Soros on Egypt — And America’s Complicity in Egyptian Nightmares

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soros thinking.jpgIn the Washington Post this morning, George Soros describes very well America’s equities in Egypt’s current political struggle. America is not all powerful and does not have a magic wand to turn totalitarian regimes into well-functioning democracies, but there are times when the balance in America’s strategic relationships must shift toward the vital importance of popular self-determination and will.
Soros opens:

Revolutions usually start with enthusiasm and end in tears. In the case of the Middle East, the tears could be avoided if President Obama stands firmly by the values that got him elected. Although American power and influence in the world have declined, our allies and their armies look to us for direction. These armies are strong enough to maintain law and order as long as they stay out of politics; thus the revolutions can remain peaceful. That is what the United States should insist on while encouraging corrupt and repressive rulers who are no longer tolerated by their people to step aside and allow new leaders to be elected in free and fair elections.

Soros also gets into the issue of Israel in his piece — calling it a “stumbling block” to getting things right. One of the dirty truths of America’s strategic relationship is that despite oil and energy interests, and of course the Suez Canal, the aid that the US has given Egypt and the large many decades of support to Mubarak are part of the package of what the US has carved off for Israel. America helped keep Mubarak stable because he was a vital anchor and partner with Israel in the Arab world. The problem is that ultimately peace deals must be done with people, not autocrats.
The one thing George Soros does not mention in his article is that lurking in Egypt’s police and intelligence files are mountains of materials on significant human rights abuses — disappearances, political detentions, torture, and summary executions. In some of these cases, the United States government knew what was going on or had agents in the room. This will come out, and America’s historical complicity in Egypt’s nightmares will become clear.
What the US government does at this historic inflection point in Egypt’s evolution may be the only thing that helps in part redeem for some of the atrocities Washington participated in years ago.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

78 comments on “Soros on Egypt — And America’s Complicity in Egyptian Nightmares

  1. WigWag says:

    “When wealth changes hands on that vast a scale, a revolution has occurred. In this regard the American revolution was more thorough than the French.” (John Waring)
    No, what made the American Revolution “more thorough” than the French Revolution was that the American Revolution was a success while the French Revolution was a failure; it was a brutal, miserable and violent failure at that.
    No one understood this better than the Irish/Anglo statesman, Edmund Burke. He was an enthusiastic supporter of the American Revolution while he correctly held the French Revolution in contempt. Anyone wanting to gain insight into what’s happening in Egypt really should read Burke’s “Reflection on the Revolution in France.” It’s available for the Kindle,
    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_39?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=reflections+on+the+revolution+in+france&sprefix=reflections+on+the+revolution+in+france
    Within less than a decade of winning its independence from England, the United States was scrapping its first governing charter (the unwieldy Articles of the Confederation) and adopting a new, more robust governing charter, the Constitution. Within a decade of the storming of the Bastille, Napoleon was being installed as the dictator of France.
    Why was the American enterprise so much more successful than the French enterprise? There were several reasons.
    First, because they were descended from Englishmen and were mostly Protestant, the Americans were far more culturally prepared for liberty than the French were. Englishmen had lived under a government where power was divided between the monarchy and the legislature since the Glorious Revolution in 1688; the French had no such history. The decentralized nature of Protestantism was far more amenable to democracy than Roman Catholicism was.
    The American revolutionaries were, for the most part, organized into disciplined militias by educated and elite military and political leaders. The French Revolution, like the Russian Revolution, the Iranian Revolution and the current Revolution in Egypt was perpetrated by a mob. Mob action occasionally but rarely produces a sustainable or positive outcome.
    It’s culture that seems to matter more than anything else. At the end of the 18th century the U.S. Revolution was a success while the French Revolution was a failure because American culture and history had prepared Americans for liberty while French culture and history had not.
    What are the Egyptians ready for? We may find out.

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  2. John Waring says:

    The American Revolution was a true and thorough revolution. The loyalists, who owned roughly one third the land in the original thirteen colonies, were forced to abondon, or sell at deep discount, their property and emigrate, usually to Canada or Britian. When wealth changes hands on that vast a scale, a revolution has occured. In this regard the American revolution was more thorough than the French.
    Yes, it had conservative elements. It was led by a landed and commercial elite who were not about to act contrary to the interests of property, and, yes, most of its leaders were active in their respective state assemblies. But please remember all the colonies that become states wrote new constitutions after peace was negotiated. Yet I agree that much of the success of the American Revolution owes to the fact that it grew from established precendent. Continuity was greater than change.

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  3. cheneyourself says:

    “Chalmers Johnson . . . anti-American platitudes . . .”
    Wigwag sticks in the shiv . . . to whom?

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  4. WigWag says:

    By the way, even Chalmers Johnson (Steve Clemons’ hero) believed that most revolutions failed to achieve the aspirations of the revolutionaries. He believed that most revolutions failed.
    Being that Johnson is widely regarded as an authority on the nature of revolutions, his view on this is not to be taken lightly (although I have to admit that I always found him to be a bore).
    It’s too bad that he died before witnessing what’s happening in Egypt. To Johnson, who studied revolutions, it all would have looked familiar. Surely he would have mouthed his typical anti-American platitudes; but after that he might actually have had something interesting to say about the chances for Egypt’s revolution to be successful.
    He is well known for amongst other things, for his book “Revolutionary Change”
    http://www.amazon.com/Revolutionary-Change-Chalmers-Johnson/dp/0804711453
    Unfortunately, it’s not available for the kindle. I tried to read it once and got about half way through it.
    It’s poorly written and hard to plow through, but not completely without insight.
    In light of what’s happening in Egypt, it’s worth a look.

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  5. DonS says:

    re Israeli democracy (FWIW) Reports of friends telephone conversations with other friends in Israel. There is, at best, coded conversations on the phone, usually no direct conversation about political situation in Israel. Somewhat more straightforward in emails. These are not folks who would vote for right wing parties of course. Not that we in the US are so far from Big Brother taking control.

