BBC BLOGS - Mark Mardell's America
IN ASSOCIATION WITH
« Previous | Main | Next »

Why does the US so often back the bad guys?

Mark Mardell | 13:00 UK time, Saturday, 5 February 2011

Why is it that the United States - forged as a nation in a revolution against tyranny, explicitly dedicated to liberty - has so often found itself backing the bad guys?
Barack Obama has now put himself on the side of democracy


Man holding an anti-Mubarak sign in Cairo, Egypt

in Egypt, but it took a time. Indeed, it took the US more than 30 years.


The quandary is not new. Part of the problem is deciding who the bad guys are. One of the founding fathers and the third president, Thomas Jefferson, believed the American Revolution had sparked a fire that would set the world alight.

He was an enthusiast for the French Revolution, defending it even when its nascent democracy descended into dictatorship and terror.

By contrast, his old sparring partner, fellow founding father and the second President, John Adams, was more sceptical from the start and signed a treaty with the country many Americans saw as the foe of liberty: Great Britain.

And so it has gone on. Skip lightly over the Spanish war. A war against one imperialism for sure, but American domination might not have felt like liberty to the people of Cuba and the Philippines.


President Franklin Delano Roosevelt couldn't have been more forthright in his early belief that Hitler was a threat to the whole world. To Churchill's irritation, he demanded that the post-war world should banish the days of empire and colonialism. He didn't live to see it, but the new problem was the clash of new empires.

Belief in universal liberty comes up hard against the real world where policymakers often see the choice as between the bad guys, and the worse guys.

The real problem for the US came with its opposition to the expanding Soviet empire. Communism was a new tyranny, but it cloaked itself in the language of liberty, and attracted those fighting foreign rule and domestic domination. In opposing the Soviet Union and its allies, the USA often found itself in bed with a promiscuous parade of the dodgiest of characters - dictators, torturers and thieves - whose only virtue was not being "Commies".

The US never successfully pulled off the trick of encouraging genuine liberal democracies.

When the Iron Curtain was torn down, the US was definitely on the right side of history but did not seize the opportunity to knock down the bulwarks against communism they no longer needed. Reagan, the first Bush and Clinton did not urge people living in dictatorships in the Middle East and Central Asia to seize the freedoms newly enjoyed in the European east.

Of course, the neo-cons wanted a revolution against this hypocrisy. They wanted the United States to aggressively promote democracy with revolutionary fervour. But in power they targeted old enemies, never old friends. Saddam Hussein and the Taliban were dictators, but in the scale of sin, their enmity weighed more heavily than their tyranny. As jihadists replaced communists as America's favourite existential threat, the old corrupt and undemocratic bulwarks were again seen as better than the alternative.

It is Barack Obama's reaction to this pattern that initially locked his administration into an awkward ambivalence to the Egyptian revolution. He was elected, in part, in reaction to George W Bush's foreign policy.

So on the one hand Mr Obama seems to genuinely believe that it is not the place of the leader of the world's only superpower to pick and choose the leaders of other countries. That is a value consistent with the American Revolution. So is his other instinct, pulling him in the opposite direction. He believes it is the USA's job to promote what he sees as universal values, and he grows more forthright about this day by day.

It will be interesting to see if he follows up with tough conversations with Saudi King Abdullah, Uzbek President Islam Karimov, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and other allies who may not share his enthusiasm for the freedoms the president is urging upon Egypt.

For the old dilemma remains. There is some worry in Washington about what follows, and the possibility of the Muslim Brotherhood playing a big role in the future. Many observers warn against building them up into a huge bogeyman. But it is also true that any new Egyptian government that encompasses them would be less friendly to Israel, the peace process and the West in general.

The danger of backing revolution and democracy is that the moral arc of the universe does not always bend towards American foreign policy interests.

Comments

or register to comment.

  • 1. At 12:58pm on 05 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    And what about Tehran ayatollahs, Mr. Mardell?


    "Iran was making its own intervention. Its supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, called for an Islamic regime in Egypt." (BBC News)


    Surprised?

    Complain about this comment

  • 2. At 12:59pm on 05 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    The US always backs right-wing dictatorships over any left leaning ideas -its that simple !

    Complain about this comment

  • 3. At 1:04pm on 05 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Mark Mardell: "American domination might not have felt like liberty to the people of Cuba"




    Fortunately Cubans have been enjoying their regained liberty for over half a century. And mightily prosper as a result.

    Under the enlightened, democratic, freedom-loving regime of Castro Bros.


    ["Yankees went home". Well, tough. :-)]

    Complain about this comment

  • 4. At 1:06pm on 05 Feb 2011, JusticeForAll wrote:

    US always back the bad guys and puppet regimes.

    When Obama was in power Tamils were massacred and the US has not nothing to prove that they are for democratic values and accountability. The Sri Lankan regime not only committed alleged war crimes and human rights abuses but successfully intimidated foreign journalists, diplomats and human rights organizations.

    Canadian professor article exposes the cosiness of the US regime leaders with the Sri Lankan criminal masters and coherent support to the criminals at the expense of victims and their families.

    The US has committed enough and more sin to the poor and innocent victims and now only God can deliver justice.

    Complain about this comment

  • 5. At 1:07pm on 05 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    MM: :"The US never successfully pulled off the trick of encouraging genuine liberal democracies."


    Post WWII (West) Germany and Japan, anyone?

    Or South Korea?


    [How soon they (intentionally) forget!"]

    Complain about this comment

  • 6. At 1:10pm on 05 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Of course, the neo-cons wanted a revolution against this hypocrisy"






    Mr. Mardell, could you define 'neo-cons" versus traditional life-long conservatives?

    Let alone life-long leftiest CONS?

    Complain about this comment

  • 7. At 1:13pm on 05 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    MM: "It will be interesting to see if he [BHO] follows up with tough conversations with Saudi King Abdullah, Uzbek President Islam Karimov, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and other allies who may not share his enthusiasm for the freedoms the president is urging upon Egypt."







    Has Mr. Obama called the current British monarch yet?

    And encouraged her to abdicate?

    ["in an orderly fashion", of course.]

    Complain about this comment

  • 8. At 1:14pm on 05 Feb 2011, nicho wrote:

    "The trick of encouraging genuine liberal democracies?" Excuse me but this is not a matter of talent it is amatter of policy: the US simply did not wish to do that.
    Similarly they did not "sieze the opportunity to knock down the bulwarks against communism since anti-communism was always the secondary role of such governments. (after being pro-US business in their trade and financial arrangements) US policy makers openly talked about "the cisis of democracy" they thought woud follow the fall of the Berlin wall - what excuse they could now have for keeping such regimes in power. Another pro-Washington peice from Mr Mardel to try to explain to the likes of us "how the US manages to end up backing the bad guy" like it's all some bumbling mistake? Oh please...

    Complain about this comment

  • 9. At 1:15pm on 05 Feb 2011, iain wrote:

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

  • 10. At 1:18pm on 05 Feb 2011, JusticeForAll wrote:

    The Western leaders are just talking democracy, freedom, human rights and equality but does not practice this outside their country.

    Most leaders support puppet leaders and either ignore or cover up their criminal activities, oppression, attack of political opponents and no opposition is allowed in certain countries.

    The world may be better off if there are many nations that are powerful like the US and they have different agenda, so they do not agree on any issue. The UN is in shambles with a weak, incompetent and ineffective leader who has failed miserably to take action against the alleged war criminal Sri Lankan regime to prevent human tragedy.

    Hon. Louise Arbour, Inga-Britt Ahlenius, Norwagian Officials and others have questioned the ability of the leadership at the UN.

    http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=54302

    Many believed that the US and the Western nations will lead by example but it looks that they are failing to stand on priciples for personal relationships (Cosiness with the Sri Lankan regime leaders) and greediness.


    Complain about this comment

  • 11. At 1:30pm on 05 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    So we have moved on swiftly now that I was getting to close to the truth!

    If anyone does actually seek the truth around here see iain`s post 66 in the previous thread.

    Chryses may like to launch an in depth interrogation....but something tells me that he/she won`t!

    Complain about this comment

  • 12. At 1:35pm on 05 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

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

  • 13. At 1:35pm on 05 Feb 2011, deryk houston wrote:


    If Obama and other world leaders would simply follow international law, a lot of the worlds problems would be solved.
    Instead, they only believe in international law and children's rights when it suits them.
    By the way....it is not that hard to tell who the "bad guys" are. They are the ones who ignore international law. (Invading another country in order to knock off their leaders, sending people without trial to be "rendered" and beaten, using drones to drop bombs and execute people without trial.etc. etc.)

    Complain about this comment

  • 14. At 1:40pm on 05 Feb 2011, Chryses wrote:

    V Siva, (#4. At 1:06pm on 05 Feb 2011)
    ”US always back the bad guys and puppet regimes ...”
    ”Always?” No exceptions?

    ”... When Obama was in power Tamils were massacred and the US has not nothing to prove that they are for democratic values and accountability. The Sri Lankan regime not only committed alleged war crimes and human rights abuses but successfully intimidated foreign journalists, diplomats and human rights organizations ...”
    So you are advocating that the U.S. officially intervene in the politics of other nations if the governments do not satisfy American expectations?

    ”... Canadian professor article exposes the cosiness of the US regime leaders with the Sri Lankan criminal masters and coherent support to the criminals at the expense of victims and their families ...”
    Yes, and so you propose what criminal penalties for “coziness?”

    ”... The US has committed enough and more sin to the poor and innocent victims and now only God can deliver justice.”
    You are mistaken. The crimes against the Tamils were perpetrated by the Sri Lankan government, not the U.S.

    Complain about this comment

  • 15. At 1:42pm on 05 Feb 2011, Bob wrote:

    All Mardell tels us is that he is a leftie like the rest of the BBC.

    Complain about this comment

  • 16. At 1:42pm on 05 Feb 2011, Chryses wrote:

    quietoaktree, (#2. At 12:59pm on 05 Feb 2011)
    ”The US always backs right-wing dictatorships over any left leaning ideas -its that simple !
    ”Always?” No exceptions?

    Complain about this comment

  • 17. At 1:44pm on 05 Feb 2011, Hotchips wrote:

    The biggest loser for real democracy to sweep the Middle East is Israel. The new threat that could emerge is the conversation new democracies may want to hold with Israel. Conversations about occupying land, human rights, and oppression of Palestinians. Without the distraction of tyrants oppressing them, the peoples of the Middle East may demand something better and fairer of Israel. Maybe they will call for refugees to return as is International Law followed by open elections for all living in Israel. The end of Israel? No. A different and acceptable Israel? Dare I say Secular and inclusive for all? Well one can dream.

    Complain about this comment

  • 18. At 1:45pm on 05 Feb 2011, McJakome wrote:

    2. At 12:59pm on 05 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:
    "The US always backs right-wing dictatorships over any left leaning ideas -its that simple !"

    Unfortunately that's correct. The US has been in semi-isolation and the people are not thatinterested in or knoledgeable about the outside world. The gut reaction agains anything leftish became deeply rooted during the cold war, but began as a reaction to the Bolsevik Revolution in Russia.

    Those were NOT nice people. The problem is that the American reaction to that is neither nuanced nor up-to-date. In fact it fits the definition of a phobia, which explains the curious reactions to health care reform. This phobia is actively promoted by those interests that benefit monetarily from it, the insurance and pharmaceutical industries, and their shill, FOX "news".


    Complain about this comment

  • 19. At 1:56pm on 05 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    The answer to your question Mark is that despite appearances...(and quite in contrast with the decency and generosity of the average American) the USA is run by global capitalists and organised criminals... and exports its crooked corrupt culture all over the world.

    In many cases it`s the USA that installs and finds common cause with "bad guys" rather than America "having to deal with the wicked world as it is".

    China and Russia aren`t corrupt just because they are horrid dishonest ex-commies (as we are told)...just observe the kind of "business oligarchs" the USA has fostered and promoted to see what I mean.Capitalism is happiest in authoritarian undemocratic unequal slave labour economies.

    Complain about this comment

  • 20. At 1:58pm on 05 Feb 2011, mundelendombe wrote:

    The premise is wrong. Characterising the US as a nation forged against tyranny does not stand up to the mildest scrutiny. Slavery and genocide costitute surely the two greatest infringements of liberty and the US has consistently been among the most important proponents of both.
    Indians and Black slaves sided with the crown during the war of independence, and without defending britain's record on anything, it was a historicaly correct judgement. Slavery was abolished a generation earlier in the british empire than in the US. Furthermore after the trans-atlantic slave trade was banned an important illegal trade continued as trade which was only possible because the US refused to allow the inspection of US registered ships, and it was US registered vessels that continued to carry slaves from the Congo basin to Brasil and Cuba into the 1880's.
    Peter Ustinov claims to have arrived in Britian in the 1920's as a schoolboy and seen on the class wall a poster showing Jesus christ holding hands with a boy scout in one hand and with the other hand pointing to a map showing the extent of the british empire. A century of decline has cured us of such delusions, bring on the moment when the same happens to the US.

    Complain about this comment

  • 21. At 1:59pm on 05 Feb 2011, Abe Aamidor wrote:

    Writing from America - we have always feared uniform ideologies, totalitarian thought and competing hegemonies. Even soft forms of Christianity were really kept in check by the US Constitution. Today it's militant Islam, the most virulent form of monotheism in 3,500 years. There are local problems and complex alliances that further explain US foreign policy, but the fact is the world is plagued by totalitarian and uniform ideologies, none of which are consistent with freedom at any level.

    Complain about this comment

  • 22. At 2:01pm on 05 Feb 2011, Cosmologic wrote:

    16. At 1:42pm on 05 Feb 2011, Chryses wrote:
    quietoaktree, (#2. At 12:59pm on 05 Feb 2011)
    ”The US always backs right-wing dictatorships over any left leaning ideas -its that simple !
    ”Always?” No exceptions?
    -*-
    Here are the significant exceptions (in alphabetical order):-
    1.
    2.
    3.
    4.

    Complain about this comment

  • 23. At 2:05pm on 05 Feb 2011, Nik wrote:

    The prospect of Europe getting gas from North Africa alarmed US so much to the extend of giving support to

    When US gives support to movements wishing to overthrow the Saoudi, Kuweit and UAE regimes then start speaking of any US support to... "democratic rights". US has far too long a history of installing dictatorships and eternal regimes and still continues to support them - even Mubarak himself at Egypt was a US clown. It is just that the things are on a turning point in North Africa and people want out of that situation as well as a part of their internal upper classes want to see their position upgraded and that can happen only with the start of the extraction and export of North African energy sources, primarily gas. Ben Ali in Tunisia did the mistake to express his favour to the Libyan-Italian axis. Mubarak in Egypt struggles as a side-effect of the US plan to isolate Libya and take out the possibility

    You wouldn't believe for a moment that suddenly US politics changed and started being on the side of the common people would you? US is a world power and its role is to remain so, its role is not to become the mother Teresa of the world backing up every single legitimate or so demand of any people around the world. And why would anyone expect so?

    Complain about this comment

  • 24. At 2:09pm on 05 Feb 2011, Mucky wrote:

    Excellent article.
    There will always be some conflict of interest between the foreign policy of a global power and their political ideals but let's not forget many of the movements that overthrew corrupt puppet regimes simply replaced one form of tyranny with another.
    Any violent revolution is often chaotic with disparate groups making uneasy alliances to overcome a common enemy but as a power vacuum is created these groups turn on each other in a struggle for absolute power and it is the most radical and ruthless that win the day - a cycle that is very difficult to break.
    Given this we can certainly understand why Americans are so proud of their heritage and why they repeatedly get themselves in such a mess with their foreign policy. On the one hand wishing to uphold and export the ideals that formed their nation and on the other unsuccessfully attempting to reconcile that with the stark reality that such an ideal could only be realised in a world that no longer exists - there are no new nations or political ideals, only old crumbling ones and a lick of idealistic paint just won't do the job.

    Complain about this comment

  • 25. At 2:11pm on 05 Feb 2011, bonifacio wrote:

    It is all about business not really bad guys. The US economy is all about war. They prosper so much in selling tanks, helicopters, fighter jets and even nuclear ideas.

    Complain about this comment

  • 26. At 2:13pm on 05 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Bob475 wrote:
    All Mardell tels us is that he is a leftie like the rest of the BBC.







    Not sure of that, but I wish he had defined 'bad guys'.


    For starters: are they US's SOBs or his SOBs?

    [this meerkat (not a 'good fella') would like to know]

    Complain about this comment

  • 27. At 2:15pm on 05 Feb 2011, Joe Bloggs wrote:

    Just look at the number of fascist dictatorships that Uncle Sam has staunchly supported throughout Latin America and other parts of the world over the past century. And count how many democratically-elected governments that were toppled by the US. These countries were not only used as a bulwark against the spread of communism, they were in effect an extension of the American empire. The Monroe Doctrine was promoted as some sort of a pledge to protect the sovereignty of emerging Lat Am nations from European intervention. In actual fact, it was nothing more than an excuse for the US to extend its hegemony over its southern neighbours.

    "Of course, the neo-cons wanted a revolution against this hypocrisy. They wanted the United States to aggressively promote democracy with revolutionary fervour. But in power they targeted old enemies, never old friends."

    Mark, you are right that the neo-cons targeted old enemies but not old friends. But it's surely a mistake to state that they wanted the US to aggressively promote democracy. That's what the neo-cons claim is their goal. In truth, what they wanted is to spread the US empire - politically, economically, financially, militarily and culturally. That concept is ironically called Pax Americana. Have you forgotten about the Project for the New American Century? The signatories to its Statement of Principles include virtually all the most prominent neo-cons in the country. It was a call to arms for the US to increase its hegemony over all other nations and use that dominance to reshape the world in its image.

    It all comes down to Uncle Sam's self-interest. Nothing more.

    Complain about this comment

  • 28. At 2:19pm on 05 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    21 Quite correct Abe...but the neoliberalism you Americans are using to dominate and enslave the world could be seen as the most "uniform totalitarian ideology" of all.

    Complain about this comment

  • 29. At 2:24pm on 05 Feb 2011, excellentcatblogger wrote:

    Mark

    You omit the role played by the security and intelligence agencies not only in the US but also in the "client" dictatorship nations. After 9/11 no one is suggesting a disbandment of these agencies but the lack of proper scrutiny can on occasion make the sheeple get a bit angry. Visiting an Egyptian when not of ones own volition is to be avoided as those that walk in frequently do not walk out.

    Even in liberal democracies the line between right and wrong is blurred to the extent that incumbent governments wash their hands of any involvement under a best not to know "policy" of what their security/intelligence agencieas are actually doing. To only charge the US is rank hypocrisy. Other nations have been at it for far longer, whilst the US only really got going during WWII when the fledgling CIA was born.

    Since 9/11 the budgets of these agencies have ballooned and in the US more have been created. The budget increases have not been matched by greater scrutiny. The credibility of our politicians is virtually shot to pieces when they lamely claim "that we do not torture people - Guantanamo Bay and Al Gharib were not pulled out of an adventure fiction book. Not to forget the legend on Prince Harry's shirt in Afghanistan: "We do bad things to bad people">

    Complain about this comment

  • 30. At 2:27pm on 05 Feb 2011, Traidenis wrote:

    If you follow the growth of the American empire, you'll notice that the US was always there when an older empire started to crumble: the US inherited the Caribbean, half of Mexico and the Philippines from Spain. It took over Indochina after the French ran away. It established hegemony over the Middle East after Great Britain left. As the new imperial power the US persued its own interests, not those of the local people.

    Some conservatives now praise the last Bush for his foresight in advocating freedom and democracy for the Arabs. How can you be serious and at the same time supply Mubarak with weapons and tear gas?

    Complain about this comment

  • 31. At 2:28pm on 05 Feb 2011, hekmatt wrote:

    The US has always backed repressive dictatorships in the developing world. Democracy was just a front. Had the US invested in promoting democracy, although gradually, many countries could have been there by now, or almost. Instead corrupt leaders were tolerated because they paused no threats to US interests.
    Thirty years later the State Department and the orchestrated American media woke up to the sad reality that Pres Mubarak's is indeed a bad guy, bad for his people and he should go. This is an insult to human intelligence and decency. Thirty years to realize this fact. And now the US mediation is trying desperately to preserve the staus-quo vis-a-vis Israel, otherwise other regimes might follow. This may prove to be dreadful scenario.

    Hekmatt

    Complain about this comment

  • 32. At 2:32pm on 05 Feb 2011, Mirino wrote:

    Two many double standards come with Obama's foreign policy incoherence. His former persistence in offering his hand to a tyrant megalomaniac who doesn't hesitate to imprison and kill young Iranians, projects to wipe Israel off the map and pretends to represent a democracy. Obama's continuing to turn a blind eye on the activities of Hamas following the UN tradition. His over-easy acceptance of a fraudulent fiasco re. the election results in Afghanistan on the pretext of 'security reasons', when Afghanis risked life and limb casting their votes. And one feigns surprise that the West is having a bit of trouble gaining the confidence of the Afghanis, especially those who are not fortunate enough to be of the Pachtoun ethnic, as are the Taliban Pakistanis, and Karzai himself, of course.

    India also has trouble trying to understand US incoherence. They have to foot the full bill to buy US arms whereas Pakistan gets them free and somehow they get to be stolen and openly sold in Pakistani markets. Sophisticated US and even British weapons thus ending up in the hands of the Taliban.
    One can get such enlightening info dealing with Pakistan, Karzian corruption and other sad tales seemingly ignored in the USA, via Kabulpress.org.

    Complain about this comment

  • 33. At 2:33pm on 05 Feb 2011, Simorgh wrote:

    Let's face it, when it comes to the Middle East, the United States would rather support a dictatorship that more or less accepts to follow US policy and/or is not hostile towards Israel than to allow a democratically elected government that might not be so friendly towards Israel.

    Complain about this comment

  • 34. At 2:40pm on 05 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    I suppose if we had a global truth and reconciliation audit we could at least have a snapshot of the world as it really is rather than how politicians and journalists feel obliged to describe it?

    Obama is trapped in a neverworld...a fantasy of the USA...that he is told his electorate wish him to project to them and the world.

    Regan was your best president...in his actor`s mind he played the perfect all-american decent guy...and then his unfortunate intellectual infirmity meant he never had to realise that it was all a lie.

    Contrast that with sweaty tricky Dicky...or Clinton ..or the Bushes...as they started to unravel under the pressures of playing a part that had no foundation in truth.

    Complain about this comment

  • 35. At 2:42pm on 05 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    #22 Cosmologic

    ---that was a good one !

    Tears are pouring down my cheeks with laughter !!!

    Complain about this comment

  • 36. At 2:42pm on 05 Feb 2011, faeyth wrote:

    The problem with the U.S. foreign policy is simple.America is a democratic republic which means their are many views.It comes down to majority rules which is usually like 1%.Many people in the Mid-West are still very much isolationist.Always have been.We don't like war and we don't like interfering in other Nations business,we only want free and fair trade.President can't just send troops or money and weapons,Reagan did shady things to move weapons.Congress like America is not in agreement.Plus America being a Super Power was only meant to be short lived.We are like 5% of World population and Europe is still a wealthier continent than North America with Asia growing.America was only to hold what we could together while the other continents became whole after the World Wars and void of stability and although I disagree with Communist views, Russia did keep many 3rd World people stable and fed with their resources.Hopefully we can retire soon after Global Order with Regional Powers is achieved.It would also be very helpful if Europe whose colonial empires and wars which help create the vacuum would assist more through the U.N. and E.U. It is not America's job to fight for democracy for others,you have to do that on your own,or you would have wars like Afghanistan everywhere.Democracy won't work with an uneducated population.If you really want to help people become free you have to educate them.The worlds problems are so vast that realistically the U.S. can't help everyone alone there just isn't enough Americans.I am tired of the World including this BBC post expecting us to get involved like it's our responsibility.Who decided that.Maybe Americans don't want to be responsible for others but ourselves,maybe we are tired of our Presidents and Leaders pushing us into Global and Regional problems that aren't ours to solve and only cost us lives and money.

    Complain about this comment

  • 37. At 2:48pm on 05 Feb 2011, GodBlessAnimals wrote:

    The US is unbelievably short sighted and naive in it's foreign policies. They conveniently decide what people from other countries want and jump in to "save" them, mostly uninvited. They talk to the so-called "leaders" and then step in flexing muscles developed from drinking protein shakes and not real exercise. Anyone different from them is treated as a pagan. They have just woken up and realized the whole world is NOT the US, and yes, when you play the "World Series" of baseball, you are playing 3 countries or sometimes within the US itself!

    Complain about this comment

  • 38. At 2:55pm on 05 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    36 fayeth...I think you speak for a lot of British and American people when you say you are tired of the BBC expecting us to get expensively involved in things that "are not our responsibility".

    Unfortunately its not just capitalists and crooks who drag us into interfering in other countries.....it`s the liberal/humanitarian global middle class as well....with their obsessions with promoting immigration and asylum and human rights and fighting dictatorships and promoting democracy too!

    Complain about this comment

  • 39. At 2:57pm on 05 Feb 2011, Ed in Canada wrote:

    The US does not always back bad guys. It just turns the guys it backs into bad guys through it's use of economic and military pressure in it's efforts to maximize the benefits to it's own capitalistic goals.

    It is the association of economic power and political power and the manipulation of that political power by the economic power (with military power as the "tool") that is the inherent evil in it's foreign policy.

    Complain about this comment

  • 40. At 2:57pm on 05 Feb 2011, Ed in Canada wrote:

    Another way to put my prior post: The US does not have "friends"...it has "economic opportunities".

    Complain about this comment

  • 41. At 3:00pm on 05 Feb 2011, blefuscu wrote:

    Now that the end game has been achieved and the army has peacefully restored control (bar the mopping up), the Munich Security conference, inc. Hillary are speaking in quite sober tones. (Reports elsewhere).

    Obama though has been left with egg on his face.

    Congrats and Respect to the Egyptian High Command.

    "German Chancellor Angela Merkel said today that protests in the Middle East awaken memories of the events that ended communism in eastern Europe, and declared that "there will be change in Egypt."

    However, Merkel — who grew up in East Germany and entered politics as communism crumbled amid protests in 1989 — said any transition needs to be orderly, and cautioned against assuming that the West's democratic model can simply be exported elsewhere." The Independent.

    And Hillary is adopting the same tone.

    Mubarack will not be sacrificed by his fellow generals to save Obama's face.



    Complain about this comment

  • 42. At 3:02pm on 05 Feb 2011, Mirino wrote:

    Simorgh, Israel nevertheless is a real democracy. Most real democracies respect each other. If Egypt manages to pull it- and it won't be easy given the pressure from all sides- it should, in principle be in Israel's interests.

    Islam, however doesn't seem to be overly compatible with democracy, because Islam is not just a religion, it's a way of life which automatically has to integrate political life.
    Even if Egypt becomes a 'real democracy', automatically it will have to allow the 'Brothers of Islam' to be represented according to their quota of popularity. This is hardly likely to improve the relationship between Israel and Egypt.

    Maybe one can compare democracy to life. It's self-destructive in principle. We see how this is effecting Lebanon. When a radical movement like the Hezbollah has to be given political legitimacy because it represents (or has bought off) enough 'Lebanese', it comes down to only a question of time. In spite of whatever constitution, the majority will decide, and when the majority is Islam then would 'real democracy' have any more reason of being?

    Complain about this comment

  • 43. At 3:06pm on 05 Feb 2011, Thomas wrote:

    What a nice world you all live in. Good and evil, black and white - just like high school!

    Reading these comments, I'd swear that I was watching Fox News, except that the simpleminded wind is blowing in the other direction.

    Thomas, Singapore

    Complain about this comment

  • 44. At 3:12pm on 05 Feb 2011, _Ewan_ wrote:

    Mr Obama seems to genuinely believe that it is not the place of the leader of the world's only superpower to pick and choose the leaders of other countries. That is a value consistent with the American Revolution. So is his other instinct, pulling him in the opposite direction. He believes it is the USA's job to promote what he sees as universal values, and he grows more forthright about this day by day.

    There's really no conflict there. If it had any genuine respect for democracy the US would promote democratic systems, but not then seek to influence the outcome of elections, nor complain if people freely choose a government the US doesn't like.

    We in Europe expect the US to work with whatever government we elect, and people in the rest of the world should be able to expect the same.

    Complain about this comment

  • 45. At 3:18pm on 05 Feb 2011, MagicKirin wrote:

    Mark:

    What about the many bad guys we opposes

    Iranian mullahs, NK dictators, Robert Mugabe, Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, Evo Morales

    Complain about this comment

  • 46. At 3:20pm on 05 Feb 2011, JusticeForAll wrote:

    14. At 1:40pm on 05 Feb 2011, Chryses wrote:

    "You are mistaken. The crimes against the Tamils were perpetrated by the Sri Lankan government, not the U.S."

    Please listen to the speech by Ms. Clinton who condones crimes for cosiness!

    http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2010/05/142354.htm

    http://www.opendemocracy.net/craig-scott/taking-tea-with-torturers

    http://www.srilankacampaign.org/welcome.htm

    World needs leaders with true colours on principles and core democratic values.

    Recently the US has issued visa to the alleged war criminal Rajapakse regime leaders to visit the US.

    Prof. Francis Boyle, International Law in the US, has said that "Admitting Rajapakse into US criminally similar to allowing-in genocidaire Karadzic".

    The above shows that the US has no firm priciples of democracy, freedom, human rights, Rule of Law, Justice and on equlity. It is insane and unbelievable!


    Complain about this comment

  • 47. At 3:32pm on 05 Feb 2011, JusticeForAll wrote:

    Mubarek is playing for time and delaying to give up power as the leadership in the US despite support the Egyptian regime is very weak, not firm and value cosiness over core principles of a democracy, feedom, human rights, Rule of Law and equal Justice to all.

    Another reason is that there is no respect for Obama as he is a black President and not a Caucasian.

    Obama is more a preacher and an achiever. He is not a man of principles at least in action. George Bush despite he messed up the US, he was strong in his decisions whether it is right or wrong and firm in his actions.

    Bush would have taken a military action action against Sri Lanka when war crimes committed and kicked out Mubarak same day using Egyptian military without any delay.

    Overall Obama is a failure that many people who supported him in the past, will never support him in the future.

    Complain about this comment

  • 48. At 3:33pm on 05 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    #36 Fayeth

    --Britain left the ME with dictators --- then the US filled the vacuum with more (or worse) of the same --where it could, to stop Communism.

    Now the US has Dictatorships and Fascism on its plate as allies and we ALL have religious fanatics as enemies.

    --- Our allies are dragging us more into the quagmire as PMK and LucyJ see a possible communist under every aspirin and the oppressed are hitting the ´religion bottle´.

    --of course others see it as OUR problem --who elses´ ?


    Complain about this comment

  • 49. At 3:33pm on 05 Feb 2011, blefuscu wrote:

    Mark. Really.

    "Of course, the neo-cons wanted a revolution against this hypocrisy. They wanted the United States to aggressively promote democracy with revolutionary fervour. But in power they targeted old enemies, never old friends. Saddam Hussein and the Taliban were dictators, but in the scale of sin, their enmity weighed more heavily than their tyranny. As jihadists replaced communists as America's favourite existential threat, the old corrupt and undemocratic bulwarks were again seen as better than the alternative. "

    Saddam and the Taliban were American creations that went 'rogue', like Kurtz in Coppola's 'Apocalypse, Now'.

    FDR was against foreign empires and colonialism because it was foreign competition to US 'Manifest Destiny'. The British Empire was an obstacle to US 'interests'.

    Classic example.....Suez.

    Please rid yourself of the notion that democracies don't have "conflict" with democracies. They certainly do....but each accuses the other of not being a 'democracy'.

    America, until now, got 'lucky'.

    Complain about this comment

  • 50. At 3:43pm on 05 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    The Egyptian ´Night of the Long Knives´ in the ruling party appears to have begun.

    Complain about this comment

  • 51. At 3:55pm on 05 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    Egyptian Army High Command has requested protesters to leave the square --this looks bad !

    http://english.aljazeera.net/watch_now/

    The General had to leave !

    Complain about this comment

  • 52. At 4:01pm on 05 Feb 2011, MJ wrote:

    I think many here are missing an important point. People in other countries with dictatorships are also adults, if they don't take control of the destiny of their own people, America does not have the resources or man power or invincibility to do it for you. America is not your mother or father, you have a responsibility for yourself, your country, and your world as well.

    Complain about this comment

  • 53. At 4:01pm on 05 Feb 2011, as is wrote:

    M Mardell: "Barack Obama has now put himself on the side of democracy
    in Egypt, but it took a time. Indeed, it took the US more than 30 years."

    _________________________________________________________________

    Mr Mardell and the rest of the armchair strategists/analysts: there's something amusing, if not disturbing, in the current Egyptian arithmetics.


    Out of 82 m Egyptians, 1/4 to 1 m have voiced their grievances and opinions in a couple of squares in Cairo and Alexandria. You have decided that the rest (81 m) identify with the one million protesters whose ideas for "change" are as blurred as BHO's change proposals for "change" in 2008. Further, you have extrapolated your ideas of democracy onto the Egyptian nation as a whole.

    What exactly is the common denominator of a typical Egyptian felah, and western-style democracy, especially in the context of Islam, and app. 5,000-6,000 years of autocratic rule in Egypt (or Pakistan, or Af'stan, for that matter)?

    What exactly is the impact of Fed's QE on food prices in the developing countries? In Egypt, 40 per cent of income is spent on food, and any incremental food price increase impacts significantly large part of the population.

    Is the current unrest politically motivated, for the majority of Egyptians, as presented by the media, or a simple increase in food subsidies in Egypt would be acceptable for the majority of the population?


    When Mr Mardell asks questions on why US supports dubious dictators/authoritarians, why does he hot factor in the respective cultures and historic past and perspective of Pakistan/Egypt/Af'stan/etc?


    And how exactly can the US "encourage genuine liberal democracies" in those countries? Centuries of bloodshed and social upheavals were required to establish democracy in Europe, Mr Mardell, and many of those countries you envisage are still feudal in terms of social norms, ethics, etc.

    Oh, and I would not recommend highly any comparisons between pre-Castro and Castro Cuba.

    I understand 30 years is indeed a long time in a liberal lalaland, Mr Mardell: however, try to fit that somehow in Egypt's 6,000 yrs of history.




    Complain about this comment

  • 54. At 4:03pm on 05 Feb 2011, MagicKirin wrote:

    We also support (not always with Obama) the good guys even when the world is against us.

    Israel
    Columbia
    Hondures
    the opposition groups in Iran, Venzuela, Cuba etc

    Complain about this comment

  • 55. At 4:06pm on 05 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    ART 136 Egyptian Constitution states that the President (Mubarak) can relinquish power -- but can take it back when he wants.

    That is why protestors say Mubarak must go !

    Complain about this comment

  • 56. At 4:11pm on 05 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    Hosni Mubarak steps down as head of NPD party ?

    His son Gamal has resigned from the party.

    Complain about this comment

  • 57. At 4:15pm on 05 Feb 2011, Chryses wrote:

    V Siva, (#46. At 3:20pm on 05 Feb 2011)
    ”Chryses wrote:
    ‘You are mistaken. The crimes against the Tamils were perpetrated by the Sri Lankan government, not the U.S.’

    Please listen to the speech by Ms. Clinton who condones crimes for cosiness! ...”

    That does not change the fact that the crimes against the Tamils were perpetrated by the Sri Lankan government. As a result, that does not change the fact that you are mistaken.

    Complain about this comment

  • 58. At 4:16pm on 05 Feb 2011, cping500 wrote:

    Historically, of course , the USA has not WANTED to engage except in its own sphere of influence to fulfil it's Manifest Destiny. The last President who tried to disengage was Harry Truman. and even then his anti imperialist policy in Palestine, Indo-China and Greece rapidly collapsed. He was dragged back by George Marshall egged on by the British in the shape of Ernie Bevan into Europe

    The US then elected a fully signed up interventionist with a good track record and his successor I seem to remember defined that role in Berlin and by action in Cuba.

    All this was done with a late Eighteenth Century Constitution with an executive presidency with the prerogative powers of an eighteenth century monarch, biennial elections and a giant standing army, designed for a agrarian federation of micro states.

    Since War the is key power, everything has to be defined in terms of War.. War on Terror, War on Drugs War on Cancer. S/he who is not with us is against us. Our friends enemies are our enemies. Without a demon the the idealised democracy collapses into Tea Party.

    And of course Manifest Destiny still rules, to bring this imagined utopian form of government to the unenlightened peoples of the world.

    It the conflicts involved at the heart of America's politics that explains the sponsorship of dictators (our dictators) in on the global chess board.

    Maybe they should join Canada (who also has a black 'virtual' Head of State) but a parliamentary democracy.

    Complain about this comment

  • 59. At 4:22pm on 05 Feb 2011, Brad wrote:

    I've been wondering why many people are upset that the US sells tear gas to Egypt. I can understand about most weapon systems, even if the Army seems to be pretty decent in this situation, but being upset about riot control gear? Would you rather that the police did not have the option of tear gas? Given the reputation of the Egyptian police, would they have instead have just yielded to the protesters?

    Complain about this comment

  • 60. At 4:37pm on 05 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    54. At 4:03pm on 05 Feb 2011, MagicKirin wrote:
    We also support (not always with Obama) the good guys even when the world is against us.

    Israel
    Columbia
    Hondures
    Donald Duck
    Goofy
    Mickey Moose
    the opposition groups in Iran, Venzuela, Cuba etc

    Complain about this comment

  • 61. At 4:40pm on 05 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    53 Welcome aboard Peterbo and an impressive post!

    Yes...if I was to ask the British people to march against our unelected Coalition government demanding to have a real and rational debate about why were pouring money into the European Union.... or importing lots of immigrants into a nation that clearly can`t cope with its existing population....out of around 70 million people I would guess that I could have 5 or perhaps 10 million sitting in the centre of London demanding a new government....(if there weren`t all those "anti-terror" police and physical barriers)!

    But would our BBC be there...or the rest of the global media? And how would our police behave? And would WE achieve a change of government in the US backed UK puppet regime?

    Complain about this comment

  • 62. At 4:41pm on 05 Feb 2011, Bertie wrote:

    There is a degree of dishonesty in many of the us overseas policies which indicate the us tends to follow the easiest solution - in relationship to its stated policies and goals.
    Perhaps Obama is young enough to realise the old saying - oh what a tangled wed you weave when first you practice to decieve - has a great deal of sense.

    Complain about this comment

  • 63. At 4:41pm on 05 Feb 2011, georgemason wrote:

    Are so many of you naive to believe that playing nice in the sandbox gets a peaceful world? This is all geopolitics. The Iranians work to demonize the US because its works towards their geopolitical goal and religious goal (Islamic fundamentalism). The Russians and Chinese play nice with the Iranians because it works for them if the US is pre-occupied with the Iranians. The Iranians support the Taliban in hopes of undermining the US goals in Afghanistan. The US supported the Taliban against the Russians to make Russia commit more troops and money. It is all one big exercise in Game Theory.

    The US sees Mubarak as a known entity. He works towards some of the same US goals - a safe and secure Israel, and a moderating force in the Middle East. Since the US doesn't know what will happen in the empty space when Mubarak leaves - it is happy to see him stay there.

    It seems no one is bothered that the Chinese and Russians continue to support North Korea. China supports them because they don't want the flood of North Koreans refugees and, China and Russia are happy to keep the US preoccupied with protecting South Korea.

    How about the Sudan? I don't remember seeing any of these wonderfully liberal countries leading the charge to stop the genocide there or to try to feed the Somalis for that matter.

    Look at China's manipulation of their currency - you don't think that negatively impacts the rest of the world (and no, they aren't alone at that).

    It ain't pretty, but that is how it works. You might dream about a world where everyone plays nice, but don't for a minute believe that if the US does it the rest will.

    Complain about this comment

  • 64. At 4:41pm on 05 Feb 2011, Rich wrote:

    "Israel nevertheless is a real democracy."

    Um, no it certainly is not! Israel describes itself as a Jewish State - some non-Jews can vote, but not in any meaningful way - their voting block is restricted. There are elections, but do not assume that means it is democratic. There were elections in Egypt too, but no one would describe that country as democratic either. The real problem facing the USA is that if there was genuine democracy in the Middle East, there would be very little sympathy for current US policies - that's why they have had to back these dictatorships for so many years.

    Complain about this comment

  • 65. At 4:52pm on 05 Feb 2011, JusticeForAll wrote:

    The so called civilized world and the International Community are biased, discriminatory and in a way Apartheid minded.

    Now Charles Taylor at the Interntaional Criminal Court is challenging the impartiality of the Court by producing WikiLeaks release of information.

    The Sierra Leone war crimes tribunal in The Hague has granted Charles G. Taylor, 62, the former Liberian president, who has been on trial charged with 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, the right to use two leaked American diplomatic cables as evidence to challenge the court’s impartiality. While the leaked information in the Taylor case was used by Taylor's lawyer to raise doubts on the courts independence and suggested the prosecution was political, Sri Lanka's leaked cables from the US Embassy contain incriminating information on the complicity of Rajapakse family, Ex-SLA Commander Sarath Fonseka, and Tamil paramilitaries in war-crimes and crimes against humanity on Tamil civilians, legal sources in Washington said.

    Thanks to WikiLeaks to bring the truth to all.

    http://humanitariannews.org/20110127/taylor-trial-judges-permit-defense-admit-wikileaks-cable-evidence

    http://www.tamilnet.com/img/publish/2010/12/WikiCable15Jan2010.pdf

    http://www.tamilnet.com/img/publish/2010/12/WikiLeaks-Blake-01.pdf

    Complain about this comment

  • 66. At 4:53pm on 05 Feb 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    re: 22

    I seem to recall this thing called 'the Marshall Plan.' And I don't think one could much fault MacArthur's Shogunate in Japan, either. Just for some examples.

    Post WW II and pre 1989 the US did many foolish things in the name of containment, often because it overestimated the threats of leftist revolutions, assuming that any socialist movement would likely become a vassal of the USSR, and thus hostile to the US. It also tended to too closely identify its national interest with the interests of specific corporate entities whose property and profits were endangered by such revolutions.

    But on the whole, the Pax Americana achieved its end: Soviet influence was contained, and rolled back. I see this as a good thing. Don't you?

    One major aim these days is to 'contain' islamist extremism. It would be a shame to make the same mistakes in Egypt as were made in, say, Allende's Chile. That is, to mistake rather moderate popular social movements interested in the democratic process with wild eyed extremists allied with your mortal enemy.

    Complain about this comment

  • 67. At 4:55pm on 05 Feb 2011, Grey Animal wrote:

    Why is it that the United States - forged as a nation in a revolution against tyranny, explicitly dedicated to liberty - has so often found itself backing the bad guys?

    When you wish to parade a perennially-clean pair of hands before the world, it pays to cultivate dirty pairs of hands which will do your dirty work for you.

    Complain about this comment

  • 68. At 4:59pm on 05 Feb 2011, blefuscu wrote:

    51. At 3:55pm on 05 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    Egyptian Army High Command has requested protesters to leave the square --this looks bad !

    http://english.aljazeera.net/watch_now/

    The General had to leave !

    Are you surprised? The Army has won. Just the hardcore to move on. The Parents have got the kids home.

    This is the ME. They insulted the Rais. Now for the discipline.

    The army (Mubarack is the army) protected the demonstrators from Mubarack. That's why the demonstrators lost. Pure power politics and very surgical.

    Complain about this comment

  • 69. At 5:00pm on 05 Feb 2011, Glenn wrote:

    The US will not win either way. The parallels between Egypt and Iran are there. The Khomeni-ites were not the only ones in Iran wanting the Shah to go. But out of anarchy are there rarely coherent "moderate movements" or ideologies, especially ones that are openly pro-USA or are obviously backed by the USA. Ask Somalia. If Egypt can accomplish a transition to democracy with a moderate foreign policy by themselves and not as the result of a foreign invasion or foreign dominance, more power to them. They will have changed history in the Middle East. Where Tunisia is going, no one knows. Same with Jordan.

    In Iran, the Shia clerics in Iran were the only ones that figured out how to take advantage of the vacuum caused by the missing Shah. In Egypt, Mubarak made sure there was only one opposition to him that had some degree of organization, the most extreme one (in this case the Muslim Brothers). This way he could always contrast himself with the other extreme and continue to have favor from outside the country. So there are great challenges for a secular movement (which the Egyptian protests seem to be) in moving forward. I personally am surprised Mubarak hasn't tried to quickly reinvent himself as an anti-American figure, tearing up the peace treaty with Israel, and appealing to the most populist, extreme elements.

    Complain about this comment

  • 70. At 5:03pm on 05 Feb 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    re: 63 georgemason
    Look at China's manipulation of their currency - you don't think that negatively impacts the rest of the world (and no, they aren't alone at that)


    One of the interesting things to consider is the role high commodity prices (fuelled perhaps by a low US dollar and the flight to oil and other tangibles) have played in sparking the current unrest in the mid-East.

    Unintended consequences of geo-politics at play.

    Complain about this comment

  • 71. At 5:05pm on 05 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    63 georgemason...that`s a very perceptive post...but need it always be a round of geopolitical machinations and covert agendas?

    A lot of is the confusion and instability may be fed by the dishonesty and opaqueness generated to obscure the behaviour of the global capitalists and organised criminals and global liberal humanitarians who really run our fraudulent democracies.

    Complain about this comment

  • 72. At 5:06pm on 05 Feb 2011, SLB wrote:

    What an odd question. Is the creation of democracy in Egypt or any other authoritarian regime around the world the sole responsibility of the US? While the US was dancing with the Egyptian bad guys for the past 30 years, what were the UK, France, Germany, Canada, Australia, and so on and so on doing? Were they focused on a functioning Suez Canal or a functioning Egyptian democracy? Many governments work with the bad guys because they're the ones in power and it's really messy to topple regimes you don't like. Doesn't the UK have personal experience with this in Iraq? I'm not big on forced regime change in order to inspire democracy. And if sanctions and pressure from a superpower make democracy happen, explain why Cuba isn't a US satellite.

    Complain about this comment

  • 73. At 5:08pm on 05 Feb 2011, blefuscu wrote:

    64. At 4:41pm on 05 Feb 2011, Rich wrote:

    "Israel nevertheless is a real democracy."

    Um, no it certainly is not! Israel describes itself as a Jewish State - some non-Jews can vote, but not in any meaningful way - their voting block is restricted. There are elections, but do not assume that means it is democratic. There were elections in Egypt too, but no one would describe that country as democratic either. The real problem facing the USA is that if there was genuine democracy in the Middle East, there would be very little sympathy for current US policies - that's why they have had to back these dictatorships for so many years.

    You believe that democracy coincides with your views, otherwise it cannot be a democracy.

    You are doomed to many years of frustration.

    Complain about this comment

  • 74. At 5:11pm on 05 Feb 2011, BluesBerry wrote:

    Why does the United States so often back the bad guys?
    Because the US is one of the bad guys. Its own political system itself is undemocratic.
    Americans live in a country where the President ignores the law, both national and international, condones torture, imprisons without due process, wire-taps...
    The American Government was NOT intended to be a democracy. Real democracy would include self-rule of ordinary people, the recognition of the intrinsic worth of all human beings, and the freedom of each person to develop their natural capacities and talents.
    In April, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said of her plans to draw down US troops in Iraq, “We have given [Iraqis] the precious gift of freedom. It's up to them to decide whether to use it. But we cannot fight their civil war for them.”
    Very few people questioned this statement.
    I haven’t seen the ‘precious gift of freedom in Iraq, have you?
    I guess for the United States of America freedom means the freedom for the US to wash its hands of any disaster it makes.
    From the writing of the Constitution, American “democracy” has been a system managed to prevent the catching of real democracy, to protect the the elites and capitalism itself.
    The Declaration of Independence may call for a people’s government — but fails to addresas the broad differences in wealth (which keeps all but the elite few out of the governing process).
    The “founding fathers,” including Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, etc. feared the power of the masses; thus, they designed the US government to hold the masses in check.
    The meaning of the Revolution to Native Americans: “Now, with the British out of the way, the Americas could begin the inexorable process of pushing the Indians off their own lands, cheating them out of their own lands and/or killing them.
    The Constitution was (and remains) a dog's breakfast of democratic ideals but also ruling class fear of what ordinary people might do. Against the strong executive branch and federal judiciary, The Bill of Rights pushes the document in more democratic direction; however, Presidents have habitually ignored The Bill Of Rights e.g. unlawful detaionment without trial, Guantanamo.
    The United States, in allowing slavery until the Civil War, demonstrated that the country was NOT a democracy but a Federal Republic. It was a government inspired by elitism, crafted by a remarkably homogeneous group of wealthy men. Thus, the United was and remains one ruled by monied elities in the name of democratic ideals.
    Through the years, it has been the ordinary American people who have fought and struggled to gain "democracy". e.g. end slavery, enfranchisement of Blacks and women, and protests against unjust wars.
    The war against British tyranny gave colonists the idea that they had the power to make such a new world. They organized armed militias and carried out violent resistance to British occupation.
    But the Constitution drafted by the Philadelphia Convention was miles ditant from the ideals of 1776. Set up were a powerful executive branch, a bicameral legislature, an UNELECTED Supreme Court, and the appointment of judges...Where is rule by the people?
    Only members of the anemic House of Representatives are directly elected.
    Alexander Hamilton wanted rule of the rich over the masses, even suggesting that the President and Senate be appointed for life. He said: "The people are turbulent and changing; they seldom judge or determine right. . . Nothing but a permanent body can check the imprudence of democracy.”
    The people must know the United States is NOT democratic. People know it’s not a democracy when they have so little control over their jobs or the cost of food, health care...when the administration can spend two trillion dollars on a horrific (often unjistified) wars and cut more than a trillion dollars from the tax bills of the wealthiest few.
    Americans know it is NOT a democracy when pharmaceutical and insurance giants, alongside the players of Wall Street, buy and sell politicians like chess pieces.
    I believe that most Americans want change.
    They just don't know how to get it.

    Complain about this comment

  • 75. At 5:11pm on 05 Feb 2011, as is wrote:

    To summarize BHO's administration response to the Egypt crisis so far.

    Strictly IMO: the days of Jimma are back. Delivering a speech and taking openly sides in an extremely complex context of events in a highly sensitive area of US/world interests, with an eye on the 2012 presidential elections solely, was extremely irresponsible, amateaurish, and will definitely hurt US long-term interests in that region/world.

    Unfortunately, in 2008 Americans elected a community organizer, and his instinct is to apply Alinsky's rules for radicals/Chicago arm-twisting to international relations. Were it not in the traditions of democracy that BHO so amply quotes these days, instead of mob pressure, to wait for the elections in Sept, when the Egyptian electorate will decide on their country's leader and direction?

    According to AP, the Egyptians themselves are moving in the right direction, despite all the pressure from BHO:


    "A self-declared group of Egypt's elite — called the "group of wise men" — has circulated ideas to try to break that deadlock. Among them is a proposal that Mubarak "deputize" his Vice President Omar Suleiman with his powers and, for the time being at least, step down in everything but name.

    The "wise men," who are separate from the protesters on the ground, have met twice in recent days with Suleiman and the prime minister, said Amr el-Shobaki, a member of the group. Their proposals also call for the dissolving of the parliament monopolized by the ruling party and the end of emergency laws that give security forces near-unlimited powers."



    After his speech and public pronouncements, BHO fully owns the chaos and bloodshed. It may be a good idea for US Congress to fully investigate the Egypt debacle, and BHO and Mrs Clinton's role in the events and their unfavourable for US aftermath.Some Dems have already pointed to the usual scapegoat, CIA and its faulty info. How convenient. A deeper dig into BHO and Clinton's roles is required.

    Complain about this comment

  • 76. At 5:18pm on 05 Feb 2011, Evan wrote:

    Could it be that the US policy pattern in the Middle East will follow that established with South American Republics post-war? In which case we will prop-up the overt military take-overs as long as possible, and wait for the next revolution to establish "real democratic" governments that we now see in many SA countries.

    Complain about this comment

  • 77. At 5:25pm on 05 Feb 2011, Curt Carpenter wrote:

    Much to disagree with in Mr. Mardell's essay.

    Much to agree with in the comments from Ed in Canada (#39, 40).

    Personally believe the guiding principle of American foreign policy should be President Washington's advice to "avoid foreign entanglements."

    Not that U.S. foreign policy has been that much worse than any other country's. The whole game seems to me to be driven by pride and self-delusion from the outset. Otherwise, we seem to be as skilled at hoisting ourselves onto the horns of a dilemma of our own making as anyone in history as I understand it.

    Perhaps it's a skill rooted in "the white mans burden"?

    Complain about this comment

  • 78. At 5:26pm on 05 Feb 2011, Tinkersdamn wrote:

    The last thing we need is a U.S. scouring the world in search of those in "need" of democracy-- at best we'll wind up like Sir Lancelot- naked in a tree with a damsel and her husband making off with our clothes, and at worst, it won't be democracy we're after. In those cases, such as may be occurring in Egypt, when a people have demonstrated their own efforts for democracy, to the degree we can help, such as dialogue with their military and otherwise getting out of their way, I believe we are acting rightly. Democracy can only be achieved by a people for themselves.

    The BBC reports: "Speaking in Munich, [Secretary of State] Mrs. Clinton said [of the Megreb and Egypt] the status quo of the region was "Simply not sustainable"... She said that with water shortages and oil running out, governments may be able to hold back the tide of change for a short while, but not for long." --- I believe she's right, and though she didn't go quite so far as to put it in words, I think 'government' and 'client state' could be interchangeable in her comment, that her words were for others as well as ourselves. I think the US is recognizing that we do not have the answers for these nations, and are preparing the leap of faith that they will have the answers for themselves.

    This may in part be informed by the uprisings seen in 2007-2008 in poorer nations responding to the spike in commodity prices prior to the global economic contraction. The index of primary commodities- woods, metals, minerals, fuels, etc. rose 23% per year from 2003-2007. As the global economy recovers, commodities are again significantly escalating, and this at a time when many nations, including Egypt, have seen unprecedented concentration of wealth as a result of government policies. Not only do we not have the answers for others, but these are the challenges we face ourselves. It seems to me our government is recognizing the need for a new approach, and is doing its best to realize that need in complicated and fluxional circumstances.

    Complain about this comment

  • 79. At 5:55pm on 05 Feb 2011, blefuscu wrote:

    75. Peterbo

    Quite right. We can expect a neat piece of ME 'revenge' on Obama in the near future. His misjudgement was crass for the reasons you gave.

    The Egyptian secular establishment is hopping mad considering the slow but steady way they have been moving to a pluralist state. Obama had to shoot his mouth off. Doh!

    Complain about this comment

  • 80. At 5:58pm on 05 Feb 2011, SeMao wrote:

    In line with a bbc documentary I saw in the past, it seems to be part of the american culture to need a common enemy (the famous Axis of Evil) to remain united. In the past it was the communists followed by the taliban, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, etc. I do not doubt that we take huge risks letting them mind their own business but there must be a better way. In my opinion, Obama is doing quite a good job despite the strong lobbying against all his plans. I think what controls the U.S.A is the lobbying and to me, that is not true democracy since it is not the people that decides but the politicians, once forced by the lobbyists.

    Complain about this comment

  • 81. At 6:05pm on 05 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    #68 blefuscu

    -- you are risking a civil war !

    --Big Daddy or not !

    Egypt has millions of sexually frustrated youth (male and female) with no possibility of jobs to support a family or have sex !

    I have been to Egypt, Tunisia and Marroco -- So start facing reality !!!!

    Complain about this comment

  • 82. At 6:13pm on 05 Feb 2011, Amr wrote:

    i'm starting to feel it's not the USA that's the mastermind behind the scenes. it just supported one of the 'teams'. apparently, many of the 'watchers' saw it as an opportunity to bet on the same team.
    there is a growing and increasingly-visible Extremists' influence on the protest (shall i call it a revolution instead?). Perhaps it started with USA as one of the main players, but not anymore. the new players took over the stage.

    by the way, i want to tell you that something very serious was exposed on TV about 2 hours ago. a guy who led the protests made a public confession. there were many witnesses too. if what he said is true then ...

