LIVE STREAM at 12:15 pm: Chas Freeman on America’s Misadventures in the Middle East

-

DSC_0032.JPG
Please join the New America Foundation’s American Strategy Program/Middle East Task Force TODAY from 12:15 – 1:45 for a discussion with Ambassador Chas. W. Freeman, touching on themes from his new book “America’s Misadventures in the Middle East.”
A provocative and often controversial voice, Freeman will describe his unique foreign policy realist orientation, and how he thinks American policy has been ill-suited to the demands of a productive regional equilibrium in the Middle East. Ambassador Freeman will discuss what he sees as America’s misguided approach on a number of policy issues, including the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, Iran and its disputed nuclear program, the future of Iraq, and the general impact of the global “war on terror” on U.S. relations in the world.
This event will be hosted by TWN Publisher Steve Clemons, and will livestream here.
— Tom Kutsch

Comments

40 comments on “LIVE STREAM at 12:15 pm: Chas Freeman on America’s Misadventures in the Middle East

  1. DonS says:

    Should be frustrating to watch how these world shaking events taking place in the ME are translated by the small minded, parochial, jingoistic idiots and talking heads of the right wing culture warriors. Watching the decrepit American political establishment as a whole bluster and fumble is bad enough.

    Reply

  2. observer says:

    PissedOffAmerican:
    These people (Nadine, WigWag, etc.) are partisans of Israel. They will tell any lie, obfuscate any argument, and mis-state any truth in order to advance the misguided cause of the State of Israel in all her brutality and criminality.
    And the sad part of it is that Israel is not their country.
    Yet very many of these partisans of Israel go there and play at being soldiers, having never ever enlisited in the Armed Forces of their own country.
    Presently, in US and UK, because of what they and their ilk have done, is has become again legitimate to question the loyalty of Jews to their country.
    I wonder if they are even aware of this change in public sentiment.

    Reply

  3. Cee says:

    How are those crackpot plans working out?
    You recently wrote about the 1996 paper written by American Likud supporters Douglas Feith and Richard Perle titled “A Clean Break,” which seems to be the ideological underpinning of the Bush Administration’s policy in the Middle East: American military might would force regime change and usher in an era of reform and democracy. It strikes me that if democracy and reform spread throughout the Middle East, it would not be helpful for either Israel or America, as it is the current repressive regimes that keep these nations in the American orbit. Were there genuine democracy, nations such as Egypt would certainly not be supporting America, as the Arab street is far more uncompromisingly anti-Zionist than the more pragmatic Arab ruling class.
    This is one of the great contradictions in the neocon outlook on the Middle East: the belief that democracy would lead to pro-Western and pro-Israeli governments in the Arab world. In fact, the reverse is true. The Arab ruling elites are much more pro-American in their attitude to Israel than the Arab street. The rulers are better informed and more pragmatic. The Arabs and the wider Muslim world are bitterly hostile to Israel because of the oppression of the Palestinians; therefore this is a misconception of the neoconservatives, to think that Arab democracies would be friendlier toward the West and Israel.
    http://www.thenation.com/article/interview-middle-east-scholar-avi-shlaim

    Reply

  4. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Come on, Pearlman. Theres no sense in mincing words. How about making us privy to the specific racist slurs that got you kicked off of the Mondoweiss blog in 2009?
    Amazing how many blogs have got sick of your shit and sent you packing.
    And from what I hear, you were just as big an asshole at Bentley, unable to score, and pretty much avoided by anyone with two brain cells to rub together.
    And now you’ve become a career asshole. Well done.

    Reply

  5. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “I prefer camel jockeys myself”
    I don’t believe you. You have shown yourself to be such a scummy piece of shit that I am sure “camel jockeys” is not near enough an insulting invective with which you describe Arabs when you are floating in the cesspool with algae of your own ilk.
    But it is enlightening seeing you three bigots openly express your racist tilt.
    I don’t hate Jews. However, I would despise ANYONE, of any ethnicity, religion, or race that behaves and thinks in the manner you do. You’re human garbage, Pearlman. Pure fuckin’ garbage. Whats worse, you work at it. You aspire to it.
    Are you really so ignorant you think you are doing Jews or Israelis a favor here?