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  6. WigWag says:

    “But this observation is in tension with your previous argument, WigWag, since you initially cited the American Revolution as an example of a *successful* revolution, and suggested that succeeding in carrying out a progressive revolution to a more legitimate form of government has something to do with being an English-speaking country.” (Dan Kervick)
    No, not really.
    Whether you consider the American Revolution a “revolution,” a “counter-revolution” or some type of hybrid, it was a movement that resulted in increasing freedom (although not perfect freedom as slavery proved), prosperity and legitimacy. The same can be said about the Glorious Revolution.
    Unlike the experience in the English-speaking world, most revolutions fail to bring increasing freedom, prosperity or legitimacy. As I stated in my previous comment, there are exceptions in the Christian world but no exceptions that I am aware of in the Muslim world. The revolutions (or counter-revolutions; whatever you prefer to call them) in Eastern Europe qualify as exceptions. So does the revolution in India if you limit your vision to the the Hindu majority part of the Indian subcontinent. The Muslim majority nation that emerged is, if anything, more dysfunctional than it was before the revolution. Obviously that revolution failed to bring a sense of legitmacy to Pakistan.
    No one can predict what will happen in Egypt or what the results of a revolution might be. But if there are historical precedents outside of the ones that I have mentioned that suggest that a post-revolutionary Egypt will long be more prosperous, legitimate and free than a pre-revolutionary Egypt, I would be happy to learn what they are.
    Perhaps the neoconservatives are correct and the situation in Egypt will prove to be similar to what happened during the “color” revolutions in Eastern Europe. Perhaps Egypt will be successful at buliding a representative democracy based on the rule of law, the protection of minority rights (the Copts would appreciate that), the provision of freedoms like the right to chose your religion. Perhaps a revolution will result in a government widely viewed as legitimate and that serves as a successful steward of Egypts economic resources thus allowing Egypt to grow and prosper.
    Perhaps the Eygptian revolution may prove to make Egypt look more like Norway and less like the sclerotic and authoritarian state that it is now.
    I just don’t understand what makes George Soros so optimistic. His article in the Washington Post didn’t address any of the hard issues; instead he merely mouthed the usual platitudes. I don’t need to read George Soros for that; all I have to do is read the comment section at the Washington Note.

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  7. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Its comical seeing these jackasses like Wig-wag asserting that “democracy” cannot succeed in Muslim countries, while ignoring the fact that it is beginning to fail here.
    Meanwhile, Israel leans further and further away from true democratic values and practices as well.
    On another thread, the piece of shit Nadine laughably holds Iraq up as an example of the successful imposition of “democracy” upon a people.
    Maybe human nature dooms the true exercise of democracy, never mind ethnicity or religion.

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  8. Paul Norheim says:

    Sad indeed, but some may claim that they deserve it. Their
    English accent is on a par with Torbj

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  9. Dan Kervick says:

    “And our average language skills have improved so little over the years that now we’re just on the verge of implementing Sharia on our cold peninsula.”
    It’s going to be a sad day when the Muslim Brotherhood drapes veils and burkhas over all those beautiful Scandinavian women.

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  10. Dan Kervick says:

    While the American Revolution could hardly be called a conservative movement, given its historical context in an 18th century world destitute of republican government, I agree with you that it is misleading to think of it as a revolution. It was an independence movement capped by a successful war for independence. The Americans kept the forms of government they had developed on American soil, and simply threw off an increasingly ineffectual foreign yoke. They severed the bands which connected them to another country. But that other country retained its form of government and the Americans retained their forms of government.
    But this observation is in tension with your previous argument, WigWag, since you initially cited the American Revolution as an example of a *successful* revolution, and suggested that succeeding in carrying out a progressive revolution to a more legitimate form of government has something to do with being an English-speaking country.

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  11. Paul Norheim says:

    Brilliant analysis, WigWag. Just look at us Scandinavians. There
    are around 20 million of us; we speak Swedish, Danish and
    Norwegian. In the 19th century we made some serious
    attempts to establish parliamentary democracy, but did we
    succeed?
    Alas, our English skills were in fact so horrible at that time that
    we eventually descended into the abyss of Communism. And
    our average language skills have improved so little over the
    years that now we’re just on the verge of implementing Sharia
    on our cold peninsula. A pity that Churchill didn’t invade us in
    1940 instead of the Germans. 70 years of British influence
    would certainly have saved us.

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  12. WigWag says:

    “I see, democratic revolutions outside the Anglophone lands never succeed … except for the ones that do, which we hereby declare not to have been revolutions, but conservative counter-revolutions instead.” (Dan Kervick)
    Not exactly. As I am sure you know, many historians actually view the American Revolution as a conservative movement as well; some even believe that it was an actual “counter-revolution” to use your word. I’m not sure whether I agree with this or not, but there are many good arguments that can be made for it.
    The leaders of the American Revolution were the same politicians who governed the colonies before the Declaration of Independence proclaimed the revolution; this is highly unusual in revolutionary movements. Most importantly the colonists were attempting to restore rights that they enjoyed prior to the decision by the British to limit those rights. Included was the right to expand westward and the right to be free of newly established taxes that they deemed unfair, e.g. the stamp act.
    The idea that the American Revolution was a conservative movement dominated the 19th century and only began to be abandoned with gusto during the heady days of the 1960s. Being that the majority of academics now holding tenure track positions received their graduate degrees in the 1960s, it is not surprising that the view that the American Revolution was a conservative movement faded. As of late, it seems to be reemerging.
    Regardless of one’s view about the nature of the American Revolution, the Egyptian Revolution is actually a fascinating case study. It will help answer the question of whether the neoconservatives are right or wrong about the nature of democracy. They believe that democracy is a universal value that is achievable by all people regardless of their cultural heritage and history. Others believe that true democracy (as opposed to majoritarianism) can only be achieved in nations with a heritage that harkens back to the European enlightenment. The few exceptions such as Japan, had democracy foisted on it by the Americans (notably Douglas MacArthur) or learned it first hand from the British (e.g. the Indians).
    The neoconservatives pushed more assertively for democracy in Egypt than any other segment of the American political establishment. Two years ago, the right-wing current Chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee, Illeana Ros-Lehtinen, authored a resolution criticizing President Mubarak, demanding a move to democracy in Egypt and threatening to cut off American aid. Her resolution never came to a vote. We will see soon whether the neocons were right about democracy in the Arab world.
    But what gives one pause is how often revolutions actually fail to achieve anything substantive but merely substitute one set of autocratic rulers for another.
    Russia was autocratic under the Czars, it was autocratic under the Communists and it is increasingly autocratic again under Putin and Medvedev.
    Chang Kai-Shek was little more than a dictator and after the revolution Mao was worse. President Ju Jintao doesn’t exactly aspire to make China a beacon of democracy either.
    The Shah had his brutal secret police, SAVAK, and President Ahmadinejad has the Revolutionary Guards and the Basij militia. The Shah savagely repressed the freedoms that we in the west take for granted; after the revolution the conservative Iranian Mullahs did precisely the same thing.
    It seems to me that there is alot of evidence that more often than not, culture trumps politics.
    As for what this means for the Egyptians, only time will tell.

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  13. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Wiggie blather…..
    “As usual, as soon as he steps outside of the world in which he truly shines, currency manipulation and speculation, George Soros is lost”
    ROFLMAO!!!!!
    Lost???? This assertion is coming from someone, who, just a few short days ago was telling us how docile and irrelevent the “arab street” is.

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  14. Dan Kervick says:

    I see, democratic revolutions outside the Anglophone lands never succeed … except for the ones that do, which we hereby declare not to have been revolutions, but conservative counter-revolutions instead.
    Tell us about the great early 20th century democracies in Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania and South Korea that were restored by those modern democratic conservative counterrevolutions.
    Egypt has actaully had more prior experience with democracy, between 1923 and the Free Officers takeover, than any of those other countries, all of which now have Democratic governments.

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  15. Don Bacon says:

    WigWag,
    * good on Soros
    * over-stress on history, which after all is history
    * the world is changing — just ask Mubarak
    * Egypt GDP #40 in world, ahead of Israel
    * GDP per capita not so good, #109, but still ahead of Jordan, Syria and Yemen in region as well as Philippines, India, Pakistan etc.
    * so Egypt hardly “frightfully poor”
    * must mention that political conditions in Egypt have been “frightfully poor” as evidenced by the people taking a beating (and killing) to change them.
    * blame it on Bush:

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  16. WigWag says:

    As usual, as soon as he steps outside of the world in which he truly shines, currency manipulation and speculation, George Soros is lost. His Washington Post editorial was little more than a miasma of uncritical and naive thinking. If his financial acumen was as sophisticated as his thinking on international relations, instead of occupying magnificent office space at 57th and 7th in New York City, Soros would more probably be found hawking scarves and gloves from one of the push carts that are so ubiquitous only a block or two from his headquarters. As a hedge fund manager, he’s brilliant; as a foreign policy pundit he’s ignorant.
    It will be interesting to watch how the Egyptian revolution plays out (or even whether it turns out to be a true revolution) but the record of progressive and humanistic outcomes emanating from revolutions outside of the English speaking world is not good. If one examines the revolutions that have taken place in the world in the past 500 years, outside of the United States and Great Britain, few have come anywhere close to achieving the aspirations of the ardent revolutionaries. In many if not most cases, the revolution ultimately makes the lives of citizens even worse than they were before.
    Will this happen to the Egyptians? Who knows, but the historical precedents aren’t good even in the Christian world; the Muslim world is bereft of examples of successful revolutions.
    Both the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and the American Revolution of 1776 succeeded in building more just, prosperous and legitimate governments in Great Britain and the United States. Largely as a result of these revolutions, Great Britain and the United States became wealthy, democratic and powerful.
    For those who are interested, Walter Russell Mead has a series of interesting posts about this at his blog. It can be found at,
    http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/
    But what of other revolutions? The French Revolution deteriorated into the Reign of Terror followed by the Napoleonic dictatorship. The Russian Revolution led to the radical and murderous Bolsheviks displacing the practical, moderate and democratic Mensheviks. The ensuing result was a Soviet reign of terror perpetrated by Stalin and the enslavement of nearly half of Europe.
    The Chinese Revolution led to the murderous regime of Mao, the Cultural Revolution led by Mao’s wife and the rest of the gang of four and the murder of tens of millions of Chinese. The Cuban revolution produced an almost equally bleak result; criticism of the Castro regime resulted in imprisonment in Cuba’s notorious political prisons.
    Of course, we all know how the Iranian revolution turned out; millions of women forced to wear head coverings whether they wanted to or not, the stoning to death of alleged adulterers and homosexuals, the imposition of capital sentences for those who merely wish to convert from Islam to another religion and the empowerment of thugs on motor scooters to enforce the regimes dictates. This doesn’t even include Iran’s disastrous decisions in the Iran-Iraq war.
    To be sure, there are examples of better outcomes. India’s revolution was mostly peaceful (if you don’t count the forceful partition of the country at the insistence of the nation’s Muslims). The Hindu-dominated portion of the former British Raj is well on its way to becoming prosperous and democratic; while the Muslim portion of the former British Raj remains backwards divided, violent and poor. So perhaps we can say that the Indian revolution was 50 percent successful. In any case, the Indians were tremendously lucky to have the British both as colonizers and adversaries when they decided to revolt to achieve their freedom.
    I suppose the revolutions in Eastern Europe towards the end of the 20th century could also be called successful, but I’m not sure that they were really revolutions. After all, their goal wasn’t radical it was conservative. They weren’t trying to build new societies; they were trying to restore Western democratic systems that they had been robbed of by the Soviets with the acquiescence of Roosevelt at Yalta.
    So unfortunately the prospects of the Egyptians don’t look particularly good no matter what happens. With so few precedents of successful revolutions in the Christian world producing positive change and no precedents in the Muslim world for a positive outcome, it’s hard to be optimistic for the Egyptian people. Superimpose on this reality the fact that Egypt is frightfully poor, economically backward, for the most part devoid of natural resources and largely undedicated and it