    Complain about this comment

  • 83. At 6:22pm on 05 Feb 2011, JusticeForAll wrote:


    Wikileaks and the "Special Relationship"

    The Wikileak cables reveal a consistent contempt for democracy, human rights, and international law

    The leaked embassy cables, which tell us a lot about the mindset of government officials around the world, evidence some commonly held principles. One is that democracy, human rights, and international law, whilst being espoused in public in order to placate domestic populations, are shunned in the pursuance of “strategic interests”. Another is the extent to which the domestic population is feared by leaders, and must be controlled so as not to restrict their ability to act in their own interests with impunity.

    http://www.tni.org/article/wikileaks-and-special-relationship

    Who can be trusted? Innocent people, freedom fighters and other democratic are confused!!

    God only can help this earth!

    Complain about this comment

  • 84. At 6:26pm on 05 Feb 2011, Chris wrote:

    Good article.
    Countries look after their own interests and sometimes they have been faced with a choice of bad or really bad.

    However, they could link their support/cash to specific reforms and make sure that these are timetabled i advance... or whatever safeguards are necessary.

    Complain about this comment

  • 85. At 6:26pm on 05 Feb 2011, TEH wrote:

    Its important to note that the US backing of dictators has traditionally been in the Middle East. While the internet has changed the world in recent years, I would submit that ruling with an iron fist is what was required in the middle east in past decades.

    For those who say the US is always on the wrong side, think post-war Germany and Japan.

    Complain about this comment

  • 86. At 6:35pm on 05 Feb 2011, blefuscu wrote:


    Mark's piece this morning:

    Obama said:

    "The key question he should be asking himself is: how do I (Hosni Mubarack)leave a legacy behind in which Egypt is able to get through this transformative period? My hope is he will end up making the right decision."

    BBC North America editor Mark Mardell says Mr Obama went further than before in suggesting that the Egyptian president should go,


    Today 8:07pm "Hosni Mubarak must stay in power for the time being, says Frank Wisner, Barack Obama's special envoy for Egypt.

    We need to get a national consensus around the pre-conditions for the next step forward. The president must stay in office to steer those changes." Al Jazeera

    Obama: "the world is watching"......yes, Barack. The world is watching you. Doh!

    Complain about this comment

  • 87. At 6:38pm on 05 Feb 2011, 4yellowmonkeys wrote:

    C'mon, now.. It has nothing to do with this administration... It's been the will of the merchants that has dictated the foreign policy. Merchants have no code of ethics. Profits alone that count. Why are we blowing smoke up our own asses? Politics? It means nothing. It has always been who to exploit. Don't tell me I'm the only dumba@@ to see this?

    Complain about this comment

  • 88. At 6:39pm on 05 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    80 SeMao

    ..ALL human groups seem to happiest when uniting against a common enemy..from football crowds to superpowers.

    A nation`s mental health is better during a war and deteriorates fast if the war is lost.

    We are pack animals...hard wired to cooperate and that includes cooperating in wars !

    The USA should be held responsible for what it can fairly blamed for ...not every problem under the sun!

    Complain about this comment

  • 89. At 6:49pm on 05 Feb 2011, jiminlee92 wrote:

    @powermeerkat,

    Correction: Japan is a complete puppet state of the U.S. with hardly any military of their own. (Read http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/japan/intro.htm)

    Korea is a corrupt democracy in which every president since the fall of military dictatorships in 1987 has expropriated money from the national treasury. (Read http://hubpages.com/hub/South-Korea-Under-Dictatorship) The ROK government also sponsors all major South Korean newspapers and TV stations. You can bet that they use this "sponsorship" to influence the media when they please.

    To be fair, I don't know about Germany.

    However, these "liberal democracies" you claim the U.S. has supported are nonexistent. Any success is for the most part in spite of, not because of, U.S. intervention. Face the facts: U.S. foreign policy (for other than the U.S.) sucks. Only in the rare instances in which the U.S. has something to gain from true democracy have they been generous. I hope the U.S. stays out of the situation in Egypt, Muslim Brotherhood or no. They'll only exacerbate extremism (towards totalitarianism or theocracy) if they choose to meddle.

    Complain about this comment

  • 90. At 6:53pm on 05 Feb 2011, Amr wrote:

    can't the USA say something like "we want sincerely to help the Egyptians choose the future of their country" instead of what seems like dictation?
    please, for God's sake, suggest fair voting or something similar!!!!!
    for any one who has a good understanding of politics here (i don't):
    what are the 'methods' that democracy provides for people to choose what they want? being dictated by a third-party?
    i want to say 2 facts:
    1. Most Egyptians are simple, straightforward and prefer a simple life.
    2. Most Egyptians are only 'watching' at this moment

    Complain about this comment

  • 91. At 6:58pm on 05 Feb 2011, Amr wrote:

    88 worcesterjim
    "A nation`s mental health is better during a war "
    i heard something like that before. wasn't that the reason behind the war in Vietnam?

    Complain about this comment

  • 92. At 7:04pm on 05 Feb 2011, as is wrote:

    BBC breaking news: "US envoy say Mr Mubarak must stay".


    The expected turnaround. Was that not the same Frank Wisner who was demanding an immediate step-down a couple of days ago?

    For a closet Muslim and/or someone who grew up in a Muslim country, BHO should be a much more intelligent observer and connoisseur of the Muslim psyche. A Muslim/Arab leader/despot would never allow a push-over without some face-saving.

    Hmm, I think BHO has ended with a huge omelette on his face; Mrs Clinton too.

    A US Congress investigation into the matter may be imminent.

    Complain about this comment

  • 93. At 7:11pm on 05 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    87 4yellowmonkeys is right ...but watch no one pursue this line of argument.
    They know it`s true but they can`t cope with the idea that they sent their sons and trillions of BORROWED dollars into war so that a few greedy folk could get richer....and when those unfortunates we attacked retaliated they got richer again LENDING us the money to fight a war on terror..so called...which was just about protectinf the rich!

    Google the phrase "military industrial complex"

    Complain about this comment

  • 94. At 7:14pm on 05 Feb 2011, anti-global wrote:

    This is one more step toward a one world Goverment. hopefully they dont have to send in nato troops.

    Complain about this comment

  • 95. At 7:15pm on 05 Feb 2011, as is wrote:

    Amr:

    Excellent posts here and on a different thread. I think we are yet to learn of Mr ElBaradei's dealings with the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as of who the instigators of Mr ElBaradei's return to Egypt are, although I have certain ideas.

    This looks like a copycat scenario of Bhuto's return and the toppling of Gen Musharaf. Qui bono? At this stage, I highly doubt it's US.

    Complain about this comment

  • 96. At 7:33pm on 05 Feb 2011, blefuscu wrote:

    The BBC's Jim Muir points out that President Obama never actually called for President Mubarak's immediate resignation. However, Mr Wisner's statement is "a little bit startling", our correspondent reports from the square.

    Oh come on, Jim. Just look at the BBC website. The whole world understood that Obama called on Mubarack to leave. Obama made a fool of himself. Don't let your bias and sentimentality blot your journalism.

    BBC critics will just jump at that one.

    I'm looking forward to Mark's comments, in due course.

    Should be tres interessant.

    Complain about this comment

  • 97. At 7:34pm on 05 Feb 2011, Amr wrote:

    95 peterbo
    thanks. by the way, in my first commented i was very frustrated and sad.
    now, things seem hysterical to me. i know it's serious, but i can't help it. El-Baradei dealings with the Brotherhood were very naive. he is not an experiencied politican, so what do you expect? it's not only my personal opinion and i could provide evidence if you want.
    i could list the names that the Egyptians think about as good candidates for presidency if you want to know.
    PS El-Baradei is called officially now 'Baradei the parachutte' by most of the Egyptians. i hope you understand what it means.

    Complain about this comment

  • 98. At 7:35pm on 05 Feb 2011, Paul wrote:

    I am English, and have lived in the USA for 20 years. When it comes to propaganda the American Government is the worlds foremost expert. It is amazing how quiet they are about the $1.3Billion they give Egypt. Once that was made much more public I cant tell you the number of complaints from Americans that I work with that our tax dollars are paying for their military.
    Personally, I live in a city in California where the unemployment is currently at 22%. There are a lot of people here that cant understand why when our country and State are having so many budgetary difficulties (that services are being cut) why would the Administration send that money at all? Especially now. I think it is a simplistic view, but how about Obama just tell them "No more money". The Egyptian military would quickly come round and disown Mubarak. Money talks. Of course you can also expect that once they have a new Government Obama will through more 'borrowed' money at them.

    The Government should focus its funds on the people that voted them into power... not Tyrants and Dictators. Israel should be included in that last sentence.

    Complain about this comment

  • 99. At 7:37pm on 05 Feb 2011, mabelwhite wrote:

    This is the best Mardell post so far to me. I am torn as to nationbuilding, whether the US should attempt to share its sophisticated democratic culture with all nations (sample herebelow)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2519inCar3w

    I do think separation of church and state is the only way to achieve peace for the people - my only problem with the tenets of the Brotherhood of Muslims (footnote see also: Israel)

    Complain about this comment

  • 101. At 7:40pm on 05 Feb 2011, essie777 wrote:

    @ #80 - your points are indicative of how the US politic model works. I have lived here a number of years and amazed at how this country is run. It's mind boggling.

    The political parties lurch from one election to another every two year including the important midterms. This country places emphasis on short term promises, which usually have no hope of being followed through. The figures in office are more concerned about funding their next political run for office than actually achieving anything for the country. With campaigns being run for over 12 months and elections being held every two year it’s amazing that anything gets done in Washington. And then as you rightly comment lobbyists are so influential that politicians will be wearing logos of their supporters soon.

    This approach is mirrored in the US foreign policy. There isn't a plan, an ideal that the US promotes through its foreign policy. It is short term capitalist money hungering. That is why the US always backs the wrong horse, so to speak. They have no desire to achieve anything but short term gain for themselves. The examples are numerous.

    No matter how the US tries to use the media to promote itself as the country of freedom and liberty, the truth is it is a country of competition and survival of the fittest (in respect to material gain).

    The US is built on the ideal that the American dream is equated to material success. Bigger is better and more money equates to life success.

    The political and social system is capitalism and it ignores those which don't achieve this high level of success. Everything is based on how much you can pay out, so those below the ultra-successful are ignored and left to fend for themselves.

    Does this not mirror its foreign policy? A policy that ignores the masses, and backs leaders who have what the US perceives as political strength in those foreign countries, no matter how they control it, dictators and extremists alike. And naturally, those countries must that offer economic opportunity to Americans!!!

    Complain about this comment

  • 102. At 7:42pm on 05 Feb 2011, Chryses wrote:

    Cosmologic, (#22. At 2:01pm on 05 Feb 2011)
    ”. . ‘Here are the significant exceptions (in alphabetical order):-
    1.
    2.
    3.
    4.”


    It is amusing how short some people’s memories are, particularly in light of the thread context.

    1. 1956 - The U.S. supported Egypt in its contest with France and GB over the Suez canal.
    2. 1965 – 1980 The U.S. supported the liberation of Ian Smith’s Rhodesia.
    3. 1960 – 1993 The U.S. actively supported the replacement of South Africa’s right wing apartheid government.
    4. 1982 - The U.S. actively supported GB against the right wing military dictatorship in Argentina in the Falkland War.
    5. 1994 - The U.S. put Jean-Bertrand Aristide back in power after he was overthrown by a military coup..
    etc.

    Complain about this comment

  • 103. At 7:44pm on 05 Feb 2011, blefuscu wrote:

    95. At 7:15pm on 05 Feb 2011, peterbo wrote:e

    excellent posts here and on a different thread. I think we are yet to learn of Mr ElBaradei's dealings with the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as of who the instigators of Mr ElBaradei's return to Egypt are, although I have certain ideas.

    Why so coy? A country in the SW Asia region with a religious bent that was behind an attempt on New Years Eve to destabilise Egypt by setting Christian against Muslim in the St Mark's Cathedral bombing. It has four letters and is not Iraq. The other one next door. A bit further east.

    Complain about this comment

  • 105. At 7:52pm on 05 Feb 2011, blefuscu wrote:

    98. At 7:35pm on 05 Feb 2011, Paul wrote:

    I am English, and have lived in the USA for 20 years. When it comes to propaganda the American Government is the worlds foremost expert. It is amazing how quiet they are about the $1.3Billion they give Egypt. Once that was made much more public I cant tell you the number of complaints from Americans that I work with that our tax dollars are paying for their military.
    Personally, I live in a city in California where the unemployment is currently at 22%. There are a lot of people here that cant understand why when our country and State are having so many budgetary difficulties (that services are being cut) why would the Administration send that money at all? Especially now. I think it is a simplistic view, but how about Obama just tell them "No more money". The Egyptian military would quickly come round and disown Mubarak. Money talks. Of course you can also expect that once they have a new Government Obama will through more 'borrowed' money at them.

    The Government should focus its funds on the people that voted them into power... not Tyrants and Dictators. Israel should be included in that last sentence.


    Paul, you thought of Israel before you wrote that piece. By the way the kit and training for the Egyptian Army provides lots of jobs for Americans. It is now part of Obama's huge Keynesian boost for jobs which QE has enabled. Unfortunately that is stoking world food price inflation.

    Surely people in the 3rd world shouldn't suffer for Obamas financial policy geared to getting him re-elected?

    Complain about this comment

  • 106. At 7:53pm on 05 Feb 2011, anti-global wrote:

    America is no longer good. In 1951 the socialists started a covert action to go towards Globalisation. America doesnt support bad guys they are bad guys. Freedom or the illusion of Freedom is the carrot to bring about change. In my simple opinion America needs to take care of its self and back away. I do not think one global village is a good idea or Freedom.

    Complain about this comment

  • 107. At 7:53pm on 05 Feb 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    The Ikhwan have an English language website here. Very interesting.

    More on the Brothers here:Like it or not, Islamic political parties are part of the political fabric in many countries in the Middle East, and it is time we treat each Islamist group as an individual entity, rather than lump them all together as “radicals” and “terrorists.” It is this knee-jerk response to all things Islamist that contributed, in part, to our undying support for Mubarak’s oppressive regime in Egypt.

    Complain about this comment

  • 108. At 7:59pm on 05 Feb 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    re: 96 Um, ... no.

    Barack Obama has urged Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak "to make the right decision" to end weeks of unrest, and reiterated a call for an orderly transition of power "that begins now".

    However the US president stopped short of telling Mr Mubarak to step down immediately.


    The link here.

    Doh!

    Complain about this comment

  • 109. At 8:24pm on 05 Feb 2011, as is wrote:

    103. At 7:44pm on 05 Feb 2011, blefuscu wrote:

    95. At 7:15pm on 05 Feb 2011, peterbo wrote:e

    excellent posts here and on a different thread. I think we are yet to learn of Mr ElBaradei's dealings with the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as of who the instigators of Mr ElBaradei's return to Egypt are, although I have certain ideas.

    Why so coy? A country in the SW Asia region with a religious bent that was behind an attempt on New Years Eve to destabilise Egypt by setting Christian against Muslim in the St Mark's Cathedral bombing. It has four letters and is not Iraq. The other one next door. A bit further east."



    The Iranian strategic goal of a Gazaization of Egypt has been pretty obvious for long time. The tactics though are truly Byzantine and fascinating. To have your opponent play to your own tune is an amazing achievement in itself.

    Maybe, not that amazing against the backgrounds of prominent figures of the BHO administration, starting with BHO himself. I believe it will be very difficult for many Americans to grasp the fact that an American president and his admin are in the business of a deliberate scaling down of US, in every possible aspect: economic, geopolitical, etc.

    Complain about this comment

  • 110. At 8:24pm on 05 Feb 2011, Pol-incorrect wrote:

    I agree totally that the U.S. has forgotten what it is like outside our country.

    I am an American that tries to be knowledgeable about the world, not just what the U.S. media wants to feed me.

    I was in Egypt March last year on vacation, three members of our group were from California, one of the states in America that tends not to believe in anything outside it's borders.

    After spending a couple of nights in a Cairo hotel, then boarding a river cruise boat, one of the three ( a psychiatrist ) demonstrated her knowledge of the world by stating that she had not seen a single female maid in the hotel nor on the boat. It was an all male staff changing sheets, etc.

    I looked at her and said calmly, "muslim country" and walked away.

    A lot of Americans I meet are appalled at me saying that when I am out of the U.S. I avoid Americans like the plague, when asked why I point out that there are exceptions, but for the most part they complain of how a country is run, why they think things should change, etc.

    I am tired of being lumped in with the likes of these folk.

    I think that Obama should have taken a firmer stand earlier on in the protests, things like police brutality are common knowledge if you read news from sources that are not based in the U.S.

    The reason that people here, especially politicians, are so apparently naive is that they control news here because their incomes are based on saying what the voters want to hear.

    I wish the Egyptians luck with their protest, and comments like the ones from Mr Mardell do nothing to provide insight, they just serve to inflame readers senses.

    Complain about this comment

  • 111. At 8:24pm on 05 Feb 2011, Steve wrote:

    "In opposing the Soviet Union and its allies, the USA often found itself in bed with a promiscuous parade of the dodgiest of characters - dictators, torturers and thieves - whose only virtue was not being "Commies". "

    It was often the case that communism was simply used as a pretext for US intervention. A case in point being Guatemala where communism was the excuse for the US-backed coup, but the real reason was the United Fruit Company and the threat to its operations. There are many other cases of course, including the overthrow of Mossadegh in Iran over his nationalisation of the oil industry.

    Even when the cold war came to an end, the US backing for oppressive regimes, and it's undermining of uncooperative democracies did not.

    "Of course, the neo-cons wanted a revolution against this hypocrisy. They wanted the United States to aggressively promote democracy with revolutionary fervour."

    That is a highly amusing statement. Under the neocons we had a failed US-backed coup in Venezuela and continuous interference in Bolivia and elsewhere. What the US wants is regimes that will cooperate with US interests. A democracy or a dictatorship that cooperates is fine, but dictators or democracies that do not, have to go (if it is feasible). You only have to look at who the US backs and doesn't back to see that this is the case.

    From the beginning of the crisis in Egypt the US has been striving to keep the same regime in power, albeit with a possible change of president. When US officials disingenuously say that it is up to the Egyptian people to choose their leaders, they are being truer than they intend. If the Egyptian people do manage to overthrow the oppressive regime there it will be against the wishes of the US, despite any rhetoric by US spokesmen.

    "So on the one hand Mr Obama seems to genuinely believe that it is not the place of the leader of the world's only superpower to pick and choose the leaders of other countries. "

    I see. So we can expect the US to stop propping up other oppressive regimes can we? In Saudi Arabia for example, a country that makes Iran look like Switzerland. I doubt it. I can't imagine the level of courage it would take for the Saudi people to flood into the streets in protests. If they did, they would be mown down with the very weapons we have been selling to them for so many years.

    "Egyptian government that encompasses them would be less friendly to Israel, the peace process and the West in general."

    Why on earth would a democratic Egyptian government be less friendly towards the west. It's not like we have been funding a brutal dictator who has been oppressing them and torturing and murdering dissidents for decades, is it?

    Actively backing regimes (often to the tune of billions of dollars) that oppress, torture and murder their people is truly a criminal act.

    Complain about this comment

  • 112. At 8:30pm on 05 Feb 2011, Hayes wrote:

    The simplest answer is often the correct one...

    Because the US IS one of the bad guys.

    Complain about this comment

  • 113. At 8:33pm on 05 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    98 and 101 The USA and UK and most of the world is now run by and for the benefit of global capitalists...google "military industrial complex" for a run down.

    We need a global peaceful revolution and decade of soul searching and healing.... because I do think we need a mixture of capitalism and public services across the world if we aren`t going to have wars about the migration being caused by overpopulation in the third world.

    So why not use the CIA and global military industrial complex to SOLVE our problems for a change? And we could start by renegotiating our national indebtedness now that it`s completely spiralling out of control?

    North Africa is about overpopulation and unemployment and the cost of food not Obama`s skills as a politician....or democracy!

    We should ditch party politics for a decade and come together to solve humanity`s growing crises with no more silly party squabbling while we do it!Remember when we had war cabinets?

    And NO ..I`m not a communist or a globalist or anything else in your X-Files catalogue of suspicious political crazies!

    And despite all my moaning the USA is the obvious nation to take the lead during the decade.

    Complain about this comment

  • 114. At 8:37pm on 05 Feb 2011, Stevenson wrote:

    We are just Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad boys

    And we Must be punished.

    I think it there are so many bad people out there leading nations and so few good, therefore it is hard to see those goodies...for instance,

    Putin is starting to look better and Mr. Hu of China worse,

    yet I do love that the Egyptians are enjoying some freedom.
    ...
    And by the way, stability = money invested...some very very common people (most) are quiet and their lives in Egypt revolve around jobs...

    so if this dictator guy leaves and all the jobs go

    Freedom and hunger will be mutually exclusive

    Look at Libya-they have gone capitalist lately and we are not hearing a peeeep out of their people (maybe they only have the one million)

    Complain about this comment

  • 115. At 8:46pm on 05 Feb 2011, blefuscu wrote:

    108. At 7:59pm on 05 Feb 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    re: 96 Um, ... no.

    Barack Obama has urged Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak "to make the right decision" to end weeks of unrest, and reiterated a call for an orderly transition of power "that begins now".

    However the US president stopped short of telling Mr Mubarak to step down immediately.

    The link here.

    Doh!

    ............................................

    Oh dear. This is what the world saw (and heard) courtesy of the BBC a very short while ago.

    Obama has made a wee bit of a fool of himself in front of the world and, more tellingly, the world's governments. But he is not alone. He can take comfort. But his misjudgement. His bad call will be remembered.

    Thanks for the Ihkwan link. Do you read the Arabic version or the English version?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12372448

    Complain about this comment

  • 116. At 8:47pm on 05 Feb 2011, duckie wrote:

    Hi all

    The US has and will always carry on to do so....why? because of Israel....In the Islamic world at large...citizens want to destroy the state of Israel....and that is the truth...ask any muslims on the streets of Turkey to Egypt to Iran to Pakistan to India to the Gulf or even the European Muslims....they all are united in one fundemental aspect...i.e. destruction of Israel.....Catch 22 is...that if through a democratic process the citizens elect Govenrments such as anti Israeli ones....then we all can guess what will come next.

    The bottom line is that Muslims do not have a problem with the US or any other Western Countries...they hate America because of its policies on Israel.....tomorrow if the US resolves the Palestine question-presto see how the Muslim world will react.....

    You also have to look at the religous reasons as well...as the Neo-cons in the US think that by having the state of Israel...they are advancing the conditions for the re arrival of the Messiah (Jesus) the Muslims on the other hand believe the that Messiah will not be Jesus but the Anti Christ...as the Anti Christ has to rule from Jeurusalem....and as per the Quran the process for the end of times will commence when the Isrealites return to their lands again!

    So it is a tough call...as now we are truely exposed to a conflict occurring between the three Abrahamic faiths.

    The US will never resolve this...it is not on their agenda at all....and one would continue to see the US supporting and creating regimes in the Islamic world who not only surpress their majority of Muslim Citizens but also maintain their status quo on Israel.

    Well...bring on Jesus!!

    Complain about this comment

  • 118. At 9:04pm on 05 Feb 2011, marieinaustin wrote:

    99. At 7:37pm on 05 Feb 2011, mabelwhite wrote:
    “I do think separation of church and state is the only way to achieve peace for the people - my only problem with the tenets of the Brotherhood of Muslims...”
    -------------------------------------------------

    In a nutshell: They’re not us.
    And we’re not always us.
    -------------------------------------------------

    On a slightly related note: I don’t know why Obama chose This Week to announce his Christianity and associate it with “government’s responsibility” to be a good nanny. But I’m not a li...I mean, a magi...I mean, a politician...I mean, the president.

    Complain about this comment

  • 119. At 9:09pm on 05 Feb 2011, blefuscu wrote:

    113. At 8:33pm on 05 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    And NO ..I`m not a communist or a globalist or anything else in your X-Files catalogue of suspicious political crazies!

    And despite all my moaning the USA is the obvious nation to take the lead during the decade.

    ...................

    "Me thinks, the lady/gentleman doth protest too much"

    You are advocating a suspension of liberty for a utalitarian purpose. That is about as authoritarian (Communism and Fascism are identical twins) as it gets. I take it that an America led by Obama is to your taste, perhaps. Mmmmmm!

    Complain about this comment

  • 120. At 9:10pm on 05 Feb 2011, Stevenson wrote:

    Oh Worcester Jim you are a fixture therefore who cares?

    Also, money is not evil...only if you use it evilly or don't care about poor starving people.

    I understand peoples reluctance to finance me in my lounging around. But, I do not understand their reluctance to realize when their company fails no one will help them--

    IE, only if we consume their wares, will they be ok.

    Complain about this comment

  • 121. At 9:16pm on 05 Feb 2011, Stevenson wrote:

    There ARE people who think a global government will solve all our problems.

    I'm sure China is against this--they seem rather non aggressive but assertive.

    I'm against it, but the ones whom scare me a bit are those who are paranoid about it. You know,....

    Paranoia will destroy ya. (the Kinks?)

    Look at that mentally ill assassin-wanna-be in Arizona.

    Complain about this comment

  • 122. At 9:20pm on 05 Feb 2011, McJakome wrote:

    49. At 3:33pm on 05 Feb 2011, blefuscu wrote:
    1. “Saddam and the Taliban were American creations that went 'rogue', like Kurtz in Coppola's 'Apocalypse, Now'.”

    Interesting notion, but how do you square it with the importance of the US arms industry, which receives much of its income from arms sales to US client states, and has influence on our foreign policy? This leads to the incontrovertible and very inconvenient fact that Saddam was armed with mostly Russian materiel [with a soupçon of French], and was a Russian/USSR client, not American.


    2. “FDR was against foreign empires and colonialism because it was foreign competition to US 'Manifest Destiny'.” Every American president and most Americans were against foreign empires and colonialism, look up Monroe Doctrine. Missionary societies promoted intervention to bring Christianity medical care and education to the native peoples.

    US colonialism/imperialism got a late start in the 1890’s. If you read the American press at the time it did not have popular support until it appeared that the US had been attacked [see USS Maine]. You might also consider that Pres. Cleveland tried to hand Hawaii back to the native rulers until their idea about beheading the republican American revolutionaries put him off the idea.

    Your reductio verges on the absurdum.

    Complain about this comment

  • 123. At 9:24pm on 05 Feb 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    66. Pinko - Good Post

    Mark wrote:

    "The US never successfully pulled off the trick of encouraging genuine liberal democracies."

    __________

    Hold on a minute.

    Take two photographs: Europe, May 8, 1945; Europe, January 19, 2001.
    Take some more photographs: Japan, August 15, 1945; Japan January 19, 2001.
    Or: South Korea, January 1, 1950; Korea, January 19, 2001.

    Hmmm. Looks like Mark's thesis might need some revision.

    ----------

    Prior to WWII, American foreign policy was driven almost entirely by the interests of American commerce, and, to a considerable extent, by particular companies in particular industries: Consider the "Banana Republics" of the United Fruit Company; consider the annexation of Hawaii, in essence a corporate takeover by Dole; consider the endless employment of American hard power before and since on behalf of oil companies. This is the foreign policy of jingoists, mercantilists and robber-baron capitalists. It did not disappear after WWII, and, indeed, the echoes of that era continue in various forms to this day.

    ----------

    However, since December 7, 1941, the United States also led a badly damaged world out of the catastrophe that was WWII.

    As of December 6, 1941, rather less than 10% of the people on earth (i.e., something less than 300m people) lived in solid democracies, and even fewer lived in stable, prosperous democracies.

    Over a period of almost 50 years, the policy of containment re-established and stabilized democracies in western Europe, Southern Europe, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. It arguably and indirectly aided in the stabilization of Indian democracy, though rather more by accident than design (and notwithstanding disastrously wrong policy in Pakistan), and in Malaysia.

    By 1989 roughly a third of the people on the planet were living in countries with broadly democratic governments.

    Following 1989 there have been democratic advances in Eastern Europe and Russia, in South Africa, Indonesia, the Philippines, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Colombia, and various nations in West Africa.

    Arguably, too, notwithstanding its utterly undemocratic government, democracy and civil rights have made very significant strides in China, in terms of modernized legal structures and public expectations of access to justice. This is very much a work in progress, but still, China's legal system has made huge advances. See how far China has come in the last 30 years, and then take a look in another 20 years.

    There has been progress even in places like Kenya, and, even Iraq.

    America (and, be it said, France, Belgium, and, to a lesser extent, the Netherlands and Britain) made some bad mistakes, and (sometimes really terrible mistakes) in the cold war, and befriended some exceedingly ugly characters - Mobuto Sese Seko, kleptocrat extraodinaire, comes readily to mind - predominantly in Latin America, South-east Asia, South-west Asia, and Africa, but elsewhere as well. Fair enough.

    But very few nations, and, particularly very few large nations, have foreign policy (or, for that matter domestic policy) that doesn't make mistakes and that isn't full of contradictions and examples of hypocrisy. That was George Kennan's point about the truth being full of inconsistencies. It is virtually unavoidable in a nation that has a host of competing interests, all trying to influence policy.

    Democracies rarely travel in a straight line. More often they weave their way down the road like a drunk on a sidewalk, trying to find his hotel: It is often embarrassing and undignified, and yet, at the end of it, after stumbling, changing course several times, and getting lost down blind alleys more than once, after half a century a fair amount of progress can be discerned, nonetheless.

    Whether America has explicitly fostered individual democracies, America has clearly been successful at establishing an economic and security framework in which many democracies have flourished, whether by accident or design.

    Over all, during the period of American dominance of world affairs, something pushing on for 2.5 billion people have come to live in democracies (eight times as many as when Pax Americana started), and another 1.5 billion people are living in countries that are moving along the road to democracy, even if they aren't quite there yet.

    In no other period in world history has so high a proportion (i.e., close to 1/2, and getting on for 2/3) of the world's population lived in countries where people choose their own governments, or live in countries where government by the rule of law roughly according to democratic norms is either established or well on the way to establishing itself.

    That is a very significant achievement. To obscure that achievement, to to cast a misleading picture by saying that America has often allied itself with thugs, while true in detail, is grossly misleading when seen in light of the overall result.

    By and large, the world has never had it so good. While there is still work to be done, Pax Americana has been a huge success overall.

    When America is no longer so dominant, and other powers have different priorities, the period of American dominance may very well come to be regarded as "the good old days".

    Complain about this comment

  • 124. At 9:30pm on 05 Feb 2011, Stevenson wrote:

    Maybe their real hate is for their rulers...and Israel and those rude Palestinians (they are really hateful)(I know im brainwashed--but I did see them celebrate 9/11 and remember Arafat putting their demonstration "down")

    No one in the area likes the Palestinians very much ...they seem to grow exponentially...and then suck every nation around them dry..

    But, oh those pooor pooor pooor Palestinians I mean oooooops.....

    But, my point is Israel will be forgotten when all these dictators are gone...they'll be thinking hmmm "I have a job? Wow"

    Complain about this comment

  • 125. At 9:32pm on 05 Feb 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    re: 109 peterbo The Iranian strategic goal of a Gazaization of Egypt has been pretty obvious for long time. The tactics though are truly Byzantine and fascinating. To have your opponent play to your own tune is an amazing achievement in itself.

    So, you are saying that shiite and Persian Iran is somehow directly involved in fomenting the current protests in sunni and Arab Egypt?

    Do you have some evidence of this?

    Complain about this comment

  • 126. At 9:38pm on 05 Feb 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    re: 115 blefscu Oh dear. This is what the world saw (and heard) courtesy of the BBC a very short while ago.

    What's 'oh dear' about it? You seem to be ignoring the 'orderly transition' and the 'stopped short of calling for resignation' parts.

    And the 'beginning now' part.

    In fact, I have no idea what you are on about.

    Complain about this comment

  • 127. At 9:40pm on 05 Feb 2011, therainbowgypsy wrote:

    So a new Egyptian administration might not be friendly to Israel ? Right on - it's way past time to put an end to the infamies visited upon the Palestinian people by the Israelis, and the sooner the US stops blindly and one-sidedly supporting the jewish agenda the better for the whole world. And the subversion of Egypt by successive dictators propped up by Washington is an enduring tragedy that has stalled Middle East peace negotiations for decades.
    The fundamental reason for the US feeling that it is threatened, is that, put simply, it threatens. It seeks to dominate the world agenda the way the European colonial powers did decades ago, but without the wisdom or maturity to manage such an already impossible feat. Even in the depths of Egyptian people's efforts to gain some sort of freedom, we still hear the US and its media talking about the US "strategic interest": what about the will of the Egyptian people ? What about their needs and aspirations ?
    And the question most being urgently debated in the US ? "How come we didn't see this coming? Where were our intelligence agencies ?" The answer to that one is that though the US maintains fifteen separate so-called intelligence agencies, it continues to be among the stupidest nations on earth when it comes to understanding the world to the left of LA and the right of New York. (Or even above and below the country.) They should resume teaching history in schools....."those that don't learn the lessons of history are destined to repeat its mistakes."

    Complain about this comment

  • 128. At 9:41pm on 05 Feb 2011, essie777 wrote:



    @113. worcesterjim:
    "The USA and UK and most of the world is now run by and for the benefit of global capitalists...google "military industrial complex" for a run down.......And despite all my moaning the USA is the obvious nation to take the lead during the decade."

    Please tell me you are in a dream sequence here ... the rise of global capitalism as forerunner to global politics isn’t in dispute, but surely you jest at the USA leading anything globally.

    I am sure we are not going to find the answers to global issues here where 100s of better informed people have failed, but the USA is the least qualified of any government to lead anything.

    They can't find their way out of a paper bag without directions, military intervention and "buying" the supposed right solution. It's laughable that any country would follow the USA down the street let alone anywhere else. Maybe you have noticed the last decade has seen a decided shift against the USA not only from its "enemies" but it's "allies" as well. The USA is the global laughing stock. The USA is seen as a greedy, manipulative capitalist state that puts business success above anything. To the point that the USA’s lack of correct oversight started the global economic crash as it didn’t want to step on its own countries “freedom” by ensuring that its businesses acting legally!!!

    Your government can't even handle its own internal problems so there is no way they'd be wanted as a leader in handling anyone else’s!!!!!!

    Complain about this comment

  • 129. At 9:41pm on 05 Feb 2011, McJakome wrote:

    64. At 4:41pm on 05 Feb 2011, Rich wrote:
    "'Israel nevertheless is a real democracy.'

    Um, no it certainly is not!"

    It certainly is, and the problem with it is that it is a lovely European-style Proportional Representation Voting system not an American First Past The Post system.

    If Israel had been planned by Americans [as some mostly leftist bloggers insinuate] they would have had FPTP, and as a result the right wing mini parties like Shas would not have the power they do to hold the Israeli government hostage. Israel would be more moderate and might even have made peace with the Palestinians already.

    In that scenario, Israel really would resemble the US, with more powerful governments controled by two large and more powerful parties, Labor-Kadima-Democrat on the left and Likud-GOP on the right. It seems clear to me that many of the problems in the Middle East are owing to, or worse than they would otherwise be, because Israel has the wrong kind of voting system.

    Complain about this comment

  • 130. At 9:42pm on 05 Feb 2011, tamdrin wrote:

    there is some satisfaction in removeing the head of the hidra but in the end three more grow back in the end

    Complain about this comment

  • 131. At 9:51pm on 05 Feb 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    re: 116 duckie You also have to look at the religous reasons as well...as the Neo-cons in the US think that by having the state of Israel...they are advancing the conditions for the re arrival of the Messiah (Jesus)

    I think you'll find your neo-con to be a different, far more secular animal. That being said, the religious logic for the US's Israel policy is definitely a factor.

    I have no problem with anyone's eschatological views. What troubles me is when those views become the basis of public policy.

    Complain about this comment

  • 132. At 10:00pm on 05 Feb 2011, as is wrote:

    Mr Mardell, Frank Wisner has spoken in his master's voice: Mubarak is there to stay. Shall we shelve the Egypt albatross for 2012, and move on?


    Probably time to fold this embarrassing for BHO story, which BBC will surely gladly and swiftly do, and turn attention to some even more embarrassing stories: Judge Vinson's seismic ruling on Obamacare, the looming battles over the deficit, some very disturbing for BHO pieces of legislation shaping in the House, etc.

    Complain about this comment

  • 133. At 10:02pm on 05 Feb 2011, McJakome wrote:

    89. At 6:49pm on 05 Feb 2011, jiminlee92 wrote:
    @powermeerkat,

    "Correction: Japan is a complete puppet state of the U.S. with hardly any military of their own."

    False in one, false in all. Look up Japanese military power in Jane's. In fact they call it the Self-defense Force, but it is one of the world's 6th most powerful, particularly the navy. and it is at least as high tech as the American one, no surprise there, it IS Japan Inc.

    Your information on Korea [a country I lived in for 6 years and know very well] is equally warped. The Koreans have corruption, as does every country, but democracy is so alive and kicking that two former presidents are in jail and one committed suicide because corruption was discovered in his family. [I am talking about SOUTH Korea, you might be talking about NORTH Korea and mistakenly identified the puppetmaster which would be China.]

    Next you will tell us that a democratic country only neads a caudillo, a Castro or Chavez, and legislatures can be dispensed with.

    Complain about this comment

  • 134. At 10:03pm on 05 Feb 2011, muyundo john wrote:

    US will always support tyrants as long as they keep US interests.Obama has all the capacity to tell Mubarak to step down now but he is giving double standard statement of Mubarak to initiate reforms now.Egyptian people have lost trust in Mubaraks regime and nothing that come their way from a thirty year regime will bring their trust back.US has increasing condemned the violence from the state thugs against the Egyptian people,the journalist and activist group.That is not enough,it should take step forward and implicate Mubarak in ICC court on criminal charges against humanity.AS long as Mubarak will keep and avoid the Muslim Brotherhood to engage in free and fair election and perhaps take the mantle of Egyptian state,Obama will always support Mubarak against the right of Egyptian people.

    Complain about this comment

  • 135. At 10:06pm on 05 Feb 2011, Stevenson wrote:

    Evidence, evidence, evidence....that is all anyone ever says...hmmmph

    Complain about this comment

  • 136. At 10:10pm on 05 Feb 2011, blefuscu wrote:

    122. At 9:20pm on 05 Feb 2011, JMM wrote:

    49. At 3:33pm on 05 Feb 2011, blefuscu wrote:
    1. “Saddam and the Taliban were American creations that went 'rogue', like Kurtz in Coppola's 'Apocalypse, Now'.”

    Interesting notion, but how do you square it with the importance of the US arms industry, which receives much of its income from arms sales to US client states, and has influence on our foreign policy? This leads to the incontrovertible and very inconvenient fact that Saddam was armed with mostly Russian materiel [with a soupçon of French], and was a Russian/USSR client, not American.


    .................

    Who paid for him to buy Russian kit to be wasted in the trenches of the Iraq/Iran border where it was being wrecked in WW1 type battles over 8 years. Who provided the satellite intelligence on Iranian troop concentrations.

    In 1991 (Kuwait) he lost most of his kit.

    In 2003, the miserable Russian 8o's junk was all he had left.

    It was a turkey shoot for the 'Coalition of the Willing'.

    Saddam was an American tool who went rogue. A guard dog that bit back.

    Complain about this comment

  • 137. At 10:18pm on 05 Feb 2011, Amr wrote:

    seems like the stage is set to have Mr. Mubarak executed... and many Egyptian heads would fly right after (probably ones without beards)? now that the protesters are a little safer they seem to be using other methods to force the Egyptians to swallow what comes next (and they are doing pretty well...).
    Egypt have very few options left to get through this safely. perhaps revolting against USA and having a real dictatorship started would do. or perhaps uniting with Libya.. what the **** am i saying ... is this nightmare going to end any time soon? can any sane politican here suggest the least bloody passage thorugh this? besides, many protesters were dragged to this mess without even realizing it.

    Complain about this comment

  • 138. At 10:23pm on 05 Feb 2011, as is wrote:

    125. At 9:32pm on 05 Feb 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    re: 109 peterbo The Iranian strategic goal of a Gazaization of Egypt has been pretty obvious for long time. The tactics though are truly Byzantine and fascinating. To have your opponent play to your own tune is an amazing achievement in itself.

    So, you are saying that shiite and Persian Iran is somehow directly involved in fomenting the current protests in sunni and Arab Egypt?

    Do you have some evidence of this? "

    _________________________________________________________


    http://www.longwarjournal.org/threat-matrix/archives/2011/01/iran_the_muslim_brotherhood_an.php


    Voila. The text suggests much warmer and close ties between Iran and the Brothers than you probably expect. What's the degree of current direct involvement? Perhaps Mr Suleiman has some answers.


    Plus, Iran is the major sponsor of Sunni Hamas, which is generously supported by the Brothers, too. Hamas looks like an important point of intersection. When there's a common strategic goal, tactical edges may be smoothed.

    Complain about this comment

  • 139. At 10:28pm on 05 Feb 2011, Eric wrote:

    First and foremost, the role of U.S. policy is to promote U.S. interests at home and abroad. Period. The spreading of democracy may be an "ideal," but it is not the America's place to install government systems unless it is in response to a specific situation that serves her purpose.

    If a government is that bad, it is not the responsiblity of outside actors to step in. It is the responsibility of the people living under that nation's rule to change it. Democracy must be earned, because that is the only way it is truly appreciated for what it is. Every successful democratic nation on this planet has come to that solution internally through either violent struggle or years of change. It is a self imposed system based on compromise. It can't be handed out.

    Finally, The U.S. is not the only western democratic nation capable of backing democratic change. I'm sure the people of Darfur, Somalia or the Ivory Coast would appreciate U.N. peacekeepers from any developed nation. But since most nothing to gain from getting involved, I wouldn't expect to see it happen anytime soon.

    Complain about this comment

  • 140. At 10:29pm on 05 Feb 2011, blefuscu wrote:

    129. At 9:41pm on 05 Feb 2011, JMM wrote:

    64. At 4:41pm on 05 Feb 2011, Rich wrote:
    "'Israel nevertheless is a real democracy.'

    Um, no it certainly is not!"

    It certainly is, and the problem with it is that it is a lovely European-style Proportional Representation Voting system not an American First Past The Post system.

    If Israel had been planned by Americans [as some mostly leftist bloggers insinuate] they would have had FPTP, and as a result the right wing mini parties like Shas would not have the power they do to hold the Israeli government hostage. Israel would be more moderate and might even have made peace with the Palestinians already.

    In that scenario, Israel really would resemble the US, with more powerful governments controled by two large and more powerful parties, Labor-Kadima-Democrat on the left and Likud-GOP on the right. It seems clear to me that many of the problems in the Middle East are owing to, or worse than they would otherwise be, because Israel has the wrong kind of voting system.

    .........................

    Its a strange fact that Leftism loved Israel in the 50's and 60's. Then the Six Day War came along and the 'romanticism' of the Left moved away from a victim who appeared to be a winner, and espoused the new 'victims'. First it was the Palestinians, and then the wider Islamic world. Here is where the Revolution would be. This is where the hot button was.

    Israel is, too democratic for its own good confronted by folk whose understanding of democracy is somewhat less than complete. By that I mean the hopelessly feuding and self-destructive Palestinians whose only communality is the desire to wipe Israel off the map.

    The ordinary, suburban left romantic sees only images, but lacks moral discernment. Unfortunately some very 'political' and manipulative people batten on to this 'moral outrage' and instrumentalise it for personal and political gain.

    Name no names, no pack drill.

    Complain about this comment

  • 141. At 10:47pm on 05 Feb 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    125. At 9:32pm on 05 Feb 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    ""re: 109 peterbo The Iranian strategic goal of a Gazaization of Egypt has been pretty obvious for long time. ...""

    "So, you are saying that shiite and Persian Iran is somehow directly involved in fomenting the current protests in sunni and Arab Egypt?"

    "Do you have some evidence of this?"

    [[ It's because Iran is obviously behind the high unemployment in the North African States, and the young man in Tunisia who set himself on fire was obviously an Iranian/AlQueda/Taliban/Stalinist/Maoist/Shining Path terrorist with links to Pyongyang ...]]

    [[ The 3/4 of the protesters in Tahrir square who didn't participate in Friday prayers? They're just Iranian secret agents instructed not to pray so that people will be tricked into thinking they are secular protesters ...]]

    Complain about this comment

  • 142. At 10:47pm on 05 Feb 2011, blefuscu wrote:

    126. At 9:38pm on 05 Feb 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    re: 115 blefscu Oh dear. This is what the world saw (and heard) courtesy of the BBC a very short while ago.

    What's 'oh dear' about it? You seem to be ignoring the 'orderly transition' and the 'stopped short of calling for resignation' parts.

    And the 'beginning now' part.

    In fact, I have no idea what you are on about.

    ........................

    No, you clearly don't.

    The Egyptian people were the demonstrators 'Kefaya'. Go. Obama told the world that Mubarack should listen to the Egyptian 'people'.

    The best bit is that he did. The 70 million for whom the 'Day of this', or 'the Day of that' was just a load of inconvenient nonsense.

    Egypt is changing. Has been changing. Will change. It's a great country but it doesn't appreciate sound biting foreigners telling them what to do.

    Obama got bitten by his soundbites.

    Complain about this comment

  • 143. At 11:00pm on 05 Feb 2011, as is wrote:

    Oh well, it ain't over till it's over.


    BBC: US Disowns Egypt Envoy Comments


    Opera buffa of BHO's administration on and on. The damage balloons by the hour. Can we move to Judge Vinson's ruling on Obamacare, please? Obama would really appreciate it.

    Complain about this comment

  • 144. At 11:10pm on 05 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    128 essie777

    I am not American essie...though like everyone else in the world I could be said to be an American subject.

    I agree that there is much that is wrong with the way that the USA elite behaves (and that it`s politicians are probably fairly powerless figureheads) but there is no denying that the Americans have perfected a way to manage the world without necessarily calling in the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse or holding full scale homicidal revolutions....and when I last looked I didn`t see another comparable existing nation or civilsation that could claim that for itself.

    Ok ..it`s exported slavery to china and wars to Europe and got itself and many others into horrific levels of debt etc....but my thought is that after a thorough process of global truth and reconciliation (and the cancelling of debt?) mankind could use the USA`s network of markets and its CIA and it media and the internet.... to reform the world economy into something fairer which uses the best of capitalism and public ownership and localism etc.

    It would have to be a real break from the obsessive individualism and neoliberalism that is taking mankind over a cliff....but I sense the problems in North Africa and on the US border with Central America are something we can`t deal with by changing political constitutions or running away behind our borders.

    To be frank ...over the centuries our piracy and exploitation have created a very unequal unstable and overpopulated world...and we need to stop playacting party politics and meddling in an exploitive way and create a sort of global war cabinet to tackle the problems we have created....calling in the best brains and really tryingto engage our fellow man in the process.

    OK ..it`s off the wall..just ideas...but it beats pulling faces and mocking each other`s political views!

    Complain about this comment

  • 145. At 11:16pm on 05 Feb 2011, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #127

    So a new Egyptian administration might not be friendly to Israel ? Right on - it's way past time to put an end to the infamies visited upon the Palestinian people by the Israelis, and the sooner the US stops blindly and one-sidedly supporting the jewish agenda the better for the whole world.
    ___
    there are no infamioes putting on the Palestinians only little Israel defending itslef against ilsamnic terrorists fiananced by Iran.

    Hope the protester in Egypt know if they let the Moslem Brotherhood get into power, Murburak's reign will seem like Utopia especially if you a woman or Christian.

    Don't be fooled by the lies of the Nbaka!

    Complain about this comment

  • 146. At 11:18pm on 05 Feb 2011, Stevenson wrote:

    Amir, dont fret ...

    you know what? I thought you were going to die, a few days ago, then I realized I was on an old page...

    Also, time heals all things...work beckons

    Complain about this comment

  • 147. At 11:29pm on 05 Feb 2011, mabelwhite wrote:

    Would a Chick-fil-a be able to open in Cairo if there is a regime change ...?

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/02/04/chick-fil-a-controversy-shines-light-on-restaurants-christian-dna/?hpt=C1

    Complain about this comment

  • 148. At 11:43pm on 05 Feb 2011, Chryses wrote:

    Stevenson, (#135. At 10:06pm on 05 Feb 2011)
    Evidence, evidence, evidence....that is all anyone ever says...hmmmph"
    Not at all. Some posters to these threads prefer imagination, fantasy, illusion, and fiction. You know who they are!

    Complain about this comment

  • 149. At 11:51pm on 05 Feb 2011, MahatmaBlondie wrote:

    It seems to me that most everyone posting here is disobeying the "House Rules"....but I digress,

    I'm an American. In fact I can trace my relatives back to the American Revolution, riding alongside George Washington. Before that, England.
    I like the English. I like GB. I buy English products (mostly automotive). I enjoy the English sense of humo(u)r. It pains me to continually see "Americans" "Yanks" "Septics" pigeonholed into categories varying from evil, stunted, uneducated,(insert perjorative here) and it gets quite old. Not all of us ( in fact most) agree with the policies of the White House, and not all of us like his almightiness Barack Obama( I think Mr Obama's Whitehouse will be in big trouble very soon). To be clear, not all of us "Yanks" are even CLOSE to the narrowminded sterotypes and rhetoric I see here. I would be "chuffed to bits" if I ever saw a positive comment about America, as it seems to me that you (collectively) sound as biased and whiny as you claim Americans are. It saddens me.

    Oh, and not all of us drive gas guzzling or automatic transmission cars...

    Complain about this comment

  • 150. At 00:03am on 06 Feb 2011, Stevenson wrote:

    take ur mind off it, mr Amir and watch something else,

    that is what i do,

    remember that assassination attempt of Rep Giffords? (us democratic govt rep gunned down by insane person)

    it made my blood pressure go up cuz i thought it was tea party uprising gone
    violent.

    So I know that I must go and watch a movie :)))

    Complain about this comment

  • 152. At 00:07am on 06 Feb 2011, Stevenson wrote:

    mahatma blondie ...hehehe good one...think its in good taste :)

    And PMK, A G-suit, until I get to know you better

    :))

    Complain about this comment

  • 153. At 00:22am on 06 Feb 2011, as is wrote:

    141. At 10:47pm on 05 Feb 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    125. At 9:32pm on 05 Feb 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    ""re: 109 peterbo The Iranian strategic goal of a Gazaization of Egypt has been pretty obvious for long time. ...""

    "So, you are saying that shiite and Persian Iran is somehow directly involved in fomenting the current protests in sunni and Arab Egypt?"

    "Do you have some evidence of this?"

    [[ It's because Iran is obviously behind the high unemployment in the North African States, and the young man in Tunisia who set himself on fire was obviously an Iranian/AlQueda/Taliban/Stalinist/Maoist/Shining Path terrorist with links to Pyongyang ...]]

    [[ The 3/4 of the protesters in Tahrir square who didn't participate in Friday prayers? They're just Iranian secret agents instructed not to pray so that people will be tricked into thinking they are secular protesters ...]]

    ______________________________________________________________



    You don't seem to realize that the unemployed/those who set themselves on fire/non-praying in the Tahrir square do not belong to any political organization that articulates any political program and policies. They are the mob, the decor. As such, they and their passion/enthusiasm/despair/hope are destined to be utilized/consumed/whatever more cynical word you may select.

    The only organized political force of any significance in Egypt, outside the Mubarak party and its affiliates, is the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood happens to have certain ties with Iran. The most visible form of co-operation is Sunni Hamas, an arm of the Brotherhood financed and supported by Iran.


    Once you realize that, you may restrain your revolutionary zest, and re-think your post. No, Iran and the Brothers are not behind the high unemployment, but they stand to gain politically, if allowed.

    Complain about this comment

  • 154. At 00:25am on 06 Feb 2011, McJakome wrote:

    140. At 10:29pm on 05 Feb 2011, blefuscu wrote:
    129. At 9:41pm on 05 Feb 2011, JMM wrote:

    64. At 4:41pm on 05 Feb 2011, Rich wrote:
    "'Israel nevertheless is a real democracy.'

    Um, no it certainly is not!"


    Blefuscu, I am not sure why you quoted me at length here, as you don't seem to have made a point relative to my post. We don't seem to completely disagree on things, though our points of view are definitely different.

    In #136 you made a valid comment about my previous post. The big picture, however is much less clear than either of us have indicated. The following is very commonly spoken in the Middle East,
    "The friend of my friend is my friend, the friend of my enemy is my enemy, the enemy of my friend is my enemy and the enemy of my enemy is my friend."
    Then there is the old Arab one,
    "Me against my brother, my brother and me against our cousins, me, my brother and our cousins against....."

    While it is true that the US was backing Iraq against Iran, before the Islamic Republic, if memory serves me correctly, the US supported Iran against Iraq, AFTER Iraq had been taken over by the USSR friendly Ba'ath party [which was soon userped by Saddam] and left the CENTO alliance with the US, Turkey and Iran.

    You can check it out if you are unsure, but I was in Iran for part of that and I am sure that the overall picture is correct. Imperial Iran and Iraq had a dust up over the Shatt al Arab, but full-scale war did not happen until after the Khomeini Revolution.

    If you want I can detail the antecedent history of Reza Shah being too friendly to the Axis, and being forced to abdicate to his son [mostly British/USSR pressure], followed by the Russians trying to grab all of Azerbaidjan with Tudeh [a local communist front] as well as the Caspian coast. This last pulled in the US to thwart Russo/USSR expansion. This later led to the leftophobic American mistake in ousting Mossadegh in favor of rinstalling Mohammad Reza Shah.

    Is that clear, or do you wish me back up a bit to the British occupation of Bushir and the Qajar Dynasty?

    Complain about this comment

  • 155. At 00:53am on 06 Feb 2011, Chee29 wrote:

    Country in 'pursuing national interest' shocker.

    Complain about this comment

  • 156. At 01:00am on 06 Feb 2011, Riqueña wrote:

    Please remember to include Puerto Rico when you write about the Spanish American War or US colonies. Puerto Rico was a colony of Spain for 400 years and a colony of the US since the Spanish American War of 1898. We are the largest colony of all the US "unincorporated territories", with nearly four million people. And yes, we did not experience liberty as part of the US takeover of the island.

    Complain about this comment

  • 157. At 01:36am on 06 Feb 2011, as is wrote:

    Lost in the Egypt chaos:



    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/wikileaks/8304654/WikiLeaks-cables-US-agrees-to-tell-Russia-Britains-nuclear-secrets.html


    Not to worry, just another mundane betrayal of another ally by the BHO administration.

    Complain about this comment

  • 159. At 02:07am on 06 Feb 2011, sqmylmn wrote:

    ..apart from 'clash of civilizations' post cold-war...maybe from america's perspective it's about choosing the lesser of the evils (towards america)..or the most profitable or controllable one!!

    Complain about this comment

  • 160. At 02:31am on 06 Feb 2011, ugo guido wrote:

    The USA is a Democratic Nation inside... and an Empire outside.
    As a democracy USA defends democracy around the World but its a Super-Power and its interests are those of an Empire.
    As an Empire USA will defend and attack all sorts of Goverments.
    I am positive that the people of Egypt will lose a great chance to exercise true democracy due to this American dilemma.
    The USA creates more problems than it solves.

    Complain about this comment

  • 161. At 02:34am on 06 Feb 2011, Jahbulon wrote:

    The events of the past 60 years show me clearly that only double standards govern the world. I just want to name a few and let you conclude:

    1. The US and many western countries supported Apartheid in South Africa for more than 50 years (there were may German and American companies operating in SA during that time)

    2. The CIA killed Lumumba in the Congo and imposed Mobutu Sessesseko on 40 million people for 32 years! in exchange for diamond and support for Savimbi in Angola.

    3. The CIA killed Krumah in Ghana (first Ghanean president) because he wanted to free his people from the neo-colonial rule.

    4. The CIA supported Savimbi in Angola for 26 years (up to 2 million dead)

    5. The CIA killed the Iranian first elected prime minister and imposed the Shah on Iran for 27 years until the revolution toppled him in 1979.

    6. The CIA imposed Pinochet on Chile and for 17 years he killed tens of thousands.

    7. The CIA imposed Suharto on Indonesia for 32 years

    8. The US has been propping up middle eastern dictators since the oil discovery in the Arabic peninsula.

    9. The US closes its eyes whenever Israel slaughters Palestinians and label it the only democracy in the region (an ethnic democracy maybe!).