    Reply

  6. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Can anyone tell me whether Steve asked him whether he favored attacking the young demonstrators in Cairo with batons or whether he preferred tear gas? Did he favor utilizing live ammunition against the youthful demostrators? I can only assume that he did”
    Amazing, isn’t it? Have you ever seen this slobbering jackass bigot express any criticism of Israel’s treatment of peaceful protestors?
    And what the hell does wiggie care about how “young protestors” are treated in Cairo? After all, they are just an “ignorant” and “uneducated” people, “docile” and “irrelevent”. Or, as Wiggie’s compatriot TWN bigot, Nadine, calls them, they’re just “ragheads”.
    Its laughable seeing Wiggie blathering some sort of concern about how protestors are treated. In this racist little shithole country that Israel is becoming, never mind protest, they’re even trying to investigate and shut down groups that are simply left wing, and critical of certain Israeli policies. And passing laws that mandate bigotry. Sweet, eh?
    And we won’t get into the IDF’s targeting of American citizens engaged in peaceful protest, its use of outlawed lethal high velocity tear gas ammunition.
    Yeah, we can really bank Wiggie’s concern for the welfare of Egyptian protestors, can’t we?
    What a joke these threads have become. Pearlman, Wigshit, and the despicable racist piece of crap Nadine, all spewing non-stop horseshit, nothing but worthless disingenuous crap presented in a ridiculously hypocritical manner.

    Reply

  7. Pahlavan says:

    “The establishment” wants Islamism in power as an excuse to siphon American tax payer

    Reply

  8. non-hater says:

    The United States’ support for Mubarak will blow back on us at some point. Right now is not a particularly convenient time, but history marches on…

    Reply

  9. JohnH says:

    Thanks for the quote from Eli Shaked, a former Israeli ambassador to Cairo, who said it is in Israel’s interest for Mubarak’s regime to survive.
    While the hasbara crowd never tires of quoting their own, those of us who criticize Israel can cite Israeli insiders.
    As I said, the neocon/hasbara crowd freaks every time there is a whiff of democracy in the ME.

    Reply

  10. DonS says:

    Paul do not be distracted. The comment is non sequitur. We will be seeing neocons twisting themselves in many knots in the near future to fit the rising of the Arab street into some phony connection with ‘progressives’ in a negative way (related to anti-Semitism), when it is clear that the real story is that establishment thinking, while paying lip service to ‘democracy’ has not supported democracy in the ME for fear of islamism — not being able or willing to recognize democratic aspirations that do not track with islamism; far happier with a repressive status quo. Bottom line of course is that supporting the status quo has mainly aligned with neocon interests. Now things are a bit out of hand and both the neocons and the official foreign policy establishment is scrambling. First and foremost by the neocons, of course, will be the attempt to create a timeline of ‘error’ that begins with the inauguration of Barak Hussein Obama. For the administration, it seems like a potentially creative opportunity to practice real diplomacy, along the lines Freeman mentions. If the disruption of the status quo is a quandary for the US administration, it is a potential cataclysm for Likudist Israel.

    Reply

  11. Paul Norheim says:

    Or are you saying that the Jesus would love the
    conservatives, because they openly admit that they support
    torture?

    Reply

  12. Paul Norheim says:

    B.S.,
    I fail to comprehend your comment.
    Are you saying that the conservatives have taken a clear
    stand against torture, while the progressives are
    opportunists?