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  17. samuelburke says:

    I would also like to see Pres. Carter expound the idea of Israel
    being an apartheid state in the press. That could be fun to
    watch.
    If there is one thing the Palestinian cause needs it is exposure
    to the American public…this will rank right up there with the
    election of lieberman in israel as a major determining moment
    in the history of israel
    Carroll Bogert is deputy executive director of Human Rights
    Watch.
    “Palestinians face systematic discrimination merely because of
    their race, ethnicity, and national origin, depriving them of
    electricity, water, schools, and access to roads, while nearby
    Jewish settlers enjoy all of these state-provided benefits.
    While Israeli settlements flourish, Palestinians under Israeli
    control live in a time warp

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  18. DavidT says:

    Steve,
    Three things.
    Can you explain how one makes peace treaties with
    “people?”. My reading is that they are usually made with
    those in control of the state and usually the government as
    well — whether or not there is a very strong central figure that
    can be characterized as an autocrat. So, as a “realist” what
    do you do? I thought that that was one of the things that
    distinguished realists from idealists who might insist that you
    shouldn’t engage with some governments and push for their
    overthrow but until then, no deal. Do you believe Carter
    should have insisted that Egypt operate like a democracy,
    perhaps like your favorite country in the region, Israel, before
    working with Sadat and committing U. S. aid?
    Secondly again you don’t advocate anything but just say what
    we do now could help our case. So what should we do now?
    Your earliest post (or around there was critical of the U.S.
    Government though you there also neglected to identify what
    it should do). You can do this but don’t you wish to challenge
    yourself a little more to take a stand even if doing so may
    make it harder to criticize the administration if it does similarly.
    I mean, yes, I can say “What Steve Clemons does now could
    have major implications for his future.”. But in what moment
    of human history is that not true for an individual or country?
    Since one can’t know what comes next, whatever anyone
    does now could matter alot to them? No? Judge Rule’s visit
    to the Gifford’s event was very important, tragically for him,
    but unless he knew in advance the awful consequences that
    awaited him, saying that it was very important what decision
    he made in the hours leading unto his and Giffords’ shooting
    is not especially illuminating.
    Thirdly, again I thought you were a realist yet your comments
    about the US being aware of certain Egyptian policies can
    hardly be surprising. Even I’m aware of some of the awful
    torture they’ve undertaken as you are, does that make me
    complicit? Yes, we give Egypt money but unless you believe
    that ventures like Iraq are necessary because we’re the
    world’s policeman and we need to stamp out malfeasance
    where we become aware of it, why have you been so critical
    of our venture in Iraq? If you’re saying we kept Mubarak in
    power, why not just come out and say it? And if that was so
    troubling to you, why didn’t you say more about this prior to
    the recent events in Tunisia or did I just miss them?
    I’m not saying that if, as you put it, there was a US
    ambassador or envoy or power broker in the room, and if they
    were dictating which group should be arrested and tortured,
    when, and that many were affected (i.e. that we were
    dictating the oppressive torture and shootings and
    imprisonment and … and Mubarak was our puppet in matters
    of oppression) then we may look awful, particularly if these
    activities were prior to 9/11. But is there really evidence that
    during Mubarak’s 30-year reign his secret police and security
    implementers were US pawns? Or are you rather trying to
    shine a light on some of the things we did that probably did
    directly or indirectly hurt many Egyptians. I can’t excuse what
    we’ve done that has hurt others, but if you’re planning on
    focusing on this you might forgo from now on making so
    many references to your fondness for President Nixon who
    was not especially averse at using our resources to try to get
    our way even if it had awful consequences for the people of
    country x, y, or z :). And it would be nice, also, if you made
    some effort to explain what we should do and not do given
    the potential outcome — in places where autocrat may fall.
    Thanks. Again, just trying to keep you honest :).
    David T

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  19. Brian Foulkrod says:

    Amen. We have squandered every bit of political capital from the world looking to us as the world’s ethical and moral focal point. The last time we kept our word to a nation wanting freedom was when we granted the Philippines independence in 1966. One of our very first betrayals was trading away concern for its people for use and control of the coveted naval bases there. We’ve spent too much of our history repeating the worst mistakes of bygone European powers and not enough time actually living up to our own stated standards both here and abroad. Part of the reason we are hated more than other nations is that we once held (and stated) the best promise for everybody’s future. Hypocrites are always despised more than those you expect to do harm.

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  20. nadine says:

    “Jewish Lawyer sues Carter for slandering Israel
    Actually I would like to see this go to court and get nation wide attention.”(Carroll)
    Hey, me too! Look like we found something to agree on. I can’t wait for Carter to have to defend his lies and plagiarism in open court (he stole the maps in his book from Dennis Ross without attribution). The plantiffs can call the people who resigned from Carter’s own center over being misquoted as part of blatant misrepresentations of public events.
    Carter will have to try using a senility defense.

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  21. Cee says:

    Mubarak did everything we thought he would do to promote chaos and now wants to negotiate. I would laugh if people hadn’t been killed over it.
    His best friend Bibi Netanyahu should welcome him a home in exile.