    10. The CIA supported one side and fueled the civil war in Nicaragua for decades

    Should I continue? where are human rights in all of this.
    Beware of the double language of the diplomats, it has nothing to do with human rights support, it has something to do with economic interests and that's all.

    Complain about this comment

  • 162. At 02:35am on 06 Feb 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    re: 142 blefscu The best bit is that he did. The 70 million for whom the 'Day of this', or 'the Day of that' was just a load of inconvenient nonsense.

    Egypt is changing. Has been changing. Will change. It's a great country but it doesn't appreciate sound biting foreigners telling them what to do.


    Speaking of 'sound biting foreigners telling them what to do,' I dare say you yourself display a great deal of chutzpah in setting yourself up as spokesperson for 70 million people.

    And evidence more cynicism than the devil himself as cheerleader for a police state in its moment of crisis.

    But whatever. You are entitled to your opinion.

    Complain about this comment

  • 163. At 02:46am on 06 Feb 2011, south pacific wrote:

    All this talk about liberty, freedom of speech and the pursuit of happiness may have been uttered by those leading the US uprising against Britain. But did it have any meaning there after??

    The US government, like other governments, are only guided by self interest.

    The US and the rest of the West will back anyone who work in their interest.

    They don't give a stuff about the welfare of Egyptians.

    Complain about this comment

  • 164. At 03:08am on 06 Feb 2011, McJakome wrote:

    156. At 01:00am on 06 Feb 2011, Riqueña wrote:
    "Please remember to include Puerto Rico when you write about the Spanish American War or US colonies. Puerto Rico was a colony of Spain for 400 years and a colony of the US since the Spanish American War of 1898. We are the largest colony of all the US "unincorporated territories", with nearly four million people. And yes, we did not experience liberty as part of the US takeover of the island."

    If you really are a Borinquena, you are an independentista, meaning your view is held by about 10% of the Puerto Rican electorate. The remaining 90% are split almost equally between the Statehood party and the Status Quo party.

    Your leftist propaganda seems to be less than persuasive to a large majority of Borinquenos, which is possibly the reason for your sour attitude. You are also dishonest. Puerto Rico has frequent plebiscites in which the people vote for the three positions here. Their votes can easily be found on the internet.

    "El Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico" is not a colony, it is a self governing commonwealth in voluntary association with the US, which it is free to dissolve, make permanent or continue at the will of the people.
    You have an elected government and are therefore freer than people in Cuba.

    Having said that, which is nothing less than absolute truth, who has total freedom? You could, if your were being honest, make a case that the US bribes the Puerto Rican people to remain in association.

    Independence would mean no right of entry to the US without passport and visa. It would also mean Puerto becoming another relatively poor caribbean island country needing to pay for its own army and inventing it's own weak currency, and with too few jobs for the population.

    That the people have so far listened to the voice of self interest rather than independence and poverty is a very convincing exercise of the liberty you say they don't have.

    Complain about this comment

  • 165. At 03:23am on 06 Feb 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    re 153 peterbo The Muslim Brotherhood happens to have certain ties with Iran. The most visible form of co-operation is Sunni Hamas, an arm of the Brotherhood financed and supported by Iran.

    'Certain ties?' Well, maybe. But this is already a very, very long way from your inititial assertion that the Brotherhood is an instrument of Iran's 'gazaization' policy for Egypt.

    And as far as the actual relationship between Ikhwan in Egypt and Iran ... show me the money.

    This is a link to a very, very pro-Israeli analyst, who must conclude that the 'link,' between Hamas and Iran, while extant, is still in the process of being 'redefined.' No mention at all of the relationship between Iran and Ikhwan in Egypt.

    And just as a counterpoint, another view arguing that Ikhwan is different because Egypt is culturally distinct, and profoundly so, from Iran.

    Complain about this comment

  • 166. At 03:34am on 06 Feb 2011, McJakome wrote:

    160. At 02:31am on 06 Feb 2011, ugo guido wrote an extremely interesting take on the quandary of power in a seriously conflicted country. I don't agree with all of it, but it deserves more thought.

    161. At 02:34am on 06 Feb 2011, Jahbulon wrote about some real things then distorted and propagandized them. I think I will sic Chryses on Jahbulon, he likes pulling apart such foolish, because easily checked, propaganda efforts.

    NOTE: There is some truth hidden among the dross [or is it drekh?] and maybe I will come back and try to straighten it out tomorrow.


    163. At 02:46am on 06 Feb 2011, south pacific wrote:

    "The US and the rest of the West will back anyone who work in their interest.

    They don't give a stuff about the welfare of Egyptians."

    This is almost correct, as far as it goes. Do you think that Russia [USSR in the past] is or was any different? Do you think China is any different [they support the Kim hereditary Communist slave state]? In fact do you know of any country with any power and any global reach who behaves any differently? So what is your point, then?


    Complain about this comment

  • 167. At 03:57am on 06 Feb 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    re: 157 peterbo Not to worry, just another mundane betrayal of another ally by the BHO administration.


    Seems, surprise surprise, that there's more to the story. The State Department responds: Contrary to @TelegraphNews claim, we carried forward requirement to notify #Russia about U.S.-UK nuclear cooperation from the 1991 treaty.

    The link here.

    Complain about this comment

  • 168. At 04:01am on 06 Feb 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    153. At 00:22am on 06 Feb 2011, peterbo wrote:

    "Once you realize that, you may restrain your revolutionary zest, and re-think your post. No, Iran and the Brothers are not behind the high unemployment, but they stand to gain politically, if allowed."

    __________

    Well that's just too bad.

    It is amazing how the automatons who slavishly support Likud/AIPAC can come up with no end of excuses for denying other people the basic civil rights that they themselves take for granted.

    If the Moslem Brotherhood stands to gain, then they stand to gain, and if they don't they don't. Sooner or later Egyptians have got to have the right to vote for whatever government they please, whether it pleases you or not. And once they have chosen that government then they are going to have to live with that choice.

    That's how nations learn to become democracies.

    Stop making excuses to deny other people the rights you take for granted.

    Complain about this comment

  • 169. At 04:04am on 06 Feb 2011, DCHeretic wrote:

    Since the beginning of time there have been autocrats and "bad guys." Their existence is a painful reality. To refuse to deal with dictators is to cut your country off from international diplomacy. The US does nothing that every other country in the world is also doing.

    Take, for example, Cuba. Let me begin by stating that I believe that US policy towards Cuba is woefully misguided. But most nations in the world have diplomatic and commercial ties with Cuba despite the irrefutable truth that the Castro brothers are dictators and that the Cuban people do not have the same economic and political freedoms that generally fall under the definition of "human rights." When the subject of Cuban authoritarianism arises on the BBC, I hear the usual leftist mumbling about "free health care," and that the Cuban people spotted while on the way to posh, foreigners-only beach resorts "look happy."

    BBC posters have focused on the US during the recent unrest in North Africa despite the fact that most North African nations have much closer ties to former colonial masters in Europe than they do the US (Egypt is an obvious exception).

    The US has become the whipping boy for all of the excesses of the West. A few posters on this thread have referenced the tragic experience of the Native Americans in the US. Where is the outrage about Canada's treatment of the Native Americans? What about the experience of the indigenous people of Australia? Spain was perfectly genocidal in its romp across the Western Hemisphere, and yet that is a subject that is never addressed by BBC posters. Stolen South American gold gilds the cities of Europe and could boost the coffers of poor Latin American nations, yet Europeans are pleased to ignore the origins of their ill-begotten wealth. European imperialism drew the borders of many nations and created the state of Israel, but the resulting tension is now somehow the exclusive fault of the US.

    One disturbing trend that I see among BBC posters is the tendency to ignore the fact that there were at least two opposing sides in every conflict. One cannot discuss the Vietnam War without acknowledging the existence of sovereign South Vietnam. The Shah of Iran had many thousands of supporters. Saddam Hussein was much loved by a faction of Iraqi society. During the Cold War, the CIA did not operate in a vacuum and its efforts were usually in response---offensive and defensive---to the Soviet KGB.

    The world is not as black-and-white as we would like to make it. While I do not believe in a world of good guys and bad guys, I do believe that ultimately the US has been better than most. We have a robust democracy that permits the airing of our dirty laundry and, more than any European nation, have attempted to come to grips with our national sins.

    Complain about this comment

  • 170. At 04:05am on 06 Feb 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    Oh, of course that's right.

    Peterbo is the same one who wnats to deny other people the right to vote in Canada, too, by the use of the bogus voter ID laws.

    Of course.

    Paranoid political leader.
    Given to bullying.
    Given to demonizing his opponents.
    Given to campaigning on the basis of lies.
    Rules in defiance of the majority of the people.

    No wonder he's keen to defend an autocratic leader who has little concern for civil rights:

    He's been defending the Mubarak of Sussex Drive all year, too.

    Complain about this comment

  • 171. At 04:29am on 06 Feb 2011, Amr wrote:

    141 Interestedforeigner
    "'So, you are saying that shiite and Persian Iran is somehow directly involved in fomenting the current protests in sunni and Arab Egypt?'"
    "'"Do you have some evidence of this?'"
    and
    125 chronophobe
    actually some Iranian spies were caught. There is also that suspicious Iranian congratulation for the success of our revolution which, by the way, actually made some of the protesters upset with Iran (i don't know the details, of course, except for what was published in newspapers and state TV). also, there is that guy who lead protesters for a while who confessed that there was an organized structure behind the scenes and they were using drugs to encourage more protesters to join. also, he heard words like "Amir El-gamaaa" (translated as prince of the group) if what he confessed is true, then i guess that's more than enough evidence. the confession was on state TV, so you're free not to believe it. (there were many witnesses and it seemed all real to me, but it's not up to me to decide if it's real or not)
    of course, i don't believe in conspiracy theories, so i'll assume that if what said was true, they moved things a little, but not as much as moving the entire crowd.
    158 The Cool Ruler Rides
    "seems like the stage is set to have Mr. Mubarak executed... and many Egyptian heads would fly right after (probably ones without beards)?
    It's the complete opposite in Blighty.. when you got a beard you're labeled > terrorist"
    actually, i was referring to some possible interference from the extremists on the course of events. you could see clearly that i wasn't that serious about this particular statement (come on, it's obvious!)
    "153. At 00:22am on 06 Feb 2011, peterbo wrote:
    The only organized political force of any significance in Egypt, outside the Mubarak party and its affiliates, is the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood happens to have certain ties with Iran. The most visible form of co-operation is Sunni Hamas, an arm of the Brotherhood financed and supported by Iran."
    i wouldn't have said it any better than you did.
    ====
    one final note, i think i'll try to check how the demonstrations are going today, or (since i usually avoid them like the plague) i'll check the rest of Alexandria. that's because i don't think my picture of how things are going is not valid any more. (i was very much aligned to those who do not participate in protests if you noticed. ironically, they're the majority of people. by the way, one of the guys who support the protesters said yesterday what meant that "the man of the street" - meaning those who do not care much about politics and mostly care about earning their living - will just have to accept what the protests will lead Egypt to. i didn't agree since that didn't sound very democratic to me at all.)
    ====
    one more thing: one of the extremists posted the reasons why "only an idiot wouldn't support that the protest should continue" his reasons included that we are not allowed to free Palestine etc..

    Complain about this comment

  • 172. At 04:52am on 06 Feb 2011, Amr wrote:

    this is not an accurate demographic analysis of how things are going in Egypt, but perhaps it could add to the understanding of the whole picture
    most older people and bigger families already have a stable life. they wouldn't go protesting and the major reason they'd be a little upset of the regime is when their sons cannot get jobs.
    in the country side, this includes also the younger people except those who did not take the trade of their parents (farming or tourism-related etc) they enjoyed a stable life (but lately farmers are starting to earn less specially after the financial crisis, so)
    the younger people did not find the same chance that their parents found (i'm unemployed, even though i went through many jobs before, but i made a way for myself. others just want a ready job) that unemployment problem and the low salaries could easily trigger their anger since they are not as patient as their parents. besdies, back in the old days, most of their parents were employed as soon as they graduated (it's not the same case now since the state can no longer employ the increasing graduated people)
    older people take average salaries that is around $ 300 a month (due to years of experience while ... (i was offered a job with a salary of $ 21 dollars a month before and my family was upset that i didn't accept it, but that was 2 years ago)
    the last elections were purposefully ignored by many political parties, including the Brotherhood, so it's not entirely the ruling party's fault. (even though they are responsible a great deal. the whole thing was stupid to me because it made the country seem like "the country with the one and only one political party in charge") ok, it was a mistake and they should have noticed, but...?
    speaking about oppression and dictatorship is a sick joke. it was repeated so many times that almost everyone learnt to say it just like parrots. some mistakes happened. there was some corruption (it happens in any country even the USA.. come on!) however, there was - almost - a total freedom of speech and there was neither massive killings nor massive arrest.
    ok, the unemployed, those who just want a change, and older people who want to see their sons happy represent a large portion of the protesters. but, those who choose the demands and move things are either extremists, opportunistic political figures (like the parachutte) or plotters (or some hidden third-party like Iran, Qatar, USA or Palestine - by the way, i heard several times that Palestine hates Egypt, but i don't know how much this is true - , that's of course if you believe in conspiracy theories and larger-scale schemes)

    Complain about this comment

  • 173. At 05:05am on 06 Feb 2011, Amr wrote:

    many young guys are helping with protecting their families or organizing the streets and cleaning them. so, if we assumed these are the good guys, then .. who are the protesters? are they really the good guys? if you listened to the protesters - only - you'll be unfair to those who are helping their community and trying to make things get better. doesn't this sound like bullsh*t? also, i don't understand why the protesters complain about the death and wounded when they were a major player in it and caused the death and wounds of many themselves. it's very unfair of you, i understand, but it's even more unfair to the other people including those who didn't want to be dragged to this.
    is it like: when you provoke someone, so he angrily pushs you. you start screaming "he hit me, he hit me". once he moves away you start throwing him with stones. are they even serious? they didn't talk about their own violence or the damage they caused as if they were as innocent as angels! of course i'm sad for the dead and the wounded on both sides and it's a horrible experience, but i don't like to see it misused by media

    Complain about this comment

  • 174. At 05:33am on 06 Feb 2011, PlanetEnglish wrote:

    Mark,
    Your comments appear to be in synch with the French position vis-a-vis the English speaking cousins USA+UK.
    So long as the French benefit from being part of "The West", France goes along; when things go wrong, the French blame the USA and stick them into trouble.
    They did this in Vietnam, now in the Gulf. And many more.
    The French, nay the EU positions, on most world affairs is indeed nothing but a desire to create a New Roman Empire.
    They have been at the recieving end since 1814 - and are have created the EU for revenge.
    UK created Planet English - and we have to stay on the winning team, not switch sides and cross over to the French/EU positions on Wordl Affairs.
    The UK has had difficulties with the USA - like it has had difficulties with India - but please remember that USA and India were the two fulcrum that were key to the Rise of Planet English.
    The UK cannot be party to the Fall of Planet English - and the Rise of the New Roman EUmpire.
    Our American cousins are having diffculty running the World - just like UK had when it was in this position. Together we staved off the USSR, together we shall stave off the EUSSR as well.
    Lets stay with the winning team - that we created.

    Complain about this comment

  • 175. At 05:48am on 06 Feb 2011, sayasay wrote:

    Hi Amr @ #173

    Just heard on BBC, Muslim Brotherhood will join the others for the 'big pow wow' to decide on the new Egypt for the Egyptians.
    Seems even, President Hussein of the USA wants to keep his distance and leave it to you guys to sort it out.

    Almost similar to our earlier discussion. Looks like the Suharto dismissal is the model of change, they are following.
    If so, Egypt will honour all its international obligations till the next upcoming elections.

    Perhaps even the old soldier-patriot Mubarack is like the old soldier-patriot Suharto; then, Mubarack will not leave Egypt despite being dismissed.

    Complain about this comment

  • 176. At 06:26am on 06 Feb 2011, David Cunard wrote:

    #37. GodBlessAnimals: "(The USA) conveniently decides what people from other countries want and jump in to "save" them, mostly uninvited."

    As a supporter of Obama after he defeated Mrs Clinton, I was surprised and disappointed to read that he said in public that Egypt's transition to new leadership "must begin now." Although the 'leader of the free world', how patronising to use the word "must" to the president of another sovereign state; it seems to me the antithesis of diplomacy. One of Tony Blair's favourite words was "got" and in that respect he has a well-learned student. There can be no 'got' or 'must' about high level diplomacy, the thin end of the wedge toward forceful implementation. The last time an American president inferred 'must' and the British prime minister acquiesced, look where that landed us. This is not to say that pressure should not be brought upon Mubarak, but speaking to him as a naughty schoolboy can only serve to make him stick his heels in. The later softening of his words, calling him a patriot and urging him to consider his legacy was too late. Insulting language can never be taken back. Had the presidency eluded him, I submit that he would never have found success in the Diplomatic Corps.

    Complain about this comment

  • 177. At 06:34am on 06 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    145 Blondie...I think you have the wrong department madam...romantic fiction is to the left and perfumery straight ahead!

    Complain about this comment

  • 178. At 06:54am on 06 Feb 2011, Amr wrote:

    175 sayasay
    i'm beginning to think that what you said may have been the best solution. now, it does seem that there is no real way out except with the people obeying the protesters' demands to mess up everything in Egypt. perhaps we should have started getting to know who are the available candidates are and what there plans are
    but, wait a second! they don't even have plans! the Brotherhood started supporting the protest with all its weight (and they represent a considerable percentage of the population)
    i noticed that some of the 'tactics' they used in the protest seem just very strategic as if they're not just 'unorganized' leaderless group? seriously? leaderless? why do people have to listen to a body without a mind? no, i was wrong to say this, there is a mastermind who is moving things, but he's hidden from people
    ok, i agree. we had many problems (unemployment - poverty - lack of strong opposition etc this sort of thing). a change is a great idea. now, some wisdom is needed. how do you expect to fund the supposed change when everything that was once fundamental in the city was razed to the ground? (i don't mean buildings, rather people and leaders)and i assure you that since they don't have a plan (since they're leaderless, right?) probably the brotherhood made a plan for them for the next 5 years. once the brotherhood influence gets stronger, even i won't stop to think. i'll just 'obey' whatever i'm ordered to do even if it's launching to a war. that's the price of shutting the rest of the Egyptians and favoring the protesters. (by the way, i'm not sad anymore because i don't know this place. it doesn't feel like my country and i don't know it. i'm just enjoying this hollywood movie)
    USA, you may have just shot yourself in the foot. trust me, even if they're thinking about 'removing a dictator', what they're really doing now is just replacing him with a 'worse' dictator. perhaps the Extremists effct won't be direct, but it will be probably overwhelming. those who prefer peace here think it's USA business to clear up this mess on its own. Egyptians have no longer even have the choice of saying their word.
    let's say i didn't come here. what would you have thought?
    "that everything is going great. the revolution is what all the Egyptians want and that the brotherhood will bring peace to the world. Egyptians are thrilled with seeing the blood and destruction just like once Nero felt." NO. that's not true. Most of the Egyptians are sad. most of them want things to work out well. we all want things to be better, but with patience and caution. who is going to fund the changes now? USA? can you lend us a few hundred billions of dollars, USA?
    the BBC was luckily neutral. you did make interviews with people from both sides. that's why i stayed here. all people who came here said the truth except for the stupidly fabricated video ("We saw people dying"). the speaker didn't even sound Egyptian at all, or at least wasn't living in Egypt.

    Complain about this comment

  • 179. At 06:59am on 06 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    156 Riquena..Good to hear from you.

    I am aware that most people seem to know very little history today and this makes them prey to propoganda and oversimplification and fascist ideas.

    We constantly hear of the problems in the world allegedly caused by Muslims and Jews..but I often feel that "Christian" sects get a very easy ride.

    Now I know many people in the third world and second world are devoutly religious ...but it worries me that some christian and other religious sects are still promoting what amounts to world overpopulation.

    I know that Puerto Rico and the Phillipines passed from Spanish to American control ages ago ...but their real imperial power was then and remains the Vatican...with Haitian levels of population growth as a result.

    Is there any sign that your country is addressing the world problem of overpopulation ....or do you continue to do what my Irish and Scottish ancestors did ...and carry on having large families and simply exporting excess numbers for other countries to worry about?

    Complain about this comment

  • 180. At 07:09am on 06 Feb 2011, Amr wrote:

    175 sayasay
    the problem now isn't totally about Mubarak himself. let's face facts, he's old, no he's very old! who would go here and there negotiating and trying to please over 86 million of people while at the same time trying to reserve peace in a very critical area? if he's as rich as they claim, then why didn't he try to enjoy a quiet life away from all this **** long ago?
    it's not as simple as playing the role that USA wishes (i won't mention puppets). let's say he did what the USA and protesters want. then what? did the USA think about this? did the protesters think about this? all i keep hearing: once you press the delete button the story will be written on its own. is this fooling anyone? not me!
    it's ironic because even those supporting protesters are actually seeking my help! i warned them that it's only a matter of time before the protesters and the USA receive the "thank you for your cooperation" from the Brotherhood. all i hear is: USA will prevent this; it's their duty. (while i must say i'm already very disappointed when it comes to USA role) then i hear the suggestion that i must be voting with them to prevent the dangerous increase of power of the Brotherhood. why???? i don't care about politics in the first place. they didn't even ask me for my opinion when they started runing my town and deciding what changes they want. even when i say i'm doing what i'm doing for you, not for me... what else do i have to swallow with the rest of the Egyptians? any more bullsh*t?

    Complain about this comment

  • 181. At 07:15am on 06 Feb 2011, sayasay wrote:

    #178 Amr

    Mubarack will resign soon, but, I don't think he will leave the country. In fact, Mubarack would probably prefer the sanctuary of Egypt.
    In fact, he is not even afraid of being tried, he is a war hero-patriot; it is the new Egypt criminal justice system that has to prove to Mubarack that it knows how to dispense fairer justice. There will be nothing like the Iraqi 'revenge-courts' in Egypt.

    Mubarack in essence was law-abiding since he made a lot laws. And he maintained his side of the international agreements.

    And if the soldier-patriot Mubarack wants to stay, Egypt must allow it and provide him protective custody.

    Complain about this comment

  • 182. At 07:20am on 06 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    169 DC Heretic writes an excellent broadside and corrective to my prejudices and preconceptions and lefty BBC-type thinking.....and if there were lots more like me on this blog he would have a stronger overall case for suggesting bias.

    However...the western media are almost completely dominated by people whose attitudes and values might well have qualified them for membership of movements like the National Socialists and extreme Zionists not so long ago...or the capitalist extremists behind global capitalism today.

    So I will keep free thinking my way through my old age ...and resist attempts to bully me into silence fom Washington DC and wherever else they come! Tu Che Guevara?

    Complain about this comment

  • 183. At 07:30am on 06 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    Thanks Amr...really useful information...keep us posted. Shame we don`t have people in Iran and Israel like you to keep us grounded and out of the clutches of the propogandists?

    Complain about this comment

  • 184. At 07:38am on 06 Feb 2011, Amr wrote:

    181 sayasay
    there is a small problem about this, although it's mostly true. he's a national hero to all Egyptians, but not the Brotherhood. the Brotherhood are extensions of Hamas and Iran. According to the Brotherhood, 6th of October was was not a victory and Mubarak is not a hero. In fact, the only kind of victory that they would accept is when Israel is eradicated. so, don't be surprised if Mubarak gets eventually assassinated or executed. (but, perhaps then people will wake up and start seeing the truth behind all this)
    if Hamas and Iran don't care about Egyptian lives, then the Brotherhood will just think the exact same thing.
    ======
    i didn't mean BBC fabricated that video. the speaker was either very well educated (not according to Egyptian standards), or didn't live in Egypt for some time, before the protest. and it wasn't only about the language. every word said was carefully chosen and even the tone was just too good
    did i say that Egyptians are simple, straightforward and prefer life to be simple?
    by the way, i sincerely apologize for my typos and language mistakes.

    Complain about this comment

  • 185. At 07:39am on 06 Feb 2011, sayasay wrote:

    #178 Amr
    Below to replace my #181... too many typos.

    Mubarack will resign soon, but, I don't think he will leave the country. He would probably prefer the sanctuary of Egypt.
    I don’t think he even afraid of being tried, he is a war hero-patriot; it is the new Egypt criminal justice system that has to prove to Mubarack that it knows how to dispense fair justice. There will be nothing like the Iraqi 'revenge-courts' in Egypt.
    Mubarack in essence was law-abiding since he made a lot laws. And he maintained his side of the international agreements.
    And if the soldier-patriot Mubarack wants to stay, Egypt must allow it and provide him safe custody. This could prevent the radicalization of Egypt.

    Can you imagine a worsened Egypt than Mubarack’s Egypt while the old soldier is still around in the vicinity?

    Complain about this comment

  • 186. At 07:53am on 06 Feb 2011, Amr wrote:

    183 worcesterjim
    i hope it's really useful and that i'm not just fooling myself. i'm trying to balance things a little. if a group of people was afraid to say what they really think, then say good bye to freedom.
    if you meant this in a sarcastic way, then i understand your reasons. it's probably because much of what i'm saying is speculations and worries and that i seem like i'm supporting the current system. that truth is i'm trying to see what people really want here so that i could support their choice. i don't want to be blinded by the too many loud voices or by the rumors.
    if i seem annoying to anyone here, it's ok to tell me.

    Complain about this comment

  • 187. At 08:34am on 06 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    186..I was conscious that you might interpret my comment as veiled sarcasm Amr....so can I assure you that I meant what I said...I DO value your posts.

    It just seemed to me that there`s so many third rate tortuous double-buffing and over-interpretation and clumsy attempts to scare people into accepting extreme views ... that I have made a conscious attempt to resist saying things like "and that`s not irony or snideness...it`s what I ACTUALLY mean"

    Have a safe day!

    Complain about this comment

  • 188. At 08:57am on 06 Feb 2011, BienvenueEnLouisiana wrote:

    Hello everyone; I'm back after experiencing technical difficulties with my computer which prevented me from accessing the internet. Mark, you hit the nail on the head with your analysis about America's complex foreign policy regarding dictators and revolutions. I don't have much more to say at the moment due to how late it is, but I will say that some events are so profound that they sweep away the old order of the world; we are witnessing one of those rare moments, and I dare not miss it by obsessing over every US interference since the establishment of the Monroe Doctrine.


    Complain about this comment

  • 189. At 09:07am on 06 Feb 2011, Fred Brun wrote:

    Mr. Wisner, a former ambassador to Egypt, was sent by President Obama to Cairo on Monday to urge Mr. Mubarak to step down. Yesterday, however, he said that, in his view, Mr Mubarak should stay in office to steer these changes through. Obama’s state department came out with a statement denying that this was the official position of the US government.So is this the view of just a well-informed expert on Egypt? Or a glimpse from Mr Obama's special envoy of the real game plan in Washington? Does the US really want Mubarak to go? Or is this another example of the famous American double speak?

    Complain about this comment

  • 190. At 09:09am on 06 Feb 2011, Amr wrote:

    187 worcesterjim
    thanks (i get easily worried about political sarcasm since i had to study books before like animal farm, gulliver's travels, faithful ruslan - by Georgi Vladimov. perhaps you won't find an English version for this one - etc)
    the church that was attacked by terrorists last month is not far from here. also, in the past 3 months i had to refuse many tasks that i was asked to do. that includes papers that were attacking Christianity as a religion (i was asked not to tell anyone about these papers) and some papers that support sending weapons to Hamas and boycotting American products and all Egyptian companies that deal with America. and the people who asked me to do these tasks were actually nice people. (but, i'm not really sure about this anymore)
    anyway, such things don't really mean there is any sort of danger. it just means that some people here have extremist views. Egypt is big enough to provide some space for all views (perhaps similar to the USA)

    Complain about this comment

  • 191. At 09:24am on 06 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    189 Mr Brun ..after a few weeks of reading all this stuff from America and Israel and the rest of the world I am left wondering how anyone leaves the White House with their sanity intact.

    What is wrong with all you people? You would start a fight in an empty room!

    I could see more sense in all your bovine carping and bickering if the people who really decide American policy allowed US politicians to do anything...but your so called democracy is a complete farce in which people wander about shouting the word "change" when it`s obvious that whoever "wins" elections the military industrial religious complex carry on running the show regardless.

    Obama can`t do right for doing wrong....so it`s just as well he never gets the chance! Isn`t it time you people found out who does run America and engaged with them?

    Complain about this comment

  • 192. At 09:30am on 06 Feb 2011, Amr wrote:

    185 sayasay
    i'll have to delay my comment for a couple of hours. i hope it's ok

    Complain about this comment

  • 193. At 09:56am on 06 Feb 2011, mario1987 wrote:

    Rich wrote:

    "Israel nevertheless is a real democracy."

    "Um, no it certainly is not! Israel describes itself as a Jewish State some non-Jews can vote, but not in any meaningful way - their voting block is restricted"

    All Israelis can vote, including all non-Jews, not just some. In fact restriction of person rights on basis or ethnicity or religion would be unconstitutional in Israel( by Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty).Do you know of any group or person in Israel that is denied voting rights, or prevented from voting? In Israeli parliament, there are Arab nationalist party(Balad), and even Islamist party (United Arab List), that has regular relations with Hamas. So how their voting block restricted in any way? Do you know any party in Israel,ever, that was banned, except for Kach, Jewish party that was banned for being racist?

    Also what the problem with Jewish state being democratic? French state can be democratic, German, Polish,Spanish and other nation states can be, but Jewish for some reason can`t?

    You may not like Israeli policies,or actions, its legitimate, but its not make Israel any less of a democracy. Majority of people can honestly have different opinion that yours.

    I also wholly support Egyptian people struggle against oppression. Yes, relationship with Israel probably will be hurt in short term, but I think that if Egypt will become a democracy,its people will have more access to information and truth about Israel and its people, and more opportunity to have cultural ties with Israel without fear, then peace will became true peace between nations, not just peace between leaders.

    Complain about this comment

  • 194. At 09:58am on 06 Feb 2011, Fred Brun wrote:

    worcesterjim

    You seem to do most of the carping on these blogs. If you are fed up with life withdraw deeper into your cave. The US has and continuous to meddle in the world. This may add humor to your day to day life but it adds real hardship to many people in the world like the Egyptians. Your sanctimonious and arrogant stance is typical of the society you live in. Clean your own backyard before lecturing the rest of the world.

    Complain about this comment

  • 195. At 10:25am on 06 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    194 Sorry Mr B...I hadn`t realised you took yourself so seriously! Perhaps when I have cleaned my own backyard we can get together and take on the herculean daunting task of cleaning yours?

    Complain about this comment

  • 196. At 11:21am on 06 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    "However, these "liberal democracies" you claim the U.S. has supported are nonexistent"











    So Germany, Japan and Republic of Korea are not democracies?



    Unlike, say, Burma, Cuba, Congo, Iran, Russia, Sudan or Venezuela? :-)))

    Complain about this comment

  • 197. At 11:28am on 06 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    blefuscu wrote:
    1. “Saddam and the Taliban were American creations that went 'rogue', like Kurtz in Coppola's 'Apocalypse, Now'.”








    Saddam and his SOCIALIST Bath Party were very much SOVIET creations, propped, financed and armed by Moscow till the bitter end.


    Taliban has been born (in 1994) in PAKISTAN's madrassas, with a little help from the Pakistani military intelligence (ISI).

    Of course not "useful idiot" (Lenin's expression) of "fellow traveller" would ever accept those irrefutable facts.

    Complain about this comment

  • 198. At 11:31am on 06 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

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

  • 199. At 11:36am on 06 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Interested Foreigner wrote :

    "Pax Americana has been a huge success overall."






    Watch out, IF!

    Although you re not an American you're going to get it, Im sure.

    Nobody will post here any positive comments about USA - with impunity.

    Complain about this comment

  • 200. At 11:40am on 06 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Fred Brun wrote:
    worcesterjim

    You seem to do most of the carping on these blogs. If you are fed up with life withdraw deeper into your cave.








    Could it be that worcesterjim is ideologically related to 'colonelartist'?

    [that Taliban spokesman, being unfortunately no longer with us]

    Complain about this comment

  • 201. At 11:43am on 06 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    BienvenueEnLouisiana ,



    Since British Petroleum have lost almost 5 billions in the last year, and is not drilling right now in the Gulf of Mexico,

    has a quality of your shrimp and crabs improved?

    [I used to simply love Louisiana gumbo]

    Complain about this comment

  • 202. At 11:53am on 06 Feb 2011, Amr wrote:

    185 sayasay
    it's out of control now. i don't really know what the protesters will demand next or who is moving them. i mean, everything i know in Egypt is already gone (the system and the leadership), so what's next? moving the focus to another country?
    ok, Mubarak have to resign. i totally agree. when will he resign? how to restore peace and stability before he resigns? what will happen after he resigns? after the whole system here has fallen, what will replace it? will it become something like Palestine, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iraq or Sudan? or will it evolve into something entirely different?
    it would calm many people if he continued living (even with the so many corruption rumors whether they are true or false)
    all people think it's not a bad idea to have a change, perhaps it's even a very good idea! (i think even Mr. Mubarak himself thinks the same)
    but, that's not what really happened? i don't see any signs of improvement. things have just been deteriorating in the past days. many people suffered, and i'm not talking about the injured and the people who lost their lives. (the poor got poorer; people are no longer equal.. come on, i feel like i've seen this scene before in history.)
    i watched some horrible videos a few minutes ago. i remember i watched one of them on tv before, but now they're spreading all over facebook and youtube. some mysterious vehicles ran over many people. this could suggest that Mubarak is directly responsible for these accidents, but.. is there a proof? i mean, it could be a businessman's doing, or perhaps it was a terrorist attack. is it Mubarak's supporters, rivals or a third-party's doing? i have no idea. i think the vice presidnet mentioned that the people behind these accidents will be investigated.
    of course if i said maybe it's not Mubarak (at least not directly) anyone will say that i'm naive.
    ok, let's say i started believing all the propaganda and said what they want me to say (Mubarak is behind all evil, isn't this what they want to say?) is something wrong with this picture? don't you think it is just very beneficial to his rivals? the main reasons that many people (even if they were affected by that propaganda) still want the transition to take all the time needed are:
    1. something seems very suspicious about the whole story. there were organized successive attacks. buildings that were attacked that directly almost only police buildings or prisons beside their vehicles resulting in a state of insecurity all over the country . the leaderless unorganized protests seem to be very well organized! and their demands just keep increasing and changing in a certain manner. ironically, the progress seems to be beneficial to the Brotherhood in a way that's just too perfect.
    i remember before the days when there was no internet i read a fb status of one of the guys that i don't know giving instructions of materials and tactics needed to be able to successfuly resist the police
    i just ignored it back then. it seemed too crazy
    2. most Christians, moderate Muslims and those who simply care for Egypt (specially old people) wouldn't want a quick transition because they are worried about the future. by the way, i noticed some increased rate (half a year ago, there was almost nothing of this sort) of verbal harassment towards Christians in both fb and in the streets.
    3. there is way too much propaganda that's against Mubarak and all of it support Extremists' point of view
    4. why such 'massive' killings never happened before the protests? don't tell me that an 82 years old man would do something this crazy.
    5. from my own experience, we had problems, but they were all normal problems that all countries have to deal with (check Poland and Greece, for example) i never saw a single sign of dictatorship (though i can't deny the opposition was weak) the Brotherhood had more problems than the rest (because they couldn't do what they really want to: for example, sending weapons to Hamas etc)
    many people would say the same:
    things were not good, but not very bad either

    Complain about this comment

  • 203. At 12:24pm on 06 Feb 2011, blefuscu wrote:

    172. At 04:52am on 06 Feb 2011, Amr wrote:

    this is not an accurate demographic analysis of how things are going in Egypt, but perhaps it could add to the understanding of the whole picture
    most older people and bigger families already have a stable life. they wouldn't go protesting and the major reason they'd be a little upset of the regime is when their sons cannot get jobs.

    ...............

    Glad to have read your many contributions...al jazeera hasn't done Egypt any favours in denying in the wall to wall 'twittering' the views of the majority of Egyptians.

    I was attacked as cynical or a supporter of a police state in its dying days. Who was I to speak for Egyptians!.

    I have visited Egypt a lot since 1993. First as a Luxor tourist (Karnak, Medinet Habu etc).

    I made good friends among people there. First through archaeology and secondly as a Catholic who feels an instinctive bond with the Coptic Church. I am in touch with my friends again now that the internet is back.

    My views are informed by direct friendships on the ground and the sharing of my families life with three families in Luxor.

    The criticism of my views is the clearest example of how outsiders deny Egyptians an adult and measured voice. They are revolution romantics who have answers to everything, but I listen, they preach.

    Best of luck to you, Amr.

    Complain about this comment

  • 204. At 12:38pm on 06 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Paul wrote:
    "I am English, and have lived in the USA for 20 years. When it comes to propaganda the American Government is the worlds foremost expert.[...]

    Personally, I live in a city in California where the unemployment is currently at 22%."






    So may I politely ask you what are you still doing there, rather than returning to you so well doing homeland?


    Which, to boot, doesn't suffer from its government's propaganda?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

    Complain about this comment

  • 205. At 12:55pm on 06 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Many Egyptian banks opened for the first time in a week, with long queues forming to withdraw money.[...]


    The government is seeking to revive an economy said to be losing at least $310m (£192m) a day." (BBC News)



    That's about a long and short of it.

    [Barack or Mubarak staying in power being largely immaterial]

    Complain about this comment

  • 206. At 1:23pm on 06 Feb 2011, blefuscu wrote:

    197. At 11:28am on 06 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    blefuscu wrote:
    1. “Saddam and the Taliban were American creations that went 'rogue', like Kurtz in Coppola's 'Apocalypse, Now'.”


    "Saddam and his SOCIALIST Bath Party were very much SOVIET creations, propped, financed and armed by Moscow till the bitter end."

    Powermeerkat, please read this from the Guardian in 2002. Perhaps you will reconsider your assertion.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2002/dec/31/iraq.politics

    Complain about this comment

  • 207. At 2:19pm on 06 Feb 2011, as is wrote:

    V168. At 04:01am on 06 Feb 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    153. At 00:22am on 06 Feb 2011, peterbo wrote:

    "Once you realize that, you may restrain your revolutionary zest, and re-think your post. No, Iran and the Brothers are not behind the high unemployment, but they stand to gain politically, if allowed."

    __________

    Well that's just too bad.

    It is amazing how the automatons who slavishly support Likud/AIPAC can come up with no end of excuses for denying other people the basic civil rights that they themselves take for granted.

    If the Moslem Brotherhood stands to gain, then they stand to gain, and if they don't they don't. Sooner or later Egyptians have got to have the right to vote for whatever government they please, whether it pleases you or not. And once they have chosen that government then they are going to have to live with that choice.

    That's how nations learn to become democracies."


    ____________________________________________________


    You mean, that's how Gaza became a democracy? The (Muslim) world around your armchair works a bit differently.

    Complain about this comment

  • 208. At 2:24pm on 06 Feb 2011, as is wrote:

    165. At 03:23am on 06 Feb 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    re 153 peterbo The Muslim Brotherhood happens to have certain ties with Iran. The most visible form of co-operation is Sunni Hamas, an arm of the Brotherhood financed and supported by Iran.

    'Certain ties?' Well, maybe. But this is already a very, very long way from your inititial assertion that the Brotherhood is an instrument of Iran's 'gazaization' policy for Egypt.

    And as far as the actual relationship between Ikhwan in Egypt and Iran ... show me the money.

    This is a link to a very, very pro-Israeli analyst, who must conclude that the 'link,' between Hamas and Iran, while extant, is still in the process of being 'redefined.' No mention at all of the relationship between Iran and Ikhwan in Egypt.

    And just as a counterpoint, another view arguing that Ikhwan is different because Egypt is culturally distinct, and profoundly so, from Iran. "

    ______________________________________________________


    Amr's #171 , dearie.


    I don't know what's meant by "redefining" the Hamas-Iran link. More money? Or more training? Or more hardware? Hamas is the Palestinian arm of the Brotherhood, and the bulk of assistance comes from Iran. These are the hard facts.

    Complain about this comment

  • 209. At 2:32pm on 06 Feb 2011, as is wrote:

    170. At 04:05am on 06 Feb 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    Oh, of course that's right.

    Peterbo is the same one who wnats to deny other people the right to vote in Canada, too, by the use of the bogus voter ID laws.

    Of course.

    Paranoid political leader.
    Given to bullying.
    Given to demonizing his opponents.
    Given to campaigning on the basis of lies.
    Rules in defiance of the majority of the people.

    No wonder he's keen to defend an autocratic leader who has little concern for civil rights:

    He's been defending the Mubarak of Sussex Drive all year, too."

    __________________________________________________


    I highly recommend that you read carefull if not mine, then Amr's posts. That will spare everyone more cyclophrenic/sclerotic outbursts like the one above.

    Complain about this comment

  • 210. At 2:36pm on 06 Feb 2011, as is wrote:

    167. At 03:57am on 06 Feb 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    re: 157 peterbo Not to worry, just another mundane betrayal of another ally by the BHO administration.


    Seems, surprise surprise, that there's more to the story. The State Department responds: Contrary to @TelegraphNews claim, we carried forward requirement to notify #Russia about U.S.-UK nuclear cooperation from the 1991 treaty.

    The link here."


    ___________________________________________________

    That comes from the same official, who claims the last statements of Envoy Wisner were his personal opinion.

    So I have to accept this tweeter as an official State Dept reply to serious allegations?

    Complain about this comment

  • 211. At 2:52pm on 06 Feb 2011, Amr wrote:

    203 blefuscu
    thanks, that's really encouraging! i'm glad you had the chance to visit Egypt.
    "The criticism of my views is the clearest example of how outsiders deny Egyptians an adult and measured voice. They are revolution romantics who have answers to everything, but I listen, they preach."
    it's really difficult to have a common ground when two different cultures communicate. also, team-work and listening skills aren't among the best Egyptian skills. but, i think we make up for it with hard work and patience.
    (i'm not sure using the word 'demographic' was correct. i know i didn't provide any statistics, but i'm not really a specialist in this particular field.)
    "Glad to have read your many contributions...al jazeera hasn't done Egypt any favours in denying in the wall to wall 'twittering' the views of the majority of Egyptians."
    they seem to have supported only one side of the story and turned a blind eye to everything else. i even heard some Extremists complaining about it!

    Complain about this comment

  • 212. At 2:53pm on 06 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    Why does the US so often back the bad guys ?

    --good money to be made ?

    http://english.aljazeera.net/video/americas/2011/02/20112625021400967.html

    Complain about this comment

  • 213. At 2:56pm on 06 Feb 2011, Amr wrote:

    205 powermeerkat
    there is that rumor that Mr. Mubarak has over 40 - 70 billion. i don't know whether to believe it or not. (please don't believe it until you see a trustworthy proof of it. i heard the same thing from a Morroccan guy about 7 months ago and he seemed to be an Extremist.)
    i heard that among the promises of the changes to come that the average salary will be about $500 and that the unemployed will receive $100 monthly. sounds nice
    but let's calculate it:
    so far, i heard that we lost about 70 billion during the days of the protest.
    if the 10% of the unemployed (i suspect the number is greater than this) received $100 per month, that means that the government will need to somehow provide (assuming that the unpopulated are around 5 million) around 500 million dollars at least per month, just for the unemployed.
    i don't know what it would be for the employed who earn $100 per month since they need to double this number 6 times.
    personally, i think they're either daydreaming, or they found a very good alchemist who can turn all our desert to gold.
    =====
    i'll add more information later on today (probably in about 4 hours) concerning how Egyptians dealt with times of 'change' in ancient times. i think it's important (even though it is not related to politics)

    Complain about this comment

  • 214. At 3:24pm on 06 Feb 2011, MahatmaBlondie wrote:

    "First take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."

    Complain about this comment

  • 215. At 3:31pm on 06 Feb 2011, deedee wrote:

    Could United States survive with its current middle east policy if their was democracy in each muslim country!? The enmity with USG has remained because on one hand it talks about liberal values and talks against countries like Iran, which puts religion and nuclear power first, where as Israel which does the same is best friends..... hypocracy!?

    Complain about this comment

  • 216. At 3:38pm on 06 Feb 2011, Amr wrote:

    things are getting even more peaceful and calm. until further notice, everything is back to normal. people seem to be slowly accepting the protesters' point of view (some expressed the reasons they were upset on TV, but that's all) Egypt seems to be accepting the change. (even though it was forced to.)
    any theories of any possible conspiracy (whether from the start, or as things progressed) will be proved true or false later on.
    (just personally speaking, i don't trust USA at all now)

    Complain about this comment

  • 217. At 3:46pm on 06 Feb 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    193. At 09:56am on 06 Feb 2011, mario1987 wrote:

    "I also wholly support Egyptian people struggle against oppression. Yes, relationship with Israel probably will be hurt in short term, but I think that if Egypt will become a democracy,its people will have more access to information and truth about Israel and its people, and more opportunity to have cultural ties with Israel without fear, then peace will became true peace between nations, not just peace between leaders."

    __________

    Hear, hear.
    Exactly right.



    The road to lasting peace lies in honesty, truth and courage. That is how neighbouring peoples come to respect each other.

    The road to peace does not lie, and cannot ever lie, on the path of repression and political manipulation. That is only ever the road to the festering up and amplification of ancient grievances, made more bitter and volatile by all the added injustices, great and petty alike, heaped up by years of suppression.

    Complain about this comment

  • 218. At 4:00pm on 06 Feb 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    re: 208 peterbo

    Sigh.

    Amr is entitled to his opinion. As you are to yours, and I am to mine.
    Show me some evidence of a direct link between Iran and Ikhwan, and I will happily consider it.

    Maintaining that the link between Hamas and Iran constitutes evidence of such a link is not convincing. Firstly because the relationship between Iran and Hamas seems more complex than you assert (read the analysis in the link I provided, both for what it says and for what it doesn't say). Secondly because the link between Ikhwan and Hamas is more complicated than you maintain: it is not simply (as I understand it) a patron/client relationship. Hamas receives money and materiel, and there is an ideological convergence in some areas. But Hamas is Hamas, not the branch office of Ikhwan. Thirdly Egypt is Egypt, not Iran. I think, to put it in the shortest form, you underestimate the importance of nationalism in Ikhwan's ideology.

    All that being said, yes, I would agree that the behaviour of Ikhwan will constitutes risky variable in any post-Mubarak political resolution. On the other hand, I don't think that risk justifies supporting the status quo in a moment of profound political crisis. At the very least, it is safe to say that whatever direction Ikhwan will pull in, the Army will still be there as a counterweight.

    Therefore, I think the US Administration has taken a measured and responsible position with respect to the situation in Egypt. They have, quite reluctantly in fact, come to support calls for democratic reforms and have withdrawn support for the strongman.

    Complain about this comment

  • 219. At 4:17pm on 06 Feb 2011, Oldloadr wrote:

    What are the chances that Mark Mardell will find some other topic to discuss? Although, I don't think what happens in Egypt is trivial or unimportant, I just see as these many threads keep going on that we have the following camps:

    1. Those who think the US is evil incarnate

    2. Those who think Israel is evil incarnate

    3. Those who think capitalism is the root of all evil (Hi, worcestorjim!)

    4. Those who blindly support spreading democracy, even if the majority of that country are not enthusiastic

    5. Those of us who love our country and, although realizing that our country has made a lot of mistakes, it must not be that bad considering the number of illegal aliens we have sneaking in every day. The Arab world must not hate the US that bad considering the number of Arabs that have immigrated to the US. That said, I never cease to be amazed at the pure hatred that drips from the keyboards of some of the bloggers here, and some of them are American (by birth, if not in their hearts).

    Therefore, I would like to suggest that we get back to arguing over our quirky 222 year old constitution, or our violent gun culture, or the oppression of the laz –er- poor among us. How about something timely and relavent (I believe PMK has suggested a few times) to discuss the pesky courts punching holes in Obamacare?

    Complain about this comment

  • 220. At 4:19pm on 06 Feb 2011, justbobkc wrote:

    Gee, didn't the USA support the Israeli democracy? The ONLY liberal democracy in the entire Middle East.

    And Wikipedia now shows that the world contains 120 democracies vs. only 40 in 1972.

    I guess the USA has failed miserably in "always backing the bad guys."

    What a relief, eh? If only Communism HAD buried us - what a better world it would be.

    Complain about this comment

  • 221. At 4:56pm on 06 Feb 2011, Louise Parker wrote:

    My take on why Americans always seem to back the wrong side is because of global ignorance. There is no "official" numbers but what I have found in my search is that 75% of Americans don't have passports. Then if you break that down further that of the 25% that do have passports have only visited Canada or Mexico. Then another large portion of that 25% are like myself an immigrant to the USA so have a passport a) to be able to travel overseas and b) is the only document that says I am a citizen of the united states. So think about it, the "super power" of the world is making decisions about how other countries should be governed having never stepped out of there own country and not understanding other cultures. I find this not only ignorant but incdibly dangerous.

    Complain about this comment

  • 222. At 5:26pm on 06 Feb 2011, McJakome wrote:

    206. At 1:23pm on 06 Feb 2011, blefuscu wrote:
    “Powermeerkat, please read this from the Guardian in 2002. Perhaps you will reconsider your assertion.”

    The Guardian being, of course, neutral in issues regarding left and right?

    I beg to differ. I have read the guardian, and find the BBC and Economist far more fair and balanced. I would, because of the ideological commitment, have to place the Guardian in the same category as Fox Psuedonews Network, Pravda* and Izvestia* [*as they used to be, and whose party line was not too dissimilar to the Guardian’s].

    Complain about this comment

  • 223. At 5:36pm on 06 Feb 2011, Oldloadr wrote:

    221. At 4:56pm on 06 Feb 2011, Louise Parker wrote:
    So think about it, the "super power" of the world is making decisions about how other countries should be governed having never stepped out of there own country and not understanding other cultures. I find this not only ignorant but incdibly dangerous.
    _________________________________________________________________

    There are, of course, several problems with your thesis:

    1. US foreign policy is formed by politicians, who are advised by a diplomatic corps and a military officer corps, both of whom have traveled and lived extensively outside the US. Additionally, any of these same politicians have traveled abroad, sometimes on fact-finding missions for the purpose of expanding their knowledge of a country or region.

    2. The US electorate, for the most part and in most elections, be they conservative, liberal or the mushy middle, don’t put foreign policy on top of their list of things to vote about. Even in unpopular wars, if they economy is in a downturn, the war is then only seen in terms of its effect on the economy. When the economy is stable, we tend to debate social issues, e.g. abortion, illegal immigration, 1st amendment rights, etc.

    3. I know you are right about the number of Americans that even have a passport, but I have one and have travelled extensively overseas and currently live in a ME country. My overseas travel has actually reinforced my lack of concern for what the rest of the world thinks of US gov’t policy, American values, American social mores or anything else (you can only be insulted and denigrated so much before you just don’t care anymore). I did see a poll a couple of years ago that said something like 86% of Americans are unconcerned about the rest of the world’s opinion of the United States.

    4. All that said, I think you are right that the US gov’t should not get involved in internal Egyptian politics, but because the average American is too ignorant (that’s irrelevant, as stated above), but because: A. it’s none of our business and B. we just don’t really care that much. If 1/3 of Egyptians want a democracy, they’ll get one, if it’s less than that, they won’t. If 1/3 want a Theocracy, they’ll get one, whether Israel or the US wants them to, or not. (Theory of V.I. Lennon based on his observations on the American Revolution).

    Complain about this comment

  • 224. At 5:37pm on 06 Feb 2011, MahatmaBlondie wrote:

    221. At 4:56pm on 06 Feb 2011, Louise Parker wrote:

    My take on why Americans always seem to back the wrong side is because of global ignorance. There is no "official" numbers but what I have found in my search is that 75% of Americans don't have passports. Then if you break that down further that of the 25% that do have passports have only visited Canada or Mexico. Then another large portion of that 25% are like myself an immigrant to the USA so have a passport a) to be able to travel overseas and b) is the only document that says I am a citizen of the united states. So think about it, the "super power" of the world is making decisions about how other countries should be governed having never stepped out of there own country and not understanding other cultures. I find this not only ignorant but incdibly dangerous.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Dear Louise,


    You do not need a passport to travel from the US to Canada, or from ths US to Mexico, therefore your entire analysis of Americans is, as you say, ignorant.
    Perhaps when you immigrated to the United States (hypocrisy?)you should have learned a bit more about it....

    -Jennifer

    Complain about this comment

  • 225. At 5:37pm on 06 Feb 2011, Chryses wrote:

    JMM, (#222. At 5:26pm on 06 Feb 2011)
    ”. . . I would, because of the ideological commitment, have to place the Guardian in the same category as Fox Psuedonews Network, Pravda* and Izvestia* [*as they used to be, and whose party line was not too dissimilar to the Guardian’s].”

    But ... but ... but ... Pravda means “Truth!”
    You mean it’s biased?!?!
    I’ve been tricked!
    Horrors!

    Complain about this comment

  • 226. At 5:49pm on 06 Feb 2011, PMK wrote:

    'Democracy does not work with an uneducated population' ... fantastic point, we can use the United States as a prime example of this thesis!

    Those conflated everything from communism, to Shia extremist to what is going on in Egypt need a reality check, just turn off Fox News, in fact turn off the TV (in reality MSNBC and CNN are little better anyway), give it some thought, [what right do we have to intervene against the people's will?] and come back.

    Also, whoever the plank was who suggested that Obama should be asking the Queen to step down for an orderly transition: you single-handedly prove the American ignorance myself and many others are talking about.

    I personally believe in a republican solution in Britain, but: to equate a constitutional monarchy with a hell hole like U.S. allies such as Saudi Arabia is absurd, and only Americans in the developed world are sufficiently insular to really go through their lives believing that 'Republic' and 'Democracy' are the same thing.

    The U.S. was not truly a democracy until well in to the 20th century, what with Indian removal/denial of citizenship, slavery (Jim Crow laws as successor), segregation, aristocratic elite who ran the show until at least Jackson, and various other checks on what WE might call 'progress'.

    The sooner Americans can de-couple the ideas of republic and democracy, AND CRUCIALLY SEE THEIR OWN HISTORY AS A JOURNEY TOWARD DEMOCRACY, NOT THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF THE CONCEPT the sooner their 'instincts' - which are largely positive in my view - will lead them back to what they claim to hold dear.

    Similarly, the sight of a country with 'In God We Trust' on all its bank notes running away from an 'Islamist' regime is hysterical ... the U.S. officially has a formal separation of Church and State (as do Turkey, Egypt and many other countries in the region), as a result religion only became more entrenched within society and the population at large. That such a country (the U.S.) should not see a mirror-image of itself in nations such as Turkey (with the formal separation, and a handful of extremist talking about a 'Christian'/'Muslim' Nation) is quite bizarre.

    Complain about this comment

  • 227. At 5:54pm on 06 Feb 2011, marieinaustin wrote:

    188. At 08:57am on 06 Feb 2011, BienvenueEnLouisiana wrote:
    “Hello everyone; I'm back after experiencing technical difficulties with my computer which prevented me from accessing the internet.”

    Prevented from accessing the internet – sounds truly heavenly!
    ------------------------------------------------
    BienvenueEnLouisiana wrote:
    “I don't have much more to say at the moment due to how late it is, but I will say that some events are so profound that they sweep away the old order of the world; we are witnessing one of those rare moments, and I dare not miss it by obsessing over every US interference since the establishment of the Monroe Doctrine.”

    Wisdom, restraint, and humour. :-)
    ------------------------------------------------

    BEL,

    I request your blessing, for I’m making beignets today in my large electric wok, for the Super Bowl. Today’s batch is for my brave guinea pig friends, because I’m practicing for an upcoming Mardi Gras party. (The last time I did this was about 10 years ago, and as I recall, it worked!) Merci beaucoup!