    Reply

  13. Anonymous says:

    Regarding US relations to Mubarak’s regime in Egypt, here is Jennifer Rubin, bashing Obama in the Washington Post.
    “What will the Obama team learn from this? Perhaps it will understand, if not acknowledge, that its coziness with dictators has been
    unwise.”
    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/right-turn/2011/01/tunisias_revolution_and_egypts.html?hpid=opinionsbox1
    ———————————————————–
    Or is she secretly bashing Israel? Doesn’t Israel have a “cozy” relationship with Mubarak as well?
    From today’s Haaretz:
    “Eli Shaked, a former Israeli ambassador to Cairo, said it is in Israel’s interest for Mubarak’s regime to survive since the alternatives,
    ranging from an Islamic government to the secular opposition, would be far less friendly to the Jewish state.”
    And here is an anonymous Cabinet minister:
    “Israel expects the Egyptian government to weather the protests roiling the country and to remain in power, an Israeli Cabinet
    minister said Thursday, providing Israel’s first official assessment of the crisis affecting its powerful southern neighbor. The
    minister said that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, backed by his powerful security forces, was strong enough to overcome the
    unrest, though he did not rule out the possibility of further violence.
    “His regime is well-rooted in the military and security apparatus,” the minister said. “They will have to exercise force, power in the
    street and do it. But they are strong enough according to my assessment to overcome it.”
    He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was discussing a sensitive diplomatic issue with a key ally.”
    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/minister-mubarak-regime-will-prevail-in-egypt-despite-protests-1.339571

    Reply

  14. Paul Norheim says:

    Steve Clemons comments on the unrest in Egypt and Yemen at MSNBC’s Daily Rundown today:
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/41295072#41295072
    He claims that the picture is murky, but behind the unrest in the region “political Islam” is waiting,
    and the US State Department lacks a “Plan B” in case the Mubarak regime falls, and lacks a strategy to meet
    political Islam in the Middle East if this spreads.

    Reply

  15. DonS says:

    My my, the character assassination squad is up early. One can certainly understand their purity of spirit since they are always upstanding and supportive of only the highest level of humane behavior. Always. Never an Israeli beating,or shooting of an innocent civilian, even American, or a white phosphorous attack on civilians; or a cluster bombing barrage of civilians happens without vociferous condemnation.
    The hypocrisy which the character assassination Firsters attack everyone else, Clemons included, for not taking up every potential human rights issue around the world, while defending Israel’s continuous, decades long violation of human rights in the occupied territories is pretty astounding.
    But Jonathan Pollard, now that’s another story. He’s a fine boy who needs to be released even before his first parole date because, well, being compassionate to others is just what Firsters are all about.

    Reply

  16. WigWag says:

    I didn’t get to see the discussion with Mr. Freeman. So sorry I missed it.
    Can anyone tell me whether Steve asked him whether he favored attacking the young demonstrators in Cairo with batons or whether he preferred tear gas? Did he favor utilizing live ammunition against the youthful demostrators? I can only assume that he did. After all, Freeman complimented the Chinese Communists for attacking young Chinese students demonstrating in Tiananmen Square (his emails prove it)and he was quiet as a church mouse when he Basij militias, upon the orders of the Iranian regime, attacked, mutilated and killed peaceful and young Iranian demonstrators.
    Presumably his desire to see idealistic young people beaten on the streets of Bejing and Tehran also applies to young people in Cairo.
    Did he happen to say in the interview? Did Steve happen to ask him?

    Reply

  17. DonS says:

    No reason Firsters should be upset with Freeman, AIPAC and it’s attack squad already took his scalp on this go round. Steve mentioned in the into to the post that Chas Freeman has an ‘often controversial’ voice but, if anything, on the ME his sober analysis and prescriptions seem decidedly uncontroversial and the sort of thinking that our government, and that of Israel ought to be entertaining while there is still room to maneuver responsibly.
    To me, the most controversial aspect of what Freeman said related to the unsustainable portion of the budget devoted to all aspects of defense, a huge national security risk of course. In this respect he sees the ‘militaristic’ approach to foreign affairs that characterizes current US behavior, and he faults the establishment thinking for assuming that China will naturally follow this model of great power behavior as well. But he thinks China is more likely positioning it’s military to defensively prepare in light of the US belligerent posture around the world, and specifically to defend against Navy carrier group strategy.
    Freeman’s pillorying of US behavior and strategy might well be controversial and anathema to neocons’ gospel of all war, the long war, and the war between civilizations. It’s a stupid, unsustainable, approach that carries it’s own negative, destructive self-fulfilling prophecy within.