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  22. questions says:

    Deposing Dictators for Dummies?
    The Idiot’s Guide to Deposing Dictators?
    I think it’s time to write one.
    Include chapter on the 5 stages of tyrant grief — denial, denial, denial, denial, deep self-sacrifice as he stays on the job for one more Friedman unit.

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  23. cheneyourself says:

    hey, nadine still respects him.

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  24. questions says:

    Mubarak is fed up with being president, according to the chyron on AJ!
    Wow. It’s such a bummer to repress and torture 80 million people for 30 years and get no fucking gratitude. It’d make me pretty fucking fed up too.
    I do not understand the world.

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  25. questions says:

    Mubarak now WANTS to leave office, but fears chaos. AJ live stream via YouTube:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/aljazeeraenglish?blend=1&ob=4
    The US is probably playing this about as well as it can.
    Careful pressure…. Careful pressure.

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  26. Carroll says:

    I am too disgusted to comment on the lack of US support for the Egyptians.
    So I will offer something different.
    Actually I would like to see this go to court and get nation wide attention.
    Jewish Lawyer sues Carter for slandering Israel
    Book’s Criticism ‘Violates NY Consumer Protection Law’ Insists Lawyer
    by Jason Ditz, February 03, 2011
    In a move that calls back to the attempt by Texas cattlemen to sue Oprah Winfrey for

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  27. nadine says:

    Paul, the Nour case is a good one to remember. It’s part of Mubarak’s suppression of all secular opposition. It’s why Egypt needs a period of transition before free elections, so that the suppressed parties have a chance to resurrect themselves. Free elections now would just hand the result to the Ikwan, who would insure there were no more free elections.
    It’s quite similar to the case in Western Europe post WWII, where America worked to make sure that the local Communist parties did not win the elections and destroy the nascent democracies.

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  28. nadine says:

    Notice the missing, word, Bill? “Atrocity.” When Israelis use teargas and half a kilometer away a women gets sick and later dies and the family claims it due to some new kind of poison teargas (that didn’t make any of the people closer to it sick), well that is entirely believable and another “Israeli atrocity”.
    But when thugs start shooting protesters in Tahir Square, that’s Americas fault – ooh, America supported Mubarak, America selectively condemns human rights abuses, America is evil. And of course a few more slams at Israel too.
    Yet strangely, none of these people can make out why I call them anti-American. They love America, they claim. I hope for their families’ sakes they don’t love their families the same way they love America. If they did, they’d love to see their family members injured and killed in car accidents so they could say their chickens had come home to roost while preaching reform to the injured survivors.
    As for Soros, you cannot blame him for what he did in WWII, when he was a hidden child. But you can blame him for what he has done all his adult life, which is to internalize the Nazi system of values. According to Soros, you should always side with the strong, and there is nothing to be ashamed of in his childhood collaboration because “someone else would have done it.” Soros has worked tirelessly to help beat up on and injure Israel. He has some chutzpah pretending to give good advice to Israel now.

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  29. JohnH says:

    What’s missing from Dan Kervick’s alternatives is the election part. Whatever happens, the successor must assure free and fair elections that are preclude intimidation, vote fraud and central rigging of the system.
    Egypt has an election system in place, but Mubarak was free to ignore local results and install the loser if he wanted, which he often did.
    I suggest an electronic voting system with paper receipts and a public audit matching the machine results with the paper receipts. The US could call the Venezuelan electoral commission for a model of such a system.
    (This is about as likely to occur as the sun rising in the West.)

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  30. Kathleen says:

    Pissed off “Do we really think the rest of the world can fail to note our selective concern for human rights?”
    They have been noticing for decades. Our MSM is totally complicit. Rachel Maddow concerned about gay rights in African nations and around the world while ignoring Palestinians plight is absurd

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  31. Kathleen says:

    “Posted by Dan Kervick, Feb 03 2011, 1:42PM – Link
    Right this second, the most important thing for Obama to say is that the detention and abuse of American journalists is absolutely intolerable.
    Important.
    But too bad no one has ever slapped Israel down for injuring, killing international journalist

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  32. Kathleen says:

    Great one up by Prof Cole (uable to link)
    Mubarak Defies a Humiliated America, Emulating Netanyahu
    Mubarak is taking his cues for impudence from the far rightwing government of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, which began the Middle Eastern custom of humiliating President Barack Obama with impunity. Obama came into office pledging finally to move smartly to a two-state solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Netanyahu government did not have the slightest intention of allowing a Palestinian state to come into existence. Israel was founded on the primal sin of expelling hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes in what is now Israel, and then conniving at keeping them stateless, helpless and weak ever after. Those who fled the machine guns of the Irgun terrorist group to the West Bank and Gaza, where they dwelt in squalid refugee camps, were dismayed to see the Israelis come after them in 1967 and occupy them and further dispossess them. This slow genocide against a people that had been recognized as a Class A Mandate by the League of Nations and scheduled once upon a time for independent statehood is among the worst ongoing crimes of one people against another in the world. Many governments are greedy to rule over people reluctant to be so ruled. But no other government but Israel keeps millions of people stateless while stealing their land and resources or maintaining them in a state of economic blockade and food insecurity.

    Reply

  33. DonS says:

    as a minimum; face to face at the WH, with threat of expulsion.

    Reply

  34. Dan Kervick says:

    Right this second, the most important thing for Obama to say is that the detention and abuse of American journalists is absolutely intolerable.