    Complain about this comment

  • 228. At 6:02pm on 06 Feb 2011, Oldloadr wrote:

    226. At 5:49pm on 06 Feb 2011, PatrickKirkwood wrote:
    Also, whoever the plank was who suggested that Obama should be asking the Queen to step down for an orderly transition: you single-handedly prove the American ignorance myself and many others are talking about.
    _________________________________________________________
    The fact that you could not see that this comment was meant to be tongue in cheek hyperbolic shows your anti-American bias.

    Complain about this comment

  • 229. At 6:08pm on 06 Feb 2011, PMK wrote:

    Anti-American bias?: No, time in the States just allows me to see it clearly without relying on the propaganda of those journalists ensconced in the imperial cockpit (D.C.).

    Complain about this comment

  • 230. At 6:12pm on 06 Feb 2011, PMK wrote:

    #219,

    "I never cease to be amazed at the pure hatred that drips from the keyboards of some of the bloggers here, and some of them are American (by birth, if not in their hearts)"

    Meaning: You, with the beliefs I don't agree with, you are not 'truly American'! Seriously? Pluralism is meant to be an American value, is it not?

    Complain about this comment

  • 231. At 6:21pm on 06 Feb 2011, Oldloadr wrote:

    229. At 6:08pm on 06 Feb 2011, PatrickKirkwood wrote:
    Anti-American bias?: No, time in the States just allows me to see it clearly without relying on the propaganda of those journalists ensconced in the imperial cockpit (D.C.).
    ____________________________________________________
    Although you may have impressed yourself with this comment, you did not address my poi9nt that you cannot recognize a sarcastic literary technique due to your anti-American bias.

    Complain about this comment

  • 232. At 6:25pm on 06 Feb 2011, Oldloadr wrote:

    230. At 6:12pm on 06 Feb 2011, PatrickKirkwood wrote:
    #219,

    "I never cease to be amazed at the pure hatred that drips from the keyboards of some of the bloggers here, and some of them are American (by birth, if not in their hearts)"

    Meaning: You, with the beliefs I don't agree with, you are not 'truly American'! Seriously? Pluralism is meant to be an American value, is it not?
    ___________________________________________________

    No, meaning exactly what I said, if you can’t see it, or you are feeling called out on this issue (even though I mentioned no names) then you are probably anti-American. Why not accept it. You certainly don’t seem to mind throwing out your insults to the Americans here, even when you are not comprehending the message (re: Plank).

    Complain about this comment

  • 233. At 6:30pm on 06 Feb 2011, McJakome wrote:

    219. At 4:17pm on 06 Feb 2011, Oldloadr wrote:
    “What are the chances that Mark Mardell will find some other topic to discuss? Although, I don't think what happens in Egypt is trivial or unimportant, I just see as these many threads keep going on that we have the following camps:...”
    Nos. 1, 2, 4, and 5 I can support, though not blindly, completely or enthusiastically.

    The problem about #3 is that insufficiently regulated and restrained capitalism is the problem, not capitalism per se. It is just like guns. Opponents often want [or seem to want] to treat all gun owners in the US as if they were all wild-eyed, pro-anarchy, criminally-inclined lunatics, whereas only about 25% of them meet one or more of those conditions.

    As far as conspiracy theorists go, WJ might be referred to as an originalist or fundamentalist. He seems to blame the traditional suspects, the Jews, the Masons, the Illuminati. My sect of Conspiratorialism, call us Reformed, regards blaming a single ethnicity, religion or group as prejudice, and, moreover, it distracts attention from the real culprits who are heterogeneous "Malefactors of Great Wealth" [according to our founder the great Theodore Roosevetl].

    The Tea Sect of Conspiratorialism accepts enthusiastically WJ’s and my blame on the banks and [less so] Wall Street, but they don’t like to get specific on Wall Street because they are too close and get financial support from there. They prefer to focus on the Federal Reserve [some of them are believed to be secret members of the Gold Bug Sect].

    Some in my sect regard the Tea Sect and Fundamentalists as compromised. By promoting suspicion of incorrect culprits they are covering for, or at least helping, the real culprits to escape exposure and punishment. Some of us refer to them, collectively, as the Wild Goose Sects because they appear to be obstructing the search for and outing of the real conspiracy.

    I hope this information helps.

    Complain about this comment

  • 234. At 6:34pm on 06 Feb 2011, PMK wrote:

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

  • 236. At 6:49pm on 06 Feb 2011, PMK wrote:

    #234, apparently, me disagreeing with Oldloader, is unacceptable?

    In that case: when you have a point 'Oldloader' I will respond.

    Until then you have fun throwing bile (I am not 'Anti-American' and such a charge would come as a great surprise to those who know me here in the Midwest!) at your opponents (and calling your American opponents 'Un-American': is surely a sign of a losing argument).

    I am off to get some work done, so I can enjoy watching the Superbowl when the game actually starts ...

    Complain about this comment

  • 237. At 7:07pm on 06 Feb 2011, MahatmaBlondie wrote:

    #235

    Put on your tinfoil hat!!

    No investigation? Surely you jest? The only Americans who think that the government blew up the World Trade Center are conspiracy theorist who think the government used a special high temperature burning "paint" to the beams inside. Structural engineers the world over have explained why the extremely intense heat of a fully laden 747 airliner(s) weakened the steel. Those that don't understand the involvement of other buildings being damaged clearly never visited the Trade Center towers when they still stood.

    Regarding the PLANK comment....yes, Oldloadr is correct, it was tongue in cheek, and you completely missed the point Kirkwood.
    How about you take off your Rose colored glasses and let's all talk about how British ministers and officials covertly negotiated the release of Lockerbie terrorist bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi for monetary gain.
    British minsters and officials "were desperate not to allow Libyan/Qaddafi anger over the ongoing imprisonment of Megrahi to derail the growing commercial relationship between the two countries".

    The armchair quarterbacking ( GO PACKERS!), seemingly complete blindness to your own faults, and rhetoric gets old.


    Complain about this comment

  • 238. At 7:11pm on 06 Feb 2011, hyperbola2 wrote:

    With respect to Egypt and the mideast, one has only to remember that US foreign policy is run by israel-first traitors to America. And then remember that Israel can only continue to exist if there are NO democracies in the mideast (including Israel - no country that ethnic cleanses over half the population can EVER be considered a democracy).


    Critical Connections: Egypt, the US, and Israel
    http://original.antiwar.com/alison-weir/2011/02/04/critical-connections-egypt-the-us-and-israel%C2%A0/

    Complain about this comment

  • 239. At 7:27pm on 06 Feb 2011, hyperbola2 wrote:

    223. At 5:36pm on 06 Feb 2011, Oldloadr wrote:

    There are, of course, several problems with your thesis:

    1. US foreign policy is formed by politicians, who are advised by a diplomatic corps and a military officer corps, both of whom have traveled and lived extensively outside the US. Additionally, any of these same politicians have traveled abroad, sometimes on fact-finding missions for the purpose of expanding their knowledge of a country or region.
    _________________________________________________________________________

    Well yes Oldloadr, as an American who has travelled/lived all over the world, I have seen how much "contact" these officials actually have with the nations they visit/live in.

    Most US government "officials" are STRONGLY cocooned from learning much about the rest of the world - the military in particular. Those who do take the trouble to learn something about a foreign country often end up losing their jobs if they say peeps about the military imperialism of our foreign policy.

    Even worse, many of these so-called "American officials" are really something quite different and hardly qualify as Americans (their primary loyalty is NOT to the US).

    It is about like saying that the NY Times reports openly to Americans about the mideast - when ALL of their Israel/Palestine reporters have connections to the Israeli military.

    Your innocent trust is amusing (it can't be wrong if my tribe does it) - one of the problems Americans need to overcome.

    Here is an example:


    Critical Connections: Egypt, the US, and Israel

    .....Another little-discussed result of the 1979 Egypt-Israel peace treaty was the creation of an international peacekeeping force in the Sinai, known as the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO), charged with mediating between Egypt and Israel. It is telling that this force was not placed on Israeli land but instead occupies Egyptian territory.

    Its current head is Ambassador David M. Satterfield, an American diplomat who served extensively in the Middle East, was Senior Advisor on Iraq for former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and held a number of other high positions in the state department, including Deputy Assistant Secretary of State.

    In 2005 Satterfield was named as having provided classified information to an official of the powerful pro-Israel lobbying group, AIPAC. According to documents, Satterfield had discussed secret national security matters in at least two meetings with AIPAC official Steven J. Rosen, who was subsequently indicted by the U.S. Justice Department (later quashed over the objections of the FBI.)

    In 2004 Satterfield presided at a State Department conference on the 1967 war. A Washington Report on Middle East Affairs report on this conference stated that Satterfield repeatedly referred to Palestinian terrorism while failing to mention Israel’s brutal attacks on Palestinian civilians. The article reports "Satterfield’s remarks dampened audience expectations for an even-handed U.S. approach to peacemaking."

    Among those in the audience at the conference’s panel on the USS Liberty, though not on the panel itself were USS Liberty survivors, trying to tell their story. State Department moderator Marc Susser quickly cut them off, and his treatment of the survivors reportedly "bordered on abusive."
    Now, David Satterfield is heading up international forces occupying Egyptian land charged with being a "neutral" mediator between Egypt and Israel.

    It is unknown whether his conversations with AIPAC continue.

    http://original.antiwar.com/alison-weir/2011/02/04/critical-connections-egypt-the-us-and-israel%C2%A0/

    Complain about this comment

  • 240. At 7:31pm on 06 Feb 2011, DarthSimpson wrote:

    Here's a question?

    If a civil war broke out in a middle eastern country between Communists and Islamists. Which one would the US side with? Because this could well be a choice the US might face in the future.

    Complain about this comment

  • 241. At 7:35pm on 06 Feb 2011, MahatmaBlondie wrote:

    Hyperbola2,

    With all due respect, your pointing to "www.antiwar.com" doesn't hold much salt. The entire site is a rant against the "US Empire"...clearly they have no angenda and the site serves completely altruistic motives. Come on now! Stevie Wonder could see through that!

    Complain about this comment

  • 242. At 7:50pm on 06 Feb 2011, MahatmaBlondie wrote:

    #240

    Those who do take the trouble to learn something about a foreign country often end up losing their jobs if they say peeps about the military imperialism of our foreign policy.
    --------------------------------------

    Examples please?



    #241
    Here's a question?

    If a civil war broke out in a middle eastern country between Communists and Islamists. Which one would the US side with? Because this could well be a choice the US might face in the future.
    ---------------------------------------------
    Here's another question?

    Your young wife and daughter are on a boat along with a briefcase carrying the knowledge of the cure to world hunger & cancer, and it's all sinking. You can only save one. Who do you save?

    Hypotheticals. What good are they? Honestly? Though Im sure you'd pick the "end of world hunger and cure to cancer" whereas an American would let the entire boat sink and worry about saving themself in time for the lunch buffet. :)



    Complain about this comment

  • 243. At 7:54pm on 06 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    233 JMM Sorry you and Oldloader are feeling the heat...but that`s necessary for a change of heart.

    Look JMM and the rest of you...none of us were responsible for what happened over seventy years ago and I doubt if those who were responsible ever imagined it would have the dreadful effects it did have.

    It`s over JMM...but in order to move on we need to just stop fantasising and at last make some sensible criticisms of the global capitalism and neoliberalism that is wrecking the world economy.... and if that involves shattering some illusions then so be it!For all our sakes!

    In the end YOU and folk like you have to face reality and make changes that are way beyond my power to make.Call me what you like if it makes it any easier...because it`s what YOU are like that matters ...and I sincerely wish you well.(If you accept the best wishes of evil deranged mad conpiracy theorists like me!?)

    Complain about this comment

  • 244. At 8:02pm on 06 Feb 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    219. At 4:17pm on 06 Feb 2011, Oldloadr wrote:

    "5. Those of us who love our country and, although realizing that our country has made a lot of mistakes, it must not be that bad considering the number of illegal aliens we have sneaking in every day."

    _________

    How very true.


    For all America's faults, be they as they may, the greatest symbol of America, and of what America stands for in the world, is still a 125 year old copper statue in New York harbour.

    Perhaps ironically, it turns out that the artist, or sculptor, had originally thought of a very similar project for statue of the Greek Goddess of Liberty to stand as a beacon in Alexandria at the mouth of the Nile.

    Complain about this comment

  • 245. At 8:20pm on 06 Feb 2011, MilwaukeeRay wrote:

    4. At 1:06pm on 05 Feb 2011, V Siva wrote:
    US always back the bad guys and puppet regimes.
    When Obama was in power Tamils were massacred and the US has not nothing to prove that they are for democratic values and accountability. The Sri Lankan regime not only committed alleged war crimes and human rights abuses but successfully intimidated foreign journalists, diplomats and human rights organizations.
    Canadian professor article exposes the cosiness of the US regime leaders with the Sri Lankan criminal masters and coherent support to the criminals at the expense of victims and their families.
    The US has committed enough and more sin to the poor and innocent victims and now only God can deliver justice.


    The US had nothing to do with the suppression of the Tamils. Anyway, there were no "good guys" in Sri Lanka, as the Tamil Tigers were at least as cruel and vicious, if not far more so, than their oppressors.

    Complain about this comment

  • 247. At 8:26pm on 06 Feb 2011, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 222 JMM wrote:

    “The Guardian being, of course, neutral in issues regarding left and right?

    I beg to differ. I have read the guardian, and find the BBC and Economist far more fair and balanced. I would, because of the ideological commitment, have to place the Guardian in the same category as Fox Psuedonews Network, Pravda* and Izvestia* [*as they used to be, and whose party line was not too dissimilar to the Guardian’s].”

    You are of course entitled to your opinion. However I would cordially suggest that to compare the Guardian with the official organs of the Communist Party in the former USSR, (or indeed Fox) is ludicrous hyperbole, and the sort of bizarre exaggeration one expects (and invariably gets) from PMK.

    A declaration of interest – I often read the Guardian. Then again I often read the famously/notoriously right wing Daily Mail, and Rupert Murdoch’s Sunday Times, not to mention The Economist. I get a lot of news from the BBC but also often watch Murdoch’s Sky News, which provides a good and relatively balanced service. (I put this down to UK media laws rather than Murdoch’s inherent sense of fairness.)

    The Guardian is unashamedly left/liberal in its editorial line, and most of its opinion pieces reflect this, though this is far from universally so – they recently published an opinion piece by Norman Tebbit, one of Mrs Thatcher’s more right wing Ministers. However in my experience, like the Sunday Times, they generally follow the dictum that comment is free, facts are sacred – something the Mail often fails to grasp.

    I hadn’t bothered clicking the link to the Guardian that you refer to. I now have. It appears to be primarily based on ‘declassified government documents’, published in the Washington Post. If you feel it is incorrect or fatally ideologically biased you are of course free to provide evidence to this effect.

    If the Guardian is comparable to CP papers, presumably it always follows the party line? Which party exactly? As I recall they supported the Lib Dems in the last election – the party who of course are now in coalition with the Conservatives.

    Complain about this comment

  • 248. At 8:34pm on 06 Feb 2011, MilwaukeeRay wrote:

    19. At 1:56pm on 05 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:
    The answer to your question Mark is that despite appearances...(and quite in contrast with the decency and generosity of the average American) the USA is run by global capitalists and organised criminals... and exports its crooked corrupt culture all over the world.
    In many cases it`s the USA that installs and finds common cause with "bad guys" rather than America "having to deal with the wicked world as it is".
    China and Russia aren`t corrupt just because they are horrid dishonest ex-commies (as we are told)...just observe the kind of "business oligarchs" the USA has fostered and promoted to see what I mean.Capitalism is happiest in authoritarian undemocratic unequal slave labour economies.

    Well, that's certainly the standard textbook Bolshevik/Marxist/Communist party line. Nothing original there.

    Complain about this comment

  • 249. At 8:35pm on 06 Feb 2011, as is wrote:

    167. At 03:57am on 06 Feb 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    re: 157 peterbo Not to worry, just another mundane betrayal of another ally by the BHO administration.


    Seems, surprise surprise, that there's more to the story. The State Department responds: Contrary to @TelegraphNews claim, we carried forward requirement to notify #Russia about U.S.-UK nuclear cooperation from the 1991 treaty.

    The link here."

    _____________________________________________


    More on the tweet ersatz official statement from the State Dept official:


    http://www.presstv.ir/detail/163934.html


    It seems that two leading British defence experts are not aware of any 1991 START requirements that oblige US to disclose details to Russia on the US manufactured Tridents Britain currently deploys:


    “This appears to be significant because while the UK has announced how many missiles it possesses, there has been no way for the Russians to verify this. Over time, the unique identifiers will provide them with another data point to gauge the size of the British arsenal”, said Professor Malcolm Chalmers.

    “They want to find out whether Britain has more missiles than we say we have, and having the unique identifiers might help them”, said Duncan Lennox, editor of Jane's Strategic Weapons Systems. "


    Further:

    "William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, last year (2010, my insert) disclosed that “up to 160” warheads are operational at any one time, but did not confirm the number of missiles."


    Another interesting topic for a US Congress investigation - same US Congress that was pushed by BHO administration to ratify the treaty without proper analysis and discussion.

    Any thoughts on this piece of news, Mr Mardell? I am not aware of any BBC interest in it so far.

    Complain about this comment

  • 250. At 8:37pm on 06 Feb 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    As for the continuing protest ...

    Now it moves to a more difficult and complex phase.

    For the protesters, the "talks" pose many dangers and challenges.

    First, they allow the current regime to play for time.
    That "playing for time" permits many things to happen.

    In terms of curtailing the protests directly:
    It permits foreign journalists to be driven out.
    It permits anyone with a camera to be driven out.
    It permits the security services to use electronic signals from tweeting and other postings to tracks down and identify individual protesters
    It permits the government to shrink the protesters' perimeter incrementally.
    It permits the government to harass and arrest protesters and journalists anywhere far from the cameras - i.e., anywhere that isn't Tahrir Square.
    It permits the government to bring in more thugs, or troops that are less inclined to be friendly with the protesters.
    It permits the government to work foreign diplomatic channels to try to get foreign governments to back off - as is happening.
    It permits the government and its friends to try to take advantage of splits in the domestic political landscape of America (and other countries): We now see Darth Vader , er, um, sorry, I meant Dick Cheney, weighing in.
    It permits the government to monopolize the airwaves with its own message that the protesters are harming the economy; that the protesters are bogey men (and women) of whatever stripe - and accuse them of being everything from Al Queda to Dr. Moriarity and Voldemort, to spies for Israel, and everything inbetween).
    It permits the government to play on both foreign and domestic fears of a takeover by Islamic extremists, and on, and on, and on.
    It permits the government to get the country running again, such that the protesters can be portrayed as an irrelevance and an annoyance - bad children who need to be sent to their room.

    In terms of the negotiations themselves, they present many dangers:

    First, they present the government with an opportunity to stall. There is nothing the government wants more than to take the steam out of everything by talking the whole protest to somnolence or death.

    Second, they present the government with an opportunity to play upon differences in positions of the protesting groups, and to promote disharmony and discord between those groups so that no consensus can be reached on change. I.e., the status quo will persist by default.

    Third, they present the government with the opportunity to play the various groups off against each other by offering concessions or privileges to one group, but not to another, again fostering dissension among the various protesting groups, and so breaking up the momentum for change.

    Fourth, it presents the risk that the people who started the protest - generally speaking, the educated, unemployed, secular young people - will be marginalized, and the push for change will be hijacked by other more organized groups with different agendas. Right now the three organized groups seem to be the army, the Moslem Brotherhood, and the existing ruling party. None of those three groups were at the forefront of the protests.

    Fifth, it permits the negotiations to occur in the backroom, well out of the light of day. There are no cameras covering the proceedings.

    Sixth, it permits the whole thing to get bogged down in details, in arguments over minutiae. That, of course, is plainly what the current regime wants while it goes out and rounds up and intimidates it opponents and the press one-by-one, out of the view of the cameras.

    Yes, it will be very difficult for the protesters to maintain momentum, and to maintain focus. They need to know how long they can let the talks drag on before they have to pull the plug and call everybody out on the street in a general strike or something similar.

    In the meantime, the government will try to make the talks something like the dance of the seven veils - endlessly tantalizing, so that nobody leaves the room, but, ultimately, revealing and conceding nothing of importance.

    In that light, demanding that Mubarak leave as a precondition for talks, meaning that at least one, concrete, irrevocable, critical step on the road to reform is taken, is probably a very wise demand.

    ----------

    Finally, the photo of the young men forming a perimeter to permit the Christian worshippers to pray is a very powerful image.

    Complain about this comment

  • 251. At 8:45pm on 06 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    248 Milwaukee Ray...the truth isn`t "original"...it`s just the truth...and as I have come to learn nobody in the USA seems to want to hear it...as Bradley Manning discovered!

    Complain about this comment

  • 252. At 8:48pm on 06 Feb 2011, MahatmaBlondie wrote:

    244. At 8:02pm on 06 Feb 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:
    Perhaps ironically, it turns out that the artist, or sculptor, had originally thought of a very similar project for statue of the Greek Goddess of Liberty to stand as a beacon in Alexandria at the mouth of the Nile.
    --------------------

    And perhaps even more ironic than that, it turns out the sculptor of the Statue of Liberty, Frédéric Bartholdi had to put his ideas and sculpting on hold due to the repressive nature of the regime of Napoleon III ( lovely guy, read about his ideals, he supported slavery in the United States is but one of his charm).

    Nappy the third was given refuge in the UK, in Kent I believe...additioinally Napoleon III's son died during the British campaign against the Zulu's in Africa. It seems the British took the view that any land not owned by white europeans in Africa & elsewhere was for the taking. If the indigenous population were not prepared to be dominated by a colonial power then the British used forces to compel them. As the British found out at Isandlwana some natives do not want to be compelled.

    We can argue whose crap smells sweeter all day long cant we? In the end, it all still stinks depending on where you are and who you are in History. Issues aren't black and white ( no irony intended) and it's very easy to judge others while forgetting ourselves.

    Complain about this comment

  • 253. At 8:52pm on 06 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    Has it ever occurred to us Brits what would happen if we did this sort of thing in central London over say...wars or the EU or bankrolling Wall Street? Ten million?

    How many protestors would we get out of 70 million population....and would we have the support of the USA in pressing Downing Street to resign and allow us to vote in properly elected government?

    Complain about this comment

  • 254. At 9:16pm on 06 Feb 2011, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    253. At 8:52pm on 06 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:
    “Has it ever occurred to us Brits what would happen if we did this sort of thing in central London over say...wars or the EU or bankrolling Wall Street? Ten million?

    How many protestors would we get out of 70 million population....and would we have the support of the USA in pressing Downing Street to resign and allow us to vote in properly elected government?”

    I daresay it’s foolish to ask, but how exactly was your current govt improperly elected?

    Let me guess. The election was fixed by the neo liberals, the immigrants, the BBC, the CIA, Wall Street, the Zionists, the Zionist-controlled media, and George Soros?

    Complain about this comment

  • 255. At 9:24pm on 06 Feb 2011, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 249. At 8:35pm on 06 Feb 2011, peterbo wrote:

    “Another interesting topic for a US Congress investigation - same US Congress that was pushed by BHO administration to ratify the treaty without proper analysis and discussion.”

    Could you provide some evidence that the treaty was ratified ‘without proper analysis and discussion’? As I recall the treaty was backed by a number of leading Democrats and Republicans, including a number of former Secretaries of State – but no doubt you know better.

    (Just in case they're too busy to respond to you, may I thank you, on behalf of the US Congress, for your repeated suggestions as to what they should hold investigations into? I have no doubt your thoughts will be invaluable to them in their future endeavours.)

    Complain about this comment

  • 256. At 9:25pm on 06 Feb 2011, sayasay wrote:

    Hi Amr #216

    As discussed much earlier, once the factions start talking, the demonstrators would quieten down. I am glad that you confirmed that here is now some peace.
    Do not be too worried about the Muslim Brotherhood; its main task right now is how to handle Mubarack’s imminent dismissal, getting a new constitution and finally an election day. All to be undertaken in consultation and conjunction with the other factions.

    The main key is that President Hussein of the USA does not poke his fingers into the Egyptians’ efforts in the transition. Iran, Hamas, Hezebollah, their views are well-known. It’s the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s duty to declare openly its stand. I think it will be more pro-Egypt than the Iranian propagandists indicate.

    Complain about this comment

  • 257. At 9:38pm on 06 Feb 2011, JohnSmithREAL wrote:

    POOR old america constantly being threatened by Red Indians,Communist and 300 odd al qaeda fighters forcing america to side with dictators
    Where is the Islamist threat in Columbia ?

    The truth is america doest care if your Democratically elected or elected by a coup all that matters is will you challenge US Imperialism ? if you will not than america will use all its resources to keep you in power and in return expect you to give away your rights

    Complain about this comment

  • 258. At 9:45pm on 06 Feb 2011, as is wrote:

    218. At 4:00pm on 06 Feb 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    re: 208 peterbo

    Sigh.

    Amr is entitled to his opinion. As you are to yours, and I am to mine.
    Show me some evidence of a direct link between Iran and Ikhwan, and I will happily consider it.

    Maintaining that the link between Hamas and Iran constitutes evidence of such a link is not convincing. Firstly because the relationship between Iran and Hamas seems more complex than you assert (read the analysis in the link I provided, both for what it says and for what it doesn't say). Secondly because the link between Ikhwan and Hamas is more complicated than you maintain: it is not simply (as I understand it) a patron/client relationship. Hamas receives money and materiel, and there is an ideological convergence in some areas. But Hamas is Hamas, not the branch office of Ikhwan. Thirdly Egypt is Egypt, not Iran. I think, to put it in the shortest form, you underestimate the importance of nationalism in Ikhwan's ideology.

    All that being said, yes, I would agree that the behaviour of Ikhwan will constitutes risky variable in any post-Mubarak political resolution. On the other hand, I don't think that risk justifies supporting the status quo in a moment of profound political crisis. At the very least, it is safe to say that whatever direction Ikhwan will pull in, the Army will still be there as a counterweight.

    Therefore, I think the US Administration has taken a measured and responsible position with respect to the situation in Egypt. They have, quite reluctantly in fact, come to support calls for democratic reforms and have withdrawn support for the strongman.


    _______________________________________________________

    Sighing wouldn't help. Some hard facts:

    1) Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, one of six Hamas founders and a terrorist guru, was a member of the MB. Hamas was founded as a Palestinian off-shoot of MB

    Abd al-Rahman al Banna, another Hamas founder AND brother of Hasan al-Banna, founder of MB itself

    Izz al-Din al-Qassam (the Qassam brigades are named after him): MB member

    2) Abdel Aziz al Rantissi, who took over from the guru after the assassination of the latter, was a MB member, joining MB sometime in the 60s

    3) Khaled Mashal, Hamas' current leader, joined the MB in the distant 1971


    To claim that the link Hamas-MB is ephemeral and platonic, is naive to say the least. Ideologically and politically, the overlap is 100%, and I wouldn't pay too much attention to any clumsy PR attempts of the two organizations to play distant relatives.


    Relations Hamas-Iran: date back to the late 80s-beginning of 90s. Hamas was founded in 1987: it looks like a love at first sight, no?
    The relationship culminates in 2008, when Mashal visits Tehran, and meets Ali Khamenei. Ample info is available on Iranian financing and military support for Sunni Hamas.

    Does MB in Egypt need any publicly visible, therefore suicidal, relations with Iran when the top Hamas leadership serves as the perfect go-between? Mr Suleiman certainly keeps numb, but then that's his job.



    Re the after-Mubarak era: the military was in a similar strong and seemingly unshakable position in Turkey until the islamists were let out of the bottle and outmaneuvered it. To place all eggs in the Egyptian military's nest while letting the MB gin out looks unwise. But hey, that's the BHO administration, which innocently or deliberately catalyzed the crisis instead of a behind-the-scenes removal of Mubarak. I may be wrong, but he will be missed - as Musharaf in Pakistan. Not least by large swaths of the Egyptians.

    Re Amr: this is i-net, but h/s may well be an Egyptian. That adds some extra value, doesn't it?

    Complain about this comment

  • 259. At 10:01pm on 06 Feb 2011, as is wrote:

    255. At 9:24pm on 06 Feb 2011, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 249. At 8:35pm on 06 Feb 2011, peterbo wrote:

    “Another interesting topic for a US Congress investigation - same US Congress that was pushed by BHO administration to ratify the treaty without proper analysis and discussion.”

    Could you provide some evidence that the treaty was ratified ‘without proper analysis and discussion’? As I recall the treaty was backed by a number of leading Democrats and Republicans, including a number of former Secretaries of State – but no doubt you know better.

    (Just in case they're too busy to respond to you, may I thank you, on behalf of the US Congress, for your repeated suggestions as to what they should hold investigations into? I have no doubt your thoughts will be invaluable to them in their future endeavours (sic).)"

    ____________________________________________________________

    News from the boiler room aka Pelosi-Reid congress:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/11/15/us-nuclear-usa-start-idUSTRE6AE4C720101115



    Re US Congress and Egypt, it early days, but there's s.th. in the air:

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0211/48916.html

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110204/ap_on_re_us/us_gop_egypt_politics


    Will depend on the outcome of the crisis, so please keep your sarcasm dry.

    Complain about this comment

  • 260. At 10:06pm on 06 Feb 2011, bob wrote:

    The west is always caught up in the cause of the moment. We supported the Taliban in Afghanistan when the Russians were the bad guys, now we are at war with them. We will now support "democracy" even though that will probably mean an Islamic Theocracy which, lets be honest, is the last thing the world needs. Expect us to be at war with Egypt within the decade, and with just cause because the Muslims as always will be trying to kill us infidels.
    Its a shame, I havent been to see the Pyramids yet, and once the Islamic State is in power I never will.

    Complain about this comment

  • 261. At 10:11pm on 06 Feb 2011, McJakome wrote:

    247. At 8:26pm on 06 Feb 2011, John_From_Dublin.

    I plead guilty to the charge of hyperbolic rhetoric. And based on a very old sample, from a time of very high east-west tension and partisanship. The guardian seemed at the time to be very anti-American, and it's content was rather similar to the soviet line. I should not have written this without rechecking.

    My only defense is, that I try to avoid all ideologically partisan news. I still think that the BBC and Economist are the most fair and balanced. And no, I won't subject myself to FOX again just to see whether they are as bad as I remember.

    Complain about this comment

  • 262. At 10:20pm on 06 Feb 2011, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #240
    DarthSimpson wrote:
    Here's a question?

    If a civil war broke out in a middle eastern country between Communists and Islamists. Which one would the US side with? Because this could well be a choice the US might face in the future.

    ____________

    I dom't think that will be the choice in the future.

    But the choice would be communist, islamic governence is not compatible with civilization and there are many who would glady see the end of the world for a chance at paradise.

    Complain about this comment

  • 263. At 10:23pm on 06 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    254..John from the Celtic Turkey is of course suffering huge cut backs because of communist money lending by Martians. it`s a good job us Brits were there to bail him out with our welfare state and other public services...but his typical Irish gratitude is ..as ever..directed to Wall Street...just as in the Second World War. Thanks John!With "friends" like you ...who needs conspiracy theories!

    Complain about this comment

  • 264. At 10:53pm on 06 Feb 2011, MagicKirin wrote:

    Why do the BBC commentators in the Mid East take such an anti U.S and anti Israel stance in their reporting?

    Complain about this comment

  • 265. At 11:00pm on 06 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    264 Magic..it`s because the world is run by you and very unfairly too. Also you control practically all the global media and the markets etc and bomb and murder those who resist your bullying bragardly ways and your creepy confidence trickster politicians.

    Otherwise we quite like you! And if only you would ever develop the brains to cooperate with us it could all work very well.

    Complain about this comment

  • 266. At 11:22pm on 06 Feb 2011, McJakome wrote:

    243. At 7:54pm on 06 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:
    233 "JMM Sorry you and Oldloader are feeling the heat...but that`s necessary for a change of heart..."

    Please reread my post, but with your sense of humor turned on. You should see it as exaggerated to the point of farce, that at least was my intention. You do seem to be rather easily insulted, so I want to sincerely apologize if you took it the wrong way.

    I have apparently been irritating a number of posters lately, to all of whom I apologize, I've been both literally and figuratively under the weather for a month. The weather here has been below freezing, the snow is higher than my head, my spelling has suffered and I am required to stay at home with a nasty virus. If I appear to be taking this out on you, I apologize and will try to be more careful.


    Complain about this comment

  • 267. At 11:24pm on 06 Feb 2011, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #265
    worcesterjim wrote:
    264 Magic..it`s because the world is run by you and very unfairly too. Also you control practically all the global media and the markets etc and bomb and murder those who resist your bullying bragardly ways and your creepy confidence trickster politicians.

    Otherwise we quite like you! And if only you would ever develop the brains to cooperate with us it could all work very well.

    ___________

    Yes the U.S bombs the Tailban and Al Quuada

    You are quite welcome

    The U.S has given the world so much more than it allegidly steals, I think we should start collecting dues from the U.N

    Complain about this comment

  • 268. At 11:33pm on 06 Feb 2011, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 263 worcesterjim wrote:
    “254..John from the Celtic Turkey is of course suffering huge cut backs because of communist money lending by Martians. it`s a good job us Brits were there to bail him out with our welfare state and other public services...but his typical Irish gratitude is ..as ever..directed to Wall Street...just as in the Second World War. Thanks John!With "friends" like you ...who needs conspiracy theories!”

    Or in English – you cannot back up your ludicrous claim that your govt was not validly elected.

    You cannot deny that part of your conspiracy theory, repeated in your endless postings, is that everything is the fault of the CIA, Wall St, immigrants, the Zionists controlling the media, the BBC, etc, etc, etc, etc

    So you engage in a lot of ad hominem and irrelevant piffle.

    I am the one defending your political system. You are the one forever whining that it’s a sham.

    My late father, a teacher, and my fortunately not late mother, a nurse and midwife, were among many Irish who made a significant contribution to the operation of your Welfare State.

    I have the warmest feelings towards the UK in general. Towards you and other paranoid conspiracy theorists – not so much.

    “Who needs conspiracy theories?”. I don't. You clearly do.

    Complain about this comment

  • 269. At 11:35pm on 06 Feb 2011, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    264. At 10:53pm on 06 Feb 2011, MagicKirin wrote:

    "Why do the BBC commentators in the Mid East take such an anti U.S and anti Israel stance in their reporting?"

    Any evidence? Any proof? Just once?

    Complain about this comment

  • 270. At 11:36pm on 06 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    266 JMM Perhaps my temporary humour by-pass is related to age and failing concentration...I find reading it all such a burden that I skim read and miss points. I think it really is time to take my failing brain and (clearly) unappreciated ideas into my workshop and got down to making things again...all this thinking and theorising is not good for me...I am at my best fashioning objects!

    Complain about this comment

  • 271. At 11:55pm on 06 Feb 2011, Alastore wrote:

    For start America is not popular in Middle East, as numerous recent surveys indicated.

    Poluparity is the reigning factor in a Democracy e.g. most of the policies have to be polupist.

    Therefore it's against America's interests to promote democracy in the region before the overall sentiment there changes in favour of America.

    Unless one argues America should not serve its own interest, which is plain silly, the topic doesn't really worth much discussion here.

    Complain about this comment

  • 272. At 00:02am on 07 Feb 2011, worcesterjim wrote:

    268 Dear John! I had no idea that you were asking me about the validity of the election...that`s easy...obviously it was technically legal..but not within the spirit of democracy surely? They had to create a coalition.. and that was after fielding three electable parties with very simliar neoliberal approaches.

    No ...I don`t live in what I call a democracy. As to the rest of your rant.. I don`t care what you think... I am not here to duplicate whatever idea you come up with...surely?

    This is a place where people throw all sorts of notions around and bounce them off others...it`s not a court of law or a science laboratory and that`s as well because so called social sciences aren`t really sciences at all....there are too many variables and subjectivities for it to be like that.

    And every time I do argue a point successfully no one alters their opinions a jot...in fact they ignore anything that challenges their prejudices and within minutes are back repeating them in a slightly different form or context.

    It`s bit of fun...we all KNOW that the world isn`t really democratic and that if you have power you get your own way....and if you don`t then you don`t.!How could I "prove" most of my ideas anyway...they are
    hunches?

    Complain about this comment

  • 273. At 00:33am on 07 Feb 2011, Stevenson wrote:

    I had said earlier (you wanted to know) PMK

    I prefer a "G-Suit"

    it sounds like a G-Man suit :)))

    (uniforms are nice :)))

    Complain about this comment

  • 274. At 00:44am on 07 Feb 2011, Stevenson wrote:

    Because, Magic Kirin, many many people only repeat what they are told to believe.

    Not in what they think themselves (if they are capable of thought)

    Its best to think for yourself...our minds tend in normal times to think positively (when you are depressed, there is a negative filter...I read this in ...a book --- evidence)

    Therefore, not having read history, or encyclopedias (tho they read (supposedly) the Wikipeadia Encyclopedia) they spout regurgitated filth that is PC -- usually I believe

    that being Politically Correct is a way for dummies to know how to be polite to people of other races, but this time in Middle East,

    information is KEY,

    And just because they are given information does not mean they will process it correctly (or hear it)..if they are hungry that means their brain is not functioning well.

    And this Mubarak administration was not known for making its citizens rich--of course, someone somewhere will say this is a Western "c-o-n...um ...spiracy."

    Intelligence does not guarantee good judgement--have you not noticed???

    Complain about this comment

  • 275. At 00:51am on 07 Feb 2011, Stevenson wrote:

    Also, I do think the "media" does cause some commmotion sometimes in these nations...

    Americans and others want entertainment and the media want good pictures and good action scenes so...

    they provoke sometimes .....maybe.

    That does not mean they should be stoned or imprisoned, some journalists are great liberal OR conservative, and give objective-type news where we can make up our own minds,

    But, this Anderson Cooper is very good and he had F. Adjami, someone who just looked at him and said "you said it all"..

    by the way, this Fahoud Adjami (sp?) was happy looking (maybe he was proud of the Egyptians for standing up for themselves.)

    Complain about this comment

  • 276. At 01:35am on 07 Feb 2011, Politicalobservor wrote:

    This one is quite simple to answer, it's because the bad guys can be bribed quite easily by USA. Egypt recieves 1.3 Billion $. of american tax payers money, where has all that money gone? Mubarak's estimated net worth is 7 B. $. where the hell did all that come from? his salary? I don't think so!
    So it's time to re think these free hands out to corrupt regimes and spare the poor american tax payer.

    Complain about this comment

  • 277. At 02:15am on 07 Feb 2011, Amr wrote:

    240 DarthSimpson
    "If a civil war broke out in a middle eastern country between Communists and Islamists. Which one would the US side with? Because this could well be a choice the US might face in the future."
    i think in this case they'd only keep a close eye on both of them.
    =====
    i mentioned that i was going to post a comment a few hours ago, but i didn't realize how tired i really was. sorry about this
    i'll be attending a friend's wedding tomorrow. i'm not mentioning this just to add unnecessary personal information. it's just that it was supposed to have happened last Tuesday. i think that's a notable evidence about how life is getting back to normal. (and it's also one of the reasons that some people may have been extra upset with the interruption that the protests caused) nevertheless, it would be at noon (weddings are usually held at evening here, but there is the 'curfew' and a little uneasiness still remains)
    as for me, i was looking forward to Cairo book fair this year, but it was never held. i guess it's not just the time when people would care about books. i kept going to the newspaper corner everyday, but i couldn't find many of the periodicals. whenever i ask the guys selling the newspapers about them, they just answer my question with that weird smile. i remember that one of them replied, "there was no periodicals since the 'accident'" then he tried to find a more suitable word to describe what happened, but apparently he couldn't find any.
    =====
    256 sayasay
    yea, i could say that i felt a relief to hear about the news as well even though i don't know how the negotiations went with the Muslim Brotherhood. They don't seem to be causing trouble at the moment, but i think this may be just a .. what do they call it? hmm a mess under the hood? i mean they could be simply trying to hide their true intentions. since i know what kind of propaganda they have, i don't think it's a good idea to turn a blind eye to them. just imagine someone carrying a flower in the hand in front of you and a bomb in the hand behind his back and you'll understand.
    i heard about the demonstrations in Serbia. i remember i heard they had problems with unemployment and gangs there from a Serbian guy before, so it figures. (same thing for Yemen, only on even a bigger scale)
    (PS Amr is a male name)

    Complain about this comment

  • 278. At 02:35am on 07 Feb 2011, Amr wrote:

    276 Politicalobservor
    please don't think about it like this. we had to get through many wars and conflicts for many years. (check history books) now, we do not have enough funds for scientific research (you'd be rotfl if you know the budget we have for it, seriously). classes in public schools have an average of 55 students! the cities are getting crazily overpopulated. the only way to deal with these problems is to extend the cities to the desert. i think something like this would need an insane budget.
    not to mention other other issues like transportation, health care, poverty etc ..
    to put it simply, things are not as bright as you may think. (ask the Polish how hard it was after their country was torn apart. i think Poland's situation is somewhat similar to Egypt, except that they don't seem to have any more conflicts there. or perhaps i'm not the best person to ask about this.)
    perhaps your question is: why does the USA have to lend a hand?
    i'm not sure. many Egyptians are actually against it because it hindres them from taking a direct action towards Israel. (you can easily figure whether they are extremists or moderate) perhaps USA just needs a somewhat strong country that's able to maintain peace in the area.
    i'm sure the situation is more complicated than this and there are many other reasons.

    Complain about this comment

  • 279. At 03:20am on 07 Feb 2011, BienvenueEnLouisiana wrote:

    201 powermeerkat: "Since British Petroleum have lost almost 5 billions in the last year, and is not drilling right now in the Gulf of Mexico, has a quality of your shrimp and crabs improved?"

    The quality of Louisiana seafood in the marketplace is excellent, and I have no qualms about eating it; enjoy your seafood gumbo powermeerkat, it'll keep your whole family warm and well fed!

    227 Grateful Marie: "I request your blessing, for I’m making beignets today in my large electric wok, for the Super Bowl. Today’s batch is for my brave guinea pig friends, because I’m practicing for an upcoming Mardi Gras party. (The last time I did this was about 10 years ago, and as I recall, it worked!) Merci beaucoup!"

    Sorry I couldn't wish ya luck before the Super Bowl, but I hope it went well; my family had buffalo wings! Congrats to the Packers!

    Complain about this comment

  • 280. At 04:24am on 07 Feb 2011, Amr wrote:

    i think it could be a nice idea if President Mubarak could build a memorial for the people who lost their lives in the past days (the sooner the better). i just don't know how to 'communicate' this idea.
    i watched Dr. Zahi Hawass video. He did a good job presenting the point of view of many people. a little late, but better than never. i hope other national figures would follow the lead. (it's so funny how most of them changed loyalties without hesitation)
    as for Dr. El-Baradei, he did a good job too representing the opposition point of view. (although i would never elect him, sorry) i would want to ask him to try to calm people a little just for Egypt's sake. perhaps he should also try to 'polish' his image by trying to seem less opportunistic. also, could you suggest that the protesters would start working on founding a political party that represents them? i think many of the Egyptians would support this 'new' political party.
    to the protesters: look, it's nice and all to ride a speedy car without brakes, but don't just destroy everything that's fundamental in this place. the newer generation shouldn't show their gratitude by razing everything that was built by the older generation to the ground. trust me, you'll be sad about it later (when it's too late)
    i was thinking about the events of the past days and i guess i need to sincerely apologize for that time when i was feeling really intense (last Friday, morning) i anticipated things that luckily did not happen (thank God!)
    Mr. Obama's response was, finally, up to my expectations. (a few days ago, his response felt like a stab in the back)
    Al-Ahram newspapers is 'almost' balanced. i like the new version they're presenting to public. but, just make sure you don't add too much fuel to fire, ok? you may get your hand burnt by mistake, you know. we all need the transition to be as peaceful as possible. yes, we do need the youth enthusiasm, but we shouldn't ignore the elders experience and wisdom.

    Complain about this comment

  • 281. At 04:27am on 07 Feb 2011, Oldloadr wrote:

    279. At 03:20am on 07 Feb 2011, BienvenueEnLouisiana wrote:
    Sorry I couldn't wish ya luck before the Super Bowl, but I hope it went well; my family had buffalo wings! Congrats to the Packers!
    ______________________________________________________________
    Finally, something American to discuss on a supposedly American-centric blog.

    Complain about this comment

  • 282. At 04:47am on 07 Feb 2011, Amr wrote:

    281 Oldloadr
    (sorry)

    Complain about this comment

  • 283. At 04:52am on 07 Feb 2011, Stevenson wrote:

    Good Luck Mr. Amr,

    I stay up late because I work late (4-12:30am central time). You must be exhausted watching all this unfold.

    Well, I survived President Ronald Reagan. You seem like you are between young and old. And I agree, youthful emotions get the better of ..youthful people.

    I had been thinking I hope these protesters don't get so angry, they lose perspective--burning down buildings where you live is not too intelligent.

    But, thank you for your day to day writing. It's so interesting and very nice to have people who are there reporting.

    Really, it seemed the protestors (on TV...hope they weren't egged on by the TV people to look happy :) were very happy, chanting slogans.

    You live in interesting times and its just around the corner (literally). Usually I watch big news events on TV, not in my neighborhood.

    David

    Complain about this comment

  • 284. At 04:58am on 07 Feb 2011, Stevenson wrote:

    OldLoader,

    This is interesting--the Egyptian uprising/protests. We'll be back to depressing American topics soon enough.

    People will be talking about Obama (I like him) in good and bad ways and the Tea Party. Fun, fun.

    And its better than watching TV shows (coming here to read). It's like getting to discuss history which is very abnormal (people think oh you are weird, liking history (at work and some other places)

    Complain about this comment

  • 285. At 05:38am on 07 Feb 2011, hikertom wrote:

    In an ideal world the United States would always oppose dictators. Unfortunately, the world is not ideal.

    Some countries aren't ready for democracy. Does that mean we shouldn't have formed alliances with them to contain Soviet expansionism during the Cold War? Look what happened in Iran when the Shah was overthrown. He was a bad guy, but he was replaced by a worse guy.

    The U.S. supported a military dictatorshop in South Korea in order to contain North Korea. Now South Korea is a prosperous democracy and North Korea is still a dictatorship. So do you idealists think it was wrong to support the South Korea dictator?

    It would be wonderful to see Egypt become a peaceful democracy. But there is nothing wrong with being concerned that it might be taken over by militant Islamists.

    It must be nice to be an idealist. They can criticize others without having to take responsibility for the consequences of their opinions. Thank goodness they aren't in charge.

    Complain about this comment

  • 286. At 05:58am on 07 Feb 2011, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    I have news for all you conspiracy theorists, do or die partisans, and all-or-nothing nationalists.

    The world is not a zero-sum game. It hasn't been since, perhaps, Columbus. You don't have to rob someone else to get ahead, yourself. You don't have to fear and cower behind some strong man to survive. In the past few centuries, actual wealth has been made by quiet, orderly, productive societies, and expanded by trade, innovation, and the exchange of ideas. War and rapine have been shown to be destructive, costly, and not remotely the best idea.

    To listen to so many posters on this thread, the world had already gone to hell in a handbasket.

    Beyond the narrowest self interests of each writer, the world appears to be without standards of right or wrong, fairness, or even good versus bad. Could the cause be the absence of any fundamental, unchanging principles? It seems to me that without any dependable signposts one would become confused and lost very quickly, as so many here seem to be. Saying there is no good way does not demonstrate you know where you are.

    So even if we accepted self interest as a good thing, we hear it assaulted form all sides here. Improving one's lot, pressing one's advantage is, after all, one of the driving principles of Darwinian selection, isn't it? Good comes of it - good scarcely comes at all unless we pursue it.

    But my point about the zero-sum game is that wealth / improvement does not need to come at the expense of another at all. In fact it is easiest to obtain when both parties gain from the contact. It is hardest to obtain when the intent from the beginning is to make the other fellow a looser.

    America's history to date has been checkered, at the least. Selfish greed ('only I matter') has been a major force in our development - individual and corporate. This has projected onto our international affairs in cruel ways. I attribute this as much to our naivete and ignorance of the world as to the general tone and attitude held throughout the world in those times. As has been clearly described by IF and others, however, we have deliberately or inadvertently caused a great deal of good as well.

    As I understand them, many of the serious objections to President Obama's foreign policy departures (the serious, not the flip and unreasoned canards some blow out like .... ) come because he does not project the America First - America Right or Wrong attitude that used to be the mark of simple patriotism. We will still make mistakes, and we can not, ever, realistically expect to please everyone. But can we learn to follow a more complex, intelligent, and positive policy based on mutual respect, intelligence,mutual interests and benefit, where ever we can find shared self interests?

    KScurmudgeon


    Complain about this comment

  • 287. At 06:01am on 07 Feb 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    Oldloadr, Bienvenue, et al.:

    That was one of the better Superbowls, for sure.

    Complain about this comment

  • 288. At 06:21am on 07 Feb 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    285.

    Oh, please. Enough already.


    Are you really suggesting that it would have been harder to defend South Korea if South Korea had been a democracy?

    As you may have noted, over time US support permitted South Korea to become a successful democracy.

    Unlike Korea, Egypt has made little or no progress toward democracy in thirty years, indeed, in the fifty five years since Suez. Are you proposing that her citizens be obliged to wait another thirty years, or sixty years, or however long until somebody other than the people of Egypt themselves decide that it is "safe" for them to run their own country? How long do you propose they should be obliged to wait?

    As for the deals with the Devil made during the cold war, I am well familiar with the logic of those deals, and you are going to have a tough time making the case that:

    The world was a better place, and western policy was more successful because Patrice Lumumba was assassinated and Mobutu Sese Seko came to power;

    The world is a better place because Mossadegh was run out, and the Shah installed in his place;

    The world is a better place because Salvador Allende was assassinated.

    That Indonesia did better than it would have done otherwise.

    That the Philippines benefited from Ferdinand Marcos being around so long.

    That maintaining military dictatorships in South America did the world any benefit.

    That leaving Francisco Franco and Antonio Salazar in power at the end of WWII did anything other than stunt the growth of Spain and Portugal for 30 years unnecessarily - and lead, ultimately, to a 30 year civil war in Angola that killed over a million people.

    That supporting Fulgencio Batista achieved anything useful in the end.

    There are plenty of other examples.

    Overall, there is very little evidence that supporting the sundry assortment of thugs who professed "anti-communism" actually achieved anything worthwhile.

    It is at least as plausible that the cold war would have been won sooner, and perhaps more easily, if support for democratic norms in the third world had been considerably more resolute during the cold war: The western economic powerhouse that determined the outcome of the cold war was not based on the economic potential of autocracies. It was based on the overwhelming economic dominance of (a) the G7 (as it then was), and, even more broadly, the 24 nations of the OECD. Not many military dictatorships in that club.


    In the end, we have just another smug person who finds it easy to make excuses to deny others the basic civil rights we take for granted - and to do so condescendingly at that.

    Complain about this comment

  • 289. At 06:29am on 07 Feb 2011, Amr wrote:

    283 Stevenson
    it's not clear who was behind the burning and destruction yet. (just not to say it's the protesters' fault or to start blaming anyone in particular)
    yea, it's much better now. although what you saw was the 'improved' version of the protest. everyone is happy now (both protesters and people. they can protest as much as they like, as long as they don't interrupt people's lives)
    ======
    i apologized to Oldloadr because i realized that this particular article or blog was not specifically concerned with the Egyptian crisis. it probably seems like the Egyptian news hi-jacked your blog (how embarrassing from my side)
    also, as a guest, i wasn't very considerate. but, i'm not upset, i'm glad i understood this now.

    Complain about this comment

  • 290. At 06:43am on 07 Feb 2011, mario1987 wrote:

    269. At 11:35pm on 06 Feb 2011, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    264. At 10:53pm on 06 Feb 2011, MagicKirin wrote:

    "Why do the BBC commentators in the Mid East take such an anti U.S and anti Israel stance in their reporting?"

    "Any evidence? Any proof? Just once?"

    There where article on this site, last summer or one before that, where commentator visited the beaches in Tel-Aviv, which were full. He complained that people in Tel-Aviv feel too safe, and because of that they go to the beaches,even when there are wars ,not caring of Arab-Israeli conflict, and because of that conflict continues.
    I don`t think that in a million years, BBC would publish a similar article about London, claiming that people in London are too safe, and because of that,there is war in Iraq or Afghanistan.

    Complain about this comment

  • 291. At 07:20am on 07 Feb 2011, Oldloadr wrote:

    289. At 06:29am on 07 Feb 2011, Amr wrote:
    i apologized to Oldloadr because i realized that this particular article or blog was not specifically concerned with the Egyptian crisis. it probably seems like the Egyptian news hi-jacked your blog (how embarrassing from my side)
    also, as a guest, i wasn't very considerate. but, i'm not upset, i'm glad i understood this now.
    ______________________________________________________________
    That was aimed at the BBC, not you. We never stay on topic on this blog anyway. But the events in Egypt did not occur with the rest of the world frozen in time; life goes on all around us.



    Complain about this comment

  • 292. At 07:46am on 07 Feb 2011, BienvenueEnLouisiana wrote:

    Amr, I understand why you felt the need to apologize; the Egyptian crisis has absolutely dominated this blog and crowded out most other discussions. I'm am not overly concerned though because I know how important the uprising in Egypt is, and I know that soon Mark will find something else to write about. Thus far your posts on the crisis in Egypt have been decent and interesting, so feel free to continue contributing here.

    This period between the initial protests and the change in government must be watched closely. Right now, we cannot know with certainty who will govern Egypt after the September elections, but I have hope that the results will reinforce democratic governance in Egypt and preserve a somewhat tense peace with Israel. If they don't, then the world will have to respond accordingly.

    IF, I had a blast watching the game with my family. The second half was more enjoyable to watch because the Steelers finally got their act together; unfortunately for them, they never could overcome the packers early lead. I thought this year's half time show was better than last years, and I'm more amused than outraged that Christina Aguilera messed up the anthem.

    Complain about this comment

  • 293. At 08:21am on 07 Feb 2011, Stevenson wrote:

    Yes, it was a good Super Bowl. It was so great the Green Bay Packers won--they were 10-6 in the regular season.

    But, most of my friends will be upset (Steelers fans). I'll be quiet and tactful and listen to their venting. (to keep their friendship)

    My Chiefs were 10-6, too. So, that is why I liked the Packers.

    Maybe next year for the Kansas City Chiefs--Yes, that's right maybe next year,
    it could happen :)))

    Complain about this comment

  • 294. At 08:29am on 07 Feb 2011, Lenispal wrote:

    Very difficult article to write Mr Mandell; you have to toe the BBC line of respecting the Brotherhood and support the BBC's anti Israel stance.

    Complain about this comment

  • 295. At 08:34am on 07 Feb 2011, Stevenson wrote:

    AND,

    I found out in recent days (though I knew it instinctively already) that when Egypt does something other nations in its area follow along and copy what it does.

    Most (me) do not know anything about Egypt except its distant past and perhaps the post colonial period. Cleopatra, move over, history is being made, now

    :)))

    Complain about this comment

  • 296. At 08:45am on 07 Feb 2011, JunkkMale wrote:

    Wondering a little bit about the term 'bad guys' and how framed.

    I suppose it is a pithy version of 'one man's terrorist is another objective professional media outfit's freedom fighter'.

    Complain about this comment

  • 297. At 08:47am on 07 Feb 2011, marieinaustin wrote:

    This Super Bowl was great! And at my place, someone brought scrumptious beer-marinated bratwurst.

    I’ve appreciated your posts, Amr, and many more. It’s been a good thread.

    However, if Mark continues again on Egypt, I hope he can throw in another blog entry (or two) simultaneously, about the 'local' political moves that we’re missing.

    Complain about this comment

  • 298. At 09:01am on 07 Feb 2011, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #269 and 290
    John_From_Dublin wrote:
    264. At 10:53pm on 06 Feb 2011, MagicKirin wrote:

    "Why do the BBC commentators in the Mid East take such an anti U.S and anti Israel stance in their reporting?"

    Any evidence? Any proof? Just once?

    __________

    In addition to the one on the beaches, when te Palestinians refused direct negotians, the BBC gave 90% of the time to reporting the Palestinian view that settlements were the cause or when Airel Sharon visited the Temple Mount (a jewish sight) that was a provocation.