    Reply

  18. Bill Pearlman says:

    I see poa is in a witty mood today. I’m thinking he did some mushrooms left over from his 60’s adventures.

    Reply

  19. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Well, if Steve isn’t content with pissing off the scumball Rubins, and wants to REALLY piss the Firsters off, giving Freeman a soapbox is certainly a good place to start.
    Hey, still waiting for someone to show me a post from this asshole Pearlman that is worth reading.
    But at least he’s not as prolific as the wretched bigot Nadine, or as intellectually bloated as the gas-filled “questions” is. If you had a convertible you could put “questions” in the back seat, face him towards the rear, and get him started talking. The ensuing exhaust would surely be ample to propel a medium sized vehicle at highway speeds. Better yet, come to think of it, putting him in the back of a pick-up makes more sense. You’d get the mileage, but ya wouldn’t have to get the noise induced headache.

    Reply

  20. Cheneyourself says:

    Not to feed the troll, but–I’ve been intrigued how Pearlman continues to be able to gurgle sounds with his head stuck so far up the nether regions.

    Reply

  21. Carroll says:

    Posted by JohnH, Jan 26 2011, 7:42PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>
    JohnH is right…the last thing the US or Israel wants is for ME countries to have democratic or governments by their people.
    I am going to repeat what I posted before as an example of why the US and Israel would find it more difficult to deal with ME countries not under the control of US friendly rulers and elites and more under the control of their populations.
    Several years ago I read a column by Tom Freidmen
    in the NYT that didn’t really make sense to me. He was saying that Egyptians were ‘celebrating’ in the streets over a new cooperative deal with Israel…part of his flat earth delusions I guess.
    Anyway it seemed off to me so I did some research.
    The London and other overseas papers were telling a different story, saying Egyptians were ‘rioting’, not celebrating.
    What had happened is the old GATT (General Agreement on Trades and Tariffs) had ended meaning new agreements on tariffs and tax free imports to countries would have to be redone.
    The US did this for overseas markets by creating Free Trade I-Zones in different countries that gave them access to import their goods into the US.
    What the US had done in the case of Egypt was to make Egyptian goods imports into the US from the FTZones or qualified Industrial Zones (QIZ’s) dependent on using a % of Israeli goods as stated below in the agreement:
    “Egypt

    Reply

  22. Bill Pearlman says:

    I was always intrigued when Assad would routinely come in with 99% of the vote. I figured the 1% became organ donors but how did they replace them.
    BTW did Chas win the honorary Breckenridge Long award.

    Reply

  23. JohnH says:

    Neo-conmen like Frank Gaffney are saying it will be worse than 1979, when Israel’s bosom buddy the Shah got evicted from his US satellite.
    It’s amazing how often and loudly these folks cry wolf. Every “existential threat” is the greatest ever, to be superceded only the next one.
    I wish someone would make a video showing how ridiculous these folks are, crying “wolf, wolf, wolf” every time a democratic opening happens in the Middle East. Only the corrupt corporate media keeps them afloat, giving them an aura of undeserved credibility and saving them from drowning in their own idiocy.

    Reply

  24. questions says:

    Interesting piece, and nothing truther or debunking about it!
    Will 2011 be like 1989? Will the snowball effect build enough so that protest is in people’s comfort zones and the police can’t squelch it anymore? Will it take 10 years, months, weeks, days….
    http://www.themonkeycage.org/2011/01/will_2011_be_1989.html

    Reply

  25. DonS says:

    So sorry for omission: “whether [Israel] can capture the diminishing moment to establish a peace”
    Freeman had an interesting take on peace: not”heaven” but a tolerable arrangement that allows all parties to move forward with some stability.

