socially all the USA did was help create the issues that are killing 1000s of people today. It's naivety to believe anything else.

    Don't be sold on propaganda and a ho - ray approach to history that the USA has - be bold enough to look deeper.

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  • 138. At 10:52pm on 05 Feb 2011, Chryses wrote:

    essie777, (#137. At 7:19pm on 05 Feb 2011)
    "...What exactly was the American interest in forming, funding and supporting with military arms the extremist groups of Afghanistan and wider Arab states? ..."
    Opposition to, and constraint of the Soviet Union, the principal advocate of communism.

    "... There is no way you can even conceivably argue that this was good foreign policy can you? ..."
    Of course I can. The Soviet Union was a real and present danger to the United States. They could have won. American foreign policy was designed to contain communism. I am confident that you know that. These were tools to that goal.

    "... America knew that these group were extreme in their views and their aims for power. It ignored good common sense and betrayed its own beliefs of liberty and freedom condoning the Afghan people to a brutal dictatorship ..."
    If you are referring to the Taliban, may I remind you that while they may reasonably be described as brutal, they were not a dictatorship.

    "... Are the values of liberty and freedom only acceptable to American people? Are they only supposed to be wanted by American people ..."
    Not at all. I'm sure you'll agree that the foreign policy of a nation should be organized to further that nations' interests, not the interests of foreign nationals.

    "... Strangely in the past 10 years though the USA has fought against the same people it gave weapons, money and training to. Surely that would suggest that USA foreign policy is ill-conceived, misguided and solely short term in its outlook. This is why the USA is such a target to terrorist groups they make use of the lack of continuity in the policy to marginalize and give its supporters a common enemy. September 11th????? I am not suggesting it is acceptable as it isn't ever right for innocent people to be brutalized through terrorism but please don't try and say there was American interest in helping a dictatorship and extreme political party to power in Afghanistan (Taliban) There is no excuse ..."
    I was unaware that the U.S. has had to fight Egypt, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, South Korea, or the United Arab Emirates ( http://www.reuters.com/article/2009/11/06/us-arms-usa-obama-idUSTRE5A559G20091106 ). As to "short term," the 40+ year effort to contain communism seems to me to qualify as "long term." That is an example of an overarching goal. The success of bringing Egypt into a Western sphere of influence is a particular example. Lack of continuity? Not a bit of it. I'm pleased to learn that you disapprove of 9/11. Permit me to remind you that the downfall of the Soviet Union was considerably more important to American foreign policy than inconvenient extremists in Afghanistan.

    "... And if you knew your history well enough you would understand that by the start of the 19080's and rapidly following from then the "cold war" as you refer to it didn't exist in the manner to which you believe. The rhetoric of western and eastern politicians was continuing it more that the true living of the cold war. Communism was "dying a death" it couldn't survive economically or socially all the USA did was help create the issues that are killing 1000s of people today. It's naivety to believe anything else ..."
    That is easy to say in hindsight, and some do. The Soviet Union was a closed society; the type of information which can now persuade us that all we had to do was wait was not easily available. The shooting down by Soviet fighters of civilian airliner Korean Air Lines Flight 007 with 269 people aboard including a member of Congress, was a touch more than political rhetoric, no? Large military exercises such as Zapad-81 also "spoke" volumes (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exercise_Zapad ). You may want to reflect upon your notions of naiveté, at least as they apply to sovereign nation foreign policy.

    "... Don't be sold on propaganda and a ho - ray approach to history that the USA has - be bold enough to look deeper."
    Try to avoid assuming that the knowledge you have now is the same as the knowledge they had then. If you can avoid this mistake, you'll have a better chance of understanding the motivations of the people you criticize.

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  • 139. At 00:56am on 06 Feb 2011, McJakome wrote:

    Right on target Chryses!

    "Try to avoid assuming that the knowledge you have now is the same as the knowledge they had then. If you can avoid this mistake, you'll have a better chance of understanding the motivations of the people you criticize."

    One of the most common mistakes that students of history and political science make when loking at the past is to assume that their own frame of reverence is suitable for understanding what they are seeing and reading about.

    There is a very funny book, "The Motel of the Mysteries" that pokes fun at this kind of thinking, especially by amateur archeologist types.

    As elementary as the error is, it is a very difficult one to kick, especially if one is wearing ideological [or do I mean idiotlogical] blinders.

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  • 140. At 6:24pm on 06 Feb 2011, detroit123 wrote:

    And here we are again, all of us jolly bloggers using a current issue as a disguise to give vent to our views on American arrogance. And in this corner we have the non-Americans whose basic premise is "Americans" are ignorant, arrogant, incapable of admiiting fault ect etc. In the other corner we have those very "Americans" who see nothing wrong in the actions of the US, believe in American exceptionalism, think they are superior etc etc. In the third corner there is the rest of us. The fury of the non-Americans (for want of a better description) is driven primarily by the perception that "Americans" do believe they are superior and always right (etc etc). Well folks in this belief you are being as narrow minded and blinkered and as downright nationalistic as any of those "Americans" that make you seethe. So knock off the hypocrisy....and if you cant see your own hypocrisy then you are being blinded by your own arragance, and if you cant see your own arrogance then it is because you are too arrogant to admit that you are arrogant. You suffer from the syndrome of "I am too good to suffer from the arrogance that those inferior people suffer from". A common human syndrome. The hypocrisy and self-righteous posturing from all sides here is unfathomable. I started to make a list but is is pages long....but to list just the tip of an enoumous iceberg...criticism of the US for backing the bad-guy from people whose own leaders unquestioningly bcked the US...critisizing nationalistic attitudes with statements like "The British are nationalistic" (think about the double-think in such a statement)...we are like kids in a playground and no mistake.
    Nothing will be properly fixed until we, and I mean all of us, recognize our own arrogance. And those of you reading this thinking "well thats not me" are probably the worst of all as you clearly beleive you are better than everyone else because you are not arrogant - mean, how superior can you be? To quote a famouns singer "there is no such thing as an arrogant Australian". Excuse me while I go throw up.
    We are terminally hung up with these perceptions and misperceptions.

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