    Reply

  35. samuelburke says:

    four egyptians have set themselves on fire…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?
    feature=player_embedded&v=SgjIgMdsEuk#

    Reply

  36. Paul Norheim says:

    The last paragraph of Soros’ eloquent article:
    “I am, as a general rule, wary of revolutions. But in the case
    of Egypt, I see a good chance of success. As a committed
    advocate of democracy and open society, I cannot help but
    share in the enthusiasm that is sweeping across the Middle
    East. I hope President Obama will expeditiously support the
    people of Egypt. My foundations are prepared to contribute
    what they can. In practice, that means establishing resource
    centers for supporting the rule of law, constitutional reform,
    fighting corruption and strengthening democratic
    institutions in those countries that request help in
    establishing them, while staying out of those countries
    where such efforts are not welcome.”

    Reply

  37. DonS says:

    . . . or take some of that trillion per year to support Karzai, and help Egypt? IMF has already said they would help.

    Reply

  38. Kathleen says:

    Dan if this is so beautiful.
    Twitter folks….an international twitter chant PEACEFUL PEACEFUL PEACEFUL.
    not a twitter person. Who can get this going?

    Reply

  39. Kathleen says:

    Dan Kervick. Not a twitter person. keep thinking about an international twitter chant of PEACEFUL PEACEFUL WE ARE SUPPORTING YOUR PEACEFUL EFFORTS. Some twitter person willing to get it going? An international PEACEFUL PEACEFUL twitter chant?
    Was just so amazed by the Egyptians peoples effort to stay peaceful for so many days. So respect that effort

    Reply

  40. Dan Kervick says:

    If Egypt makes a transition to democracy, my guess is that they will attract a great deal of new investment.
    But perhaps Steve could ask Mr. Soros organize friends to make a pledge, if those are the kinds of worries that are holding some back.

    Reply

  41. questions says:

    Number whatever…..
    The protesters “win” whatever it is, a country I guess.
    There’s such capital flight that there’s no economy to rebuild.
    The corruption is more systemic than anyone realized and basically impossible to get rid of.
    Sucks to have a country, don’t it.

    Reply

  42. Dan Kervick says:

    his photo purports to be a group of Christian protesters making a ring around Muslim protesters to protect them during prayers:
    http://yfrog.com/h02gvclj

    Reply

  43. Paul Norheim says:

    5) A “horizontal” split in the army in a critical situation
    during huge demonstrations – meaning: some in the lower
    ranks joining the protestors, while the upper echelon want
    to keep their privileges, perhaps joined by security forces.
    Outcome: civil war.

    Reply

  44. Dan Kervick says:

    mosaaberizing:
    Heartbreaking. A young man in tears, devastated for just knowing about the loss of his brother today morning. #Tahrir (1 minute ago)

    Reply

  45. samuelburke says:

    In Egypt the people are trying to wrest the power out of the
    Mubarak/Washington orbit …both the powers in Washington
    and Egypt seemed to have been caught off guard by these
    demands from the Egyptian citizenry, and both Washington
    and Egypt are now angling for more time to be bought so they
    can arrange a form of governance suitable to their needs, for
    them time is of the essence, time to arrange the elections.
    All demands for more time are being requested by the
    present powers, both Washington and their Egyptian
    quislings, because they fear they will have to surrender their
    interests in the region.
    The people seem to want the decision to be made NOW not in
    September.
    Those of us who side with the people in the formerly peaceful
    revolution would prefer for them to win TODAY, while those
    who side with the ossified policies of the past would probably
    prefer more controlled elections in September.

    Reply

  46. DonS says:

    to the list:
    5. Mubarak, VP and the head of all departments, as well as significant deputies (e.g., interior ministry) resign (internal or external exile and prohibition from participation in politics) and are replaced with a governing council representing opposition. Military pledges loyalty/cooperation to Egypt/council.

    Reply

  47. Dan Kervick says:

    I’ve been following one guy on Twitter called “mosaaberizing”, who is in Tahrir Square. Some samples:
    Safe to say we’re half a million in Tahrir right now. Chants, songs and prayers over the place. #Jan25 #Tahrir (48 mins. ago)
    Someone earlier said Tahrir is the happiest place in Cairo. I could go as far as in the *Middle East*. (46 mins. ago)
    Playing Omar Suleiman’s (vice president) speech on loud speakers now. Laughs and mockery ensue. #Tahrir (15 mins. ago)
    “Leave!” – ????. Echoing around the square now in response to Omar Suleiman’s words. #Tahrir (3 mins. ago)

    Reply

  48. Kathleen says:

    Don we will be sure to hear howling coming out of Rachel Maddow, Sarah Guthrie etc shouting about Egypt’s JOURNALISTIC CRACKDOWN while they ignore that Israel will not let them in to shine their lights on the situation with the Palestinians. Palestinian protest. But hell MSMBC, CNN, Fox, C-span never even try to get in there. Totally complicit for decades.
    Rachel maddow and the rest totally silent about the Goldstone Report, the UN report about the massacre on the Mavi Marmara. Yet these same individuals will scream when Iran, Egypt block their cameras from viewing what is going on.
    They never attempt to take their cameras to Israel or to illegal settlements.
    Total hypocrisy

    Reply

  49. Dan Kervick says:

    How can this play out? Here are some of the options off the top of my head. What other options are available.
    1. Mubarak resigns, Suleiman takes over, he starts dialogues, the protesters go home, and then the dialogues go nowhere and fizzle out, opposition leaders are rounded up and jailed.
    Result: a simple change at the top of the NDP with no real change in Egypt’s government.
    2. Mubarak replaces Suleiman with a new VP – chosen from the opposition. (My understanding is that Mubarak can name a VP whenever he wants, with no other approvals necessary.) Mubarak hands over governing to the new VP; the new VP names a special coalition for national renewal. Mubarak resigns, effectively handing the government to the new VP and coalition. Protests end
    3. Someone in the military arrests Mubarak and other top NDP leaders; including Suleiman. They establish military rule and then follow the steps outlined in the previous to transition to a new democratic constitution.
    4. Same as above, but the military junta doesn’t transition Egypt to democracy. Egypt gets military rule.

    Reply

  50. Kathleen says:

    Soros “The American Israel Public Affairs Committee is no longer monolithic or the sole representative of the Jewish community.”
    Although the MSM continues to allow Rep Jane “waddling on over to the Aipac investigation” Harman to voice support for Egyptians freedom of speech, right to assmeble etc while doing everything to undermine the Palestinians right to these same liberties.
    Or how about MSNBC talking heads quoting what Iraq warmongering and Aipac U.S. Gov 2 in the Aipac espionage investigation Kenneth Pollack has to say about freedom in Egypt.
    When will these American thugs who have undermined U.S. national security be called out on these news programs?

    Reply

  51. DonS says:

    Unsettling development. Sub title satiric, no doubt:
    “Egyptian army starts rounding up journalists
    Egyptian army starts rounding up journalists, possibly for their own protection from attacks”
    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Egyptian-army-starts-rounding-apf-1121369570.html?x=0&sec=topStories&pos=1&asset=&ccode=

    Reply

  52. Kathleen says:

    Soros “The Muslim Brotherhood’s cooperation with Mohamed ElBaradei, the Nobel laureate who is seeking to run for president, is a hopeful sign that it intends to play a constructive role in a democratic political system”
    MSNBC’s Richard Engel and former state dept spokesperson Jamie Rubin have been repeating that El Baradei does not have enough recognition on the streets of Egypt. Both of these guys seem to be saying everything they can to undermine El Baradei.
    Chris Matthews sang El Baradei’s praises last night on his program.
    Cenk Uygar the only one addressing Suleman’s role in U.S. torture and rendition program

    Reply

  53. Kathleen says:

    Soros “The main stumbling block is Israel. In reality, Israel has as much to gain from the spread of democracy in the Middle East as the United States has. But Israel is unlikely to recognize its own best interests because the change is too sudden and carries too many risks. And some U.S. supporters of Israel are more rigid and ideological than Israelis themselves. Fortunately, Obama is not beholden to the religious right, which has carried on a veritable vendetta against him. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee is no longer monolithic or the sole representative of the Jewish community. The main danger is that the Obama administration will not adjust its policies quickly enough to the suddenly changed reality.”
    Mubarak and team have provided cover for Israel’s ongoing expansion of illegal settlements for decades. That cover is coming off.
    Even though the Rachel Maddow’s, Rachel Guthrie’s, Chris Matthews will not go near shining their lights on the decades long expansion of illegal settlements. Yet cry out when Iran or Egypt try to interfere with the maintstreams coverage. Ever see MSNBC’s Richard Engel or any other Mainstreamer cover Palestinian protest. Ever hear Rachel Maddow mention the expansion of illegal settlements?
    Cenk Uygar and Chris Matthews seem to be getting close.
    Rachel just keeps repeating the I lobbbies lines on Iran. Real progressive. Real honest

    Reply

  54. Paul Norheim says:

    Speaking of unpleasant files…here is an excerpt from a
    Wikileak dokument leaked by Norwegian newspaper
    “Aftenposten” today – from Cairo in 2005, when the US
    embassy prepared a visit to Egypt by VP Dick Cheney. At the
    end of the excerpt, the embassy warns about creating a
    “potential Mandela” in Egypt:
    “Embassy Cairo warmly welcomes your visit to Egypt,
    which comes at a critical time not only in our relations, but
    also in Egyptian history: the slow sunset of a quarter
    century of benevolent but authoritarian rule. At 77,
    beginning his fifth Presidential term, Hosni Mubarak is the
    indispensable man in the Middle East, but one so deeply
    rooted in the past that he communicates mainly apprehension
    about the future. He leads most where it matter most to us,
    mainly on foreign policy: he remains in front of his public
    in advancing Egyptian-U.S. and Egyptian-Israeli cooperation.
    On Iraq, Mubarak personally pressed the recent Arab League,s
    reconciliation conference toward the positive goal of drawing
    Sunnis into the political process — and may be the only Arab
    leader of note to have received both the Iraqi PM and
    President. Mubarak has repeatedly pressed Bashar Asad to
    cooperate with the Mehlis investigation, to stop foreign
    fighters from entering Iraq and to stop inciting the
    Palestinians against the PA. He will want to hear from you
    about our next steps on Syria, Iraq, and Iran, and we can
    exploit his anxiety on Iran to press for Egyptian help in the
    IAEA. He will read you very closely to measure the fall-out
    from Egypt,s flawed parliamentary elections and Ayman
    Nour,s anticipated conviction and their impact on the future
    of our relations.
    (…)
    We have warned close advisers, including son Gamal, that in
    convicting Nour, Egypt risks creating a potential Mandela.
    We

    Reply

  55. JamesL says:

    I was relieved to find upon waking this morning that the apparent death count of last evening

    Reply

  56. Dan Kervick says:

    Is Suleiman already taking over? or has he just been designated to speak?

    Reply

  57. DonS says:

    There is excellent analysis all over the net which, one might say is out ahead of the reasonable and possible action that the WH can (or may be) taking ‘in private’.
    Here’s a tidbit from a FDL post which highlights the kid gloves version we are seeing in public:
    “Washington

    Reply

  58. JohnH says:

    Unless there is some improvement in the way we
    think about and manage relations with dictatorial regimes, which is mostly to turn a blind eye to whatever abuses they perpetrate, America has no grounds to say that its aid policy is more enlightened than China’s.
    Failure to practice what you preach overseas only influences the American public’s image of itself, not foreigners impressions, which are based on America’s actions, not its words.

    Reply

  59. Dan Kervick says:

    Suleiman needs to drop the demand that the protesters go home before he starts working on the transition with opposition figures. If they give up their ground, they will most of their leverage over events.

    Reply

  60. David Billington says:

    “The problem is that ultimately peace deals must be done with people, not autocrats.” (Steve
    Clemons)
    The fundamental challenge to a realist foreign policy has always been the tension between working
    with what is vs. holding out for what ought to be. Unless there is some improvement in the way we
    think about and manage this tension, we are likely to emerge from the current crisis no wiser than
    we were before it.

    Reply

  61. Paul Norheim says:

    As I mentioned on a thread below, VP Suleiman says Gamal
    Mubarak will not run. Another significant statement: When
    asked about the banned Muslim Brotherhood, Suleiman said
    that they (or “everyone”) will be invited to a dialogue. If this
    is true, it signalizes a huge change in government attitudes,
    and I’m sure Hosni Mubarak hated what the VP said.

    Reply

  62. JohnH says:

    Mubarak is only one of many brutal dictators the US supports. Here are four of the worst:
    http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2011/02/02/american_allies_dictators
    And here are some of America’s most prominent dictator lovers, mostly the usual suspects “good Christians”, Zionists and Tea Party folks.

    Reply

  63. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Mubarak Defies a Humiliated America, Emulating Netanyahu”
    What, we expected the rest of the world not to notice when Netanyahu spat in Obama’s face, as our Secretary of State heaped praise on Netanyahu’s charitable “concessions”?
    Are we to believe that the rest of the planet shares “questions” asinine denial about the obvious and devastating sway Israel holds over American foreign policy?
    We demand the world’s respect when we act like a mere servant to the will of a foreign power?

    Reply

  64. David Billington says:

    Victoria: “Sorry, I don’t understand what Jr. refers to…thanks.”
    The reference is to Gamal Mubarak, Hosni Mubarak’s son, who before the crisis was
    discussed as his possible heir apparent.

    Reply

  65. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Eenie meenie, miney moe…..
    Do we really think the rest of the world can fail to note our selective concern for human rights?
    Until we display a moral integrity that considers the rights and welfare of ALL the Earth’s inhabitants, our standing and credibility will continue to be a sad example of hypocricy and diminishing power.
    The last two decades have cost us dearly, and Washington DC shows no signs of shifting gears or changing direction. Gitmo still stands as a symbol of what we have become. State ran torture gulags in Iraq belie the motives behind our military adventures. Our policies and rhetoric towards Iran exhibit our disdain for international treaties. Our support of Israeli attrocities and expansion demonstrate our disregard for the rule of law and the right to peaceful protest.
    And who knows, as Steve points out, what evil trangressions against humankind Mubarak can expose should he be so inclined?
    Washington DC IS NOT the people, and we should be ashamed, as one, at what is being done in our name. Instead, we bicker and finger-point along partisan lines, playing along with this carefully nurtured division that is designed to render us impotent as our “representatives” pursue global agendas and self-enrichment.
    For all practical purposes, this experiment in governance, launched by the founding fathers, IS OVER. We long ago ceased being what they envisioned, and what we now purport ourselves to be. It is foolish to think the rest of the planet cannot see what we have become.

    Reply

  66. DonS says:

    Uh oh, word is getting out:
    “Juan Cole: Mubarak Defies a Humiliated America, Emulating Netanyahu”
    http://www.juancole.com/2011/02/mubarak-defies-a-humiliated-america-emulating-netanyahu.html
    Juan is angry, as we all should be:
    “It might seem surprising that Mubarak was so willing to defy the Obama administration

    Reply

  67. Matthew says:

    There is nothing like the President of the Drones going to prayer breakfast to talk about people’s aspirations.

    Reply

  68. Don Bacon says:

    “We pray that the violence in Egypt will end and that the rights and aspirations of the Egyptian people will be realized, and that a better day will dawn over Egypt and throughout the world,” Obama told a national prayer breakfast in Washington.

    Reply

  69. Victoria Love says:

    This type of protest against the government would not be possible in this country. Can you imagine the response of the Tea Party Patriots or other heavily armed right-wing groups? There would be a bloodbath. I would be more afraid of the response of the opposing camp than of the government. Although I’m not too sure about the government, to be completely honest.

    Reply

  70. Don Bacon says:

    George, wake up and smell the coffee:
    Soros:
    “Fortunately, Obama is not beholden to the religious right, which has carried on a veritable vendetta against him.”
    Obama, at today’s Prayer Breakfast:
    “Christian tradition teaches that the world one day will be turned right side up.” He said that until that happens, the poor and the struggling remain in his prayers.
    Soros:
    “The American Israel Public Affairs Committee is no longer monolithic or the sole representative of the Jewish community.”
    MJ Rosenberg, Jan 14:
    “Dennis Ross — former chief of AIPAC’s think-tank, the Washington Institute For Near East Policy — has squeezed out former Senator George Mitchell, the President’s Special Envoy to the Middle East. And this quote from the ADL’s Abe Foxman which sums it up. ‘Dennis is the closest thing you’ll find to a melitz yosher, as far as Israel is concerned,” said the Anti-Defamation League’s national director, Abraham Foxman, who used the ancient Hebrew term for ‘advocate.'”

    Reply

  71. Victoria Love says:

    Sorry, I don’t understand what Jr. refers to…thanks.

    Reply

  72. Victoria Love says:

    Thank you, I will use that.

    Reply

  73. questions says:

    Rumors that Jr. is out, too.
    Maybe they are taking the hint….

    Reply

  74. Vicatoria Love says:

    I have been unable to connect to AlJazerra English this morning. I hope it is not being blocked by our internet providers? I was glued to the computer yesterday.

    Reply

  75. mel bernstine says:

    Platitudes from Soros. As usual.

    Reply

  76. DonS says:

    How much information on torture/redition at the behest of the US in it’s right’s denying ‘war on terror’ is in Egyptian files?
    Perhaps ambassador Wisner and Mubarak chatted about that. Too bad Obama didn’t come clean from the beginning instead of covering up past abuses and stacking on more.

    Reply

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