    Reply

  26. DonS says:

    POA, Mr. Freeman was nothing if not reasonable, and steered his responses strictly in the direction of common sense, that is, if common sense is an American centric vision for the future. One can quibble about ends and means to get there, and he acknowledges this, but nothing of what he said seemed out of sync with a sensible path.
    One hopes we are through with the character assassination, slander by proxy (e.,g., “Jew hater” Walt, “known Anti-Semite Freeman), drive by intimidation scenarios that have prevailed (and have caught Clemons in the “Israel basher”/anti-Semite libel, which he alludes to in the video), but I doubt it. While Chas Freeman may have been done in, as national security adviser, by the narrow, parochial forces of AIPAC, it is becoming increasingly clear that those forces are fighting a rearguard action.
    Not only is it a question of whether can capture the diminishing moment to establish a peace, but it seems the US is wasting precious time as well.
    Why would pro American commentators pillory Freeman for supposed anti Tienamen stance while excoriating him for pro Egyptian democracy stance?

    Reply

  27. ErvD says:

    More democratic Egypt would be less “moderate” and “proamerican”, with or without MB in power. Just like Turkey – more democratic it gets, more responsive they would be to the needs and desires of their own population.
    Mubarak is only responsive to the needs of his cronies, and to the desires of Israel and US. That’s why MB is just a boogeyman, US administration and Israelis do not want any democratic governance in Egypt.

    Reply

  28. nadine says:

    The Guardian is keeping up a flow of video and twitter feeds
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/blog/2011/jan/26/egypt-protests
    One of their reporters was beaten by Egyptian police.

    Reply

  29. Paul Norheim says:

    BBC has a useful list of opposition movements and parties in
    Egypt, from the 6th April Youth Movement to the Muslim
    Brotherhood:
    “26 January 2011
    (…)
    Anti-government demonstrations in Egypt on Tuesday were
    the biggest the country has seen since the bread riots of
    1977. Inspired by the recent uprising in Tunisia, they involved
    thousands of Egyptians from a variety of opposition groups.
    But just who are these opposition movements and what are
    their demands?
    6 APRIL YOUTH MOVEMENT
    April 6 members make extensive use of Facebook, Twitter
    and Flickr to organise pro-democracy events.
    This youth opposition coalition was the main organising force
    behind Tuesday’s demonstrations. It started the call for the
    “day of anger” on Tuesday, 25 January, citing a list of
    demands on its website. They included the departure of the
    interior minister, an end to the restrictive emergency law, and
    a rise in the minimum wage. The movement is urging
    Egyptians to “take to the streets and keep going until the
    demands of the Egyptian people have been met”.
    The movement began as an Egyptian Facebook group in 2008
    to support workers in the northern industrial town of Mahalla
    al-Kubra and called for a national strike on 6 April that year.
    Members, who include many young well-educated Egyptians,
    have shown a greater willingness than others to risk arrest
    and start public protests. They have successfully organised
    pro-democracy rallies and a large welcoming party for the
    former United Nations’ nuclear watchdog chief, Mohamed
    ElBaradei, when he returned to his home country in February
    2010.
    The group uses Facebook, Twitter and Flickr to alert its
    networks about police activity, organise legal protection and
    publicise its efforts.
    More here:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12290167

    Reply

  30. Bill Pearlman says:

    Freeman is unique all right. Whats the matter, Bin Laden wasn’t available.

    Reply

  31. nadine says:

    “”The press has focused on economic grievances

    Reply

  32. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “The United States bluntly urged Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Wednesday to make political reforms in the face of protesters demanding his ouster……?
    Hmmmm, those “ignorant”, “uneducated”, and “irrelevent” members of the “arab street” that the slobbering Wiggie bigot told us about aren’t so “docile” after all, are they?
    Uh, seems they ain’t so “irrelevent” either.
    A thread involving Freeman??? Put your hip waders on, the Nadine spore is about to get really thick in here.

    Reply

  33. Paul Norheim says:

    “The press has focused on economic grievances

    Reply

  34. JohnH says:

    Nadine translated–“by all means DON’T give democracy a chance.”
    Well, I understand. Arab democracies, by giving voice to the people, represent an existential threat to Israel.
    We already saw the hasbaristas reaction to Turkey’s trying to make the military answerable to elected officials–horror and outrage. And we saw their reaction to Lebanon’s constitutional change of government–anger. And we also saw Israel’s reaction to the democratic election of Hamas–starving Gaza.
    Israel is fundamentally a force against democracy, unless they can buy its foreign policy, as in the case of the United States, which begs the question about the quality of democracy in America.