    Complain about this comment

  • 299. At 09:40am on 07 Feb 2011, Oldloadr wrote:

    297. At 08:47am on 07 Feb 2011, Grateful Marie wrote:
    This Super Bowl was great! And at my place, someone brought scrumptious beer-marinated bratwurst.
    __________________________________________________________
    (Completely selfish rant for the purpose of corny humor and hyperbolae) That's something (beer of bratwurst) you won't find on the streets Riyadh; and if the Brotherhood gets the majority, you won’t find anywhere in Cairo, either. That would really irritate me since most of the fresh pork we get in the UAE comes from farms in Egypt. To not have a weekend B-B-Q with lots of marinated ribs on my Weber grill would be too much to contemplate.

    There, for all of you who think Americans are shallow, short-sighted and selfish; I’ve provided you all free ammunition; enjoy.

    Now, after you enjoy, think about the Egyptian pig farmers who may lose more than their lively hood if the Theocracy comes to fruition.


    Complain about this comment

  • 300. At 09:55am on 07 Feb 2011, Amr wrote:

    297 Grateful Marie
    i'm glad the comments were not as annoying as i feared (i was stressed and worried, so now that everything here is back to normal i realized i may have been annoying back then, unintentionally)
    by the way, i learnt a lot from visiting this blog about the world and politics.
    i'll work on something different for a change. i think i typed a lot already, so i'll be posting photos and cartoons to the bbc (if this option is allowed in the website)

    Complain about this comment

  • 301. At 10:14am on 07 Feb 2011, Amr wrote:

    295 Stevenson
    we copied from Tunisia, i think. perhaps it sounded like a good idea to everyone.
    yea, i understand totally. whenever something similar happened in any other country, i didn't really care much, so now that it happened here i expected people . i just didn't want the wrong idea to spread. (it is already everywhere)
    81 quietoaktree
    i didn't ignore this comment on purpose. i only realized now that i should have replied (even though i have to go to my friend's wedding in less than an hour) yes, it's all true. however, there may be 'other reasons' behind the demonstrations other than the reason you mentioned. the other reasons can be simply anything, good or bad. (until proven)
    that's why it's not a good idea to force an immediate transition

    Complain about this comment

  • 302. At 10:15am on 07 Feb 2011, TrueToo wrote:

    168. At 04:01am on 06 Feb 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    It is amazing how the automatons who slavishly support Likud/AIPAC can come up with no end of excuses for denying other people the basic civil rights that they themselves take for granted.

    Are you trying to write a parody of a leftist with tunnel vision? Are you smarting because peterbo effortlessly exposed your lack of knowledge of Iran's ambitions in the region?

    Iran arms, trains and funds Hezbollah and Hamas. The latter, you might know, is essentially the same as the Muslim Brotherhood. Hezbollah recently infiltrated Egypt; their attempted attack on Israelis was, thankfully, foiled.

    Yes, there is the obvious and venomous Shia-Sunni split and Iran's obsession to create Shia hegemony in the region but that is trumped by the mutual obsession to destroy Israel.

    If the revolt in Egypt is hijacked by these forces, we're in for dark times indeed. Then you might wish you'd been a little less obsessive about Likud/AIPAC.


    169. At 04:04am on 06 Feb 2011, DCHeretic wrote:

    European imperialism drew the borders of many nations and created the state of Israel, but the resulting tension is now somehow the exclusive fault of the US.

    I agree with the rest of your comment, but that is a sweeping statement, and inaccurate on many levels. Britain reneged on its Mandate to establish a Jewish National Home in Palestine, armed the Arabs and encouraged Arab immigration while disarming the Jews and severely limiting immigration of Jews fleeing the Holocaust. In the end the Jews of Palestine had no option but to fight the British. Put differently, Israel was created despite British imperialism.

    Complain about this comment

  • 303. At 10:30am on 07 Feb 2011, TrueToo wrote:

    269. At 11:35pm on 06 Feb 2011, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    264. At 10:53pm on 06 Feb 2011, MagicKirin wrote:

    "Why do the BBC commentators in the Mid East take such an anti U.S and anti Israel stance in their reporting?"

    Any evidence? Any proof? Just once?


    You can't seriously be asking the question. If you have a genuine desire to learn something about this, why not Google? The Internet is packed with the evidence. But I guess it's a rhetorical question. Perhaps foolishly, I'll answer it.

    To take a couple of examples from the massive body of evidence, Barbara Plett admitted weeping at the sight of Yasser Arafat being airlifted to Paris where he would die. And, though it took years following complaints, the BBC reluctantly acknowledged in the end that Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen had written a biased report on Israel.

    Now try to imagine a BBC journalist weeping over Ariel Sharon in his coma or writing biased articles against the Palestinians and you might begin to understand what people mean when they talk about BBC bias against Israel.

    Complain about this comment

  • 304. At 10:31am on 07 Feb 2011, MagicKirin wrote:

    Anyone surprised no HYS on Regan's 100th birthday.

    considering they did recent one on Tutu's retirement.

    Reagan contributions and service far exceed Tutu's.

    and to use Mardell's words outside of South Africa Tutu mostly supported the Bad Guys

    Complain about this comment

  • 305. At 10:40am on 07 Feb 2011, TrueToo wrote:

    Dunno. I couldn't find a HYS at all. I was looking for the one with over a thousand comments on Egypt. All I could find was stories and pictures but no HYS.

    Complain about this comment

  • 306. At 11:08am on 07 Feb 2011, Oldloadr wrote:

    304. At 10:31am on 07 Feb 2011, MagicKirin wrote:
    Anyone surprised no HYS on Regan's 100th birthday.
    _________________________________________________
    Hey, we can start out own, right here!

    I was a Staff Sergeant in the USAF when Ronnie was elected. I was still a Southern Democrat at the time, but I was a military professional. Which means that I was still wary of Ronnie as he came into office, but I had been so embarrassed by Carter (who claimed to be a Southern Democrat, but he had a lot more in common with Ted Kennedy than Sam Nunn). However, shortly after Ronnie was shot, it became obvious that something was changing in the military and the whole country. The post Viet Nam malaise was lifting. Oh, sure the economy still sucked, but we were all walking a little taller, feeling a little more confident day by day. Every time Ronnie spoke, I came away feeling 10 feet tall and bullet proof.

    Since this is a BBC blog, I also remember Maggie Thatcher bending over Ronnie’s casket; I will say that that was very touching and leave it at that…



    Complain about this comment

  • 307. At 11:23am on 07 Feb 2011, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    303. At 10:30am on 07 Feb 2011, TrueToo wrote:

    “You can't seriously be asking the question”

    Yes I can. The fact that you take it as a given that the Beeb is a nest of anti-Israel and anti-USA extreme lefties, the fact that Israel is a subject you appear to have an obsessive interest in, the fact that other people make similar claims, doesn’t make it fact that the BBC is biased, just an assertion.

    Any more than your expressed belief that “For several decades now the BBC has represented nobody else…” [but] “…those who lean so far to the left of the political spectrum that they are practically falling over” makes that a fact either.

    MK made a claim. I asked for his evidence. Since he routinely mistakes his opinion for fact, I considered it a reasonable thing to do. Still do.

    There is an interesting Wiki piece here re criticism of the BBC - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_the_BBC.

    They have indeed been criticised as anti-Israel, pro-Israel, anti-Muslim, pro-Muslim, too left wing and too right wing.

    Just 2 paragraphs that give another side of the argument to yours

    “After the Balen report, the BBC appointed a committee chosen by the Governors and referred to by the BBC as an "independent panel report" to write a report for publication which was completed in 2006. The committee said that "apart from individual lapses, there was little to suggest deliberate or systematic bias" in the BBC's reporting of the middle east. However their coverage had been "inconsistent," "not always providing a complete picture" and "misleading".[34] It suggested that in fact BBC coverage implicitly favoured the Israeli side.[35]

    Former BBC middle east correspondent Tim Llewellyn wrote in 2004 that the BBC's coverage allowed an Israeli view of the conflict to dominate, as demonstrated by research conducted by the Glasgow Media Group”

    Complain about this comment

  • 308. At 11:44am on 07 Feb 2011, TrueToo wrote:

    307. John_From_Dublin,

    I see. Since you felt free to ignore the evidence re BBC anti-Israel bias you yourself asked for, I guess you wont mind if I ignore yours?

    Complain about this comment

  • 309. At 11:53am on 07 Feb 2011, The Cool Ruler Rides Again wrote:

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

  • 310. At 12:13pm on 07 Feb 2011, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 308. At 11:44am on 07 Feb 2011, TrueToo wrote:

    "307. John_From_Dublin,

    I see. Since you felt free to ignore the evidence re BBC anti-Israel bias you yourself asked for, I guess you wont mind if I ignore yours?"


    Feel free. You will do what you wish, regardless of whether I mind or not. I never thought for a second that anything I wrote was likely to change your mind.

    Just for the record, I didn’t take a position on BBC bias, just asked for some evidence. You were the one who was amazed and aghast that the question could even be asked, and apparently could not believe I was seriously asking it.

    You think the BBC is biased. I think your own words – ie your view that the BBC position has been extreme leftist for decades - show pretty clearly that you are biased against the BBC.

    I didn’t ‘ignore’ your claims, I merely didn’t address them. I have no intention of getting into a debate on the issue with you. No doubt you will deduce that this is because your evidence and logic are irrefutable. I would suggest it is rather that I have neither the time nor the obsessive interest in this subject that you seem to.

    Finally the Wiki viewpoint on the Bowen issue. (In fairness, Wiki point out that ‘The neutrality of this article is disputed.’ And ‘This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards.’

    “In April 2009, the Editorial Standards Committee of the BBC Trust published a report on three complaints brought against two news items involving Jeremy Bowen, the Middle East Editor for BBC News. [59] The complaints included 24 allegations of inaccuracy or impartiality of which three were fully or partially upheld. [59] [60][61] Parts of a news article were found to breach BBC guidelines on accuracy and impartiality. Also, one statement in a radio broadcast was found to breach BBC guidelines on accuracy. [59] The original website article was amended and Bowen did not face any disciplinary measures. [62]

    The Jerusalem Post reported the story using the headline "Complaints of BBC bias partially upheld". [63] However, the report does not accuse Bowen of bias. [60] According to The Guardian, the problem was only that "Bowen should have used clearer language and been more precise in some aspects of the piece". [64] Also, for the disputed claim in the radio broadcast, the committee accepted that Bowen had an authoritative source.”

    Complain about this comment

  • 311. At 12:27pm on 07 Feb 2011, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    My #310 has been “referred for further consideration”

    I assume/hope it is because I quoted 2 paragraphs from Wikipedia.

    Following is a redacted version.


    “# 308. At 11:44am on 07 Feb 2011, TrueToo wrote:

    "307. John_From_Dublin,

    I see. Since you felt free to ignore the evidence re BBC anti-Israel bias you yourself asked for, I guess you wont mind if I ignore yours?"


    Feel free. You will do what you wish, regardless of whether I mind or not.

    Just for the record, I didn’t take a position on BBC bias, just asked for some evidence. You were the one who was amazed and aghast that the question could even be asked, and apparently could not believe I was seriously asking it.

    You think the BBC is biased. I think your own words – ie your expressed view that the BBC position has been extreme leftist for decades - show pretty clearly that you are biased against the BBC.

    I didn’t ‘ignore’ your claims, I merely didn’t address them. I have no intention of getting into a debate on the issue with you. No doubt you will deduce that this is because your evidence and logic are irrefutable. I would suggest it is rather that I have neither the time nor the obsessive interest in this subject that you seem to.

    Finally the Wiki viewpoint on the Bowen issue. (In fairness, Wiki point out that ‘The neutrality of this article is disputed.’ And ‘This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards.’”

    I then quoted 2 paragraphs from Wiki on the matter. One point of particular interest – “The Jerusalem Post reported the story using the headline "Complaints of BBC bias partially upheld". However, the report does not accuse Bowen of bias.”

    Complain about this comment

  • 312. At 12:41pm on 07 Feb 2011, Chryses wrote:

    TrueToo, (#303. At 10:30am on 07 Feb 2011)

    Assume for the moment that those who do question your claim are serious. I note that you refer explicitly to only two articles over a period of years. Given that this number is probably a very small percentage of the count of articles posted about Israel and neighboring countries by BBC correspondents during that period, the issue is not yet closed. In order to move the argument forward, would you please take the time to post urls which provide additional data to substantiate you case?

    John_From_Dublin has presented a persuasive rebuttal (at least I find it so) to "the Beeb is biased" claim, and provided a link to the source data. You may have noticed how silly some of the posters to these threads appear. I suggest that you will be found more persuasive if you provide the examples upon which you base your opinion.

    Complain about this comment

  • 313. At 12:49pm on 07 Feb 2011, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    I made two attempts to respond to # 308, at # 310 and # 311.

    Both were ‘referred for further consideration‘.

    Third time’s a charm.



    ‘Feel free.’

    Complain about this comment

  • 314. At 1:22pm on 07 Feb 2011, PartTimeDon wrote:

    Truetoo / JfD
    http://www.glasgowmediagroup.org/content/view/6/20/
    The above is a link to the Glasgow media group site with comments on their work.
    I suggest you check out the comments from the Economist and Mike Brennan - and the rebuttals.
    Personally I can't believe the GMG are blindly pursuing an agenda given they are willing to highlight criticism of their own work. It follows from that that they are either mistaken, or there is merit in the point they make.

    Complain about this comment

  • 315. At 1:25pm on 07 Feb 2011, Greg Hunyadi wrote:

    The most significant foreign policy of the USA - was it's alliance with Communism and Stalin against Hitler and Fascism - and subsequent agreement to dissolve the British Empire liberate much of the world. In the wake of this West Germany, Japan - and even a democratic India emerged.

    Compared to that - Iraq, etc,. look like gnat on an elephant's back. Also, it's every nations job to look out chiefly for their own interests. There's nothing wrong with that; it's called reality. Most of the complaints people have with the USA are really complaints better addressed to the UN - which are then better addressed to nobody - since the UN is a place where officials meet to do cocaine and slap each others backs. The UN brass got rich off of Saddam Hussein and the oil for food massacre - all the while failing to ever enforce anything meaningful. Behind the worst things in the world - you will find China - not the USA stopping the international evolution of the human beasts.

    Complain about this comment

  • 316. At 1:31pm on 07 Feb 2011, Oldloadr wrote:

    313. At 12:49pm on 07 Feb 2011, John_From_Dublin wrote:
    I made two attempts to respond to # 308, at # 310 and # 311.

    Both were ‘referred for further consideration‘.
    __________________________________________________________
    Sometimes, I don't know what surprises me more; the comments that make it through, or the ones that don't (or are referred, so I did get to see them for a short time). One thing I have learned is the BBC is absolutely phobic about "homophobia." I don't really like that term anyway, since I don't fear them, just think they are unrepentant sinners (like most of the world) that think sexual perversion should be a civil right. I wonder how many posts would be censored if we had a discussion on the American Christian Right’s view on same-sex marriage…

    Complain about this comment

  • 317. At 1:35pm on 07 Feb 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    286. At 05:58am on 07 Feb 2011, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    "The world is not a zero-sum game. .... You don't have to rob someone else to get ahead, yourself. You don't have to fear and cower behind some strong man to survive. In the past few centuries, actual wealth has been made by quiet, orderly, productive societies, and expanded by trade, innovation, and the exchange of ideas. War and rapine have been shown to be destructive, costly, and not remotely the best idea."

    ----------

    Couldn't agree more.

    Complain about this comment

  • 318. At 2:08pm on 07 Feb 2011, mario1987 wrote:

    I think that it is internal Egyptian matter, and responsibility what type of government it has, and US, EU, Israel,Iran and the rest of the world should respect this and deal with whatever government Egyptians have.
    I morally support Egyptian democracy, and hope their will archive it. But is it not any foreign nation responsibility or right to support or oppose it, or any other type of government. Also just because the world has good relations with Egypt as a country do not make them responsible for what kind of government they have. Egypt was already autocracy when it became US ally, Gamel Abdel Nasser ruled with single-party rule even before that,just as Egypt was already autocracy when Israel signed peace treaty with them.

    I however think that Egyptians who want democracy, should be careful about Iranian-Syrian interference, so they will not have armed opposition para-military like Hamas and Hezbollah, acting like state with in a state.

    @John_From_Dublin
    Accusations of bias is always a point of view, not a fact. And as you pointed out there are evidence for pro and anti-Israeli bias. Hover I think that if you look at articles concerning Israel on this site(by typing Israel in search box) , especially in more recent years, you will see that mostly issues were presented from Palestinian point of view, their concerns and aspirations , not Israeli.
    However, this article, i remember the most, because it goes beyond simple bias, and I think is simply amoral, unprofessional, and offensive:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-11294445
    Even its analysis is wrong. In reality people in Tel-Aviv are more dovish,then anywhere in Israel, because it is not them who are attacked, but north and south of Israel, and so people there are more hawkish, and more skeptical about prospects for peace.

    Complain about this comment

  • 319. At 2:10pm on 07 Feb 2011, mscracker wrote:

    I heard Ann Coulter on the radio recently speaking about the allies the US has. I think "allies" is the key here.
    In practical terms, our allies are not always perfect,not necessarily our "friends", but sometimes just the lesser of two evils.

    Complain about this comment

  • 320. At 2:37pm on 07 Feb 2011, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    This has now become a point of principle.

    I don’t understand exactly what the BBC objected to in 310 and 311. Hopefully I have removed it. They can presumably hardly object to my quoting something someone said on their website.


    ““# 308. At 11:44am on 07 Feb 2011, TrueToo wrote:

    "307. John_From_Dublin,

    I see. Since you felt free to ignore the evidence re BBC anti-Israel bias you yourself asked for, I guess you wont mind if I ignore yours?"


    Feel free.

    Just for the record, I didn’t take a position on BBC bias, just asked for some evidence. You were the one who was amazed and aghast that the question could even be asked, and apparently could not believe I was seriously asking it.

    You think the BBC is biased. I think your own words – ie your expressed view on the BBC website, which I previously quoted, that “For several decades now the BBC has represented nobody else…” [but] “…those who lean so far to the left of the political spectrum that they are practically falling over” - suggest that where the BBC is concerned you are not exactly an impartial observer.

    I didn’t ‘ignore’ your claims, I merely didn’t address them. I have no intention of getting into a debate on the issue with you. No doubt you will deduce that this is because your evidence and logic are irrefutable. I would suggest it is rather that I have neither the time nor the interest in this subject that you seem to have.

    Finally the Wiki viewpoint on the Bowen issue. (In fairness, Wiki point out that ‘The neutrality of this article is disputed.’ And ‘This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards.’”)

    I then quoted two paragraphs from Wiki on the matter. One point of particular interest – “The Jerusalem Post reported the story using the headline "Complaints of BBC bias partially upheld". However, the report does not accuse Bowen of bias.””

    Complain about this comment

  • 321. At 3:00pm on 07 Feb 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    With all the talk of the menace posed by Ikhwan in Egypt, I think it is necessary to pause and consider what role the military is likely to play.

    Far stronger etc. than the Brotherhood, the military will likely be the arbiter of any post Mubarak political resolution.

    Some thoughts on Egypt and the Turkish model from Stephen Cook here.

    From the same source, musings on what he witnessed in Tahrir Square here.

    Complain about this comment

  • 322. At 3:13pm on 07 Feb 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    re: 219 oldloadr 4. Those who blindly support spreading democracy, even if the majority of that country are not enthusiastic

    Chuckle.

    Are you suggesting that George W. Bush is posting here under a nom de plume?

    Complain about this comment

  • 323. At 3:18pm on 07 Feb 2011, Amr wrote:

    wow, i guess i trusted the system too much that i blinded myself from the truth. is this what brainwash feels like

    Complain about this comment

  • 324. At 3:25pm on 07 Feb 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    Marie wrote: This Super Bowl was great! And at my place, someone brought scrumptious beer-marinated bratwurst.
    -----------
    Go Packers! Way to show the East Coast the Midwest is the best!!! :)

    And the best part of all, I thought, was Bart Starr being there. Truthfully, I did not even know he was still alive, but he is and he actually looked like he was in really good shape...I love seeing all the old football coverage, but to have the actual guy there is beyond amazin'!

    Imagine winning the first ever Super Bowl and then traveling to Dallas 45 years later to see your team win again! This year's Super Bowl was superspecial...

    All in all, great exciting game, lots o' fun, altho I think some of hte commercials were bizarre and the halftime show was fun, the dancers with boxes on their head was strange, but everybody loves that "I got a feelin'" song by the Peas...it was really awesome when Slash came out, 2!

    "Tonight's gonna be a good night!"

    Go Packers!

    Go USA!!!

    Complain about this comment

  • 325. At 3:30pm on 07 Feb 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    I have to admit that I didn't like the Obama OReilly interview, because even though I'm kinda so-so on President Obama right now, he does need to be treated like the President and I htought O Reilly was somewhat disrespectful. Even the people I'm was with who don't like some of what Obama has done or is doing said the same thing that OReilly was disrespectful and very rude. Ironically, the interview made President Obama look like the better person because he stayed calm, cool and collected like you would want your President to be, regardless if you like him or not. So President Obama was the winner of the interview...

    Complain about this comment

  • 326. At 3:31pm on 07 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    "However I would cordially suggest that to compare the Guardian with the official organs of the Communist Party in the former USSR, (or indeed Fox) is ludicrous hyperbole, and the sort of bizarre exaggeration one expects (and invariably gets) from PMK."






    PMK is a short for a rather notorious Kalashnikov sub-machine gun.

    Seems they don't teach such things at the Spelling Uninursery [sic] in a certain bankrupt EU member-state. :-(

    Complain about this comment

  • 327. At 3:39pm on 07 Feb 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    For our Super Bowl, we had nacho cheese bake, twice baked potatoes with cheese, sour cream and bacon, deviled eggs, cheese frijoles with corn chips, chili cheese hot dogs, key lime pie and oreo cookie pie...kinda a mix n' match, but I will say there was cheese on almost everything to support the cheeseheads and the Midwest! Lots o' dairy!

    I guess I'm still a littel in shock, it was pretty close at the end, could have went either way...

    Green Bay's defense held them off in the end, that one play was the game and it felt so good to stop those Steelers...

    I would say Clay Matthews is def my fave Packer!!!

    Complain about this comment

  • 328. At 3:47pm on 07 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    273. At 00:33am on 07 Feb 2011, Stevenson wrote:
    I had said earlier (you wanted to know) PMK

    I prefer a "G-Suit"

    it sounds like a G-Man suit :)))

    (uniforms are nice :)))









    FYI: G-suit is not a uniform. It's a working anti-G-force suit and it's definitely not comfortable/sexy, particularly its water-filled version.

    It's only redeeming feature being that you can perform 9G maneuvers in it without blacking-out. [if you now how to breath right, that is. :-)]

    Complain about this comment

  • 329. At 3:49pm on 07 Feb 2011, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 326 wrote:
    “PMK is a (sic) short for a rather notorious Kalashnikov sub-machine gun.”

    So?

    “Seems they don't teach such things at the Spelling Uninursery [sic] in a certain bankrupt EU member-state. :-(“

    I really wouldn’t know. I attended the National University of Ireland and Trinity College Dublin. I didn’t attend any “Spelling Uninursery”, if for no other reason than it does not actually exist, despite your repeated references to it. (As I recall, when I dared to make the same point in more than one posting, you accused me of Spamming. Pot, kettle.)

    However, if they do open one, you should certainly consider enrolling.

    Just for the record, the “EUSSR” doesn’t exist either. There was the USSR. There is the EU. Two different things.

    I shall refrain from comment about your repeated sneers about Ireland, less I disturb the Mods.

    Complain about this comment

  • 330. At 3:52pm on 07 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Magic Kirin: "Yes the U.S bombs the Tailban and Al Qaedada

    You are quite welcome"






    A small correction if I may.

    As far as their top echelons are concerned we mostly rocket them.


    From Reapers (Predators-2).


    [Nope, they don't quite welcome that. :-)]


    Complain about this comment

  • 331. At 3:53pm on 07 Feb 2011, U14778804 wrote:

    I am always sad to see how people are so easily fooled and used. To the point they don't understand (or perhaps don’t want to understand) or question, especially when things seem to be going good in their particular region of the planet. Therefore we fail to see we are being lead and controlled by deluded systems and people which in the cold light of day don’t really make any sense at all! The rare occasions when good ideas and people appear they are often made powerless and quickly controlled, killed or branded as unrealistic fools, by those who’s very nature and actions are against any interests for peace, protection, fairness, equality and transparency (i.e. real freedom) etc, etc..
    Throughout History to the present date our world has littered with a social systems, empires and political/social elite, who claim to have our (the majorities)best interests at heart as they take, plunder and destroy the planet, only to selectively build, protect and promote their own fortified visions of Eden. Whilst equally restricting and controlling the access and distribution of the remaining resources. Which after their deductions is usually not enough to really cover the basic needs, aspirations and/or manufactured greed’s of the people beneath them (therefore showing a total disregard for both people and the planet).
    The truth for humanity is in understanding the tools and methods used and developed to control us. They often look on the surface to for our benefit, but remain a malleable set of rules, laws and systems which can be bent ,changed and overlooked (when the situation requires) – normally to protect them (or their interests) from threat, suspicion, scrutiny or charge. Yet funnily continue to create the hopes and aspirations for us all. They also claim (because of their position and perceived success) that they are only ones with the solution to our hardships , implementing false hierarchies and protection systems that only really protect their and interests and control us from rebellion.
    Rulers, Monarchies, leaders right down to street gangsters all use and create the same fake codes (laws), using violence and debt to confuse, disempower and enslave. The real secret common denominator for all their power is the same, - control over money, people and resource. No matter what system that is always the key factor. Which sadly has lead to the biggest unchallenged powerbase and evil elite in modern history, The private banking cartels and families. Who empower, destabilise and control the minds and action of the needy, greedy and elite ( all of us). They have the ultimate power and ability to make or break countries, cultures, communities and individuals (at every level) - especially those who try to openly question, undermine or oppose them.
    So do we have chance to build a better world... Yes but not under any current banking system we use that is private because it is a business, that fights for wealth and control of resources instead of openly sharing them... So not likely yet?

    Complain about this comment

  • 332. At 3:56pm on 07 Feb 2011, Scott0962 wrote:

    At the risk of upsetting the anti-American crowd I would like to ask where was Britain's support for democracy? Granting independence because you could no longer support the military force to maintain mastery in countries where people were starting to demand an end to colonial rule isn't exactly a ringing endorsement of your belief in freedom and democracy either.

    Marks's remarks about President Obama's reluctance to endorse domcracy are well taken though and a lot of Americans agree that the president should have spoken out sooner and more firmly in support of the pro-democracy demonstrators in Egypt. Although our government often conducts it's foreign policy based on realpolitik Americans are most comofortable with our foreign policy when it affirms the principles of liberty and democracy that our nation was founded on.

    Complain about this comment

  • 333. At 3:59pm on 07 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Former BBC middle east correspondent Tim Llewellyn wrote in 2004 that the BBC's coverage allowed an Israeli view of the conflict to dominate, as demonstrated by research conducted by the Glasgow Media Group"










    And former TASS correspondent, Igor Ivanov wrote in 1989 that TASS coverage allowed U.S. and NATO view to dominate as demonstrated by research conducted by "Pravda" and "Izvestya" ". :-))))))))))))))))))))))

    Complain about this comment

  • 334. At 4:08pm on 07 Feb 2011, Oldloadr wrote:

    328. At 3:47pm on 07 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:
    It's only redeeming feature being that you can perform 9G maneuvers in it without blacking-out. [if you now how to breath right, that is. :-)]
    ________________________________________________________________
    How many airframes can take 9Gs (and I mean without replacing lots of fasteners, attach bolts and rivets)? I know one personally and have heard of a couple (I'm assuming the F-22 can and the F-35, if it ever gets to production).

    Complain about this comment

  • 335. At 4:21pm on 07 Feb 2011, Scott0962 wrote:

    re. #315. At 1:25pm on 07 Feb 2011, Greg Hunyadi wrote:
    The most significant foreign policy of the USA - was it's alliance with Communism and Stalin against Hitler and Fascism - and subsequent agreement to dissolve the British Empire liberate much of the world. In the wake of this West Germany, Japan - and even a democratic India emerged.

    Compared to that - Iraq, etc,. look like gnat on an elephant's back. Also, it's every nations job to look out chiefly for their own interests. There's nothing wrong with that; it's called reality. Most of the complaints people have with the USA are really complaints better addressed to the UN - which are then better addressed to nobody - since the UN is a place where officials meet to do cocaine and slap each others backs. The UN brass got rich off of Saddam Hussein and the oil for food massacre - all the while failing to ever enforce anything meaningful. Behind the worst things in the world - you will find China - not the USA stopping the international evolution of the human beasts.
    -------------

    President Roosevelt was a bit naive regarding Stalin and the Soviet Union. I'm not sure there was any "agreement" to dissolve the British Empire, while FDR did make it clear to Churchill that America would not support British attempts to retain the empire, it was more likely the awareness by British leaders that maintaining mastery over the peoples of the empire would require a degree of repression that the British people were sure to find repugnant.

    As for the UN, it's useful to have a central meeting place where all the nations of the world can have their say but to expect the UN to conduct it's business based on selfless regard for the good of mankind is a naive and foolish dream.

    Complain about this comment

  • 336. At 4:26pm on 07 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

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

  • 337. At 4:28pm on 07 Feb 2011, Amr wrote:

    i have a humble question: what kind of political system did we have in Egypt in the last 30 years?

    Complain about this comment

  • 338. At 4:42pm on 07 Feb 2011, sayasay wrote:

    #321 chronophobe “… the military will likely be the arbiter of any post Mubarak political resolution.”

    I know Mubarack was military, much in the tradition of Sadat and Nasser, his predecessors.
    Why should ‘same old same’ be better? Those cycles of Turkish military coups every 10 years or so, are supposed to be good?

    Complain about this comment

  • 339. At 4:46pm on 07 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Oldloadr wrote:
    328. At 3:47pm on 07 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:
    It's only redeeming feature being that you can perform 9G maneuvers in it without blacking-out. [if you now how to breath right, that is. :-)]
    ________________________________________________________________
    How many airframes can take 9Gs (and I mean without replacing lots of fasteners, attach bolts and rivets)? I know one personally and have heard of a couple (I'm assuming the F-22 can and the F-35, if it ever gets to production).


    Several. Us, humans, becoming fast the weakest part of the identified flying objects.


    The future is UAVs.

    Whether we like it or not.


    BTW. You do know that most of heavily exploited Eagle's airframes have to be significantly refurbished (cracks and all that)?

    [not that many Falcon airframes have not had enough after all these years]




    P.S. The chief designer of the Russian "Bulava" SLBM has blamed its numerous failures during tests on..."faulty rivets".[sic]

    What was the name of that famous American WWII era female riveter? :-)

    Complain about this comment

  • 340. At 4:54pm on 07 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #334 Oldloadr of 9G foces, tired airframs and failing rivets...



    If you want to see a photo of the real life Rosie the Riveter
    (from Pulaski County) look no further:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosie_the_Riveter

    Complain about this comment

  • 341. At 4:57pm on 07 Feb 2011, Ralphy wrote:

    It's rather simple Mark. Nations look for allies during conflicts, and sometimes those allies aren't nice, shiny democracies.

    It is also hardly only an American thing. We after all allied ourselves with Stalin during the last World War, and numerous unpleasant regimes during the Cold War, as did everyone else.

    Why are you singling the USA out?

    Complain about this comment

  • 342. At 4:59pm on 07 Feb 2011, Oldloadr wrote:

    331. At 3:53pm on 07 Feb 2011, areyoublind wrote:

    Hey, worcestorjim, your twin has showed up. Enjoy your conspiracies, together.

    Complain about this comment

  • 343. At 5:09pm on 07 Feb 2011, Oldloadr wrote:

    337. At 4:28pm on 07 Feb 2011, Amr wrote:
    i have a humble question: what kind of political system did we have in Egypt in the last 30 years?
    ___________________________________________________________
    IMHO, you have had a Military Oligarchy. That has been proven by (if I’m not being naïve in what I see) President Mubarak being replaced as party leader and the Military leadership releasing news announcements that did not seem to totally support Mubarak. The good news, as in Turkey, the military are the sons of Egypt and they will tolerate only so much extremism in any direction and they will tolerate only so much intolerance by the rest of the gov’t towards the citizens of Egypt.

    Complain about this comment

  • 344. At 5:17pm on 07 Feb 2011, Amr wrote:

    ok, just not to leave the things i said before without a correction. i realized now that i never had any rights. everything i learnt before and every moment in my life was a lie. thank you for not showing me this truth before now. (you knew all along, right?)
    i've been a fool all along.
    =====
    (and to hear something from my friends like: you're the only one in Egypt who didn't know yet)

    Complain about this comment

  • 345. At 5:21pm on 07 Feb 2011, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 333 powermeerkat wrote:
    "Former BBC middle east correspondent Tim Llewellyn wrote in 2004 that the BBC's coverage allowed an Israeli view of the conflict to dominate, as demonstrated by research conducted by the Glasgow Media Group"

    “And former TASS correspondent, Igor Ivanov wrote in 1989 that TASS coverage allowed U.S. (sic) and NATO (sic) view to dominate as demonstrated by research conducted by "Pravda" and "Izvestya" ". :-))))))))))))))))))))))”

    As I have pointed out before, most people posting here have the courtesy to specify which number posting they are replying to and/or quoting from. You are quoting from my #308, and from a quotation from Wiki included therein.

    Re TASS etc, I assume you are making this up.

    It is however highly relevant.

    Because, of course, the BBC is *exactly* like the state-controlled media in the former USSR.

    As for your 23 or so “smiles” - I am reminded of the story of Mick Jagger claiming that the lines on his face were ‘laughter lines’.

    To which someone responded, ‘Nothing’s that funny’.

    Complain about this comment

  • 346. At 5:22pm on 07 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Those cycles of Turkish military coups every 10 years or so, are supposed to be good?"







    Well, each time, after a coup the Turkish Army would go back to its barracks. But not before having failed regimes or crypto -Islamists (such as Erbakan) removed, and foundations of the secular Republic of Turkey designed by Ataturk - secured.



    Something such crypto-Islamists like Erdogan and Gul better remember.

    Complain about this comment

  • 347. At 5:23pm on 07 Feb 2011, Oldloadr wrote:

    339. At 4:46pm on 07 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:
    BTW. You do know that most of heavily exploited Eagle's airframes have to be significantly refurbished (cracks and all that)?
    ____________________________________________________________
    I know by 1994, we were doing field level repairs of wing spars that use to be depot only due to the overwhelming number of spar cracks by then. I ran the back shops at Dhahran in 94-95 and we did extraordinary repairs on every Eagle that went through phase during that period.

    BTW, Rosie was a pioneer, but my own daughter was a jet engine mechanic (medically retired last year) with tours to Turkey, Korea and Iraq. I’m proud that my daughter is tougher than most people’s sons…


    Complain about this comment

  • 348. At 5:24pm on 07 Feb 2011, DenverGuest wrote:

    337. At 4:28pm on 07 Feb 2011, Amr wrote:
    i have a humble question: what kind of political system did we have in Egypt in the last 30 years?
    --------------------------------------
    According to the CIA world factbook, you have a 'republic'.

    This part of the CIA's record was the most fascinating to me though:
    elections: president elected by popular vote for a six-year term (no term limits); note - a national referendum in May 2005 approved a constitutional amendment that changed the presidential election to a multicandidate popular vote; previously the president was nominated by the People's Assembly and the nomination was validated by a national, popular referendum; last referendum held on 26 September 1999; first election under terms of the constitutional amendment held on 7 September 2005 (next scheduled for 2011)

    Until 2005 the people didn't even have the right to vote for their own leader. Couple that with a google search that brings up multiple allegations of voter fraud since 2005, and it starts to look like a totalitarian regime to me. Whether the military is pulling the strings or not, I don't venture to theorize, but the people of Egypt are definitely not the ones pulling the strings.

    Complain about this comment

  • 349. At 5:31pm on 07 Feb 2011, The Toothbrush Man wrote:

    332. At 3:56pm on 07 Feb 2011, Scott0962 wrote:

    "At the risk of upsetting the anti-American crowd I would like to ask where was Britain's support for democracy? Granting independence because you could no longer support the military force to maintain mastery in countries where people were starting to demand an end to colonial rule isn't exactly a ringing endorsement of your belief in freedom and democracy either."

    Er. Sorry ? You seem to have a rather simplistic idea of how the British Empire was held together. It was NOT through military force. No army in history has or could ever be big enough to maintain a colonial rule.

    Yes, there were military actions - sometimes quite nasty. But on the whole the British empire was held together through realisation that you would be better off in it, rather than out of it. You would have access to foreign markets, a major finance and insurance centre (London), enjoy the protection of the Royal Navy (from pirates), be aware of the latest technological and cultural developments, etc. etc.

    As for ...

    "Granting independence because you could no longer support the military force to maintain mastery in countries where people were starting to demand an end to colonial rule isn't exactly a ringing endorsement of your belief in freedom and democracy either."

    ... this is a contradiction. They want independence. They got independence. More often than not, without a shot being fired. How is this NOT a "ringing endorsement of belief in freedom and democracy" ?

    Complain about this comment

  • 350. At 5:32pm on 07 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    JfD: "Just for the record, the “EUSSR” doesn’t exist either. There was the USSR. There is the EU. Two different things."






    Of course they are. And 'EUSSR' is simply a moniker given to EU by many European objectors to a concept of an oppressive, centrally-controlled multinational superstate it's become.

    Just like USSR.

    Run by unelected Commissars. Just like in USSR.

    Promulgating a diastrous economical model. Just like USSR.

    And a failed concept of 'welfare state'. Just like EUSSR.

    Although, grant you, unelected Commissariat in Brussels doesn't ship its critics to forced labor camps.

    It just makes sure that jobs are not going to come back any time soon.







    Complain about this comment

  • 351. At 5:34pm on 07 Feb 2011, The Toothbrush Man wrote:

    345. At 5:21pm on 07 Feb 2011, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    "Because, of course, the BBC is *exactly* like the state-controlled media in the former USSR."

    I'd just like to point out that John_From_Dublin is posting his words on a BBC website, along with may others from around the world, many of which are being critical, sometimes abusive to others and the BBC.

    This makes a comparison with the Soviet state controlled media machine, quite frankly, bizarre at the least.



    Complain about this comment

  • 352. At 5:38pm on 07 Feb 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    re: saysay I know Mubarack was military, much in the tradition of Sadat and Nasser, his predecessors.
    Why should ‘same old same’ be better? Those cycles of Turkish military coups every 10 years or so, are supposed to be good?


    You are quite right. The point of the essay linked to is that, if one is aiming at democratization, it is counter productive to see the military as simply 'the lesser of two evils' in its role as bulwark against islamist extremism.

    In terms of US foreign policy, the prescription Prof. Cook is advancing is that "The best way to support democracy is to support democracy -- not to enable authoritarians to take over the political system and hope they’ll negotiate their way out of power."

    I agree with his assessment.

    I might also add that in purely descriptive terms, I believe that the military is going to retain a large measure of power without any encouragement or enabling from the US or other international actors. More than enough, I think, to counterbalance any real or imagined threat from Ikhwan.

    And why is democratization good? Well, apart from being a principled goal, and thus for some an end in itself, a realist case for democracy ably made here.

    Complain about this comment

  • 353. At 5:40pm on 07 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Still wating for Mark Mardell to explain who/what are 'neo-cons".

    [his favourite cliche term it seems]


    Versus many millions of Americans who've never been anything else but real conservatives.

    Complain about this comment

  • 354. At 5:42pm on 07 Feb 2011, Oldloadr wrote:

    Why do the moderators slow down every day at the same time? Can't you all drink tea and censor at the same time?

    Complain about this comment

  • 355. At 5:51pm on 07 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    John from Dublin: " Re TASS etc, I assume you are making this up."





    Of course I am.

    Nobody has a monopol on sounding like a comedian.



    And, btw., if you claim that BBC is not state-controlled, look no further than to cuts in its budget/programs imposed recently by the British government.

    And tell me they're results of sovereign, independent BBC decisions.

    [If you want me to get even more laughter lines, that is.]

    Complain about this comment

  • 356. At 5:59pm on 07 Feb 2011, firefly wrote:

    This is an excellent article.

    It is sad how the US has gone from being the country that sided with people against dictatorships and empire, to being a country that sides with dictators, IS the empire, and is often against the people. The longer America tries to dictate what other countries can and can't do, the more hated it will become. And the more hated it becomes, the less 'good' influence it has. Like empires before America, it will then commit unspeakable acts in order to maintain top-dog position, or accept that real democracy and freedom means having to live with people in the world that don't agree with you.

    America's enemies are just that: America's enemies, not the whole worlds....

    Complain about this comment

  • 357. At 6:07pm on 07 Feb 2011, sayasay wrote:

    Hi Amr @ 344.

    There is on BBC World Service - World Have Your Say on the similarities between Indonesia's experience abd that of Egypt right now.
    Do listen in.

    Complain about this comment

  • 358. At 6:11pm on 07 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #347 re Rosie the Riveter, your daughter, etc.



    Oldloadr, my favorite American pilot (after Chuck Yeager) happens to be
    Eileen Collins.

    She's also my favorite space shuttle commander (after John Young).


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eileen_Collins

    Complain about this comment

  • 359. At 6:19pm on 07 Feb 2011, The Cool Ruler Rides Again wrote:

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

  • 361. At 6:40pm on 07 Feb 2011, sayasay wrote:

    #352. chronophobe

    Thanks for comments, I am Indonesian. At that time of Suharto's downfall, the military was divided and that was the key to the civilians’ maintaining leadership in the reformation of Indonesia.
    The Turks' military's relevance is purely due to the legacy of Atarturk. It is no harbinger of the future, it is just excess baggage.

    Complain about this comment

  • 362. At 6:43pm on 07 Feb 2011, Amr wrote:

    357 sayasay
    i'm such an idiot... i listened and i saw and i just didn't believe.
    i only opened my eyes when i saw that the way we're treated was just inhumane. (and to think that i kept babbling for days about how 'not so bad' the system was)
    i'm reading about "Suharto" now.. history repeats itself?
    Indonesia seems to have done well in only 5 years there. (i was worried about this since we depend on Tourism etc and we lost a lot in the past days)
    is there always a dictator hidden somewhere? (i thought only communism was evil)
    =====
    i'm sorry, USA (when i said i don't trust you at all, i was blind to the truth)

    Complain about this comment

  • 363. At 6:43pm on 07 Feb 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    329. At 3:49pm on 07 Feb 2011, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    "However, if they do open one, you should certainly consider enrolling."

    ____________

    A thoughtful suggestion, to be sure.
    Bit of a problem if they have an entrance examination, though.

    Complain about this comment

  • 364. At 6:49pm on 07 Feb 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    352 Pinko

    Those links to Foreign Affairs and the one about the analogy to Turkey (or not, really) are quite interesting. Thanks for posting them.


    The one on the role of the army in Turkey forgot to mention that the Generals also considered themselves to be the guardians of Ataturk's vision of a secular Turkey. There is, I think, no real parallel in Egypt for either the man or his vision.

    Complain about this comment

  • 365. At 6:58pm on 07 Feb 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    335. At 4:21pm on 07 Feb 2011, Scott0962 wrote:

    "President Roosevelt was a bit naive regarding Stalin and the Soviet Union."
    [[And in very poor health at Yalta.]]


    "I'm not sure there was any "agreement" to dissolve the British Empire, while FDR did make it clear to Churchill that America would not support British attempts to retain the empire, it was more likely the awareness by British leaders that maintaining mastery over the peoples of the empire would require a degree of repression that the British people were sure to find repugnant."

    [[Agreed. Britain was flat broke, too.

    It wasn't merely FDR and Churchill. Successive British governments faced the same currency crises, continued rationing into the 1950's etc., etc., and the last big blow to retaining "empire" came at Suez, from Eisenhower. And so much of the rest of the empire is given independence in 1960. At least the British didn't disconnect the phones and pull up the telephone wires the way the French did.]]

    Complain about this comment

  • 366. At 7:04pm on 07 Feb 2011, Chryses wrote:

    Oldloadr, (#354. At 5:42pm on 07 Feb 2011)
    Why do the moderators slow down every day at the same time?
    Shift change?

    Complain about this comment

  • 367. At 7:20pm on 07 Feb 2011, sayasay wrote:

    Hi Amr @ 362.

    Isn't it a good feeling to know that that we had a conversation about 3 days before BBC World Service - WHYS live broadcast on the same subject.
    Then it was just the two of us talking.

    Complain about this comment

  • 368. At 7:37pm on 07 Feb 2011, Cosmologic wrote:

    225. At 5:37pm on 06 Feb 2011, Chryses wrote:
    JMM, (#222. At 5:26pm on 06 Feb 2011)
    ”. . . I would, because of the ideological commitment, have to place the Guardian in the same category as Fox Psuedonews Network, Pravda* and Izvestia* [*as they used to be, and whose party line was not too dissimilar to the Guardian’s].”

    But ... but ... but ... Pravda means “Truth!”
    You mean it’s biased?!?!
    I’ve been tricked!
    Horrors!
    -*-
    This is beyond redemption - people admitting to reading Pravda and Izvestia and then complaining that it ain't the truth!

    Complain about this comment

  • 369. At 7:39pm on 07 Feb 2011, Cosmologic wrote:

    366. At 7:04pm on 07 Feb 2011, Chryses wrote:
    Oldloadr, (#354. At 5:42pm on 07 Feb 2011)
    Why do the moderators slow down every day at the same time?
    Shift change?
    -*-
    Or could it be that they're dealing with a chryses?

    Complain about this comment

  • 370. At 7:52pm on 07 Feb 2011, Amr wrote:

    367 sayasay
    i was a totally different person back then. no, even just right before i went to that wedding and right after.
    "BBC World Service - WHYS live broadcast on the same subject.
    Then it was just the two of us talking."
    i'm not sure what you mean. if you mean the comments we had back then in this blog, then yea, i remember you mentioned the same thing and i didn't think it was possible (about Indonesia)
    if you mean a talk in reality, then no. i didn't give enough personal information here to be traced even though it's not that difficult.
    if you're talking about Dr. Zahi Hawass. he was either a very good actor, or some huge shock awaits him (i saw his video)
    =====
    (before reaching the wedding place i saw the demonstrations, in Alexandria, but i ignored them as i usually do)
    at the wedding, i asked one of the guys if he participated in these demonstrations. he said that he did. i asked him if he saw police really murdering protesters and that it wasn't the protests fault. he said yes a couple of people died. (in the first demonstrations not now)
    i asked him the same question three times.
    i returned home with blank eyes.

    Complain about this comment

  • 371. At 8:06pm on 07 Feb 2011, greatlakesgal wrote:

    Why does the US so often back the bad guys?

    OIL, OIL, and OIL

    Complain about this comment

  • 372. At 8:33pm on 07 Feb 2011, Amr wrote:

    371 greatlakesgal
    we don't have that much oil, perhaps natural gas?

    Complain about this comment

  • 373. At 8:56pm on 07 Feb 2011, Chryses wrote:

    369 LOL!

    Complain about this comment

  • 374. At 9:19pm on 07 Feb 2011, sayasay wrote:

    #372, Amr

    In the mid-eighties, I began my working career as a commodities assistant-trader in a Japanese trading company in Tokyo. As I get more involved in the business, I began to develop world views revolved around my occupation. One of the views was: Africa does not need good leaders as the rest of the world will manage to buy its natural resources so long as there are cheapest offerors (rebels, despots, pirates, etc) able to meet the needs of the highest bidders (MNCs) under the auspices of international trade. Thus, if my homeland, Indonesia is ruled by the Devil, the Devil will always sell its oil to the rest of the world. The rest of the world will only care to bid for it.

    It is the country’s people who will decide who makes a good ruler/government.

    Complain about this comment

  • 375. At 9:36pm on 07 Feb 2011, McJakome wrote:

    349. At 5:31pm on 07 Feb 2011, The Toothbrush Man wrote RE 332.

    Unfortunately many Americans get much of their meagre information about the outside world from Hollywood. Now if Ghandi was as inaccurate as Cecil B. deMille films, and various other pot boilers that might explain why Americans don't appreciate how benign British rule was, and prefer the "myth" of the Sepoy Rebellion and it's aftermath.

    Of course there was a strain of pro British films, like Kartoum. But I am wasting everyone's time with this. Get LucyJ to regale you with the world according to Hollywood and FOX, that's her bag.

    Complain about this comment

  • 376. At 9:53pm on 07 Feb 2011, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 363 Interestedforeigner wrote:

    "Bit of a problem if they have an entrance examination, though."


    :-)

    Complain about this comment

  • 377. At 9:57pm on 07 Feb 2011, McJakome wrote:

    288. At 06:21am on 07 Feb 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:
    285.

    “Oh, please. Enough already.
    Are you really suggesting that it would have been harder to defend South Korea if South Korea had been a democracy?”

    As a first-hand observer of some of that, from 1972 through 1974 [returned later in the 80’s] I can attest that it is not as simple as some think. At the time I was nearly in tears because some high school and college students were killed when the Park government put down anti-government demonstrations.

    I was persuaded not to resign and leave the country, in part, because the US was actually taking some positive behind the scenes actions. The KCIA kidnapped the future president and then dissident leader Park Dae Jung from Japan and was going to put him on trial and execute him for treason. The US government intervened and prevented this.

    I became aware of conflict within the foreign service at this time. There were what could be described as “Dick Cheney” types pitted against forward-looking career foreign service people. As large as the US foreign service is, and as subject to political pressures as it is [Britain seems to have a better and non-politicized foreign service] I imagine that the service has continued to suffer from institutional multiple personality disorder down to this very day.

    As to South Korea, had we abandoned them, the US would have lost considerable face, and in addition to South Korea likely being part of a unified Chinese puppet state today, Japan and Taiwan would likely not be as we now know them.

    I guess I haven’t really answered the question as to whether the US should only ever support pure democracies like Canada, Finland and one or two others. I’ll reread Machiavelli’s “Prince” and let you know later.


    Complain about this comment

  • 378. At 10:00pm on 07 Feb 2011, Amr wrote:

    374 sayasay
    you mean that the same resources would be sold even if the ruler or government changes?

    Complain about this comment

  • 379. At 10:32pm on 07 Feb 2011, Paul Edwards - Australia wrote:

    You don't need to be the world's greatest general to be able to figure out that if you are engaged in a world war to spread a particular ideology (in this case, liberal democracy) that you don't simultaneously declare war on everyone who doesn't live fully up to your standards of liberal democracy!

    Can you imagine what would have happened if the world's first democracy - Iceland - had declared war on every other country in the world? Or what would have happened if the UK and USA had refused to cooperate with USSR during WWII?

    Please - let's wait until the free world has defeated its worst enemies before we have this conversation again about what to do with sub-par neutrals, or sub-par allies, or obnoxious allies. Winning wars isn't rocket science. It is geostrategy though.

    Complain about this comment

  • 380. At 10:35pm on 07 Feb 2011, McJakome wrote:

    378. At 10:00pm on 07 Feb 2011, Amr wrote:
    374 sayasay
    "you mean that the same resources would be sold even if the ruler or government changes?"

    Yes, and on all sides of most political disagreements. Hugo Chavez compared the US President to Shaitan in front of the UN General assembly and continued to sell the US oil. The Wikileaks have revealed the wishes of some governments to American diplomats sometimes don't match their public poses [Saudi Arabia for one].

    Sometimes resources are used [or an attempt is made to use them] as a weapon, but it doesn't usually work. When the Saudi's have cut production of oil, other OPEC countries have taken advantage and broken their pledges by increasing production.

    Complain about this comment

  • 381. At 10:51pm on 07 Feb 2011, steelbluecactus wrote:

    101. At 7:40pm on 05 Feb 2011, essie777 wrote:
    @ #80 - your points are indicative of how the US politic model works. I have lived here a number of years and amazed at how this country is run. It's mind boggling.

    The political parties lurch from one election to another every two year including the important midterms. This country places emphasis on short term promises, which usually have no hope of being followed through. The figures in office are more concerned about funding their next political run for office than actually achieving anything for the country. With campaigns being run for over 12 months and elections being held every two year it’s amazing that anything gets done in Washington. And then as you rightly comment lobbyists are so influential that politicians will be wearing logos of their supporters soon.

    This approach is mirrored in the US foreign policy. There isn't a plan, an ideal that the US promotes through its foreign policy. It is short term capitalist money hungering. That is why the US always backs the wrong horse, so to speak. They have no desire to achieve anything but short term gain for themselves. The examples are numerous.

    No matter how the US tries to use the media to promote itself as the country of freedom and liberty, the truth is it is a country of competition and survival of the fittest (in respect to material gain).

    The US is built on the ideal that the American dream is equated to material success. Bigger is better and more money equates to life success.

    The political and social system is capitalism and it ignores those which don't achieve this high level of success. Everything is based on how much you can pay out, so those below the ultra-successful are ignored and left to fend for themselves.

    Does this not mirror its foreign policy? A policy that ignores the masses, and backs leaders who have what the US perceives as political strength in those foreign countries, no matter how they control it, dictators and extremists alike. And naturally, those countries must that offer economic opportunity to Americans!!!

    ++++
    So if you think it is so bad why do you still live in the US?

    Complain about this comment

  • 382. At 11:18pm on 07 Feb 2011, Chryses wrote:

    steelbluecactus, (#381. At 10:51pm on 07 Feb 2011)
    ... Does this not mirror its foreign policy? A policy that ignores the masses, and backs leaders who have what the US perceives as political strength in those foreign countries, no matter how they control it, dictators and extremists alike. And naturally, those countries must that offer economic opportunity to Americans!!!

    ++++
    So if you think it is so bad why do you still live in the US?”

    I am uncertain that (s)he does.

    Complain about this comment

  • 383. At 11:23pm on 07 Feb 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    JMM wrote: Of course there was a strain of pro British films, like Kartoum. But I am wasting everyone's time with this. Get LucyJ to regale you with the world according to Hollywood and FOX, that's her bag.
    ----------
    Been watching AUstin Powers?
    (I love the Mike Myers movie So I married an Axe Murderer the best of his- one of my fave movies of all time!- There she goes!)

    What's your bag, JMM?

    Well, I don't like Bill O'Reilly, I'll tell ya that much!!! I extremely disliked how he interviewed President Obama because it was too rude and disrespectful for me...it greatly irritated the people I was with even tho they don't like all what Obama has doen or is doing, but even they and I we all agreed that he is the President and we should treat him as the President always during his term, even if we don't always like what he is doing, the same as I did not always like what Bush did,b ut I still will treat him with respect as a former Presidnet now...

    As far as Hollywood goes, I'm really good at recognizing faces and remembering names...but there's a LOT of Hollywood movies I love and a LOT of Hollywood movies I don't love...as such is life!

    JMM, you may not like some of the things I say and vice versa just as the South and North civil war fought, but just as they were all Americans on both sides during Civil War, we, too, are both Americans...

    Complain about this comment

  • 384. At 11:51pm on 07 Feb 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    Firefly wrote: America's enemies are just that: America's enemies, not the whole worlds....
    ----------
    Firefly, who is on the side of Islamic terrorists?

    Don't people around hte world understand that the terrorists want to harm/destroy people who are free?

    Don't hte people around the world understand that the Islamic terrorists want to take over the world and make us all follow Sharia Law?

    Do we really need more Caucuses like Russia has?

    Complain about this comment

  • 385. At 00:03am on 08 Feb 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    Firefly wrote: It is sad how the US has gone from being the country that sided with people against dictatorships and empire, to being a country that sides with dictators, IS the empire, and is often against the people.
    ---------------
    What dictators do we side with?
    I can't think of any...

    Yes, I will admit USA is a giant empire...with lots to offer...

    When have we been against hte people?

    USA is against the terrorists, I will tell ya that!
    ------------
    Firefly wrote: The longer America tries to dictate what other countries can and can't do, the more hated it will become. And the more hated it becomes, the less 'good' influence it has.
    ----------
    I agree its time for USA to stop getting involved in other countries disputes, unless its our allies that are being threatened- USA takes good care of friends, altho, no we are not perfect, but we are highly loyal and committed to what we do and we put a lot of effort into what we do, which is where our success has come from- effort, drive and determination...not as many as there used to be, but they do still exist and they still will do their very best because they love their country..
    ---------
    Firefly wrote: Like empires before America, it will then commit unspeakable acts in order to maintain top-dog position, or accept that real democracy and freedom means having to live with people in the world that don't agree with you.
    ----------
    There are both good and bad people in America, just like every other country in the world...which is why sometimes we get good Pres and sometimes the opposite- a Pres can change after being elected...America is still the most rockin' empire and that is why so many tend to pick on us, because its the easiest for them to blame us rather than look at and understand the actual situation...

    In this time of evil ones lies and snake charms, USA has to be stronger and tougher and more durable than ever before...

    Complain about this comment

  • 386. At 00:18am on 08 Feb 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    379. At 10:32pm on 07 Feb 2011, Paul Edwards - Australia wrote:

    "You don't need to be the world's greatest general to be able to figure out that if you are engaged in a world war to spread a particular ideology (in this case, liberal democracy) that you don't simultaneously declare war on everyone who doesn't live fully up to your standards of liberal democracy!"

    [[This is setting up a straw man. See below.]]

    "Can you imagine what would have happened if the world's first democracy - Iceland - had declared war on every other country in the world? Or what would have happened if the UK and USA had refused to cooperate with USSR during WWII?"

    [[This is a faulty analogy, see below]]

    "Please - let's wait until the free world has defeated its worst enemies before we have this conversation again about what to do with sub-par neutrals, or sub-par allies, or obnoxious allies. Winning wars isn't rocket science. It is geostrategy though."

    [[This is a huge non-sequitur, see below]]
    ____________

    There are a bunch of non-sequiturs here.

    Let's start with the uneasy alliance with the USSR.
    Some famous historian, possibly William Shirer, made the point that the terrible cumulative mistake of the western democracies in the 1930's was to botch things so badly that in order to defeat one great tyranny they had to have the help of the other great tyranny.

    That is an insightful lesson into the consequences for national security of not building a coalition of stable allies. America, and NATO more generally, exist to prevent that from happening again.


    The comparison of the Soviet Union as an ally is not analogous to the issue at hand in this thread. The issue here is American support for autocratic thugs as puppets or client states, for the purpose of "security" and "stability" at the price of suppressing their peoples.

    There is no suggestion that Joe Stalin was anybody's puppet, or that the US (or Britain) supported him to keep him in power so that he could oppress his people. Making (temporary) common cause with one tyrant to get rid of a worse tyrant is not the same, at all, as installing a tin pot tyrant as your puppet. As for dealing with Stalin, Churchill's had a great line: If you are going to sup with the devil, it is best to get a long spoon. That, to my mind, rather sums up the relationship.

    ----------

    Ultimately national security rests on economic strength. It turns out that democracy is not only the greatest generator of human justice of all time, it is also the greatest generator (and fairest distributor) of material wealth. Democratic societies have shown themselves to have a flexibility that allows then to adjust more quickly to changes in economic circumstances, and to embrace innovation, with fewer hardships than autocracies.

    From 1945 onward, even though America's proportion of world GNP was continually decreasing, the proportion of world GNP of itself, its friends and allies, and thus the national security of all of them, was constantly increasing.

    The economic success of America's alliances of relatively like-minded democracies roared ahead, and left the USSR in the dust. By the final days of the cold war, not only was America's economy vastly larger than that of the Soviet Union, but the individual economies of several of America's allies were also larger.

    In the cold war, did America support military dictatorships in its principle allies? No, it didn't.

    Did it win the cold war principally by fighting? No, it didn't.
    It won the cold war principally by convincing other major nations to share its view of the world in terms of democracy and open markets.

    Certainly America (and its allies, ultimately) was, and were, always ready to oppose military force. But the power to sustain that unassailable military advantage was the underlying overwhelming economic dominance of America and her allies - a dominance that grew, and grew, and grew. Russia simply fell further and further behind.

    ----------

    Where did America get into bed with dubious bedfellows?

    Well, aside from turning something of a blind eye to Franco and Salazar, and accepting the problems inherited from the UK in Greece and Turkey, generally speaking, in the third world.

    What is the record of achievement of America, France, Belgium, Britain, the Netherlands, Spain, and Portugal in supporting military dictators in the third world?

    With a few bright spots (Korea, Taiwan, and Malaysia, really) the record is almost universally awful. The price that has been paid, usually in blood and suffering in the countries involved has been horrendous. The victims of these policies have generally not been our (communist, usually) foes, but rather the people of those countries at the hands of their own rulers.

    Almost always, repression has led to a need for harsher and harsher repression. The greater the repression, the more the economic stagnation. The stability has been illusory.

    ----------

    The assumption is that those countries in which military puppets were installed would not have found the road to democracy. That strikes me as nonsense. Costa Rica was largely left alone, and it has been prosperous, peaceful and democratic for ages. Malaysia was given very careful help by Britain to push back a communist insurgency, and has been, largely, a huge success. Botswana? There are several others, too.

    ---------

    What if Spain had been set free 25 years earlier?
    When Franco died, Spain went from being a third rate, irrelevant nation to being one of Europe's more important members - much more Spain's historic role.
    Did supporting Franco for all that time gain us anything? All it did was deprive the west of the useful, vibrant economy that Spain could have been in those years, prompt out-migration to North America, and provide Switzerland with cheap gasterarbeiter from Iberia.

    Did supporting Fulgencio Batista in Cuba gain us anything?
    Did supporting Manuel Noriega gain us anything?
    Ferdinand Marcos?
    President Mobutu?

    Complete waste of effort.

    ----------

    Even when democracies do not agree with each other - and they can have big and bitter disputes - trade usually continues, and they generally find a way to resolve their disputes without war, eventually.

    We do not have to send armies out to declare war on the world and fight wars on behalf of democracy. You've created a big straw man there. But when democracy has a chance of gaining ground, of course we should support it. Every additional democracy woven into the web of the western economic system makes each of us safer. There is a mutuality of security that increases when the club of democracies increases in size.

    But instead of realizing that making these countries wealthy and prosperous increases our security, just as rebuilding western Europe did, the suggestion is that these people should have to wait in line until we decide it's safe for them to have democracy.

    How condescending. How arrogant. As if their civil rights should exist only at our whim ...

    Wonder if you'd feel the same way if you were living in one of those countries on $5/day or less.

    Probably not, eh?

    Complain about this comment

  • 387. At 01:13am on 08 Feb 2011, McJakome wrote:

    386. At 00:18am on 08 Feb 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote RE 379.
    Well, we seem to be more or less aligned on this. The US government in the aftermath of WWII and then the Cold War seems to have succumbed to paranoid fantasies and/or simplistic notions and plans.

    The Invasion of Iraq seems to be the most obvious example of that. The Neocons saw the world not just as Hollywood but as comic books would have it. We are now paying the price for putting ignorant and/or poorly educated and/or delusional people in office. I hope that won't happen again.

    I hope the people with chips on their shoulders about not having a "fancy education" will realize that not everyman [or everywoman] is qualified to hold high office and some would just be a disaster waiting to happen.

    Complain about this comment

  • 388. At 01:14am on 08 Feb 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    If wrote: But when democracy has a chance of gaining ground, of course we should support it.
    -----------
    Can a country electing a religious extremist or a dictator democratically elected be considered a democracy if that person wants to instate Sharia law over people who are not of that religion?

    Should USA support a country with a democractically elected leader who wants to instate Sharia law over people who are not of that religion?

    Just because someone is democracticaly elected doesn't make them someone USA necessarily wants to support, if its someone with bad intentions or who wants to impose religious laws on others that don't believe it...

    Complain about this comment

  • 389. At 01:19am on 08 Feb 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    If wrote: But instead of realizing that making these countries wealthy and prosperous increases our security, just as rebuilding western Europe did, the suggestion is that these people should have to wait in line until we decide it's safe for them to have democracy.
    --------------

    What if their democratically elected leader wants to harm us and our allies? Shouldn't we care then?

    Why can't the protesters wait six months for the next election?

    Is that so much to ask?

    -----------
    If wrote: How condescending. How arrogant. As if their civil rights should exist only at our whim ...

    Wonder if you'd feel the same way if you were living in one of those countries on $5/day or less.

    Probably not, eh?
    ------------
    Again, why can't they wait six months til' next election?

    Is six months that much to ask?

    And there's many people in USA living on 5 bucks a day or less, also...I know these people and many of them are older people on medicare...

    Complain about this comment

  • 390. At 01:22am on 08 Feb 2011, jaceinAZ wrote:

    After the dust settles, come 2012 elections Mr. Obama is going to get raked over the coals on this Egypt situation. Regrettably, I don't think there is much he could have done differently given the complex nature of the issue and all that's at stake. It’ll be interesting to see exactly what approach the GOP nominee takes and how it all plays out...

    Complain about this comment

  • 391. At 01:44am on 08 Feb 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    JMM wrote: Of course there was a strain of pro British films, like Kartoum. But I am wasting everyone's time with this. Get LucyJ to regale you with the world according to Hollywood and FOX, that's her bag.
    --------

    Funny you can talk the talk...

    but you can't walk the walk...

    Complain about this comment

  • 392. At 02:36am on 08 Feb 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    388. At 01:14am on 08 Feb 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    "Can a country electing a religious extremist or a dictator democratically elected be considered a democracy if that person wants to instate Sharia law over people who are not of that religion?"

    __________

    [[Some people think that the US did something roughly equivalent, and the rest of the world had to put up with it - for eight years, too!]]

    [[In all seriousness, (a) that isn't our problem; and (b) what if the same thing happened in America, or Britain, or France, or Germany? Would you say people in those countries shouldn't be allowed to vote because they do something we don't like? To deny them on that basis the right to exercise freedom of conscience, freedom of speech, and freedom of assembly?

    The point is that democracies protect the civil rights of minorities.

    Egypt right now may be learning that lesson. There is a famous incident where Ghandi once suggested that a Hindu should take responsibility to raise an orphaned Moslem boy (I may have this backward, but the point is the same). Yesterday some young Moslem men took up the responsibility for making sure that a group of Coptic Christians could hold mass in their midst. How can one take on that responsibility, and ever after not understand the point of defending religious tolerance?

    It was a very powerful image.
    ----------

    "Should USA support a country with a democratically elected leader who wants to instate Sharia law over people who are not of that religion?"

    [[No, you're not understanding it.

    The USA is NOT supporting the leader who introduces Sharia law, the same as the USA is NOT supporting the leader who doesn't introduce Sharia law, or any other law. What the USA (and other democratic countries) are doing is supporting the democratic institutions that guarantee the right of the people in that country to choose whatever government they please. It's the institutions that matter, not the politicians or their policies.]]

    [[When a democracy votes in favour of Sharia, tell me about it. This is a bogey man.]]

    "Just because someone is democractically elected doesn't make them someone USA necessarily wants to support, if it's someone with bad intentions or who wants to impose religious laws on others that don't believe it..."

    [[Again, you aren't supporting anyone in particular. It would be improper to be partisan in that way in someone else's democracy. What you are supporting is the institutions, the basic civil rights, that permit those voters to make whatever choice they please, and to keep on doing so.]]

    [[Would you want a foreign power, (e.g., that noted imperialist, hegemonistic northern neighbour, Canada), to intervene militarily and install its own chosen puppet in the White House every time American voters made a stupid choice we (or one of our oil companies) didn't like, or, even more galling, every time an American based team won the Stanley Cup? You might soon begin to dislike those toque-wearing gringos.]]

    [[Would you be at all mollified if they then explained that they were saving you by abolishing the symbols of your old, backward, pagan beliefs - a leather covered cork ball, leather gloves, and chewing tobacco - and giving you instead the lasting and true beliefs of skating, puck-handling, Tim Horton's, and Canadian Tire money?]]

    ----------

    [[Here's a good example: the United States chose, (ultimately wisely in my view), to hold its nose and not to intervene militarily to oust Hugo Chavez when there was a civil insurrection in Venezuela to overthrow him by force.

    Why not?

    Because it was more important to respect the right of Venezuelans to choose their own government, and for Venezuelans to have to live with the consequences of that choice, even if it is a bad choice, and for the Venezuelans who didn't like that choice to have to learn that there is no alternative but the ballot box. So long as Chavez lives within the law, and doesn't prevent Venezuelans from voting as they please in subsequent elections to turf him out on his ear, if they so wish, America and all other countries should keep their noses out.

    That was a tough decision for America to make, after a century-long habit (and more) of military intervention in Latin America. But it was the right decision in the long term for establishing a better and more mature relationship not merely with Venezuela, but with all of the United States' neighbours in the Americas, and for aiding in the establishment of democracy and respect for the rule of law in those countries. Remember: if you would have justice, you must do justice.

    In the meantime, as far as I can see, Chavez has shown himself to the people of Venezuela to be a poor administrator with an even poorer understanding of economics; a supporter of terrorists in Colombia; and a buffoon, intent never to relinquish power in Venezuela. He is now the one discrediting himself in the eyes of his own countrymen.

    Even though it is painful now for many Venezuelans, and it is painful to watch, maybe it means that in the future Venezuelans will make a better choice. That's usually how democracies learn from their mistakes, and, in future, learn to recognize populist demagogues for the menace that they are both to the rule of law and to the country's finances.]]

    Complain about this comment

  • 393. At 02:59am on 08 Feb 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    389. At 01:19am on 08 Feb 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    "What if their democratically elected leader wants to harm us and our allies? Shouldn't we care then?"

    [[Then we do the same thing we do about any other military security threat. But ask yourself this: when was the last time that an open democracy made war on another open democracy?

    We have far less risk that a democracy of moslems is going to attack us than that an Islamic dictatorship is going to attack us. Democracy breeds moderation. Autocracy breeds violence.]]

    "Why can't the protesters wait six months for the next election?"

    [[Because there is no telling that at the end of six months there will even be elections. The whole point is that the regime is playing for time while it hunts down and isolates its opponents.

    The last elections were a total sham, which resulted in the ruling party winning 85% of the seats - an utterly improbable result if elections were free and fair. Why should anyone be tricked into having that happen again - which is what will happen if the government is given six months to re-assert control.]]


    Is that so much to ask?
    [[Yes.]]
    -----------

    ------------
    Again, why can't they wait six months til' next election?
    [[See above. They cannot trust the word of the government.]]

    "Is six months that much to ask?"
    [[Yes.]]

    "And there's many people in USA living on 5 bucks a day or less, also...I know these people and many of them are older people on medicare..."

    [[$5/day is roughly $1800/yr. There are very, very few Americans living on that level of income. $18,000/yr, yes, and they would be struggling in America. $ 1800/yr, no, not so much.]]

    Complain about this comment

  • 394. At 03:44am on 08 Feb 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    re: 361 sayasay

    Greetings from snowy Ottawa, Canada my friend.

    Agree with you about the military 'baggage' in Turkey.

    Egyptian military seems unlikely to split as it did in Indonesia. Have heard some talk about a rift between upper echelons and lower ranking officers, but probably wouldn't be a factor unless it comes to extensive violence, God forbid.

    I enjoy reading your point of view. Keep it coming, please!

    Complain about this comment

  • 395. At 03:47am on 08 Feb 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    re: 392 IF Would you be at all mollified if they then explained that they were saving you by abolishing the symbols of your old, backward, pagan beliefs - a leather covered cork ball, leather gloves, and chewing tobacco - and giving you instead the lasting and true beliefs of skating, puck-handling, Tim Horton's, and Canadian Tire money?

    Chortle! And forcing them to accept the inescapable logic and just plain good sense of single payer health care. Bwooo hah hah hah!

    Complain about this comment

  • 396. At 03:56am on 08 Feb 2011, Paul Edwards - Australia wrote:

    # 386 Interestedforeigner, you would be advised to check your own posts for straw men, faulty analogies and non sequiters. Here are some of them addressed.

    "Let's start with the uneasy alliance with the USSR.
    Some famous historian, possibly William Shirer, made the point that the terrible cumulative mistake of the western democracies in the 1930's was to botch things so badly that in order to defeat one great tyranny they had to have the help of the other great tyranny."

    This is not so much a mistake, as a case of how long it takes to win a war to spread liberal democracy. Again - Iceland had no chance at all of taking on the entire world simultaneously. It takes time and patience to get countries like Germany and USSR onto the "liberal democracy" bandwagon. The job had not been completed in 1939. Yes, mistakes were made that could have advanced the cause prior to 1939. But things look a hell of a lot easier in hindsight than at the time. Even in 2011 most people in liberal democracies can't bring themselves to agree that converting Iraq from enemy dictatorship to somewhat liberal democracy was a step along that path. Various things that could have been done to advance liberal democracy (e.g. preemptively strike Hitler) fall into the same category. A large dose of wishful thinking, which we saw replayed in 2003.

    "That is an insightful lesson into the consequences for national security of not building a coalition of stable allies. America, and NATO more generally, exist to prevent that from happening again."

    Yes, and it was difficult enough just to get Western Europeans to sign up to NATO even when there was a huge and obvious Evil Empire next door. Once again, more wishful thinking. Expecting the equivalent of NATO to have been created by 1939 is like expecting Canada and France to join the Iraq war in 2003. For real-world reasons, that was beyond the free world's ability to organize.

    "The comparison of the Soviet Union as an ally is not analogous to the issue at hand in this thread."

    Much easier to state, than demonstrate, right?

    "The issue here is American support for autocratic thugs as puppets or client states, for the purpose of "security" and "stability" at the price of suppressing their peoples."

    No, the issue here is exactly like I said. America wishes to spread liberal democracy across the globe. That is a technical goal. You do not accomplish such a tough technical goal by declaring war simultaneously on friends and foes alike. You choose your enemy very carefully. One at a time, preferably. It was difficult enough to just get Iraq done. Also, there is no state in the world that could be described as a "puppet" or "client" of the US. If Mubarak was such, he could have spent the last 30 years promoting civil society, religious tolerance, genuine friendship towards Israel, leaving the racist Arab League etc etc etc. He wasn't even close. Germany 1946 is what a puppet state should look like - ie in a process of de-Nazification and transition to the new ideology of liberal democracy. Same ideology as the US/Taiwan/etc. That never came within a bulls roar of happening. Instead we had Mubarak showing things like The Protocols of the Elders of Zion on TV, further stoking anti-Semitic attitudes, as if they needed stoking.

    "There is no suggestion that Joe Stalin was anybody's puppet"

    It's as easy to suggest as it is about Mubarak.

    "or that the US (or Britain) supported him to keep him in power so that he could oppress his people."

    Straw man. Assumes that US/UK want people in power because they have some sick fantasy of oppressing people. Perhaps you need to talk to some real Americans/British people and ask them if they personally support oppressing people, and if so, why.

    "Making (temporary) common cause with one tyrant to get rid of a worse tyrant is not the same, at all, as installing a tin pot tyrant as your puppet."

    Wall-to-wall straw man. Making common cause with the real world, which includes real tyrants, in order to advance your liberal democracy agenda, with no downside, is exactly the best strategy available. There's certainly no provably superior alternative anyway. Wishful thinking aside.

    "As for dealing with Stalin, Churchill's had a great line: If you are going to sup with the devil, it is best to get a long spoon. That, to my mind, rather sums up the relationship."

    Churchill had an even better line - "Let's send weapons to the USSR and not say anything bad about them until we defeat the biggest enemy we have at hand".

    "Ultimately national security rests on economic strength."

    Yes. Modern wars have been economic for a long time. It is America's econimic strength that allows it to build an undefeatable military. Not because it's soldiers are 500 times braver than the enemy.

    "It turns out that democracy is not only the greatest generator of human justice of all time, it is also the greatest generator (and fairest distributor) of material wealth."

    Sure.

    "In the cold war, did America support military dictatorships in its principle allies? No, it didn't."

    Straw man starting again. America's principle allies happened to be democracies. If they hadn't been, America would have been forced to deal with that reality instead. It was forced to make common cause with communist China for the same reason.

    "Did it win the cold war principally by fighting?"

    Yes it did. The massive money that went into the military both ensured that the USSR never managed to make the situation worse than it already was, as well as ensuring that they were economically driven into the ground trying to compete. As I mentioned alread - modern wars are economic. So too was the Cold War. It was fought hard, just as WW1 and WW2 were. The fact that there was a ceasefire in place for most of the war did not alter the fact that it was otherwise a normal war.

    "It won the cold war principally by convincing other major nations to share its view of the world in terms of democracy and open markets."

    If only the USA hadn't bothered with that whole massive military spending, you might have been able to notice the Soviet hordes.

    "Certainly America (and its allies, ultimately) was, and were, always ready to oppose military force."

    Yes, as Mao said - "power comes from the barrel of a gun - wishful thinking not withstanding".

    "But the power to sustain that unassailable military advantage was the underlying overwhelming economic dominance of America and her allies - a dominance that grew, and grew, and grew. Russia simply fell further and further behind."

    Sure. Welcome to the real world of economic warfare.

    "Where did America get into bed with dubious bedfellows?"

    Everywhere where there was a real possibility of a communist alternative. Straight out of Waging War 101.

    "What is the record of achievement of America, France, Belgium, Britain, the Netherlands, Spain, and Portugal in supporting military dictators in the third world?"

    We'll never know. What we do know, is that enough was done to win the Cold War. Of course in 2011 we will undoubtedly have infallible know-it-alls who can look back in time, replay alternative scenarios, and say "see, this was unnecessary - we would have won even without doing that". Unfortunately those know-it-alls have a tendency to bring us Cuban missile crises, the same way they were so sure that the League of Nations could take care of Hitler. Other more salient observers point out that some things are unknown and unknowable, and that it's usually best to err on the side of caution.

    "The victims of these policies have generally not been our (communist, usually) foes, but rather the people of those countries at the hands of their own rulers."

    Another thing that people often neglect to calculate is the death and horror had it been the communist, rather than non-communists in power. I believe John Kerry had an amusing prediction of how benevolent the North Vietnamese dictatorship would be. Well, "amusing" for communists, anyway.

    "Almost always, repression has led to a need for harsher and harsher repression. The greater the repression, the more the economic stagnation."

    Yes, welcome to the world of communism. Fortunately we've already won that one, even if you didn't assist at the time. Well, there's a couple of holdouts still. There's a limit to how much time I'm willing to spend refighting the Cold War. Can we move on?

    "The stability has been illusory."

    Straw man. Who said that stability was the goal? Defeating ideological enemies was the goal.

    "The assumption is that those countries in which military puppets were installed would not have found the road to democracy."

    Straw man. No-one said that either.

    "That strikes me as nonsense."

    Creating straw men strikes me as nonsense.

    "Costa Rica was largely left alone, and it has been prosperous, peaceful and democratic for ages. Malaysia was given very careful help by Britain to push back a communist insurgency, and has been, largely, a huge success. Botswana? There are several others, too."

    And North Korea and Cuba? They have been left alone too. Not every single situation is the same. Regardless, I had enough of these specious arguments during the Cold War. It's 2011 now. New year. New enemies. Some members of the free world (ie Israel) still face existential threats (ie Iran) and so far the "let's talk a lot" crowd is winning.

    "What if Spain had been set free 25 years earlier?"

    And what if we had a magic wand that could turn every country into a liberal democracy, with every citizen a champion of women's rights, and religious equality, and was falling over themselves to prove how religiously tolerant they were?

    "Did supporting Fulgencio Batista in Cuba gain us anything?"

    Did refusing to invade Cuba to replace communist dictatorship with liberal democracy - or even a strongman - gain us anything? No, but it nearly resulted in breaking the WW3 (ie Cold War) ceasefire.

    "Did supporting Manuel Noriega gain us anything? Ferdinand Marcos? President Mobutu? Complete waste of effort."

    See above regarding being wise after the event - or in this case, having the magical ability to rerun timelines with absolute certainty.

    "Even when democracies do not agree with each other - and they can have big and bitter disputes - trade usually continues, and they generally find a way to resolve their disputes without war, eventually."

    So the only thing missing now is that magic wand to convert everyone into democracies. The Germans democratically electing Hitler doesn't help the cause anyway.

    "We do not have to send armies out to declare war on the world and fight wars on behalf of democracy. You've created a big straw man there."

    No, you have. You should have quoted my words, where I said it is ludicrous to do that. And instead you declare war on just one of them. Like Iraq. And that's just an example of a hot war. There are continuing cold wars with the likes of China while ever it has an ideology incompatible with ours.

    "But when democracy has a chance of gaining ground, of course we should support it."

    Usually, yes. In the specific case of someone about to elect Nazis when Nazis are an existential threat - no.

    "Every additional democracy woven into the web of the western economic system makes each of us safer."

    Right. Especially when it's a LIBERAL democracy and they're willing to back their ideology up with arms by joining NATO.

    "There is a mutuality of security that increases when the club of democracies increases in size."

    You're preaching to the converted. You were at the forefront of welcoming Iraq into the free world I hope? With as much enthusiasm as you recently welcomed Tunisia, right?

    "But instead of realizing that making these countries wealthy and prosperous increases our security, just as rebuilding western Europe did, the suggestion is that these people should have to wait in line until we decide it's safe for them to have democracy."

    Another straw man. Nobody suggested that at all. Tunisia just held a seemingly successful revolution. If you had bothered to ask me whether I thought Tunisia should have waited, I would have said "no, it was fantastic that they were able to pull that off on their own - I wish everyone could".

    "How condescending. How arrogant."

    Pot. Kettle. Black.

    "As if their civil rights should exist only at our whim"

    Another straw man.

    "Wonder if you'd feel the same way if you were living in one of those countries on $5/day or less."

    Straw man. I don't even feel that way now. I wonder if you'd feel the same way if you were living in Estonia and hoping that somehow, some way, the Americans would fight and win the Cold War so that you could be free.

    "Probably not, eh?"

    Time to take your own advice, methinks. :-)

    Complain about this comment

  • 397. At 05:56am on 08 Feb 2011, jamshedkhan wrote:

    when will be the DAY OF DEPARTURE of INDIAN FORCES from Indian Held Kashmir? why the world is keeping eye closed on this critical issue in this very important region?????

    Complain about this comment

  • 398. At 07:26am on 08 Feb 2011, Tony wrote:

    Obama is an intelligent man !
    Why does he not have the commonsense to just shut up ?
    The US has continually misused its power.
    Soon it will be irrelevant.
    No puffing and blowing will disguise their moral bankruptcy.
    Who really cares what Obama and Clinton think ?

    Complain about this comment

  • 399. At 08:35am on 08 Feb 2011, Amr wrote:

    380, 387 JMM
    381 steelbluecactus
    i'm simply speechless

    384. At 11:51pm on 07 Feb 2011, LucyJ wrote:
    Firefly wrote: America's enemies are just that: America's enemies, not the whole worlds....
    ----------
    "Don't hte people around the world understand that the Islamic terrorists want to take over the world and make us all follow Sharia Law?
    Do we really need more Caucuses like Russia has?"
    seems like i 'somewhat' understood things correctly even when i was still blind (when i thought the system is pure and innocent and wouldn't lie or cause any harm intentionally)
    so, the birth of something new means the death of another?
    385 LucyJ
    i remembered 'only now' that USA who blamed Mubarak is the same USA who caused the death of many civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan (including Americans soldiers who are humans too)
    =====
    (this could cheer the USA a little:
    even if the revolt didn't achieve the intended 'democracy', it did help many people realize the importance of their 'vote' and start thinking about the possibilities of change. i'm not sure those with less education would be this easy to convince, though. although now i'm starting to think politicis is evil, i think i should be a little more active regarding the future of my country)
    (ancient Egyptian history proves that Egypt accepts change more peacefully than all the other countries: check how we moved from Pharaonic to Greek (then Christianity) then to Roman with 'minimum' uprisings. i think Egyptians prefer to build than to destroy. So if the USA managed this situation perfectly and promoted the 'right' people, it could result in a really prosperous new civilization, specially with all the shackles gone. but, can the USA really do this?)
    =====
    i realized the reason i 'changed' radically is that the 'fundamentals' of the previous 'regime' suddenly vanished, so i had to search for a 'savior'. i'm not a psychologist, so i don't expect this to be the right explanation of what happened
    someone here advised me to think carefully about what i really want to choose. now that i read about all the 'evilness' of politics i realized the significance of his advice
    =====
    393 Interestedforeigner
    ""Why can't the protesters wait six months for the next election?"
    [[Because there is no telling that at the end of six months there will even be elections. The whole point is that the regime is playing for time while it hunts down and isolates its opponents."
    the police and the army are on the move all over my city. something is going on (yesterday too, the army forces increased)
    (why do i always join the losing side?)

    Complain about this comment

  • 400. At 09:08am on 08 Feb 2011, moghraby wrote:

    USA and the West should not be worried about having a strong friend in EYGPT than a weak ally

    Complain about this comment

  • 401. At 11:25am on 08 Feb 2011, Paul Edwards - Australia wrote:

    [hat's off to BBC moderators for allowing so-called neocon opinions through. Next campaign is to read headlines of "Why does the rest of the free world - with the UK as the only exception (in the last decade) - not do as much as the US on a per-capita basis in opposing the worst of the bad guys" instead of "Why does the US support the bad guy" :-)]

    Back to Interestedforeigner again:

    (regarding Islamic fundamentalism)

    "Some people think that the US did something roughly equivalent, and the rest of the world had to put up with it - for eight years, too!"

    Yes, and once again we see the same moral equivalence that we saw during the Cold War. Both sides are equally culpable, both are in an arms race, both have inflexible attitudes.

    It wasn't very helpful then, and it isn't helpful now. Then again, not everyone wants to help the side of liberal democracy, so that's fine too.

    "In all seriousness, (a) that isn't our problem"

    That depends on who you define "our" as. I consider people like Mithal Al Alusi and his Egyptian counterparts to be part of my in-group, and anything that is done that would potentially harm them to have a serious response rather than a flippant one.

    "(b) what if the same thing happened in America, or Britain, or France, or Germany?"

    That depends. Is there something that can be done if e.g. Germany were to democratically elect Nazis? Preemptive war and install an anti-Nazi strongman, regardless of what the Germans thought of a de-Nazification effort? Yeah, if you twisted my arm, I could agree to that. If it theoretically happened in America and America threatened nuclear retaliation if anyone tried to de-Nazify them? I'd probably treat the US the same way that we treated the USSR in that case.

    "Would you say people in those countries shouldn't be allowed to vote because they do something we don't like? To deny them on that basis the right to exercise freedom of conscience, freedom of speech, and freedom of assembly?"

    I believe the Germans pretty much had all those things in the mid-late 40s even though they had no means to democratically elect Nazis back to power.

    "The point is that democracies protect the civil rights of minorities."

    You have heard of that whole Crystal Night thing, right? You've presumably also noticed the Palestinians voting for their favourite terrorist group too? It would have been amusing to watch you try roaming around democratic Palestine with a star of david on you. Try it out in democratic Lebanon too.

    "Egypt right now may be learning that lesson."

    The people most likely to be learning lessons soon are the 8 million Copts who will find that westerners who previously assured them that there was no danger of having to live under Sharia, will be unwilling to accept 8 million refugees as atonement for being wrong yet again.

    "Yesterday some young Moslem men took up the responsibility for making sure that a group of Coptic Christians could hold mass in their midst."

    Yes, and if those same minority of Muslims are faced with state resources who wish to persecute Copts, they are unlikely to be so brave, and even if they are, they will lose regardless.

    "How can one take on that responsibility, and ever after not understand the point of defending religious tolerance?"

    There are decent people everywhere. Mithal Al Alusi isn't alone. He was elected by 0.3% of the Iraqi population who have no problem at all with him VISITING Israel. Although that figure was pre-visit come to think of it.

    "It was a very powerful image."

    Even more powerful image was democratic Palestine stringing up an Israeli soldier. Or that Israeli boy caught up in a fake West Side Story. Or democratic Pakistan charging people with blasphemy. Or 9/11.

    "No, you're not understanding it."

    You should throw that charge around a whole lot less. There's something called "glass houses".

    "The USA is NOT supporting the leader who introduces Sharia law, the same as the USA is NOT supporting the leader who doesn't introduce Sharia law, or any other law. What the USA (and other democratic countries) are doing is supporting the democratic institutions that guarantee the right of the people in that country to choose whatever government they please. It's the institutions that matter, not the politicians or their policies."

    First of all, none of these groups speak with one voice. So, I guess you are talking about "people like you". So, yes, there are naive people who think that democracy is simple to install, and if Egypt was to have a single free and fair election now, all would be swell. None of this "one man, one vote, one time" that we saw in Palestine. Also, they won't be the ones who have to suffer because they are a minority in that region that finds Sharia or other "rule by religious bigots" oppressive.

    "When a democracy votes in favour of Sharia, tell me about it. This is a bogey man."

    Um, how about when a democracy votes in favour of terrorists? Or when a majority of Iranians support it in 1979 - even if it was another one of those "one man, one vote, one time" occasions. You would have said that nuclear war was a bogey man too, right, so no need to topple Castro or fight Cold Wars or oppose the Soviet Union or anything". Once again, more perceptive people (like Churchill) can see things like Nazi superstates coming even before they've actually happened, instead of having a perpetually surprised look on their face that "Peace in Our Time" wasn't strictly speaking accurate.

    "It would be improper to be partisan in that way in someone else's democracy."

    Once again, no. Most of the world has an opinion on America's selection of president. No reason to deny Americans the right to an opinion on others.

    "What you are supporting is the institutions, the basic civil rights, that permit those voters to make whatever choice they please, and to keep on doing so."

    Again "you" means "a group of naive people", and another group supports a set of universal rights above what can be obtained via democracy. If you can't be pretty sure that you can walk around with a Star of David, or without a headscarf even, then this is the problem that needs to be addressed first. Note - I can understand where you're coming from - I used to be a blind believer in democracy myself. It was only later in life that I realised that democracy isn't always guaranteed to protect human rights. Not that a dictatorship is a guarantee either - far from it. But if you make an honest assessment and decide that the CURRENT dictator is no worse than the likely alternative, there's nothing morally wrong with ignoring him/doing business with him, when there's a whole stack of countries sitting out there that are both enemies and are a slam dunk at producing something better via democracy. E.g. Iran. And please don't insult the Iranian people by suggesting that their sham elections are any less of a sham than the sham elections that Mubarak holds.

    "Would you want a foreign power, (e.g., that noted imperialist, hegemonistic northern neighbour, Canada), to intervene militarily and install its own chosen puppet in the White House every time American voters made a stupid choice"

    If the Americans voted for the Nazis and started persecuting Jews (or decided to enslave blacks) AND Canada has the ability to do something about that (preferably for less cost than both WW2 and the US Civil War), then by all means, yes.

    "every time an American based team won the Stanley Cup?"

    You know, we might be on the verge of 8 million Copt refugees (ignoring all the moderate Muslim refugees), and a comparison like the above just makes me sad, not angry.

    "Would you be at all mollified if they then explained that they were saving you by abolishing the symbols of your old, backward, pagan beliefs - a leather covered cork ball, leather gloves, and chewing tobacco - and giving you instead the lasting and true beliefs of skating, puck-handling, Tim Horton's, and Canadian Tire money?"

    And now I'm not sad for the Egyptian refugees. I'm sad for the Americans, who try so hard to be nice, do the lion's share of defending the free world, and in their efforts to free the world are being accused of childish cultural ambitions, as if human freedom was just some sort of big joke on the agenda.

    "Here's a good example: the United States chose, (ultimately wisely in my view), to hold its nose and not to intervene militarily to oust Hugo Chavez when there was a civil insurrection in Venezuela to overthrow him by force."

    This comparison is better used as a comparison with Mubarak. The US chooses not to intervene in both cases. In both cases it can see that the countries fall way short of the sort of liberal democracy that exists in places like Taiwan, but they don't have any good options for changing that. If it were in the middle of the Cold War they'd just point to the existential threat, grit their teeth, and do whatever they needed to do to support the new anti-communist ruler. Now that that war is effectively over, the US is not going to intervene in the Venezuelan people's naive choices. It's not like anyone is going to thank them (other than a minority of Venezuelans) and there's no security threat to justify doing it without thanks. With Mubarak, the cost is too high to install a truly decent ruler. And even if they were to use e.g. military pressure to get a democracy in Egypt, they won't be thanked by the majority of Egyptians. And when the Egyptians inevitably elect someone worse than Chavez, the US won't intervene then either. They'll just sigh that they've got an even worse leader that they need to deal with. One that can't even be classified as "nominal ally" or "neutral".

    "Why not?"

    See above.

    "Because it was more important to respect the right of Venezuelans to choose their own government, and for Venezuelans to have to live with the consequences of that choice, even if it is a bad choice, and for the Venezuelans who didn't like that choice to have to learn that there is no alternative but the ballot box."

    And minorities get to learn first-hand that democracy isn't always better than military rule. Mind you, they probably knew that already, because they are intelligent enough to learn from historical examples.

    "So long as Chavez lives within the law, and doesn't prevent Venezuelans from voting as they please in subsequent elections to turf him out on his ear, if they so wish, America and all other countries should keep their noses out."

    When people keep their noses out of American politics, perhaps we can ignore the plight of the good Venezuelans too. Until then, I'm not sure how you're meant to know whether Chavez is living within the law without putting your nose in to take a look. Even checking his website to see if he's still advertising "I'm a fantastic guy" may be considered putting your nose in.

    "That was a tough decision for America to make, after a century-long habit (and more) of military intervention in Latin America."

    I wouldn't credit inaction as a "decision". You may as well say that they took a decision to not interfere with the Tories getting elected in the UK. With the Cold War gone, they would need considerable prodding before taking an active role in toppling a democracy anywhere. They have an opinion on actions that happen elsewhere though. Opinions are not decisions.

    "But it was the right decision in the long term for establishing a better and more mature relationship not merely with Venezuela, but with all of the United States' neighbours in the Americas, and for aiding in the establishment of democracy and respect for the rule of law in those countries."

    Um, if some sort of conscious formal decision was made to not go around toppling democracies, it would have been done in the 1991 timeframe.

    "Remember: if you would have justice, you must do justice."

    Perhaps humanity would be better served if you were traipsing around giving gratuituous advice to some dictators like Iran instead of America or the American people? Or perhaps the Venezuelan people who elect someone who has no respect for dissenting opinions, instead of a country that allows every opinion that can be gramattically expressed?

    "In the meantime, as far as I can see, Chavez has shown himself to the people of Venezuela to be a poor administrator with an even poorer understanding of economics; a supporter of terrorists in Colombia; and a buffoon, intent never to relinquish power in Venezuela. He is now the one discrediting himself in the eyes of his own countrymen."

    Good to see we have moments of agreement. Some of us would like to avoid that whole "process of discrediting" if possible, and certainly are not active in seeking that that process start in Egypt with an even worse despot. Prevent the democratically-elected despot from arising naturally? No. Continuing to deal with someone believed to be better? Yes. Perfect solution available? No. Fresh out of magic wands.

    "Even though it is painful now for many Venezuelans, and it is painful to watch, maybe it means that in the future Venezuelans will make a better choice."

    Some people believe in protection of minorities instead of watching Jews get democratically gassed knowing that it can be prevented. If it can be prevented simply by ignoring some obnoxious dictator, then inaction is the order of the day. Being inactive is hardly immoral in that circumstance.

    "That's usually how democracies learn from their mistakes, and, in future, learn to recognize populist demagogues for the menace that they are both to the rule of law and to the country's finances."

    The people in the furnaces of Auschwitz would wholeheartedly agree with you - if they could.

    "Then we do the same thing we do about any other military security threat."

    Some of us prefer to preemptively strike at the Hitler types. Some of us even note that inaction can sometimes be sufficient to prevent the Hitler types from arising, and are more interested in dealing with the already-extant Hitlers instead of waxing lyrical about the absence of magic wands.

    "But ask yourself this: when was the last time that an open democracy made war on another open democracy?"

    Using weasel words here with "open" to try to preempt the various times that democracies have been at war with each other. Even UK and Finland were at war at one point. Nevermind Lebanon and Israel. And when democratic Egypt immediately ends its peace treaty with Israel, and Lebanon-style border skirmishes start up, you'll say that Egypt's one isn't "open" rather than admitting you were wrong at a fundamental level, right?

    "We have far less risk that a democracy of moslems is going to attack us than that an Islamic dictatorship is going to attack us."

    False dichtomy. We have the option of a secular dictatorship. And we don't have to do a damned thing to get that option, since it's already in place. Isn't there like - better targets than Egypt we could be dealing with right now? Some country with an official slogan of "Death to USA" perhaps? One with a population crying out for an end to Islamic dictatorship? One getting nukes? No? Too obvious or what?

    "Democracy breeds moderation."

    Right. The Palestinians got oh so moderate after they elected their favourite terrorist organization.

    "Autocracy breeds violence."

    Yeah, those Chinese are such a violent bunch. It wouldn't surprise me if we saw a plane-load of Chinese slamming in the WTC as soon as a new one is built.

    "Because there is no telling that at the end of six months there will even be elections. The whole point is that the regime is playing for time while it hunts down and isolates its opponents."

    Yes, you're right about the brutal reality here. But it's brutal reality no matter which way you go.

    "The last elections were a total sham, which resulted in the ruling party winning 85% of the seats - an utterly improbable result if elections were free and fair."

    Right. Now if only you would see that the same is true of Iran, and that your efforts would be far better spent dealing with enemies of the free world rather than ones who are closer to "obnoxious neutrals", well, I'd be welcoming you into the neocon fold.

    "Why should anyone be tricked into having that happen again"

    Why should anyone be tricked into supporting a democratically-elected theocracy when there are far more important targets to spend time on? Unless ... where is your heart really?

    "which is what will happen if the government is given six months to re-assert control."

    Right. The protesters can expect to have a pretty miserable life if they lose. The Copts and secular people in general can expect to have a pretty miserable life under theocratic rule. Pretty miserable choice, right? If it was me, I'd give up and look elsewhere for something to support.

    "See above. They cannot trust the word of the government."

    Can't trust the majority to respect the rights of minorities either. Especially when there's a history of "cartoon fury" etc. Especially "amusing" was the "Pope fury" where non-Catholic churches were being attacked in Gaza.

    Anyway, I can certainly understand your point of view - support democracy come hell or high water, and the people will eventually figure it out for themselves. Flaws are:

    1. Assumes there are safeguards that will ensure continued elections. There are no such safeguards currently in place or planned to be in place. If NATO were to guarantee an Egyptian democracy, there would be such a safeguard. So far there is nothing like that anywhere in the world - not even Iraq.

    2. Persecution of minorities. Wholesale genocide is unlikely, but massive suffering is likely. So long as it's not you or me who is the suffering minority, I guess we can agree to not worry about this one?

    3. Potential to add to security risks. Turning a blind eye to terrorist activities for example would be under the radar for military action. War with Israel would get Israel's attention at least, but not be of any existential threat to any member of the free world. But the whole war fighting thing is incredibly annoying to say the least.

    Are the flaws enough to take active measure to prevent democracy from arising? No. We're strong enough to withstand this. Enough to actively post on a BBC website? Yes, for some individuals. Enough to take no active non-vocal measure to oppose democracy? Absolutely. It's a simple enough equation. I think it's about time to just agree to disagree.

    To the non-anti-American Americans out there - thankyou for everything you have done to advance the cause of liberal democracy. I wish my country would do more than it is currently doing (definitely non-zero, and I realise you appreciate that - no question about that), but I don't have a magic wand any more than you do. Maybe when there's a few more democracies out there the tide of public opinion will turn and history will finally give you what you deserved all along. In the meantime, there's no shortage of "foreigners" who know what you have done, we just don't have the numbers in our own countries. Thankyou for not lumping us in with our "fellow countrymen" too. It is interesting that alliances are these days at the ideological level rather than national level.

    P.S. To the anti-Americans who will no doubt call me an American sychophant - easily disproved by examples of America doing things wrong (in my opinion) - such as abandoning millions of South Vietnamese allies to be brutally crushed by a North Vietnamese tank column that could have been defeated from the air so easily, and turning up late to WW1 and WW2. All incidents from a long time ago. In recent decades, America has no peer, even on a per-capita basis.

    Complain about this comment

  • 402. At 11:37am on 08 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    IF: The one on the role of the army in Turkey forgot to mention that the Generals also considered themselves to be the guardians of Ataturk's vision of a secular Turkey. There is, I think, no real parallel in Egypt for either the man or his vision.





    Please, remind me of single period when the Turkish Army has imposed a marshal law in the post WWII period, with that country (Turkey) being ruled by a military junta.

    I know that you know that it's never happened.

    Not that I believe that crypto-Islamists will be ever allowed to prevail in the secular Republic of Turkey.

    [the country I know very well, first hand]

    Complain about this comment

  • 403. At 11:45am on 08 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    I have a lot of respect for Aussies.

    [being to Australia more than once]

    They never surrendered or kowtowed to anybody.

    Prefering to die standing than to live on their knees.



    P.S.Very sad about you current calamities but knowing you'll come out of them as usual: ULTIMATE SURVIVERS.

    Complain about this comment

  • 404. At 11:51am on 08 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Paul Edwards-Australia:

    North Korea and Cuba? They have been left alone too.








    Unfortunately. And we all are paying the price.

    Just like for our Peanut Farmer [Jimmy Carter] betraying Shah Reza Pahlavi and allowing fanatical alatollahs to take over control of Iran.


    [As Jews say: "NEVER AGAIN!"]

    Complain about this comment

  • 405. At 11:53am on 08 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    MagicKirin wrote:
    Why do the BBC commentators in the Mid East take such an anti U.S and anti Israel stance in their reporting?







    A correction: Those not sufficiently anti U.S. and anti-Israel have moved to al-Jazeera long time ago.

    Complain about this comment

  • 406. At 11:58am on 08 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Paul Edwards - Australia wrote:
    [hat's off to BBC moderators for allowing so-called neocon opinions through]


    Still no explanation from MM as to who/what those 'neocons' are?


    [With dozens of millions of Americans having never been anything else but true-blue conservatives.]

    Versus Commie Cons.

    Complain about this comment

  • 407. At 12:19pm on 08 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    JfD: "Just for the record, the “EUSSR” doesn’t exist either. There was the USSR. There is the EU. Two different things."






    Of course they aren't.

    EUSSR being a derisionary term used by many European bloggers opposed to the concept of that multi-national superstate.





    But when when on the subject...


    What, pray, are major differences between those two multinational superstates ruled by unelected Commissars?

    Citizens of which have been repeatedly denied the right to vote on staying in or bailing out?

    That one has already failed and dissappeared, and the other one is only in the process of failing now?

    Or that the objecting citizens of the latter are not shipped to labor camps like in the former one? [true]

    With the Commissars satisfied, it seems, with making sure no jobs are going to come back in a recent future?

    Inquiring minds want to know.



    Complain about this comment

  • 408. At 12:36pm on 08 Feb 2011, Cosmologic wrote:

    402. At 11:37am on 08 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:
    IF: The one on the role of the army in Turkey forgot to mention that the Generals also considered themselves to be the guardians of Ataturk's vision of a secular Turkey. There is, I think, no real parallel in Egypt for either the man or his vision.
    -*- -*- -*-
    Just like there is no parallel to the infamous Genocide of the Armenians carried out by the army in Turkey during WWI.

    Complain about this comment

  • 409. At 1:29pm on 08 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re 408

    As any Turk-hater has been claiming for many decades without any subgstantiating evidence, while convieently forgetting that during WWI Turkish Armenians allied thmeselves with Turkey's enemy- Russia (thus becoming traitors), and that they committeded many atrocities themeselves in that period, to boot.


    [How soon they forget!]

    Complain about this comment

  • 410. At 1:46pm on 08 Feb 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    re: 396, 401 Paul Edwards -- Australia

    Feel better now?

    Complain about this comment

  • 411. At 2:48pm on 08 Feb 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    410. At 1:46pm on 08 Feb 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    "re: 396, 401 Paul Edwards -- Australia"

    "Feel better now?"

    __________

    LOL.
    Quite so.


    I think I'm just going to leave those two postings alone.
    They speak volumes, all by themselves.

    Complain about this comment

  • 412. At 3:22pm on 08 Feb 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    389. At 01:19am on 08 Feb 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    "Why can't the protesters wait six months for the next election?"

    "Is that so much to ask?"

    __________

    Further on this,

    Lucy, there are roughly 300 dead, journalists are still being targeted, and what the Egyptian government is talking about is the need for the man to retire with dignity and without losing face.


    With each passing hour it seems less and less likely that there is going to be anything other than the most superficial, cosmetic changes.

    Meanwhile, over time, they will identify and persecute those who protested, a few at a time, out of the glare of the cameras.

    And what is the lesson to the next people who decide to protest against the government?

    Answer: Don't rely on non-violence.

    Can you see how that isn't a helpful lesson?
    Can you see that is going to put real change in the hands of people who are harder, more ruthless, and more extreme?
    Those are the very people you do not want: the Trotskys, Fidel Castros, and so on.

    ----------

    There is an excellent book called "A Savage War of Peace", by Alistair Horne.

    I read this book almost 20 years ago after the suppression of the election results that would have brought the FIS to power. The observations made in that book are still valid. Algeria has suffered horribly for 50 years because people who had the opportunity to take reasonable, peaceful steps, opted for repression instead. The moderates were driven out, or assassinated. The disputes became polarized. The violence kept escalating. Algeria has been stuck in a bloody, violent, state of repression ever since.


    Democracies work, in part, because they make it easy for governments to change, and to do so without violence.

    ----------

    Unfortunately, the things I wrote two days ago seem to be coming true, and the commentary I wrote early yesterday morning was essentially the lead item on the national news today - right down to the terminology used in the report.

    Who knows where it will end, but it isn't looking very good right now.

    ----------



    ... and on the far side of the globe, having prevailed in propping up their man in Egypt, I see this morning in the news that the Likud/AIPAC block in Congress is stretching its muscles to humiliate President Obama, yet again, for attempting to stand up for America's actual interests in the middle east instead of doing the bidding of Israel.


    How predictable.
    How depressing.

    Complain about this comment

  • 413. At 3:22pm on 08 Feb 2011, muhammad a khan wrote:

    how could we have real democracy in midlesat and asia .

    Complain about this comment

  • 414. At 3:26pm on 08 Feb 2011, McJakome wrote:

    393. At 02:59am on 08 Feb 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote RE 389:

    “But ask yourself this: when was the last time that an open democracy made war on another open democracy?”

    The following statement may sound Marxist, believe me it isn’t, though I distrust them I don’t believe they are always at fault.

    The US engineered the fall of the Allende government in Chile. That government, whatever their intentions for the future, had been elected democratically and hadn’t done any Cuban-style evisceration of democracy. All they had done was threaten the profits of the American telephone monopoly, ITT. True the US did not invade and used disaffected locals, so it may not fit your definition of war.

    The invasion of Grenada is very murky. The US used military force to, ostensibly, rescue American students trapped by coup and counter coup. Did the assassination and take-over by militants mean that Grenada was no longer a “democracy” or did the urging of other British Commonwealth members in the area for the US to do something constitute international support for US action.

    I have seen very conflicting reports of this situation, including conflicting time lines and irreconcilable eye-witness testimony. Your view [as Canada is a Commonwealth member] is of great interest.

    Since Egypt is a republic, but not a functional democracy, it is difficult to see what the US should do, except, IMHO, keep hands off. As a theoretical discussion, Granada is an interesting case. If a democracy is endangered, and/or if this democracy [or former democracy] is perceived by the neighbours as a threat, would the US be justified in intervening? Would the US be justified without the neighbours’ pleas or against the outcries of neighbours like Cuba and Venezuela.

    Complain about this comment

  • 415. At 3:46pm on 08 Feb 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    If wrote: What the USA (and other democratic countries) are doing is supporting the democratic institutions that guarantee the right of the people in that country to choose whatever government they please. It's the institutions that matter, not the politicians or their
    -----------
    I can see ur point, IF. And I do believe in that and I know USA supports that particular right...
    ---------
    If wrote: So long as Chavez lives within the law,
    --------
    Is banning and shutting down any organization that says somethign negative about you 'living within the law' or 'democratic'?

    Cause' its definitely not freedom of speech!
    -------
    IF wrote: when was the last time that an open democracy made war on another open democracy?
    -----
    I guess that would probably be WWII...in which many of the countries fighting were democracies- I mean, their leaders democratically chosen...

    Once we were attacked at Pearl Harbor, we joined in the fight with the others...

    PBS has a really good special about it, how there were minisubs and subs they just found recently and how due to these recent discovery of subs, the ships were possibly attacked underwater first rather than by sky, which may have come second...

    Complain about this comment

  • 416. At 3:47pm on 08 Feb 2011, Cosmologic wrote:

    evidence, while convieently forgetting that during WWI Turkish Armenians allied thmeselves with Turkey's enemy- Russia (thus becoming traitors), and that they committeded many atrocities themeselves in that period, to boot.
    [How soon they forget!]
    -*- -*- -*- -*-
    Such weasel words merely prove the fact that Ottoman Turkey indeed planned and orchestrated the first modern genocide (involving national transport, logistics and communication networks).
    This served as a blueprint for an emboldened Hitler and other genocidal maniacs.
    Such actions cannot be forgotten and haven’t, not least by you, as your ultra-illogical, ill and hastily assembled ‘response’ shows.
    As you well know, so far Turkey has been able to resist the drive for international recognition of the Armenian genocide, in large part because of superior resources and of masterly play of their geopolitical position.

    Complain about this comment

  • 417. At 3:57pm on 08 Feb 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    IF wrote: Because there is no telling that at the end of six months there will even be elections. The whole point is that the regime is playing for time while it hunts down and isolates its opponents.
    ----------
    Why wouldn't there be elections?

    Even if hte govt. is not trusted, don't the people trust the Army?

    Mubarack just said recently that he would not run for re-election and that there would be an election in six months...the whole world heard this...

    Instead of demanding for Mubarack to resign when he has already said he is leaving in six months, why don't the protesters focus on having a fair and democratic election rather than on Mubarack?
    ---------
    If wrote: The last elections were a total sham, which resulted in the ruling party winning 85% of the seats - an utterly improbable result if elections were free and fair. Why should anyone be tricked into having that happen again - which is what will happen if the government is given six months to re-assert control.
    ------------
    Why is that improbable?

    How do we know what is in Egypt's hearts?

    After all, the protesters have numbered around a million, but there's eighty million people in Egypt...

    So then why doesn't the Army, who the people trust, run the election>?
    ------------
    If wrote: $5/day is roughly $1800/yr. There are very, very few Americans living on that level of income. $18,000/yr, yes, and they would be struggling in America. $ 1800/yr, no, not so much.
    -----------

    It should be every country's goal to be self-sustainable job wise...

    Jobs will likely be the Egyptian candidates number one campaign...

    Complain about this comment

  • 418. At 4:15pm on 08 Feb 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    If wrote: Lucy, there are roughly 300 dead, journalists are still being targeted, and what the Egyptian government is talking about is the need for the man to retire with dignity and without losing face.
    -------------
    If, you say you stand for democracy...

    Is it our right to be journalists in another country if the country does not want us there?

    Or is it that country's right to kick out journalists or others as they please?
    ------------
    If wrote: And what is the lesson to the next people who decide to protest against the government?
    -------------
    See, that's the problem, IF. Instead of protesting FOR fair and democratic elections, the protesters have just focused on getting Mubarack out...

    We all know Mubarack will be out of office in six months, as he has said...

    So why don't the protesters stop talkinga bout Mubarack and instead talk about free and democratic elections and focus on having a non partial or fair source to count the votes?
    ----------
    If wrote: Can you see that is going to put real change in the hands of people who are harder, more ruthless, and more extreme?
    --------
    I think if Mubarack suddenly resigned, someone far worse could step in his place and Egyptians might even be worse off then before...but its an if and we really don't know...there is no guarentee with that one...
    ----------
    If wrote: Democracies work, in part, because they make it easy for governments to change, and to do so without violence.
    -----------
    And what if Mubarack was democraticaly elected by at least 60%?
    How do we know, IF? We aren't Egyptians...

    Which is why I believe that a fair and free election in six months giving all candidates a time to prepare would be best solution...I do not believe its wise to hold people down, but I do believe its wise to have time before an election, giving people time to make decision rather than forcing it or rushing it hastily...

    Egyptians should have the right to get to know the candidates rahter than just rush into it...

    Wiseman say only fools rush in...

    Complain about this comment

  • 419. At 4:16pm on 08 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #417


    Again, Lucy, how much money Egypt has lost?

    Let alone a precious reputation as a relatively safe place for foreign tourists to visit?

    Complain about this comment

  • 420. At 4:58pm on 08 Feb 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    re: 418 Lucy I do believe its wise to have time before an election, giving people time to make decision rather than forcing it or rushing it hastily...

    I don't think anyone is calling for an election tomorrow. The issue is setting the preconditions for a fair and free vote. Which the protesters (and I would agree with them) seem to think is unlikely so long as Mubarak and his party hold a monopoly of power.

    So the issue is, in essence, what the opposition can negotiate in the way of concessions from the ruling party in order to facilitate a transition to a more democratic regime.

    That's my understanding, anyway.

    Complain about this comment

  • 421. At 5:00pm on 08 Feb 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    Pmk wrote: Again, Lucy, how much money Egypt has lost?
    ---------
    I believe I heard somewhere they make 50% of economy off of tourists...whether its food, tours, hotels, cab drivers, souvineers, historic sites, ect, it all adds up...

    I'm sure its in the billions...
    --------
    Pmk wrote: Let alone a precious reputation as a relatively safe place for foreign tourists to visit.
    ----------
    I believe it will be some time before many tourists will want to visit again, as it is very unstable...and who knows what will happen during election in six months...

    The tourists, journalists, ect who do go there, tho, know they are taking a chance...

    Complain about this comment

  • 422. At 5:39pm on 08 Feb 2011, Cabbie I Am wrote:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dictatorships_supported_by_the_United_States

    United States support of authoritarian regimes:

    * Jorge Ubico y Castañeda, President of Guatemala ;

    * Syngman Rhee, of South Korea;

    * Augusto Pinochet of Chille;

    * Fulgencio Batista y Zaldívar, of Cuba;

    * The Shah of Iran;

    * Ngo Dinh Diem, of South Vietnam'

    * Francisco Franco Bahamonde of Spain,

    * General Suharto, of Indonesia;

    * General Manuel Noreiga, of Panama;

    * Francois Duvalier, of the Republic of Haiti;

    * Jean-Claude Duvalier, of the Republic of Haiti

    * Saddam Hussein of Iraq;

    * Husni Mubarak of Egypt;

    And Who is Next?
    And for how long more?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dictatorships_supported_by_the_United_States

    "The TRUTH shall ever prevail,
    And it will definitely hurt!"

    Cabbieiam

    Complain about this comment

  • 423. At 6:06pm on 08 Feb 2011, John Rodenbeck wrote:

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

  • 424. At 6:17pm on 08 Feb 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    417. At 3:57pm on 08 Feb 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    "Why wouldn't there be elections?"

    [[Because six months is a long time, and when dealing with an autocratic government that has lied and cheated before, over and over, for decades, and that is clearly still trying to shut down the protests by whatever means it can, the promise of elections six months' away is very, very distant and uncertain. Egyptians are used to being deceived by their own government.

    There's a saying: "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."

    The six month promise would be a lot more convincing if Mubarak went into exile today, and a caretaker government, probably run by the army (although that has its own dangers, faut de miuex right now, though), were made responsible for carrying it out.]]

    ---------

    "Even if the govt. is not trusted, don't the people trust the Army?"

    [[Well, sort of. That's a difficult subject, too, and I haven't spoken to my main Egyptian friend yet.

    The question, really, is, how different, and how independent, is the army leadership from the government?

    The current political leadership is drawn from the armed forces and the state intelligence services. Are they not part of the favoured elite? Are they playing an elaborate game of "good cop, bad cop"? The army is using its favoured status slowly to constrict the protests to a smaller and smaller area.

    But the army is also conscious of it's favoured status, and the public respect that the army has as an institution. It probably doesn't want to squander the influence and power that special status gives it.

    ---------

    This thing isn't going to be won by talk, and certainly not by talks at which the protesters are not really represented. It is going to be won in the streets. Each time the tanks move forward and reduce the perimeter, the protesters lose a little ground - both literally and politically.

    For the protest to regain momentum, they protesters need to demonstrate an ability to get those tanks further back out of the square, and to expand the perimeter; to move back the lines of razor wire, and re-assert control over the perimeter, not to leave it to the army. They need to regain the momentum that they have been losing steadily over the last five days. That will be very, very difficult to achieve. They have the numbers, today, to do it. Maybe not tomorrow.

    If they could set up, and hold, another perimeter around the presidential palace, that would be an enormous achievement. It might be decisive. It's unlikely they have the overwhelming numbers that would be required, or the leadership. It would be very dangerous, too: for certain, some of the security services would try to kill people attempting to surround the Presidential Palace. The rent-a-thug brigades would be put on the streets again.

    The point is, that to keep the pressure on the government the protest needs to keep growing. It needs to keep the government off balance. The protesters need to hold the initiative. For the last five days they have been losing that initiative.]]

    ----------

    "Mubarack just said recently that he would not run for re-election and that there would be an election in six months...the whole world heard this..."

    "Instead of demanding for Mubarack to resign when he has already said he is leaving in six months, why don't the protesters focus on having a fair and democratic election rather than on Mubarack?"

    ----------

    [[As far as I understand it, the point is that the protesters don't believe anything Mubarak says, and, what's more, they don't want to be in a position any more where they have to figure out whether he is telling the truth, or not. That's why they want him simply to leave. That would end that issue, forever.

    Many of the protesters believe that as long as Mubarak hangs around, the chances of any elections being free and fair are pretty slim. So demanding that Mubarak leave is, in fact, an attempt by the protesters to work toward ensuring that the next elections are free and fair - unlike the recent farce.]]

    ---------

    Why is that improbable?

    [[This is a longer story. Just as a rule of thumb, though, governing parties don't usually have opponents banned, and engage in vote rigging, as the NDP did last November, where they believe that they can win fair-and-square.]]

    "How do we know what is in Egypt's hearts?"
    "After all, the protesters have numbered around a million, but there's eighty million people in Egypt..."

    [[So you are therefore assuming that the 80-odd million who aren't protesting support the government? Really? Does that reflect your experience in life? Would they have banned the Moslem Brotherhood, or rigged the elections if that were true? Not likely, is it?

    The government's efforts to show popular support for itself were an abysmal failure. Their counter demonstration amounted to a group of armed young men - mostly hired thugs and state security police out-of-uniform - who tried to break up a peaceful process by starting a violent armed riot. If they had genuine public support, they wouldn't have tried that, nor would they have singled out journalists and their cameras (whether near the demonstrations or not), nor would they have tried to cut off communications to the square.]]

    [[People wouldn't be protesting at the risk of their health and lives if the government were largely popular. Recent polling in Egypt suggests that something like 38% support a continued role for Mubarak. That is, actually, a sizeable number, and larger than I would have guessed.]]

    (If true, it would make President Mubarak rather more popular in Egypt than Stephen Harper is in Canada. (Chuckle.) But there, like here, the opposition is divided, so they can't get rid of their local undemocratic bully-and-tyrant.)

    "So then why doesn't the Army, who the people trust, run the election>?"

    [[Well, that may end up being the only practical choice.]]

    Complain about this comment

  • 425. At 6:26pm on 08 Feb 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    418. At 4:15pm on 08 Feb 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    If, you say you stand for democracy...

    Is it our right to be journalists in another country if the country does not want us there?

    [[Well, doesn't that beg the question? The existing regime clearly doesn't want cameras there. But the great mass of the protesters do.]]

    Or is it that country's right to kick out journalists or others as they please?

    [[An open democracy does not generally kick out journalists for being journalists]]
    ------------

    If wrote: And what is the lesson to the next people who decide to protest against the government?
    -------------
    See, that's the problem, IF. Instead of protesting FOR fair and democratic elections, the protesters have just focused on getting Mubarack out...

    [[See previous posting. Getting Mubarak out is an effort to obtain free and fair elections.]]

    "We all know Mubarack will be out of office in six months, as he has said..."
    [[Which might be a lie.]]


    So why don't the protesters stop talkinga bout Mubarack and instead talk about free and democratic elections and focus on having a non partial or fair source to count the votes?

    [[I'm sure they are doing that, but getting rid of Mubarak is seen asa a big step toward free and fair elections.]]

    ----------
    If wrote: Can you see that is going to put real change in the hands of people who are harder, more ruthless, and more extreme?
    --------
    "I think if Mubarack suddenly resigned, someone far worse could step in his place and Egyptians might even be worse off then before..."

    [[Perhaps, but the protesters are clearly prepared to take that risk.]]

    "And what if Mubarack was democraticaly elected by at least 60%?"

    [[Because if he were, these people wouldn't be on the streets, and, more importantly, any government with 60% of the vote wouldn't have to resort to rent-a-thugs.]]

    "Egyptians should have the right to get to know the candidates rather than just rush into it..."

    They will have adequate time.


    Egyptians are better informed than you think. That seems to be the root issue: a highly sophisticated, educated population that doesn't have enough employment. So the lid is coming off the pressure cooker.

    Complain about this comment

  • 426. At 6:41pm on 08 Feb 2011, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #422

    Its interesting that one of those links leads to the 1979 essay by Jeanne Kirkpatrick called "Dictatorships and Double Standards". Only three years later she avidly supported the Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands, and it was a close run thing whether or not the US would support its longtime democratic ally or a military junta. Its lucky for Britain that Margaret Thatcher was in charge and not some modern day Chamberlain , otherwise I think the flaky "special relationship" would have ended that year.

    "In 1989, Mohammed Wahby, press director of Egypt's Information Bureau, wrote to the Washington Post saying, "Jeane Kirkpatrick has, somehow, consistently opposed any attempt to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict."

    The US often gets caught between a rock and a hard place to be fair, but having people like that advising an often naive government on foreign affairs is hardly likely to help its cause or image.

    Complain about this comment

  • 428. At 7:23pm on 08 Feb 2011, DeaconBlues01 wrote:

    As the world's largest economy and superpower, as well as being perhaps the strangest empire history has ever seen, the United States can't do much right when it comes to its foreign policy. It is very much 'darned if you do, and darned if you don't.' It is blamed for doing too much or not enough. Moving forward, the world is probably going to have to get used to 'not enough.'

    Simply put, the American public has lost the will to, for lack of a better word, police the world...which is what the 'locals' think it does. More than that, the United States doesn't have the money to do so, as its deficits are legendary. Once it extricates itself from Iraq and Afghanistan, if it can effectively, it will likely be a very long time before the US embarks on such endeavors in the future.

    As for the average American, living in someplace like Nebraska, far removed from another country, culture, or language other than English, why do they care about western-style democracy in places far afield? Places like Egypt? or Turkmenistan? Hey, Americans aren't all intellectuals, members of de Tocqueville societies, with sophisticated global views...just as all English, Scots, Welsh, Irish, French, Italians, Germans, and Dutch aren't either. As such, the American ideal, the promise of America, as it were, takes shape as "leave me alone to do what I will," as opposed to "let's create a global, political Eden."

    So, do you want more or less American foreign policy? Oh! You want a coherent one, do you? Well, it is very coherent when consider the provincial nature of the average American, far removed by geography from so much of the world. Couple that with the lack of desire to meddle in global affairs much longer and the inability to finance such activities, and US foreign policy is going to get worse in European eyes before it gets significantly better.

    If you want to know the American mindset on foreign policy, please google or search out George Washington's farewell address to the country. If only we had listened!

    Complain about this comment

  • 429. At 7:29pm on 08 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    #422 "And Who is Next?"

    [An authoritarian ruler supported by the U.S.]

    President/premier Putin?

    President Hujintao?

    Chairman Barrosso?



    BTW. As history has clearly demonstrated we were right to support gen. Pinochet, and not comrade Allende.

    [just look at Cuba today and imagine that Chile might be like that today]


    And we've made a grave mistake not by supporting staunchly pro-western and modern Shah Reza Pahlavi, but by betraying him and allowing fanatical medieval ayatollahs to take over in Iran.

    [that some of us saw the writing on the wall early and objected to Jimmy Carter's foreign policy decisions, is not much of a consolation. :-(]

    Complain about this comment

  • 430. At 8:04pm on 08 Feb 2011, TrueToo wrote:

    318. mario1987,

    Yes, that is reprehensible. And typical BBC: present the Israelis as lazy, greedy, lusting after gold and living in a fool's paradise and the Palestinians as nobly demanding their freedom. As always, BBC reporters look for whatever suits their biased agenda.

    Complain about this comment

  • 431. At 9:07pm on 08 Feb 2011, d_m wrote:

    #413, muhammad a khan wrote:

    "how could we have real democracy in midlesat and asia

    You ask a hard question and there is no single or simple answer.

    Top on my list of suggestions would be to separate religion and government. Then, find a model of government you like and copy it. Don't reinvent the wheel. It takes too long and it's harder than it seems. Just look at the EU.

    Complain about this comment

  • 432. At 9:09pm on 08 Feb 2011, marieinaustin wrote:

    Why were my last three posts about Egypt, from today, removed? No moderated note, but removed. That is odd.

    Can anyone tell me why, please?

    You can see them in my name's history link.

    Complain about this comment

  • 433. At 9:13pm on 08 Feb 2011, TrueToo wrote:

    Paul Edwards from Australia: outstanding contributions at 396 and 401.

    Thanks.


    410. At 1:46pm on 08 Feb 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    re: 396, 401 Paul Edwards -- Australia

    Feel better now?


    That poor attempt at humour doesn't hide your inability to offer a counter-argument.


    411. At 2:48pm on 08 Feb 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    I think I'm just going to leave those two postings alone.

    Sensible move. You've been thoroughly outclassed and shown your place. I'm sure you are not looking forward to more of the same.

    Complain about this comment

  • 434. At 9:46pm on 08 Feb 2011, marieinaustin wrote:

    Thanks for responding, some moniker like cms(with numbers), last night/early this morning. I thought you posted another one, too. They ditched your posts, too. Yikes.

    Complain about this comment

  • 435. At 10:23pm on 08 Feb 2011, marieinaustin wrote:

    I am the village idiot today. I’m on the wrong thread.

    Marie, go back to bed.

    Complain about this comment

  • 436. At 10:27pm on 08 Feb 2011, Scott0962 wrote:

    re. #349. At 5:31pm on 07 Feb 2011, The Toothbrush Man wrote:
    332. At 3:56pm on 07 Feb 2011, Scott0962 wrote:

    "At the risk of upsetting the anti-American crowd I would like to ask where was Britain's support for democracy? Granting independence because you could no longer support the military force to maintain mastery in countries where people were starting to demand an end to colonial rule isn't exactly a ringing endorsement of your belief in freedom and democracy either."

    Er. Sorry ? You seem to have a rather simplistic idea of how the British Empire was held together. It was NOT through military force. No army in history has or could ever be big enough to maintain a colonial rule.

    Yes, there were military actions - sometimes quite nasty. But on the whole the British empire was held together through realisation that you would be better off in it, rather than out of it. You would have access to foreign markets, a major finance and insurance centre (London), enjoy the protection of the Royal Navy (from pirates), be aware of the latest technological and cultural developments, etc. etc.

    As for ...

    "Granting independence because you could no longer support the military force to maintain mastery in countries where people were starting to demand an end to colonial rule isn't exactly a ringing endorsement of your belief in freedom and democracy either."

    ... this is a contradiction. They want independence. They got independence. More often than not, without a shot being fired. How is this NOT a "ringing endorsement of belief in freedom and democracy" ?

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

    Apparently you missed the contradictions in your own opinions. The empire was held together by the realization that you would be better off in it than out of it? That's a convenient justification of colonialism but if it were true then why would there have been independence movements at all in the various parts of the empire?

    What you're basically saying is that it was better to be subjects of the empire than to be free people. Americans did not agree. Certainly the Irish would disagree as would most Indians. Freedom has a value all its own that can't be quantified by access to markets or roads or railroads.

    That the British Empire was allowed to dissolve without a bloody protracted effort to hold it together by force speaks well for the basic decency of the British people but don't fool yourself that the Empire would been allowed to slip away if the subject peoples hadn't made it very clear they were no longer prepared to accept British rule at a time when a war weary Britain was too tired to argue the point.

    Complain about this comment

  • 437. At 11:02pm on 08 Feb 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    436. At 10:27pm on 08 Feb 2011, Scott0962 wrote:

    "That the British Empire was allowed to dissolve without a bloody protracted effort to hold it together by force speaks well for the basic decency of the British people ..."

    ----------

    Agree with your basic point, certainly. No Dien Bien Phu, and no eight year long civil war in Algeria, for example.

    However, much as I yearn for the good old days when our dear Queen was younger (I refer, of course, to Victoria), the dissolution of the British Empire left the world with some real chestnuts:

    The Irish war of independence and civil war, and later, "the troubles".
    The partition of Palestine.
    The disastrous, foolish, ill-conceived partition of the Indian sub-continent, whence at least four major international problems have bubbled on ever since.

    And those are just the worst ones. In addition:

    The war against the Mau Mau.
    The long war in Rhodesia.
    The long anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa, (which, additionally, fueled, among other things, a good part of one side of the 30-year war in Angola).

    ... and many other lesser and divers wars too numerous to mention.



    All of which may be put in context, I suppose, by the comment of a Cuban state-employed tour guide who said to us: "Oh, if only we had been colonized by the British instead of the Spanish. Now we would now be a rich democracy instead."

    Complain about this comment

  • 438. At 11:06pm on 08 Feb 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    Mark,

    Here is a part of the leading sentence of a recent BBC news item:

    "The US has called on the Egyptian government to immediately lift ...."

    It's no big deal if people who post here split infinitives, I suppose, but you expect rather better from the BBC. Where was the editor's blue pencil?

    Complain about this comment

  • 439. At 11:41pm on 08 Feb 2011, McJakome wrote:

    438. At 11:06pm on 08 Feb 2011, Interestedforeigner
    In my grammar book "lift up" is not an infinitive it is a separable phrasal verb. USAmerican English speakers use these rather more than British English speakers, and Canadians seem to be sometimes in one camp and sometimes in the other.

    You might be interested in a recent Boston Globe teaser about Queen Elizabeth buying residential property in Wellesley, just outside Boston, Massachusetts.

    The truth of the matter is that HRM probably knows nothing about the purchases. They are made in her name as she is the Head of State of Canada, and it is the Canadian government buying the property. This property is to be used to house Canadian diplomatic personnel. From which I gather that Canada has close diplomatic ties with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and a fairly large diplomatic presence here.


    Complain about this comment

  • 440. At 00:22am on 09 Feb 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    If wrote: But the army is also conscious of it's favoured status, and the public respect that the army has as an institution.
    ---------
    They may respect it, but do they trust it?

    If so, then perhaps the army would be the best to run fair and free elections...
    ---------
    If wrote: Many of the protesters believe that as long as Mubarak hangs around, the chances of any elections being free and fair are pretty slim. So demanding that Mubarak leave is, in fact, an attempt by the protesters to work toward ensuring that the next elections are free and fair - unlike the recent farce.
    --------
    But if the army ran the elections and the people trust the army, why wouldn't that be free and fair, regardless of Mubarack or anyone?

    The way to ensure their next elections are free and fair is by having the army or a source that they can trust to count the votes...

    (regardless of Mubarack being ousted or not, they can still have a free and fair election)
    ----------
    So you are therefore assuming that the 80-odd million who aren't protesting support the government? Really? Does that reflect your experience in life? Would they have banned the Moslem Brotherhood, or rigged the elections if that were true? Not likely, is it?
    ---------
    My assumption is that they are not speaking up, so unless we hear from them, we don't know, it could go either way...

    What proof do you have that they don't support Mubarack?
    ----------
    If wrote: Recent polling in Egypt suggests that something like 38% support a continued role for Mubarak. That is, actually, a sizeable number, and larger than I would have guessed.
    ---------
    Of course, polls can be swayed by the media in either direction...

    Complain about this comment

  • 441. At 00:30am on 09 Feb 2011, LucyJ wrote:

    If wrote: Well, doesn't that beg the question? The existing regime clearly doesn't want cameras there. But the great mass of the protesters do.
    ------------
    Its hard to say...

    I know I was watching Christine Amanpour on ABC news get hassled by a group of Egyptans who said they did not like America, Christine asked them why and the one in front kept saying "they're not good people". Christine asked why? but hte guy just had that one answer, nothign else, and she had leave because they were getting so agitated and I could tell it was a bad situation...

    I can't say I've seen any journalists there treated that well...
    --------
    If wrote: An open democracy does not generally kick out journalists for being journalists.
    -------
    Yes, but were there some journalists viewing it like reality tv or journalists trying to sensatioanlize it?
    --------
    If wrote: See previous posting. Getting Mubarak out is an effort to obtain free and fair elections.
    -------
    Mubarack doesn't matter...what matters is who counts the next votes.
    --------
    If wrote: Because if he were, these people wouldn't be on the streets, and, more importantly, any government with 60% of the vote wouldn't have to resort to rent-a-thugs.
    --------

    And why is it that several Christian churches were attacked by Muslim extremists in Egypt recently?

    Complain about this comment

  • 442. At 00:32am on 09 Feb 2011, Cloud-Cuckoo wrote:

    Easy.
    Bad guys buy more arms,preferably from the US and UK.
    Bad guys are also more likely to start wars and to create international tensions which will give the US (and UK) military more self-justification.

    The military and arms manufacturing lobbies - arguably the most powerful lobbies in both the US and the UK - just LOVE bad dictators. Especially oil-rich ones.

    Complain about this comment

  • 443. At 01:02am on 09 Feb 2011, venerablebede wrote:

    Hosni Mubarak's NPD is a Socialist Party and was a member of the Socialist International until the other week. They were booted out after a week of the protests. Now our Labour Party is also a member of the Socialist International, and you never heard them complaining about Mubarak. Now the question you have to ask is why does Socialism lead to tyranny.

    Complain about this comment

  • 444. At 01:19am on 09 Feb 2011, Core wrote:

    The US copied the practise of backing inappropiate regimes from the European empire builders.

    The British commonly 'installed' local candicates to represent the public face of the regime to the populace whilst retaining full mastery of the back and middle office. The British Raj in India is the classic example but the same was done in the Middle East and elsewhere. It was ,quite simply, cheaper to install a nightwatchman regime than attempting to rule a target territory by force of arms.

    The Colonial powers were only really interested in the actual or potential profits of the territories and the status the amassed acreage would lend each of them in the Great Game. The lot of the 'peasants' was an irrelevance. The British establishment's indifference to the Great Potatoe Famine of Ireland in the 19th Century is indicative. Likewise the even bigger death toll from the famines in India.

    All we see in the post-war world is an East India Trading Company replaced by a plethora of multi-national corportions , from the present and former world powers, all of whom know how to lobby their congressmen & Governments. Who really believes that the commercial interests of BP had nothing to do with the release of the lockerbie bomber ?

    I found the Mardel's comments to be pertinent and informed. I would ,however, make an additional point.

    A significant proportion of post-war national income in the US has been devoted to military spending. The end of the cold war ,no doubt, caused a cold sweat for the Pentagon of the public sector and the defence contractors of the private sector. The global/dominino collapse of US 'allies' around the world would concern the both the Pentagon and the US defence contractors for different reasons.

    The $1.5 billion in annual US military aid to Egypt - much mentioned in media reports of recent days - is spent with US defence companies. Equally,the US security establishment would deplore the absence of intelligence feeds from the territories controlled by the 'bad guys' nor the option of using those territories as military staging areas. After all, didn't the 'bad guys' in Saudi Arabia allow the US to use their country as a staging area for the Iraq invasion.

    America backing 'bad guys' is a mimicry of the tactics used by the Great Powers to protect their own commercial interests ,(at least cost), whilst developing their ability to project soft/hard power globally. Democracies, on the other hand, are more difficult to 'manage'.

    The American's didn't just 'inherit' the British Empire - they adopted it's tactics as well.

    Complain about this comment

  • 445. At 02:08am on 09 Feb 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    Oh, the icing on the cake:

    By the company ye keep, so shall ye be known:

    "433. At 9:13pm on 08 Feb 2011, TrueToo wrote:"
    "Paul Edwards from Australia: outstanding contributions at 396 and 401."
    "Thanks."

    Complain about this comment

  • 446. At 02:27am on 09 Feb 2011, Chryses wrote:

    Interestedforeigner, (#445. At 02:08am on 09 Feb 2011)
    ”Oh, the icing on the cake:
    By the company ye keep, so shall ye be known ...”

    Silence implies consent

    Complain about this comment

  • 447. At 02:37am on 09 Feb 2011, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    My stab at the question....

    Popular Democracies are a lot harder to deal with than dictators, seems to me. The government can change with any election, and policies can change with it. The electorate gets used to this and when enough people are left out, then the other party will get the power. If there is no national consensus about foreign policy, favors, trade, aid, or who's the enemy today, change can occur without notice. And democracies can switch about for internal reasons that have no relationship with externalities.

    The dictators are generally much more predictable – even when they are vile, irritable, unpredictable ogres. At least you know that’s who they are. And a pet dictator is generally very predictable. Feed him enough aid to keep him in power, and he will do your bidding. Consider the Soviet Union - which was itself a network of replaceable tyrants - and its client states. For the most part very dependable over many years. Dictators can decide what they will do and it happens. Democracies, unless they are successfully sold an idea, can be very messy and indecisive, even when their interest seem to be clear.

    Adams' and Jefferson's administrations are a fascinating study in what happens when principle and affinity are opposed by real politik. We owed France a lot, and the French Republic was the first movement that deliberately modeled itself after our revolution and endorsed our ideals. But all our trade was built to serve Britain - meanwhile the French revolution deteriorated into a brilliant new form of autocracy. The American public was openly, vigorously divided – there were riots, violence, outrages in the newspapers – as a consequence John Adams sullied his reputation forever with the Aliens and Sedition Act, while Thomas Jefferson lived to regret his support of France.

    I suppose real politik and commercial interests have dominated diplomatic decisions almost from our country's beginning, more vigorously so after we broke our tendency to isolationism in the twentieth century. One thing is becoming more apparent, though, in the twenty-first century: free democratic societies tend to be more productive, centers of growth, better markets, more open to the world of trade at all levels than totalitarian states – with one very prominent exception. So we have a practical reason to like doing business with them, and to wish them well. Symbiosis of a sort.

    The fate of our kind of liberty may depend on the winner of a horse race - will liberal democracy overwhelm China before China overwhelms us.

    KScurmudgeon
    -15 degrees C, six inches of snow and gaining

    Complain about this comment

  • 448. At 04:24am on 09 Feb 2011, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    446. At 02:27am on 09 Feb 2011, Chryses wrote:

    "Silence implies consent"

    _________

    No, not always.

    My time isn't infinite, and answering all long posts isn't always possible, or, indeed, worthwhile. Nor is it worth the effort if they are gobbledygook, as those ones were.

    In this case, there is nothing I could add that would discredit the postings more than leaving them there as they stood.

    And then to have our old friend TT endorse them ... well, that has a humour all of its own.

    Complain about this comment

  • 449. At 04:52am on 09 Feb 2011, Paul Edwards - Australia wrote:

    #436 Scott0962

    Now we move off the anti-American narrative and onto the anti-British narrative. These two negative world attitudes are probably the biggest barriers to world freedom.

    If you go and find honest/sensible Indians/Iraqis etc, you will indeed see them state forthrightly that they got independence too early, and given the sheer horror that followed (at least in Iraq), they wished it had never happened. Fast-forward to today and you can find a majority of Puerto Ricans making the wise choice to not rush to independence. Reverse a little bit and you can find a Hong Kong that prospered just fine under British rule, and was very reluctant to see the whole "return to China" business.

    My own country voted for independence from the UK. A bare majority voted in favour of that. And not a thing changed as a result. Same laws, everything. That's what a successful transition to independence looks like. A time that you acknowledge that the British know what they are doing, thank them for setting up the foundations, and then move on. Australia didn't get freedom in 1901. It was already free.

    It is this hijacking of the word "freedom" that is the single biggest barrier to real freedom. Sadistic dictators like Saddam ensured the Iraqi people that they were free, ie, independent of the UK. Compare that to nearly half of Australia being very reluctant to alter something that was working fine. And the Puerto Ricans having a majority with similar reluctancy that Australia had.

    And here we have an opportunity for a genuine American failure. Pushing Britain to leave colonies and then not acknowledging what a horrible error of judgement that was when cruel dictators took their place. So long as the dictator was non-white, mission accomplished?

    "The empire was held together by the realization that you would be better off in it than out of it? That's a convenient justification of colonialism but if it were true then why would there have been independence movements at all in the various parts of the empire?"

    Perhaps for the same reason the Venezuelans elect communists? A majority aren't as politically astute as the Puerto Ricans/Australians?

    "What you're basically saying is that it was better to be subjects of the empire than to be free people."

    No, what sensible people are saying is that you can be free under colonial administration. Like the Puerto Ricans of 2011. Like the Australians of 1900.

    "Americans did not agree."

    A minority of Americans disagreed at the time, that is true. That minority then asked the French to do the heavy lifting to create an independent state, and kicked some of the majority out to Canada, so that they then ended up with a majority, and then wrote their history books to reflect something that sounded a lot different from this paragraph. But ultimately it is as dishonest as saying that the Viet Cong defeated America rather than a column of North Vietnamese tanks were able to defeat South Vietnam after America withdrew air support for insane reasons.

    "Certainly the Irish would disagree"

    The Irish don't speak with one voice. You can find honest Irish who don't think that the way they got independence was appropriate.

    "as would most Indians."

    Ditto. What can I say? You can find lots of people unable to face reality in the world. The comments in this blog are rife with them. You don't need to go to India.

    "Freedom has a value all its own that can't be quantified by access to markets or roads or railroads."

    Yes, and the road to freedom needs to be travelled very carefully if you want a success story at the end of it. Sometimes it involves the US miltiarily occupying Germany until they can get some required cultural changes in place. Sometimes they involve the South Korean military ruling for a while while the population becomes educated. Sometimes the British were able to take the place of South Korean generals.

    "That the British Empire was allowed to dissolve without a bloody protracted effort to hold it together by force speaks well for the basic decency of the British people"

    Right. And when you are being ruled by decent and competent people already, you should think 50 million times before you step away from that security.

    "but don't fool yourself that the Empire would been allowed to slip away if the subject peoples hadn't made it very clear they were no longer prepared to accept British rule at a time when a war weary Britain was too tired to argue the point."

    Pardon? You're saying that if the people had made it clear that they wanted to stay, they would have been able to stay. But if they had made it clear that they wanted to leave, they would be allowed to leave. And the word "freedom" doesn't spring into your mind? What about the phrase "subsequent horrific human rights abuses and gross economic mismanagement"?

    Regardless, I lost track of what I wasn't supposed to be fooled about. What I'm not fooled about is a definition of freedom that I can relate to. And no, it's not "independence from UK". Hell, it's not even "democracy". It's "living under a rational, humanist, non-subjugating government". The Iraqis got that in 2003 even under US military rule. The Germans got it in 1945 even under US military rule. The Australians had it in 1900 (ie before independence in 1901). The Puerto Ricans have it now. The Egyptians don't have it, but they won't have it after democratic elections either. A good litmus test is to walk down the streets of Cairo with a t-shirt with the Israeli flag on it, and see how far you get. Hell, just be a woman without a headscarf and see how you fare.

    P.S. to #433 TrueToo - thanks for the kind words - maybe we need to organize some sort of "official answer" to "The Narrative". Note that I'm sure that they can answer every one of my points based on "The Narrative", but it will just hit some fundamental difference of value judgement where one side thinks that human rights abuses are a small price to pay for being away from British/American rule/culture/whatever. There's no real answer to these different value judgements, and it just means that the people who share your/my value judgements who live, possibly as a minority, in the country in question, have to suffer without end in sight. I've already been down every avenue I can think of to get the value judgements changed, but ultimately, "no can do" (Hong Kong's contribution to the English language).

    Complain about this comment

  • 450. At 05:43am on 09 Feb 2011, andyod wrote:

    The United States supports two ideologies in the world and never forget it.They are (a)Capitalism and (b) Israel. Once that is conceded everything else falls into place.Trying to explain the US position on any other basis while absurd will still lead only to the conclusion that we support dictators and thugs for the good of Capitalism and/or Israel.

    Complain about this comment

  • 451. At 06:04am on 09 Feb 2011, andyod wrote:

    Dear Paul Edwards,
    You speak much and say little.Seems like all empires are bad except yours ie the British Empire. When exactly did women get the right to vote under the Crown? After the men by how many years? Cultures take time to emerge.
    If a dress code is bad in Egypy how come a man cannot wear a dress(dress like a woman) in public in the USA?Of course there is always a good reason but it is restrictive despite the good reason.Like any dress code.In Mexico nuns or priests and any other minister of religion are forbidden to dress in their choice of "clerical"clothing.A dress code I heartily agree with.
    Could one wear a sign supporting the Palestinians in Israel?
    I could go on but no matter. I am Irish and we enjoyed the empire (evil) in our land for four hundred years. And our independence was ratifies by the Irish people no matter the individuals you know.

    Complain about this comment

  • 452. At 06:15am on 09 Feb 2011, andyod wrote:

    A definition of freedom? "It's living under a rational, humanist, non-subjugating government". When you say "living under" that's not freedom that is a benevolent dictatorship.How about the right to elect a rational, humanist, non-subjugating government?

    Complain about this comment

  • 453. At 07:43am on 09 Feb 2011, champagne_charlie wrote:

    andyod2u;

    Most people move on, some stay stuck in the past with Gerry Adams. Wave your little tricolor at her and say goodbye to the past and hello to a brighter future with your British friends and neighbours:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-12400605



    Complain about this comment

  • 454. At 10:05am on 09 Feb 2011, Paul Edwards - Australia wrote:

    andyod2u,

    "The United States supports two ideologies in the world and never forget it.They are (a)Capitalism and (b) Israel. Once that is conceded everything else falls into place.Trying to explain the US position on any other basis while absurd will still lead only to the conclusion that we support dictators and thugs for the good of Capitalism and/or Israel."

    Did you take a straw poll of any Americans at all before making your assertion, or do you find that it's more convenient to divine it from the entrails of frogs? Perhaps you can ask some Americans if they support countries such as Australia just as strongly as Israel. Should be amusing to hear some of those reactions.

    "You speak much and say little."

    Translated - you were overwhelmed by an intense barrage of impeccable logic which you have absolutely no counter to, and are hoping a throwaway line will salvage your horrible anti-UK/US side some semblance of honour. No chance.

    "Seems like all empires are bad except yours ie the British Empire."

    Seems like that based on the frog entrails again? You sure as hell didn't ask me, and I don't remember offering an opinion on any empire. I'm certainly glad that the Roman Empire got my ancestors out of the trees. If you would like me to comment on any other empires, just ask and I'm pretty sure each of them had both pros and cons.

    "When exactly did women get the right to vote under the Crown?"

    There's only a handful of countries that had the right to vote for any significant amount of time at all. One of them is mine, with over 100 years to its name. It was also about the second country to allow women to vote. Can't remember, don't care. If your complaint is that Australia/Britain's democracy was flawed and therefore this group of people can be dismissed as ogres with no contribution to humanity, well, go right ahead. I won't bother answering.

    "After the men by how many years? Cultures take time to emerge."

    So? I don't remember claiming anything was perfect. Quote more of my words, less frog entrails, and we'll take it from there.

    "If a dress code is bad in Egypy"

    The dress code doesn't force you to wear a scarf. It is the religiously bigotted public who will discriminate against you.

    "how come a man cannot wear a dress(dress like a woman) in public in the USA?"

    Don't know. Don't care. I do care about women being singled out by religious bigots for being "loose" because they don't wear a religious symbol.

    "Of course there is always a good reason but it is restrictive despite the good reason.Like any dress code.In Mexico nuns or priests and any other minister of religion are forbidden to dress in their choice of "clerical"clothing.A dress code I heartily agree with."

    Whatever dude. You can win the dress code of Mexico debate before it even got going.

    "Could one wear a sign supporting the Palestinians in Israel?"

    Yep. Israelis do exactly that. It's pretty sick when they do it even when Israel is under bombardment, but there you go.

    "I could go on but no matter."

    You could quote more fun facts derived from frog entrails I'm sure. But I'll let you win all of those.

    "I am Irish and we enjoyed the empire (evil) in our land for four hundred years."

    And at the time of independence, how did it measure up then? Regardless, I don't think anyone cares that the Irish became independent. Consult fewer frogs on that one though. The failure to stand up to Hitler or even join NATO I personally care about though. But nevermind. The Americans were slovenly too. And Australia walked out of Iraq before the job was complete, so I don't want to throw rocks in glass houses.

    "And our independence was ratifies by the Irish people no matter the individuals you know."

    Sure. And the Germans democratically elected Hitler too. So?

    "A definition of freedom? "It's living under a rational, humanist, non-subjugating government". When you say "living under" that's not freedom that is a benevolent dictatorship."

    Wrong. The Puerto Ricans are totally absolutely free.

    "How about the right to elect a rational, humanist, non-subjugating government?"

    Sure. The Irish people do that already. I have no problem with that. Their choice to leave the burden of securing the free world to America is no different from Australia's either. What about it? Who cares? The frogs again?

    Complain about this comment

  • 455. At 10:39am on 09 Feb 2011, Paul Edwards - Australia wrote:

    "I'm certainly glad that the Roman Empire got my ancestors out of the trees."

    Yikes. My Scottish nationalist (racist? bigotted?) grandmother would be turning in her grave.

    Correction. The Roman Empire nominally got 50-75% of my ancestors out of the trees. (25% - a grandfather - died before I was born, so it never came up in conversation where he came from, and since I'm not a nationalist/racist myself I couldn't care less where he came from, so never made the effort to even ask).

    25-50% of my ancestors unfortunately lost centuries of recorded history because the Romans were unwilling to even pay a once-off cost of bring Sesame Street to them by force of arms, and instead just built a wall and erected a sign that said "these people are unteachable". So yeah, I have my complaints about the Roman Empire. Thanks for asking.

    I have far more complaints about the current Australian government than the Romans though. Pulling out of Iraq before the UK and US did, is adding insult to injury. The injury of course being only contributing 1/7 the forces (long term) on a per capita basis than the UK/US did. Hopefully someone will write some history books that gloss over that sad chapter in Australian history, as I sure as hell wouldn't want anyone to ask embarassing questions like "did you seriously betray your UK/US/Iraqi allies after the horror of betraying your South Vietnamese allies?". Admittedly Australia wasn't always betraying the free world, and I've seen one or two worse cases of the free world being betrayed by others, but I'll concentrate on pointing out the genuine ills of my own country, and leave others to do similar self-criticism at a pace their own culture can stomach ...

    Complain about this comment

  • 456. At 10:47am on 09 Feb 2011, Chryses wrote:

    Interestedforeigner, (#448. At 04:24am on 09 Feb 2011)
    ”... ’Silence implies consent’
    _________
    No, not always ...”


    True, but when silence is the response to a clear, explicit, unambiguous and articulate rebuttal, consent is implied.

    As in the past.

    Complain about this comment

  • 457. At 11:09am on 09 Feb 2011, PetShopBoys_Forever wrote:

    The USA does not always back dictatorships but there is a balance that they try to strike between promoting democracy and freedom and looking after their own national security and that of their allied nations which is why they have in the past backed Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia but opposed Iran, Iraq, Syria and North Korea

    Ideally Americans would prefer democratic governments in all countries but would you really want Osama Bin Laden to be elected in Saudi Arabia as President.

    Probably not.

    Complain about this comment

  • 458. At 11:58am on 09 Feb 2011, TrueToo wrote:

    449. At 04:52am on 09 Feb 2011, Paul Edwards - Australia wrote:

    P.S. to #433 TrueToo - thanks for the kind words.

    You are welcome. I'm not convinced that the lefty, PeeCee brigade here would be able to repond intelligently. InterestedForeigner uses the "time" excuse or whatever else to try to justify an inability to deal with the points you raised. The tactic is transparent, since he writes copious posts of his own.

    Complain about this comment

  • 459. At 12:31pm on 09 Feb 2011, Paul Edwards - Australia wrote:

    #456 Chryses

    "consent is implied."

    I wish! Unfortunately it's just the same old same old. Completely and utterly defeated in logic, but they have to weigh that up against the wall-to-wall narrative they have been taught at school, by the media, by their peers and have never ever heard any alternative "theory" until now.

    It takes a huge leap of faith to leave behind practically everything you've ever been told by the TV, and replace it with a bit of cold hard logic carefully assembled over decades from the dark corners of the internet.

    The lies are absolutely rife throughout the entire western world:

    1. America lost in Vietnam, when it wasn't even there to lose. The people of Vietnam wanted communism anyway - that's why they allowed free and fair elections all along - they couldn't lose.
    2. The USSR lost in Afghanistan (similar to how they lost in Hungary, Poland, etc etc etc).
    3. America had a revolution. America won that "revolution" with minor help from France (similar to the minor help that the Northern Alliance received in Afghanistan).
    4. The British empire was hell on earth. The governments that replaced that hell were as close to quaint utopias as you can get before the sheer number of simultaneously blooming flowers doesn't leave any room to grow crops.
    5. Americans/British are inherently evil people.
    6. Australians (all of them - not one single exception since all Australians are completely identical) wake up ever day and ask themselves what suffering they can bring to Aborigines today.
    7. An almost non-existent minority of Arabs/Muslims support terrorism against the West and can be safely ignored as a security threat.
    8. America went to Iraq to steal oil. The dozens of other countries turned up did so because they are inherently stupid or were easily bought or sychophants. Countries like Canada who were brave enough to have an identical policy on the Iraq war to Osama Bin Laden are meanwhile free-spirited intelligensia and most certainly not puppets of Osama.
    9. Mandela was a hero, not a terrorist. Besides which, it was justified anyway. I mean, not even Saddam cutting out people's tongues was as bad as white minority rule and external intervention was required (as well as non-terrorism).
    10. Oh yeah, white South Africans are inherently evil people, just like all white people come to think of it, while the racist black anywhere in the world has yet to be born, and thus no effort needs to be spent on eradicating racism from anyone other than whites.


    In today's world we need people like Mithal Al Alusi or Ayaan Hisri Ali who are brave enough to speak out against The Narrative and win for non-whites the same sort of societies whites generally enjoy for themselves. Unfortunately, with a majority of whites firmly sold (by communists, mainly) on The Narrative, they have no hope of winning.

    It is ironic that the USSR continues to have the last laugh. There is no technical barrier to unwinding decades of Soviet propaganda. But now that it has been internalized by those you see above, it requires something other than logic to shift. They say that the best conservative is a "liberal" who has been mugged. Something similar to that (ie not logic) has to happen. 9/11 wasn't enough to take care of even America. If Americans aren't going to properly react to seeing their citizens jump off skyscrapers, there's little hope for anyone else. The Ayatollahs can't even have an official slogan of "Death to USA" and get a reasonable reaction from the Americans.

    All we can do is hope that the Ayatollahs will find it in their hearts to sign a formal declaration of war on America so that hopefully THAT will be enough to get America to take an interest in protecting itself, even if it doesn't wish to liberate Iran purely for the benefit of the millions of decent Iranians (allies in fact) who are there. Although I don't think even that would be enough, because the US will just dismiss it as a prank since they know the Ayatollahs right at this exact second lack the technological capability (building of nukes and missiles doesn't count if you have a missile defence shield which will probably work against that too, right? It's not like you can smuggle something as big as a nuke across the Mexican border or anything like that).

    Hell, I'd be satisfied enough if we could get the UK to agree that having its own soldiers seized in international and Iraqi waters is ... you know ... like an Act of War. Maybe even invoke the NATO treaty as a result. Is there a Statute of Limitations or something?

    And before you ask "can't Australia take the initiative with all this stuff?", see previous messages where I used terms like "Australia", "betray", "free world", "again".

    [P.S. to moderators - I'm impressed my stuff has gotten through at all. I am not at all shocked that anti-British Irishmen are allowed to post anti-British stuff on a British website, because I know that the British are decent people who wouldn't dream of silencing dissenting opinions and wear it as a badge of honour that they are willing to take on the chin whatever criticism comes their way. But I am shocked at the opposite happening. If I've cut too close to the bone on this one, feel free to censor the bits you just can't let through rather than deleting my whole post - thanks guys!]

    Complain about this comment

  • 460. At 2:26pm on 09 Feb 2011, Paul Edwards - Australia wrote:

    [wow - we have a free marketplace of ideas here]

    #458 TrueToo

    "I'm not convinced that the lefty, PeeCee brigade here would be able to repond intelligently."

    Hey, that's raising the bar. I only said that The Narrative has an answer for everything, not that it was intelligent. I can write it myself even. Watch (I just took a random bit of text) ...

    "Yes, and once again we see the same moral equivalence that we saw during the Cold War."

    They WERE morally equivalent. They both supported equally revolting dictators. The ends does not justify the means, and America's ends (exploiting the 3rd world to enrich the ruling elite) were not justified ends by any stretch of the imagination. [Note - don't attempt to confirm this by talking to any Americans, because the ruling elite in America are in fact aliens from outer space whose opinions are in no way representative of the people, even though 50% of the people support those actions for reasons you can find out simply by asking them].

    "Both sides are equally culpable, both are in an arms race, both have inflexible attitudes."

    Couldn't have said it better myself.

    "It wasn't very helpful then, and it isn't helpful now."

    Not helpful if you were the ruling elite exploiting the third world either (or one of their lackeys - unlike me - a freethinking Canadian as a blindly do the opposite of whatever the US does). [note - encouraging the 3rd world to set up economic systems that protect against American exploitation has got to be the second cruelest joke in the world - the cruelest being Saddam telling the Iraqis that they were free (independent from UK) while he chopped out their tongues].

    "Then again, not everyone wants to help the side of liberal democracy, so that's fine too."

    How sick a joke is that? Pretending to be a liberal democrat even as you support the American empire's exploitation of the 3rd world, plus all those sick dictators it supports (which we will examine in close detail, unlike the sick dictators that America would be willing to topple if asked nicely).

    "That depends on who you define "our" as."

    I define it as people who GENUINELY support democracy - not the tinpot dictators that America sets up!

    "I consider people like Mithal Al Alusi and his Egyptian counterparts to be part of my in-group"

    Sure you do. You're just another white supremacist masquerading behind some people who don't know neocons (note to self - avoid actually speaking to any neocons to avoid any data that would contradict The Narrative) and their sick plans as well as I do.

    "and anything that is done that would potentially harm them to have a serious response rather than a flippant one."

    As usual you have it the wrong way around. It is you that seeks to harm the innocent for your own ends (note - no need to follow the money trail here as with 50% of the US etc supporting these actions, there would be data overload - stick to frog entrails), and [finish with some joke using serious and flippant - I don't have the energy to make one up myself at the moment].

    "That depends. Is there something that can be done if e.g. Germany were to democratically elect Nazis?"

    You're stuck on this record from 1939, aren't you? [don't worry about the fact that it's just an idea, or that we have Nazi equivalents here today]. Seriously, you lose by Godwin's Law (great - now I'll have to switch to say institutionalized rape in Iraq - which not even the Nazis did - and this will expose me to baseless charges of anti-Arab racism, when I could avoid this with the Nazi example).

    "Preemptive war and install an anti-Nazi strongman, regardless of what the Germans thought of a de-Nazification effort? Yeah, if you twisted my arm, I could agree to that."

    Your sarcasm is getting tedious (read - hilarious for those on the right side of humanity). See above regarding record stuck on 1939 (a couple of months ago someone literally said (ie in person) to me "will you stop going on about people's tongues getting cut out" - my response was "why? because it's true" - the trouble with voice conversations is that I wasn't quick enough to add "unlike the "nonsense" you made up about the Americans").

    "If it theoretically happened in America and America threatened nuclear retaliation if anyone tried to de-Nazify them?"

    In other words - no, you wouldn't, and you are already making excuses as to why it's ok for America to do whatever it wants. (um, no, and this conversation has run its course I think - some of us know people who have lives).

    "I'd probably treat the US the same way that we treated the USSR in that case."

    Sure you would. [ok, got me there - I don't have the technical means to rerun a timeline in an alternate universe where the US is genuinely bad, and if I give some genuine examples of the US being bad or making mistakes, those will be ignored, so what can I do?]

    "I believe the Germans pretty much had all those things in the mid-late 40s even though they had no means to democratically elect Nazis back to power."

    See above about record stuck in 1940s. Honestly, buy yourself an almanac, it's 2011. [ok, is now the time to switch to say Taiwan in the years prior to the first democratic elections? That's still over a decade. I could use Iraq 2003 as an example. Puerto Rico? Honestly, they're not going to accept anything I give, what's the point here]

    "You have heard of that whole Crystal Night thing, right?"

    Right, that does it. I'm not going to argue with someone who views the entire 3rd world as Nazis waiting to happen, and demanding that they remain enslaved to America as a result [wow, what a rash of straw men - is there enough hours in the day to take them all out? Hmmm, should I have varied my arguments more, to prevent opening a gap for that confident-sounding dismissal. Damn! But it's such a great example in other ways - and those who are followers of logic won't be fooled - who is my target audience anyway?]

    "You've presumably also noticed the Palestinians voting for their favourite terrorist group too?"

    Oh, look at the excuses coming thick and fast now [wow, that was a good line, I wonder if he's going to find a way to throw in a counter-argument though]. The Palestinians have been oppressed for so long [oh good grief, why couldn't I have thought of another example to avoid this dead horse being flogged] that it's no wonder (finish sentence with a justification for why expectations of Arabs should be kept low, and remember to use the racism card and watch him squirm!!! Works every time. "darn" I wish this guy was a "froggin" American/Brit though. Australia's small stature takes away the blithe dismissal of the powerful wildcard. He's probably white though. I'll leverage the "heck" out of that instead).

    "It would have been amusing to watch you try roaming around democratic Palestine with a star of david on you."

    I'm not surprised given all that has been done to them! (ignore the fact that it was all brought on themselves, and ignore the fact that the Finns didn't get up to all this when the Russians took their land in an offensive war, while Israel's declaration of independence from the UK was nothing remotely like that). And shouldn't that be capitalized? ["darn", almost as bad as me using salient instead of perceptive - I really should proofread my stuff].

    "Try it out in democratic Lebanon too."

    (Oh what a ripper! I can respond to this one with absolutely anything I pulled out of nether regions. Let's go for ...). The problems in Lebanon are due to foreign interference - the sort of thing the Americans get up to EVERY SINGLE DAY. (wow, the easily fooled will be, well, easily fooled - and if I start arguing about abstract problems in Lebanon, it will deflect from my main argument - which I note others have noted as being crystal clear. I think I'll have to just have to let this one slide - it can join the thing about wearing dresses in Mexico or whatever the "heck" that was all about).

    "The people most likely to be learning lessons soon are the 8 million Copts"

    There is ZERO EVIDENCE of the Copts being imminently discriminated against (actually there is plenty, but we're talking about a future event - you noticed that, right - great people like Churchill see these things in advance and try to take some precautionary action - is this such a radical concept or what? Honestly, I've got to stop wasting my time on forums like this.). On the contrary - Copts are out there marching side by side with their Muslim brothers - marching against the tyranny you support. (Yeah, there are some Copts who have likely badly misjudged - lots of people misjudge situations - people like Chamberlain wave pieces of paper and say "Peace in our Time" - uh oh, Godwin's Law - what about Kerry talking about the North Vietnamese benevolent commie gulags? - too obscure, he won't be able to relate to it, nor will anyone else be able to).

    "who will find that westerners who previously assured them that there was no danger of having to live under Sharia"

    There is NO (these caps make me really sound like I know my stuff - this should be more than enough to convince the gullible readers to stick with The Narrative from TV rather that give in to this freakoid Aussie's arguments - "darn" - what rock did this guy crawl out from under - please oh please God - please make this guy an American so that I can instantly dismiss the argument instead of being forced to tortuously negotiate every point) evidence that the Egyptians are going to vote to install Sharia (there is plenty of evidence, even if I can't get a stastically valid poll - I couldn't determine how many Iraqis wanted to be liberated either, and at the time had no counter for the lefties claiming that the figure was absolutely definitely 0% - true figure was found to be close to 50%), and even if they do, that is not YOUR perogative to decide (how can an Australian decide anything at all - it's way too small, please please please, let him be an American - don't let me see metric, don't let me see unnecessary u in words - red white and blue - please please please).

    "will be unwilling to accept 8 million refugees as atonement for being wrong yet again."

    That's what this is all about, isn't it? You're a typical anti-immigrant racist, and when you're not exploiting the 3rd world, you're torpedoing boatloads of refugees. I don't think I'll get my advice on morality from you, thanks all the same. ("darn". he's played the race card - I lose by definition. It's no use getting into a serious debate about how Australia's immigration policy stacks up against the rest of the world - no matter what I say, I'm stuck. And he won't accept Australia's current immigration policy anyway, he'll want to rewind to the White Australia policy - and no use exposing the lies in that bit of The Narrative either. I'm done for. Style trumps substance. Man, if only debates could be won by evidence and logic instead of empty slogans from The Narrative).


    Honestly, it's like shooting ducks in a barrel. The Soviet psyops left no stone unturned. Absolutely everything can be explained in terms of America's evil and greedy empire. America, you may as well just commit Hurry Curry now. The Soviets won the Cold War, not you. The Soviets only "joined" the West after the West changed to accept their ideology. After that, there was nothing left to fight against other than formal micturating contest rights. "End game to Belkov" - Kerr Avon.

    Complain about this comment

  • 461. At 2:57pm on 09 Feb 2011, rtcon wrote:

    "MagicKirin wrote:

    Mark:

    What about the many bad guys we opposes

    Iranian mullahs, NK dictators, Robert Mugabe, Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, Evo Morales"

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Iran is not a subject that reflects well on the US. We helped to overturn their legitimate government in order to put our puppet Shah in place so as to gain control of that nation's oil. As a result a nation that had been very pro US has become anti-US and a Theocracy. We oppose the mullahs of Iran now not because of any moral reservations but because they messed up our goals.

    A similar situation was created in Cuba. We can't get mad about Fidel Castro when we helped to support the illegitimate government that gave rise to his revolution to begin with.

    Hugo Chavez is not friend of the US but he is the legitimate and rather popular leader of Venezuela. Once again, his rise to power was due to US abuses in that country to gain cheap access to its oil reserves. We also supported a coup to remove him from power and had to eat crow when the grass roots pro-democracy movement within that nation put him back in power. Chavez has many flaws but its a stretch to say he's one of the "bad guys".

    Evo Morales lowered his own salary by 57%, took control of his nation's resources back from international corporations who through manipulation of previous administrations was depleting Bolivia's natural resources for next to nothing. He established pensions for the elderly and turned being a stay at home mother into a paying job. His crimes are that he doesn't let international oil companies rob his country, and he opposes letting the US have a military base in his sovereign nation.

    But other than that yeah we do oppose NK along with everyone else, and Mugabe.

    Complain about this comment

  • 462. At 3:04pm on 09 Feb 2011, Paul Edwards - Australia wrote:

    "Absolutely everything can be explained in terms of America's evil and greedy empire."

    Actually, there are some more factors. For this to remain true, it requires:

    1. The world to not be able to talk to real Americans. The internet and the widespread adoption of English is killing this.

    2. People to continue to view the American government as distinct from the American people, despite 50% of the observable Americans supporting the government at any point in time. There are various human failings (the same ones that allow herbal medicine to cure cancer and anything else) that may hinder this association.

    3. Americans themselves answering for American actions not based on their personal opinion but The Narrative that they think is true of others (without every bothering to ask their next door neighbour), and non-Americans chalking up one count to "admits evil empire" instead of one count of "wouldn't come within a bull's roar of supporting an evil empire - doesn't even support the good empire". So another failure to apply the scientific method.

    If you can simply get the scientific method taught at schools worldwide (I don't remember it being directly taught in my school, but to me it is innate anyway), that should set things up for number 1. Obviously I'm well aware that there is no need to jury-rig number 1 - just start chatting! Or phone random numbers in the US. Ring 10 random people and break 70 years of Soviet propaganda in 1 hour.

    Oh, one other thing that is required. You need to actually listen to the answer from the American rather than substituting it with what would have been more convenient for them to have replied with. And given that that requires collapsing a worldview, that's a tough ask for an adult. However - teenagers know English and use computers too - and would probably start getting miffed at their American friends being disparaged by adults and rebel against that - so hope for the future!

    Complain about this comment

  • 463. At 3:29pm on 09 Feb 2011, marieinaustin wrote:

    460. At 2:26pm on 09 Feb 2011, Paul Edwards - Australia wrote:

    a fun read.

    I’m pleased that you wasted your time on this forum. :o)

    Complain about this comment

  • 464. At 4:08pm on 09 Feb 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    re: 447 Kansas Curmudgeon

    Enjoyed your post.

    I suppose real politik and commercial interests have dominated diplomatic decisions almost from our country's beginning, more vigorously so after we broke our tendency to isolationism in the twentieth century.

    I think there are two ways to look at this: one can see the big goals that the US got right (containment, for example) as the principles that were served by the support of often unsavory regimes. Or, one can see the principle as simply a cover story for the pursuit of, ultimately, commercial interest (with ideological rigidity being the handmaiden of capitalism).

    I tend to hold the former position (though I am sympathetic to those who make a cogent case for the latter). That being said, it is not always the case that the means (the unsavory dictators, proxy wars, etc.) were justified by the end. Far too often US policy became a servant to naked commercial interest, or ideological puritanism, or even the ego of certain leaders.

    Because of these frequent lapses, the principles become cheapened -- both in our own (speaking as a citizen of the 'Western world') estimation, and in the estimation of the world at large.

    I'd argue that the key is in maintaining the balance between principles and real politik.

    But while this is easy to say, it is not easy to practice. The art of statecraft is just that -- an art. Whether or not western democracies are up to the task depends upon both the quality of our academic and specialist discourses, and the nature of public (writ large) discourse. What concerns me about current public discourse in the US is what I see as an increasing tendency to polarization -- which means in effect an unwillingness to consider the need for balance in the practice of statecraft (whether domestic or foreign policy, actually).

    Anyway, just my two cents. Keep warm!

    Complain about this comment

  • 465. At 4:23pm on 09 Feb 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    re: 456 Chryses True, but when silence is the response to a clear, explicit, unambiguous and articulate rebuttal, consent is implied.

    In my case, silence implies that I am unwilling to wade through volumes of turgid prose which constitutes a narrative "carefully assembled over decades from the dark corners of the internet."

    Oi.

    But I will say this: one of my best teachers (a long time ago) was a neo-con, though he wasn't much into the nudge nudge wink wink exoteric-esoteric occultery.

    I studied (and still admire) the writings of Leo Stauss. I read and critiqued Kojeve's Hegel lectures. I devoured Nietzsche. I still enjoy reading Bloom's Republic and Rosen's Symposium. And so on.

    The point being, I have niether time nor patience for the DIY parody of neo-conservatism I see above.

    Though the writer is, as ever, entitled to his views.

    Complain about this comment

  • 466. At 6:05pm on 09 Feb 2011, trico wrote:

    Check out Jean Kirkpatrick's 1979 essay 'Dictatorships and Double Standards'. It pretty much sums up why it's in the interests of the US to support certain nasty regimes and oppose others.

    Complain about this comment

  • 467. At 6:22pm on 09 Feb 2011, muhammad a khan wrote:

    reply 400 lucy: I have advice for media please through your Emedia TV tell the people of the world please dont disrespect mediatore because media is the best source of people voice and their concern.in this century media is playing best role most of time media bring reallaty to the people. Media is friend of innocent media show the truth and realitty of facts. there is good and bad picture about media and some anchor go boyond that and people have dought about they play role for CIA
    like abc Amanpoure,Nick Robinson BBC etc.but I will say media and anchor play greater role and put their life on line good cause and nature of there jobs during emergency deal with violant riot crowed is not easy especially in third world countries people are violant and illitracy is high they dont no the real fact and about the west from near like we do they have no idea what they said because of illitracy lack of knowledege most Muslims countries have bad impression about US>UK.
    as we all knew yes there is some policies and fact and mistaken has been made after 9/11 like war been wage in Muslime world the stupidity of some terrorist and extreemism because of that mess most people hate western country but not all of them.
    East and West most educated people understan the reality or circumstance
    there is all ways hope for better understanding for both side. most people want peace and love. my faith and blelif religion is all of them is good and for peace because we all worship ALLAH>GOD.
    Democracy word used in many countries but in reality no democracy or freedom of speech in third world except fews but not 100%.because of injustice and internal problems they blames other and I think they should straght their own policies and system first.
    thats why today Egypt and Tunisia and then some others.
    we all have to work and hope for better.

    Complain about this comment

  • 468. At 6:31pm on 09 Feb 2011, McJakome wrote:

    449. At 04:52am on 09 Feb 2011, Paul Edwards - Australia wrote RE: #436 Scott0962 .

    A very interesting post in which you made a number of points with which I can agree. There were some statements that I find it difficult to accept, however.

    1. “the anti-American narrative and ... the anti-British narrative. These two negative world attitudes are probably the biggest barriers to world freedom.”

    I think this is too restrictive. You could have stated “ideological positions” and then given these as examples, as well as nationalism and other isms.

    2. “My own country voted for independence from the UK.” If you are referencing Australia, I do not have enough knowledge of that country except that obtained from classmates and colleagues over the years. Some of these professed republicanism, and wanted the Union jack removed from the flag, some wanted a kangaroo put in its place. I took inability to agree on the flag to be indicative of underlying political disagreement, correct me if I am wrong.

    3. “It is this hijacking of the word "freedom" that is the single biggest barrier to real freedom. Sadistic dictators like Saddam ensured the Iraqi people that they were free...” To the first proposition I agree almost completely, to the second, not so much. It is not just dictators, nor especially brutal or sadistic ones, who misuse the word freedom. The “Patriot Act” arguably makes Americans less free, though it was and is sold as in defense of freedom.

    4. “A minority of Americans disagreed at the time, that is true. That minority then asked the French to do the heavy lifting to create an independent state, and kicked some of the majority out to Canada, so that they then ended up with a majority..” I disagree with your assessment because it over generalizes. In the area around Boston the Pro-British element were very much the minority. In other places the percentage was variable as to place and time. The usual assumption is about 1/3 patriot, loyalist and apolitical, each, in general. Also the British were first besieged in Boston and then forced out with not a Frenchman or French Sou in sight [except Lafayette, who showed up with Washington after the siege was in effect.].

    5. “Sometimes the British were able to take the place of South Korean generals.” If you mean this literally, it is quite wrong.

    6. “And when you are being ruled by decent and competent people already, you should think 50 million times before you step away from that security.” Yes and no. The Declaration of Independence covers both.

    7. “The Puerto Ricans have it now.” Agreed that they certainly have democracy, they elect their own government and whether to become independent, a state or retain the status quo is constantly discussed and subject to occasional plebiscite votes.

    Complain about this comment

  • 469. At 6:39pm on 09 Feb 2011, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #466

    trico;

    "Check out Jean Kirkpatrick's 1979 essay 'Dictatorships and Double Standards'. It pretty much sums up why it's in the interests of the US to support certain nasty regimes and oppose others."

    Yes, I wrote about that at #426. Problem is Ms.Kirkpatrick was blinded by her own rhetoric, nearly ruining America's relationship with Britain, and having a negative impact on the Arab-Israeli peace process. A dreadful creature, fortunately farmed out to pasture before she did any real damage.

    Noam Chomsky wrote about her..(take it with a pinch of salt if you like)
    "Jean Kirkpatrick [is] the chief sadist-in-residence of the Reagan Administration "

    Complain about this comment

  • 470. At 6:52pm on 09 Feb 2011, McJakome wrote:

    451. At 06:04am on 09 Feb 2011, andyod2u wrote RE Paul Edwards:

    “If a dress code is bad in Egypy how come a man cannot wear a dress(dress like a woman) in public in the USA?”

    There is no such law nationally, local laws, at one time, had dress codes, but all of that has been made illegal by the courts as infringement of free speech. That does not mean an absence of social pressure, however. Your statement is just plain ignorant, you have never, obviously, seen Mardi Gras in New Orleans or Gay Pride parades elsewhere. Nudity, though, is pretty much illegal everywhere except private compounds and beaches.

    Complain about this comment

  • 471. At 6:57pm on 09 Feb 2011, Chryses wrote:

    chronophobe, (#465. At 4:23pm on 09 Feb 2011)

    ”... when silence is the response to a clear, explicit, unambiguous and articulate rebuttal, consent is implied.’
    In my case, silence implies that I am unwilling to wade through volumes of turgid prose ...”

    It would seem that we read different posts.

    Complain about this comment

  • 472. At 10:03pm on 09 Feb 2011, Paul Edwards - Australia wrote:

    #468 JMM

    "A very interesting post in which you made a number of points with which I can agree. There were some statements that I find it difficult to accept, however."

    Thankyou. These are probably the best posts - someone sensible wishing to debate points within the realm of reality instead of The Narrative. Helps us both correct things.

    "I think this is too restrictive. You could have stated “ideological positions” and then given these as examples, as well as nationalism and other isms."

    Well, if you truly want the full monty, here you go:

    dogma (we need rationalism)

    racism (we need anti-racism or non-racism, and racism against whites needs to come onto the agenda, and moved to the top)

    sexism (real sexism, not what you see in western countries - strike that - so-called feminists (actually just fronts for the communists) in the west need to be dealt with too)

    religious bigotry (and religious bigotry from minorities, most absolutely especially Muslims is the deadly one we face today)

    nationalism (this is something that needs to be expunged even from America - and is causing people to draw lines that say "horror is OK beyond here, but within here even dogs get legal protection")

    non-humanism (we need to not just spread the Golden Rule, but actively act against those who are not following it - the police are employed to do this, so usually it's just a matter of hiring police - but sometimes you need soldiers instead of police)

    subjugation (while the above are acknowledged to some degree, this is the one which is on no agenda anywhere - replacing the definition of freedom from "independence from benevolent power" to "not subjugated" - something that can happen even under US military rule).

    "If you are referencing Australia, I do not have enough knowledge of that country except that obtained from classmates and colleagues over the years. Some of these professed republicanism, and wanted the Union jack removed from the flag, some wanted a kangaroo put in its place."

    I match that description. What about it? Amusing you should mention that actually, as I made a video to welcome the Tunisian people into the free world, and used the opportunity to promote the boxing kangaroo flag and take a swipe at the Australian government.

    "I took inability to agree on the flag to be indicative of underlying political disagreement, correct me if I am wrong."

    ??? You are correct if you believe there is underlying political disagreement!!! It's there to a similar extent as political disagreement in the US. I read the blog "coldfury" and nearly every word I could have written myself, but it's so much more enjoyable seeing the job already done. There is civil war (stopping just short of physical violence - most of the time) in the US AND Australia (and everywhere else).

    PE:"Saddam ensured"

    Apologies, should have been "assured".

    PE:"the Iraqi people that they were free...”

    "to the second, not so much."

    The proposition was simply that Saddam told the Iraqi people that they were free. They celebrated the 1920 revolution for this reason. I read that Saddam explained that as a republic, instead of hereditary monarch, Iraq was actually more advanced than the UK.

    If you are questioning whether I directly heard Saddam say "The Iraqis are free", when I don't even speak Arabic, well, I don't have scientific proof of that, but the specific truth of that is not really important to my argument. It is a common enough sentiment. I have these arguments with an Indonesian on their national day too. Asking why they consider a local communist dictator to be freedom and she assured me that it must be true because even Dutch people she spoke to apologized for Dutch colonialism.

    "It is not just dictators, nor especially brutal or sadistic ones, who misuse the word freedom."

    Sure, the bulk of the problem is with individuals.

    "The “Patriot Act” arguably makes Americans less free, though it was and is sold as in defense of freedom."

    I do not consider that Americans are less free because of that. But I'm not willing to argue the point regardless - I consider arguing the toss about controversial topics "can I have an abortion at the 8 month mark? No?" - "can I yell fire in a crowded theatre? No?" - "can I hire a prostitute? No?" to distract from clear and unambiguous violations of freedom, and ideally such debates wouldn't be happening on international websites as they create moral equivalence. Americans have the ability to repeat the Patriot Act if they have their heart set on it. America is a democracy (and I don't need to hear quibbling about the word "democracy" at this point either).

    PE:"4. “A minority of Americans disagreed at the time, that is true. That minority then asked the French to do the heavy lifting to create an independent state, and kicked some of the majority out to Canada, so that they then ended up with a majority..”"

    "I disagree with your assessment because it over generalizes."

    We can go in-depth if you like.

    "In the area around Boston the Pro-British element were very much the minority."

    There's Red States and Blue States today. It's still accurate to say "the Americans voted for Obama" without needing to hedge the statement.

    "In other places the percentage was variable as to place and time. The usual assumption is about 1/3 patriot, loyalist and apolitical, each, in general."

    Right. So 1/3 is a minority. It was not anywhere remotely like a revolution that we saw in Tunisia or Egypt or Romania. Actually - even those - the Tunisians didn't really manage to overwhelm the security forces (not even the police - the first responders) - they actually had a military coup, although I'm not sure if history will bother to record that military fact.

    "Also the British were first besieged in Boston and then forced out with not a Frenchman or French Sou in sight"

    That's like saying that the Americans were first beseiged in Los Angeles (ie Rodney King riots). Yes, sometimes security forces are overwhelmed. It happened in Hama in Syria too. Then the security forces get their act together and you can find out the ending of this story yourself. :-)

    Regardless, my comment was about the entire war, not one "setback" in one city. It's like the Northern Alliance bragging about how they took on a force (the Taliban) 7 times their size, and literally walked into Kabul after the Taliban "realized" that they (the NA) had balls of steel and ran away like sissy girls. While those actions did indeed seem to happen, it missed the point that modern wars are won or lost in the air, similar to how wars in 1788 were won or lost at sea. Well - that one was, anyway.

    "5. “Sometimes the British were able to take the place of South Korean generals.” If you mean this literally, it is quite wrong."

    Sorry, too vague. What I meant was that in a transition to a modern liberal democracy which I hope all of us want, you can get it via Britain setting up a colony, or you can get it via South Korean or Taiwanese dictators educating the population and THEN opening up for elections. The UK did not at any point of its democratic evolution allow uneducated people to vote. Oh yeah - you can do it via the UK model alsso if you have their exact circumstances and are willing to wait centuries (literally) for democracy. While I'm not directly a fan of military rule (I preferred British colonialism), in today's world, the right dictator is the only practical option.

    "6. “And when you are being ruled by decent and competent people already, you should think 50 million times before you step away from that security.” Yes and no. The Declaration of Independence covers both."

    The American circumstance was more exceptional - I think the Americans really did manage to come up with something better. I wish they would not export this as a cure-all though when (as an exception) that is actually a formula for disease.

    "7. “The Puerto Ricans have it now.” Agreed that they certainly have democracy, they elect their own government and whether to become independent, a state or retain the status quo is constantly discussed and subject to occasional plebiscite votes."

    Right. Totally free. Even as a colony.

    Complain about this comment

  • 473. At 11:34pm on 09 Feb 2011, Paul Edwards - Australia wrote:

    "If you are referencing Australia, I do not have enough knowledge of that country except that obtained from classmates and colleagues over the years. Some of these professed republicanism, and wanted the Union jack removed from the flag, some wanted a kangaroo put in its place."

    Forgive me if I've guessed wrong, but the below is a stand-alone remark for anyone else who may have these thoughts.

    You're wondering why I can be a Republican while still pro-British, right? You noticed that I am also pro-American, right? Australia is obviously not a colony under an American monarch. These two things are completely independent.

    For the specific case of why I don't want the Queen to be Australia's head of state. First of all, just like independence in 1901, I support a republic precisely because I know that (at least under the 2001 proposal) it would have absolutely zero change to anything at all. I already consider Australia's democracy to be unequalled in the world. The problems that the Liberals had in the UK and the electoral reform they are asking for is a done deal in Australia. Thanks to preferential voting (STV?) third parties can arise in Australia while in the UK and US they are more of a theoretical possibility.

    The Queen is not even in our brains. Power rests with the Prime Minister and cabinet and the Queen's opinion (if we even knew it) has no relevance whatsoever. I don't mean it has 0.00000001% relevance. I mean 0 (zero). If the Queen was to ever exercise the theoretical power she may have, we'd be a republic before she even finished her sentence.

    I want a republic because for starters it confuses foreigners who seem to think we're under the oppressive rule of a monarch, and perhaps they will associate any decisions we make (e.g. to support the Iraq war) as being dictated by the UK. Even my opinion right here right now has that risk. In addition, Australia often cracks jokes about/insults the Queen. I consider it to be insulting to the Queen and childish of Australia to basically say "yes Queen, stay here, so we can insult you". I'd rather she was free of such charges as oppressing Australia and forcing herself and her way on us. There were some amusing polls from Iraq where the figure for how many people supported attacks on Americans exceeded the number of people who wanted America to leave. Conclusion I saw from an American commentor was that there was a group of people who wanted the Americans to stay so that they could kill them!

    We could have had all this rectified in 2001 but unfortunately 1/3 of Australia got it into their head that they'd like a president who traipses around the world threatening to nuke everyone like the Americans have, instead of a ceremonial president. That radical change is not something I want. I'd be more inclined to go the opposite direction and abolish the senate. I'd like a Bill of Rights though (even though I understand the disadvantages), but that wasn't on the table.

    Note that my Chinese-born (migrated as adult) wife voted to keep the monarch because she didn't want any change from a clearly working system. There were two ballots at the time (the other was the normal election) and I actually asked the electoral officer to give me the two republic ballots and my wife could have the other two as he got them from the two piles. :-)

    So yeah, there's political disagreement in Australia - in my own house!!! She votes right-wing too though, so that's not warred over. My sister though ...

    Anyway, I hope that explains the apparent inconsistency. I want Australia to clearly be seen to send troops to Iraq because unlike Canada we don't support Osama Bin Laden's policies, rather than have anyone imagine for one second that anyone forced us to free 27 million Iraqis.

    When you see the right-wing making disparaging comments about the US (see above about nuking everyone) it's not because we're seriously anti-American. It's just to both be funny and clarify the independence of a decision that happens to be identical to America's (what choice is there when America keeps making the right decisions itself??? The Canadian/NZ/France/Germany/Ireland "let's align with Osama to prove it" option??? No thanks). The left-wing it's often not a joke, which I only found out about my own countrymen in 2002 when the Iraq war was up for discussion. In 1990 the polls were 90% in favour and I was shocked that wasn't still the case and stopped projecting.

    Complain about this comment

  • 474. At 00:03am on 10 Feb 2011, McJakome wrote:

    Thank you for being willing to discuss at length. I hope you won't take this the wrong way, your willingness to discuss my points was well done and quite commendable. I am not trying to quibble with you, and I hope you and others will forgive me for repeating what I have said before.

    However, I was in South Korea from 1972-1974, living as a civilian among the civilian population. I returned in the late eighties. I know too much about the riots and civilians killed and injured [many but not all university, high school and even junior high school students] to accept your statement, "...you can get it via South Korean or Taiwanese dictators educating the population and THEN opening up for elections..."

    In the string of dictators, Park Chung Hee, Chun Do Hwan and No Tae Wu not one of them wanted or intended to give up power voluntarily. It was accomplished by the people's determined struggle to achieve it. In the end, instructive for how Egypt could go, there was a negotiated transfer of power to the opposition in the person of Kim Young Sam [whom I happened to meet once].

    ---Transition to Egypt Relevant Information-----

    Koreans will tell you that they did not like Kim Young Sam taking over in what was actually an undemocratic transfer of power, but he yielded to Kim Dae Jung peacefully, and real democracy was in. There are key differences in a Suleiman presidency in Egypt. Kim Young Sam had always opposed the dictators, Suleiman has been their hatchetman. KYS had always struggled for democracy, Suleiman has fought against it.

    Other differences are differences in the Korean and Egyptian cultures. There was corruptiuon in Korea, but it was not as severe and not of the type to undermine modernization. In fact the Koreans are more Confucian than the Chinese. Education and hard work to get your family ahead are a national obsession.

    Ptomoting education and modernization, even under the dictatorship, is how South Korea went from poor to G20 in one generation. The religious opposition in Korea were Christians who, being Korean, opened schools and universities. They are opposed to corruption, too.

    There was corruption, and people got rich, but not to the extent that I have seen in the Middle East or even in the US [where, nowadays, the rich often do not apply the slogan they used to use, "from those who receive much, much is expected."].

    In the interest of continuing our respectful dialog I will stop now so that you can reply to this.



    Complain about this comment

  • 475. At 01:36am on 10 Feb 2011, Paul Edwards - Australia wrote:

    #471. Chryses vs #465 chronophobe

    ”... when silence is the response to a clear, explicit, unambiguous and articulate rebuttal, consent is implied.’
    In my case, silence implies that I am unwilling to wade through volumes of turgid prose ...”
    It would seem that we read different posts.


    Right. The word he was after was "knowledge". However, he couldn't bring himself to use that word, so engaged in what could only be described as turgid prose, without any sense of irony.

    There's no point wasting your breath on adults sold on The Narrative though. Obviously we're both writing for others than dogmatic Narrative Addicts though. See above where I mentioned "dogma" as the first in the list of world ills. "It's impossible to reason someone out of a position that they weren't reasoned into". I should add one more thing - the racism/sexism/etc can be encapsulated as "aggregation". If people were discriminating against people whose surname started with a vowel, we'd have a different problem that would need to be listed, but aggregation covers the general case. Although even that needs to be split, as aggregating Nazis would be OK. So perhaps non-ideological-based aggregation.

    Complain about this comment

  • 476. At 04:13am on 10 Feb 2011, Paul Edwards - Australia wrote:

    #474 JMM

    "Thank you for being willing to discuss at length."

    And thank you too sir, and thankyou again to the BBC moderators for allowing us to come together.

    "I hope you won't take this the wrong way"

    Not at all. I'm used to arguing with the left-wing. Having points clarified with what appears to be the right (or at least, sane) is like all my Christmases come at once.

    "I am not trying to quibble with you"

    I'm not sure we are actually in dispute on this point at all. Seems to be more clarifying terms. I am surprised that we are disputing South Korea at all.

    "However, I was in South Korea from 1972-1974, living as a civilian among the civilian population. I returned in the late eighties. I know too much about the riots and civilians killed and injured [many but not all university, high school and even junior high school students] to accept your statement, "...you can get it via South Korean or Taiwanese dictators educating the population and THEN opening up for elections...""

    1. I mentioned I wasn't a fan of military dictatorship.
    2. You are not disputing that the South Koreans had 50 years of non-communist modern education.
    3. You aren't disputing that elections followed the dictatorship.
    4. I'm not disputing it was a dictatorship.

    So why are we here?

    "In the string of dictators, Park Chung Hee, Chun Do Hwan and No Tae Wu not one of them wanted or intended to give up power voluntarily."

    I didn't comment either way on that. I will not dispute (or research) your assertion.

    "It was accomplished by the people's determined struggle to achieve it."

    Yes, I agree that the people tried hard to throw off their dictator.

    "In the end, instructive for how Egypt could go, there was a negotiated transfer of power to the opposition in the person of Kim Young Sam [whom I happened to meet once]."

    No dispute here either. Note that although it is militarily impossible to defeat a military dictator (100,000 Iraqis were slaughtered in 1991 trying to prove otherwise), with a population like South Korea, the military dictator doesn't know that they can actually order one of those up and get it executed. Ben Ali of Tunisia found out that he couldn't too.

    "Koreans will tell you that they did not like Kim Young Sam taking over in what was actually an undemocratic transfer of power, but he yielded to Kim Dae Jung peacefully, and real democracy was in."

    Sure. So military dictator, Gorbachev-like-dictator, democracy?

    "There are key differences in a Suleiman presidency in Egypt."

    Right. Number 1 being - what actually happens when you let a nation of religious bigots vote? We do have the example from 1939. We have the example of what happens when a nation of terrorist-supports votes for their favourite terrorist organization too. When are elections due in Gaza anyway?

    "Kim Young Sam had always opposed the dictators, Suleiman has been their hatchetman. KYS had always struggled for democracy, Suleiman has fought against it."

    I'm not in any way suggesting that Suleiman would be anything other than Mubarak with a haircut. Nowhere have I suggested that the Egyptians should accept Mubarak's offer of standing down in 6 months if they want to bring change to Egypt. What they actually need (in order to get the Hell on Earth they wish for) is for the military to change sides. They cannot forcibly overwhelm the military, but sleeping in tank tracks is probably the right strategy (for their goals, not mine). If they can get ordinary soldiers to disobey orders, the regime will be in trouble. There was some sign of that happening, but I suspect the regime has already had a chance to evaluate loyalties and switch units around. In 1989 the Chinese dictatorship withdrew Beijing forces (who were breaking down in tears) and got outsiders who were willing to pull the trigger. My money's still on the dictatorship. Tunisia only won due to what was effectively a military coup. Hama in Syria is how these things end up when the dictatorship does things properly. Or Iraq 1991. But war contains elements of unpredictableness, so the dictatorship would be wise to negotiate changes rather than relying on the security forces to pull the trigger.

    "Other differences are differences in the Korean and Egyptian cultures."

    Right. That's the killer.

    "There was corruptiuon in Korea, but it was not as severe and not of the type to undermine modernization."

    Corruption is largely a non-issue anyway. This is a military showdown, and their new Islamic dictatorship will be equally as corrupt anyway.

    "In fact the Koreans are more Confucian than the Chinese. Education and hard work to get your family ahead are a national obsession."

    Absolutely. And when you add in the determination to fix themselves rather than blame others, it's a slam dunk.

    "Promoting education and modernization, even under the dictatorship, is how South Korea went from poor to G20 in one generation."

    Right. That was my main point?

    "The religious opposition in Korea were Christians who, being Korean, opened schools and universities. They are opposed to corruption, too."

    Sure. Christians, Buddhists, Hindus etc etc have a very low level of religious bigotry. There's only one religion that is causing any real grief in the world, and it may be on the verge of showing what happens when you get 80 million of them voting. Indonesia "works" to some very low standard of "work", but that's a mild level of religious bigotry.

    "There was corruption, and people got rich, but not to the extent that I have seen in the Middle East or even in the US [where, nowadays, the rich often do not apply the slogan they used to use, "from those who receive much, much is expected."]."

    I suspect you're overestimating the level of corruption in the US, and the level of abandonment of that slogan (not that I support him - but just how much has Bill Gates given away?). But do we wish to pursue this side conversation, with neither of us having a statistically valid poll at hand for either generation that needs to be compared? Figures for corruption are more likely to be obtainable (and they do publish indexes). Are we talking less than 1% of GDP if you could theoretically eliminate it entirely? Relevant?

    "In the interest of continuing our respectful dialog I will stop now so that you can reply to this."

    Ok, as usual, we're branching into a lot of side issues. Are you hoping to bring it to a discussion on whether Egypt is likely to be less corrupt under a new democracy than they currently get under Mubarak? Measured long term? Under the assumption that they have continued elections? I won't dispute that. If they had continued elections (ala Iraq), they are likely (in decades/centuries) to lower the corruption rate to less than what happens under Mubarak. I would expect the Iraqis to do the same, at a similar glacial pace, since the problem is with the people/culture, more than the government. I remember reading a report that the Iraqis got rid of an independent corruption watchdog that the US had put in place. Nobody said Iraq would be perfect. I was more interested in eliminating the truly horrible human rights abuses in Iraq than corruption anyway. I basically don't want to live in a world where people can have their tongues literally cut out and there isn't a massive rush to put an end to that.

    Egypt I can see going from bad to worse, and then - this is the real killer - the free world won't pull the plug on that worse situation, and instead just say "sovereign country - not my problem". Look just in this comments section for the phrase "not my problem". If the free world was standing by with some sort of safety net, I'd say "Egyptian democracy - you bet!". The safety net should also include protection of minorities from Crystal Nights. And the free world can prove their commitment by getting some western politicians to repeatedly test walking down democratic Gaza with an Israeli flag until it's as safe as Sydney, before I'd trust their not-even-proposed Egyptian safety net.

    I look forward to your response - I'm curious to even know the direction.

    Complain about this comment

  • 477. At 07:07am on 10 Feb 2011, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #473

    paul;

    "third parties can arise in Australia while in the UK and US they are more of a theoretical possibility."

    Maybe in the US, but the UK has a perfectly good third party who are currently in coalition government with the Conservatives. In all, 11 parties have seats in the UK parliament.

    2010 results:

    Conservative: 36% (307 seats)
    Labour:29% (258 seats)
    Liberal Democrats 23% (57 seats)
    Others: 12% (28 seats)

    You will notice the discrepancy between the vote and the number of seats and it is that which the current voting reform proposals hope to address NOT the existence of multiple parties.

    Complain about this comment

  • 478. At 08:46am on 10 Feb 2011, Paul Edwards - Australia wrote:

    #477 champagne_charlie

    "Maybe in the US, but the UK has a perfectly good third party who are currently in coalition government with the Conservatives"

    Sorry. My fault for not being precise (I dropped in the reference to STV). Yes, I knew (was delighted that) that the Liberal Democrats had finally managed to get some influence in government after literally decades. But it was very tough and very lucky that a vote for them was anything other than wasted.

    In Australia you never have your vote wasted. You can vote for the communists if you want - even though you know they have no chance of winning. So you can show you support the communists - WITHOUT WASTING YOUR VOTE. How? You just stick number 2 as the mainstream party you want when the communists obviously lose, and you basically end up voting normally.

    In the UK/US you have to hedge, and say "look, has this 3rd party got any chance at all of getting the 30-40% needed to win a seat? No. In that case, I can't vote for the communists, because I don't want to waste my vote, so I'll vote Labour instead". In Australia - you love communists - fine - commies, number 1!!!". Compared to the huge barrier to even starting up in the UK/US. In Australia, you just need 500 signatures or something like that, plus a deposit, and you can compete (genuinely compete, not the heartache in US/UK). Not only that, but the minor party can specifically ask their supporters which party to put down as number 2. I don't know how many people follow the advice of their favourite party, but I often fill in the numbers exactly as requested by the Liberals. So the major parties are forced to pay some sort of lip service to the minor parties in an attempt to get their preferences.

    Yes, theoretically if the UK/US have their hearts set on an Australian-like system, they are democracies and can theoretically make that change if they want it. And the fact that it isn't even on the agenda in the US means that I probably shouldn't be bragging about the Australian system, as it's clearly as unimportant to Americans as having the constitutional right to blow your neighbour's brains out with a Magnum (but not an RPG) is to Australians. I was wondering why I would even bring it up in this thread, and checked, and it was more of a throwaway comment explaining another point than anything else.

    I'm pretty sure the majority of Americans will patiently "explain" to me that their electoral system is the best (for some reason Americans alone are raised to believe that their democracy is inherently superior to everyone else's, as if the entire western world is so stupid for not copying their clearly superior system - instead of noting that it's just one of many possible ways of setting up a democracy) because it provides stability, unlike Australia where not only do criminals run around blowing innocent people's brains out because there's absolutely nothing preventing them from doing so without a second amendment, but also minor parties like the communists seize control of the state via the electoral system, which is why our national anthem is currently the Internationale - forced on us by Marxists punching way above their weight. Or some permutation of the above.

    To me, the ideal is something like Australia's electoral system combined with something closer to Taiwan's culture. Safety in Singapore blew my mind out, but the whole one party rule thing is inherently grating. And there's unfortunately no-one I can cite as "the spirit of defending the free world". Perhaps the Iranian people. Difficult to tell until we see what their democracy looks like. Until then, I haven't spoken to enough people in the Baltics to get a handle. The Tunisians may be in the running too. Can't see there yet either. Obviously I gave up on Australia when "we" democratically voted to leave our long-standing allies in the lurch in Iraq. Fortunately our help was not needed to do the job. Just as well, as I wouldn't want to be reliant on the Australian government/people for my freedom.

    Complain about this comment

  • 479. At 09:36am on 10 Feb 2011, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #478

    pauledwards;

    "In Australia you never have your vote wasted. You can vote for the communists if you want - even though you know they have no chance of winning. So you can show you support the communists - WITHOUT WASTING YOUR VOTE. How? You just stick number 2 as the mainstream party you want when the communists obviously lose, and you basically end up voting normally."

    Excellent. So when was the last time Labor or Liberal wasn't the ruling party?

    Complain about this comment

  • 480. At 10:09am on 10 Feb 2011, Paul Edwards - Australia wrote:

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

  • 481. At 10:44am on 10 Feb 2011, Chryses wrote:

    Paul Edwards - Australia, (#475. At 01:36am on 10 Feb 2011)

    ”... It's impossible to reason someone out of a position that they weren't reasoned into ..."
    While I would qualify that to read “almost impossible,” I will grant you that results are often unsatisfactory.

    Complain about this comment

  • 482. At 11:50am on 10 Feb 2011, Paul Edwards - Australia wrote:

    [Note to moderators - my last post was deleted, and reason given was vague allegations about being offensive to others - something which could have been applied to every sentence I wrote so far, which is why I was shocked that I lasted as long as I did. Despite allegations to the contrary, it is neocon/pro-western opinions that are usually shut down. It's basically impossible to have an honest political debate without someone being offended. OR - it could be a simple matter of some words not being considered offensive in Australia, but they are in the UK - they don't teach us "Australian" at school, which makes things really tough when you visit Britain and ask a shopkeeper where the alfoil is and they give you a blank look. The "profanity check" thing doesn't tell you which word is offensive, so I just replaced words until my post went through - both times - even though that meant that e.g. "damn" became "darn" unnecessarily. Regardless, I've had a good run, and if now's the time to bow out, so be it. I'll assume that the one (last) word that I changed last time was changed in an unacceptable way, and replace it with a "blank", and if that isn't good enough, and you're unwilling to make some minor censorship change yourself, so be that too. I had something extra I wanted to add anyway, so now's a good opportunity]


    #479 champagne_charlie

    "Excellent. So when was the last time Labor or Liberal wasn't the ruling party?"

    Never. I've never seen anything better than the 2-party system split on economic grounds rather than racial/religious/etc lines. Have you? All modern democracies have it (France/Germany/everyone).

    And some people get the normal 2-party system without having to make the agonizing choice of ticking a box of someone they hate (but less than someone else they hate even more) instead of someone they love, for strategic reasons.

    I'd LOVE to be able to tick the box that says "Party that stands for giving up the territorial defence of Australia and strip away all heavy equipment so that we can have as many deployable troops as possible for overseas liberations whenever the opportunity arises - and we'll leverage off the US/UK/French/German/Italian air power while doing it".

    And then put a number 2 under the Liberals, so that we at least show the [adj] flag in Iraq/Iran/whatever.

    I'd start a party myself with the above, but last time I looked it required 500 signatures or something, which is probably 490 more than I can personally get hold of. Just for the fairly futile attempt of showing that I want to show the flag. I may as well just post on a BBC blog of sumfin. No-one's going to know or care either way.

    Also note - I never said Australia's political system was perfect. Just better than whatever comes second. And to be honest, it may not be perfect, but I don't really know how to improve on it, even if I was given a free hand. So it's as perfect that my brain knows of at this point in my life. Hang on - almost forgot - I want a Bill of Rights too, ever since I saw the horror of Victoria attempting to outlaw "hate speech" and Australians largely yawning. But that's the political system in general - the actual VOTING system I don't actually know how to improve on. Even if Julia came to me and said "whatever you want to change, go right ahead". I'd just mutter a bit and say "go away". Because the problem I have is with the Australian people (just over 50% of them), not the Australian voting system.


    P.S. Before anyone says "are you nuts - giving up territorial defence means you can be attacked by anyone!". Despite popular Australian opinion, Australia is currently virtually impregnable. It has certainly been an interesting technical exercise. Similar to how air travel is made ridiculously safe when people are dying by the truckload - literally - on the road. The reality is that even if we were nominally defenceless, and someone ever tried to attack us in an obvious way (ie conventional military invasion - something that Americans can understand), to their infinite credit, both Republicans and Democrats in America would protect us to their last breath. Forget Israel. For Australia they would quite literally give their right arm. I only wish that Australia could repay that undying loyalty with the same love, but unfortunately ours comes half-strength. I have literally tried negotiating directly with a Democrat American trying to get him to transfer his loyalty to Australia on to Iraq, but I was unable to get it to happen. He talked about shared history, but maybe it was just racism - although I know that the British wouldn't get quite the same passionate response, and also the guy would probably be willing to donate to Iraq if it had floods or something. The fact is that the anti-UK indoctrination in the US and the anti-US indoctrination in the UK, never ever applied to Australia, which was everyone's friend. So we have sneaked in under the radar of the Soviet psyop (weren't worth bothering with), but it is totally wrong to think that Australians are any better than the British/Americans. Equal - maybe, depending on the measure. Better post 2003 when the free world needed people to turn up to the sandpit? No. The British and even Americans have managed to do with left-wing governments what Australia was unable to muster with its left. Please - if you can't muster a transfer of loyalty to the rest of the free world (especially Iran right now!), at least drop your respective anti-U* indoctrination. It's all based on lies from the Soviets (ok, some of it was pre-Soviet, but still a pack of lies). And more importantly - it's causing the suppression of freedom. There's no British Empire. There's no American Empire. And even when there was, they were the best things going in the world at the time by far.

    Complain about this comment

  • 483. At 12:37pm on 10 Feb 2011, Paul Edwards - Australia wrote:

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

  • 484. At 12:51pm on 10 Feb 2011, McJakome wrote:

    476. At 04:13am on 10 Feb 2011, Paul Edwards - Australia wrote:
    #474 JMM

    "I look forward to your response - I'm curious to even know the direction." I had two reasons, one being to bring the topic firmly back to the situation in Egypt, which we accomplished quite well. The second was to find out whether your statement, "...you can get it via South Korean or Taiwanese dictators educating the population and THEN opening up for elections..." was meant to imply that the dictators saw themselves as care-takers with a plan to educate and return the country to the control of the people as expeditiously as possible.

    That might apply to the Turkish military's position and practice, but not to the situation in either South Korea or Egypt, in my opinion. That the last military dictator, No Tae Wu, was persuaded to make a deal and was later imprisoned makes it almost unique in history. Therefore, like you, I can't be absolutely certain of how it happened.

    Your response seems to indicate that you did not mean it thae way that I thought you might.

    By the way, in American terms I would probably be considered unreliably slightly left of center. I distrust both the hard left and hard right; I make decisions on what I think is a rational consideration of the facts, which means I am sometimes on the right and sometimes on the left. In my opinion [and my practice reflects this] only a fool sticks blindly to an ideology or an ideological agenda.

    Thanks for the enlightening conversation.


    Complain about this comment

  • 485. At 2:37pm on 10 Feb 2011, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #482

    pauledwards;

    "Never. I've never seen anything better than the 2-party system split on economic grounds rather than racial/religious/etc lines. Have you? All modern democracies have it (France/Germany/everyone)."

    I thought you claimed Australia was better than others at producing third parties? It isnt. You should probably do some research about other countries and how diverse a representation they have compared to Australia, which is a two-party closed shop just like the US.

    Complain about this comment

  • 486. At 3:09pm on 10 Feb 2011, Paul Edwards - Australia wrote:

    #485 champagne_charlie

    "I thought you claimed Australia was better than others at producing third parties?"

    I said it was better at allowing 3rd parties to EMERGE, not completely displace the two party system.

    "It isnt."

    It is. I explained in elaborate detail how you are able to vote 1 for communism like UK and US aren't.

    "You should probably do some research about other countries and how diverse a representation they have compared to Australia, which is a two-party closed shop just like the US."

    Perhaps you should take your own advice and research just how far Australia is from being a closed shop, and how you are free to vote communism without having your vote wasted. All without losing the stability of the normal 2-party system that the UK/US and most others enjoy.

    And you don't seriously think I need to do research to learn about proportional representation or NZ's Hare-Clarke or other systems that introduce a vast number of minority parties into power?

    My original point about the non-closed-shop nature of Australia remains correct as stated. We don't have the horrible problem that UK and US have. Regardless of whether you can get your head around the concept of preferential voting/STV and what it means to a voter who is radically outside mainstream politics. It gives a path to growth, rather than a closed shop with a horrible calculus.

    Complain about this comment

  • 487. At 4:12pm on 10 Feb 2011, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #486

    pauledwards;

    "I said it was better at allowing 3rd parties to EMERGE, not completely displace the two party system."

    Well, i've looked and looked and I still cant find the mythical third Australian party. Nor the American one. I can easily find the British one, they are in government as we speak. Clearly, whatever you think you can do in theory has never borne out in practice and probably never will.

    Complain about this comment

  • 488. At 4:15pm on 10 Feb 2011, Paul Edwards - Australia wrote:

    #486.

    Apologies champagne_charlie. I just reread the exact words I originally used:

    "The problems that the Liberals had in the UK and the electoral reform they are asking for is a done deal in Australia. Thanks to preferential voting (STV?) third parties can arise in Australia while in the UK and US they are more of a theoretical possibility."

    And the statement as it stands with that use of English is technically incorrect. Not just because a 3rd party exists in the UK, but because the thing the UK Liberals are ideally want from THEIR perspective is proportional representation so that THEY maximize THEIR vote. That is NOT a done deal in Australia because although we have proportional representation (which I don't like) in the upper house (I mentioned I wanted to abolish it), we definitely don't have it in the lower house (ie the important one) because we have preferential voting instead, which sticks with the stable two-party system (which is what I want - even though I tend to have a minority view that isn't adequately reflected).

    So yes, that incorrect use of English by me has indeed given this interpretation:

    "I thought you claimed Australia was better than others at producing third parties?"

    Rather than my intended meaning:

    "I said it was better at allowing 3rd parties to EMERGE, not completely displace the two party system."

    Pauline Hanson recently created a new party, and although her party didn't even win any seats, she was a serious threat to the major parties as she directed her preferences that put absolute fear into politicians in marginal seats.

    The Greens also managed to get a seat at the last elections, as they slowly (over many years) built up a stronger position, with Green supporters never wasting their vote.

    It was the fact that a minority voter can turn up to the polls and put "THERE - THAT is who I want" and not have their vote wasted - quite the reverse, the party can theoretically become less and less of a minority each year - with no voter ever having to fear wasting their vote on a minority - that I so much adore.

    Perhaps instead of referencing the UK Liberals I should have referenced the French who wore pegs on their noses as they voted for the other party. Not required in Australia. The runoff would have happened on the same day, with the left-wing French clearly indicating on their ballot paper that the right-wing Chirac was NOT who they wanted, even though they hated Le Pen the most.

    I hope that is clear enough, and apologies again for the original error and failure to correct it earlier.

    Complain about this comment

  • 489. At 4:56pm on 10 Feb 2011, Paul Edwards - Australia wrote:

    #487 champagne_charlie

    "Well, i've looked and looked and I still cant find the mythical third Australian party."

    You didn't look very hard then. Look up "National Party" as opposed to "Liberal Party" or "Labor Party". You can also look up "Democrats". And "Greens". And "independents". And "Pauline Hanson's One Nation". And that's just who has won real seats in the lower house. Actually, maybe the Democrats never won one of those. For real seats in the upper house there are even more to see.

    However, none of the above technical stuff invalidates your underlying sentiments.

    "Nor the American one. I can easily find the British one, they are in government as we speak."

    I was easily able to find the National Party a few years ago - they were in the ruling coalition, in some ways similar to your UK Liberals. The current Australian ruling party contains not just Labor but independents and Greens (ie all with real decisive power). However, that particular arrangement is exceedingly rare.

    "Clearly, whatever you think you can do in theory has never borne out in practice and probably never will."

    That is not correct. Greens, Democrats, Pauline Hanson, Independents have all done exactly what is theoretically possible. In Australia, someone with as much support as the UK Liberals had would have had many seats in parliament long ago, pretty much whenever they had the ability to get more votes than the SECOND major party in an electorate. They don't need to beat the FIRST. (and that's what was in my brain when I made my original "done deal" comment).

    And of course, that all assumes that you treat the National Party as an extension of the Liberal Party, which will probably get an angry reaction from National Party supporters (and there's also a good reason why people who support the Liberals often don't think very highly of the preferred economic policies of the Nationals).

    Complain about this comment

  • 490. At 5:03pm on 10 Feb 2011, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #488

    pauledwards;

    Paul, you are not required to apologise to me for anything mate. This is a good discussion, totally irrelevant to the blog but what the hell. Its the sort of thing I will have to vote on in May (maybe) and its good to get another point of view. Mind you, clearly , we arent going to agree. Cheers.

    Complain about this comment

  • 491. At 5:38pm on 10 Feb 2011, Paul Edwards - Australia wrote:

    [a censored repost which I understand the problem with - excessive hyperbole]

    "I want a republic because ... insulting to the Queen"

    Believe it or not, Australia has something in its constitution that says NZ can join if it wants. I want that removed too. Not because I hate New Zealanders because they betrayed their own impeccable allegiance to the free world up until abandoning their US allies in the middle of the Cold War and following Osama's lead when it came to Iraq. But for these reasons:

    1. It is totally ridiculous that NZ would want to join now.

    2. I don't know who is responsible, but every now and then the question comes up in the media and there is some completely pointless discussion of it, where no-one ever bothers to ask a single NZer for an opinion.

    3. I consider it to be offensive to NZ that it still exists or is ever mentioned.

    4. I consider it highly embarassing to Australia if a NZer ever exercises his right to say "do you chumps seriously expect us to avail ourselves of your such kind offer?" which is even more embarassing than winning a cricket match by a legal-but-immoral underarm bowl.


    So yeah - republic all the way - don't mention NZ - complete independence from everyone so we don't cause other members of the free world to get embarassed by various antics of our pollies, e.g. a former PM and a certain Queen caused a bit of a ruckus in the news a decade or so ago (mind you, we did score a hilarious send-up of the PM done on D-Generation/Fast Forward/whatever, which was worth it all for sure!).

    Complain about this comment

  • 492. At 6:14pm on 10 Feb 2011, Paul Edwards - Australia wrote:

    #490 champagne_charlie

    "totally irrelevant to the blog but what the hell"

    Well, you could argue that the blog is about the bad guy/injustice, and people are going to quibble about the UK's system being bad itself, so may as well include that. :-)

    "Its the sort of thing I will have to vote on in May (maybe) and its good to get another point of view. Mind you, clearly , we arent going to agree."

    Not necessarily. You seem to like something closer to proportional representation. Although I said I am against that, I'm actually far more against the horrible calculus of the current UK system - and like the UK Liberals, "anything on the table has got to be better than this" - so I support their position. However, if they crunched some of these numbers:

    Conservative: 36% (307 seats)
    Labour:29% (258 seats)
    Liberal Democrats 23% (57 seats)
    Others: 12% (28 seats)

    they should find that Australia's system could very well seen them replace Labour as the second major party. You have to look at a breakdown in a typical electorate and make your own estimate of where the preferences would have gone. You'll also need to make an estimate of how the voting pattern would have changed if people were able to vote for who they really wanted instead of what game theory said was the best option given what others were likely to vote for.

    But Australia's system isn't on the table, so yeah, Rome wasn't built in a day. :-)

    And yet another benfit of Australia's system - there's a built-in IQ test which about 5% fail. You have to be able to write the numbers 1-5 or however many squares there are - and you have to know that you need to do that. ie just ticking "the party that gives dole bludgers the most goodies" is an automatic fail. In at least one state (ie Qld - nuff said), they lowered the IQ test requirements so that you only needed to know how to write the number 1 (if everyone did that, you'd get the current UK system).

    Complain about this comment

  • 493. At 6:30pm on 10 Feb 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    re: 475 Paul Edwards Right. The word he was after was "knowledge". However, he couldn't bring himself to use that word, so engaged in what could only be described as turgid prose, without any sense of irony.

    Well, I'd grant you that post of mine might have come across as a bit 'snooty,' but turgid?

    I suppose turgidity is in the eye of the beholder. I'd stand by my characterization of your prose as such. But it is, I suppose, simply a matter of taste.

    However, I did, on Chryses recommendation, go back and re-read your posts, with my bluff and bluster filter on. I find some important points of agreement -- foreign policy should be guided by the rational pursuit of self interest, for example.

    But overall, I would critique what I understand to be the jist of your argument thus: you have a tendency to conflate the necessary (how to achieve ends) with the good (i.e., the worthy goals which you are pursuing). Sometimes these two things are easily reconciled. Often they are at odds, and one must make the choice where the balance lies. You, it seems to me, err consistently on the side of ends -- to the point of losing sight of the distinction.

    Just my two cents.

    Complain about this comment

  • 494. At 6:39pm on 10 Feb 2011, McJakome wrote:

    491. At 5:38pm on 10 Feb 2011, Paul Edwards - Australia

    Discussion of the best way to vote is not entirely off topic, Egyptions following this blog might find it useful as they consider changes in their governance. I found it useful as well because I had thought preferential voting and proportional voting were the same thing [sheepish grin], which is quite embarrassing as I was a polisci major long ago. Form of government should be their choice, not imposed from outside or by a dictator inside.

    I really like the preference vote, that might have prevented the awful squabbles engendered by the Bush elections. I have even have something like your disgust with the state senates [not the federal one which has problems and needs revision but is too useful to be abolished, when it actually does what it is supposed to].

    My notion that they are used as welfare for politicians at public expense, means that we could start working on deficits by making these parasites get a real job.

    I think that the state senate should be chosen from the jury pool [with extra qualifications and disqualifications, like requiring tertiary education and excluding professional politicians]. Their job would be to accept, reject or send back legislation passed by the house. Like jurors they would be paid transportation costs, recieve a reasonable per diem, and legally excused from their jobs without prejudice.

    This conversation has been very enlightening. Thanks.

    Complain about this comment

  • 495. At 10:26pm on 10 Feb 2011, Paul Edwards - Australia wrote:

    #494 JMM

    "I really like the preference vote, that might have prevented the awful squabbles engendered by the Bush elections."

    Afraid not. :-) You would need that combined with a single electorate for the entire country if you wanted that.

    What the preferential voting system provides is dealing with these little Ross Perot or whatever guys who show up.

    Australia had a situation a decade or something ago where country-wide Labour got the most (they do stats like this the same way they do cricket stats) two-party-preferred votes, but the Liberals (strictly speaking "the coalition" - ie Liberals + Nationals (farmers)) got the most seats and won the election. We do have less (not zero!) cries of "Nazi superstate" after that happens here though, possibly because this is a constant cry after being forced to vote at all (we have compulsory voting, and some people don't know that all you need to do is fill in the post-election form with "I was sick and my wife was pregnant" and the Nazi regime takes your word for it every time).

    Actually I guess there is some small protection in that the minor parties mean that you have to talk in two-party preferred nation-wide, which is somewhat nebulous in the first place, before you can start getting angry and start calling for proprortional representation. It isn't like Labor got 50% of the primary votes and it is so obvious that they were "cheated". Because 3rd parties like the Democrats and Greens (ie the Marxists and the Maoists) are always chewing up 10% of the primary vote anyway.

    "This conversation has been very enlightening. Thanks."

    I hope you can find something to disagree with, otherwise this all peters out. I prefer forums rather than blogs for discussions in fact. Actually I recently had experience with a "typewithme" style jointly-written document which blew my mind out. I was up against the left-wing anti-American crowd, who were able to politely negotiate changing about 50% of what I had written, and which I was completely blind to even existing. A joint letter to the Tunisians. We had a common goal of freedom for Tunisians. I think something like that might be in order (e.g. www.mutazilah.org) but perhaps www.anonnews.org is the appropriate place. I had huge discussions in the Iraqi blogs too, plus a forum that was set up after that (which was deleted, but the owner gave me a backup which I plan to restore one day). The BBC inherently sounds like a good place to meet though. There's some CATO or CSIS or something organizations but they tend to be American-based and a focus on whether you're a Wolfowitz-stature bigwig, rather than the unwashed public (which is who I wish to talk to and learn from - some of the dark corners of the internet that give a radically different opinion forcing you to think - e.g. someone dropped a sentence that Iran tested a nuke already as seen by the "earthquake" hidden in an inactive region - speculation perhaps, but forces you to be wary of putting total confidence in CIA assessments that Iran doesn't have nukes yet so we have plenty of time to deal with the problem).

    Complain about this comment

  • 496. At 11:02pm on 10 Feb 2011, Paul Edwards - Australia wrote:

    #493 chronophobe

    PE:"Right. The word he was after was "knowledge". However, he couldn't bring himself to use that word, so engaged in what could only be described as turgid prose, without any sense of irony."

    "Well, I'd grant you that post of mine might have come across as a bit 'snooty,' but turgid?"

    Hey, if you force me to look up a dictionary, it's turgid by definition, surely? :-) Anyway, if you want me to concede a point that a word used in a bit of banter was technically incorrect - done.

    "I suppose turgidity is in the eye of the beholder. I'd stand by my characterization of your prose as such."

    There are multiple meanings of the word (which is not in common use), so I really have no idea. That wasn't my main point regardless, and I'm happy to concede it.

    "But it is, I suppose, simply a matter of taste."

    Sure. I think I'm half Arab. On the "Healing Iraq" Iraqi blog he posted a letter from a relative and it read like Ba'athist propaganda and he had to explain that everyone writes like that in Iraq and they can't help themselves.

    "However, I did, on Chryses recommendation, go back and re-read your posts, with my bluff and bluster filter on."

    :-) Sounds like me when I read the BBC. I don't even watch Australian news (too boring - and no, floods 1000km away are of no interest to me - although the hung parliament was interesting - I was surprised that right-wing independents could stomach Labor). If something happens that makes it to the BBC News, I get to see it. So someone other than an American gets to decide what is interesting in the world. Of course they'll throw in extra UK stuff, but that is quite easy to ignore. So I get the hopefully relevant stuff from the US, with the UK doing the first-line filtering. I then apply my own anti-left-wing filters to unwind the opinions there, and get the interesting facts that I am after.

    "I find some important points of agreement -- foreign policy should be guided by the rational pursuit of self interest, for example."

    That is not a statement from me. The US et all give foreign aid that doesn't give any benefit to them. The US sometimes fights wars of liberation (which I support) with no real benefit to them (Bosnia/Kosovo). Antagonizing Russia is an inherently unwise thing to do. And they poked Uzbekistan in the eye too - dumb move, lost bases.

    I would say that it SHOULD be guided by what is moral but TEMPERED by limiting self-harm to some minimal acceptable level. I would have done Kosovo, but after the human rights were secured, any question of independence I would have handed over to the Russians to certify. Instead the Americans betrayed the Russians (who had saved American lives by avoiding a nasty ground war).

    "But overall, I would critique what I understand to be the jist of your argument thus: you have a tendency to conflate the necessary (how to achieve ends) with the good (i.e., the worthy goals which you are pursuing)."

    Want to jointly work on something to separate things in a logical and acceptable manner?

    "Sometimes these two things are easily reconciled. Often they are at odds, and one must make the choice where the balance lies. You, it seems to me, err consistently on the side of ends -- to the point of losing sight of the distinction."

    To tell you the truth, all these things - politics/ideology/war/religion/culture/policy for me are all merged into one big "problem to be solved", and I have very little ability to separate them out or even understand what the difference is. At some level, I see crystal clear logic though (and some others see it too). You see a word I need to look up in a dictionary.

    My interest is seeing my policy/ideology/freedom triumph, and a war strategy to get from here to there. Dogma that interferes with formulating the strategy I find very annoying/exasperating.

    I'm certainly not claiming to have all the answers (far far from it), but I can spot dogma/failing to follow the scientific method a mile off. If we could come up with some:

    1. Ends
    2. Means

    expressed in a way that you find acceptable, that would be fantastic.

    Otherwise, these blog comments become yet another load of hot air that goes nowhere and does nothing, and e.g. a Tunisian 18 year old who wants to know the unbridled truth about the west/America/whatever has absolutely nowhere to go to even get a starting point which he can then apply the scientific method to.

    If he goes to Wikipedia (last time I looked, anyway), and looks up "police state", he will find both the US and the UK listed as relevant examples. Two of the world's oldest democracies. Good grief. I actually went into the comments of that to see if anyone had objected, and sure enough, there was an exasperated American trying to negotiate with his countrymen to stick to the sane.

    Complain about this comment

View these comments in RSS

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.