    Reply

  35. cheneyourself says:

    “Whatever happens next, Obama has given a green light for it: he has signaled that America will do nothing”
    And WTF is he supposed to do oh wise one? Send in the marines. Bwhaaaaaaaaaaha.

    Reply

  36. nadine says:

    It sounds like the Egyptian protesters just want jobs. But that doesn’t change the fact that if Mubarak falls, the Muslim Brotherhood will likely be the only party with men and organization ready to seize power. If the MB seizes power, you can rationally expect a bloodbath and an end to hopes for liberalization. debka fwiw is reporting mass arrests and police firing on the demonstrators.
    Recall how in 1917 Russia, the February Revolution was followed by the October Revolution, which was followed by the Civil War. The Bolsheviks were the minority party, but they had the ideology and the ruthlessness to win in the end.
    Whatever happens next, Obama has given a green light for it: he has signaled that America will do nothing, neither for old allies like Mubarak, nor for the Lebanese PM he met with in the White House only last weak. IOW, it’s Liberty Hall, boys. Have at it. America is out of the superpower business.

    Reply

  37. Paul Norheim says:

    “The government quickly placed blame for the protests on Egypt

    Reply

  38. DonS says:

    “bring” (not”being”) the Congress into the conversation.

    Reply

  39. DonS says:

    Hmmmmm, that old incompetent, irrelevant, what was it, Arab street. Even Ms Clinton is taking notice. Huh, might have something to do with the changing face of the ME. Like Mr Freeman suggested, and most sentient beings recognize, time is not on the side of Israel in it’s intransigent, status quo/land grab program. At least if Israel is not to be an armed camp of gun toting settlers run by religionists who don’t give a damn for the secular state, with no future in the region.
    Might do for Israel to read the writing on the wall and, also as suggested, negotiate from a point of strength and generosity that, if the Palestine Papers are but an indication, is route that is and has been open to it.
    While she’s at it, Ms Clinton might be well to take a bunch of notes to inform America’s own rigidified stance towards Arab nations. And Israel. Do good to being the Congress into the conversation too, not as the handmaiden of Israel but, you know, like the representatives of the interests of the US. Could even think of some former Congresscritters who could help with process since there sort of familiar with the special code in which reps and senators talk to each other.

    Reply

  40. Dan Kervick says:

    Interesting:
    …………..
    (Reuters) – The United States bluntly urged Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Wednesday to make political reforms in the face of protesters demanding his ouster, marking a pivot in its stance toward a key Arab ally.
    U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered the message at a news conference with the foreign minister of Jordan, another Arab country that watched the ouster of Tunisia’s president in a popular revolt two weeks ago.
    Police in Cairo fought with thousands of Egyptians who defied a government ban on Wednesday to protest against Mubarak’s 30-year-old rule, firing tear gas at the crowds and dragging away demonstrators.
    The revolt in Tunisia has prompted questions about the stability of other Arab governments and initially dragged down equity, bond and foreign exchange prices in parts of the region, notably Egypt.
    Tunisia’s veteran strongman Zine al-Abedine Ben Ali was swept from power on January 14 after weeks of protests.
    Clinton minced no words, suggesting Egypt’s government had to act now if it wanted to avert a similar outcome and urging it not to crack down on peaceful protests or disrupt the social networking sites that help organize and accelerate them.
    “We believe strongly that the Egyptian government has an important opportunity at this moment in time to implement political, economic and social reforms to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people,” Clinton said in a statement with Jordan’s Nasser Judeh at her side.
    “We urge the Egyptian authorities not to prevent peaceful protests or block communications including on social media sites,” Clinton told reporters in the most blunt comments to date by the United States urging Mubarak to undertake reforms.

    Reply

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *