Semi-Presidential Republic

Is that what they call dictatorships nowadays? Is Egypt’s president, Hosni Mubarak, really a dictator?

1. Face plastered all over the country…………….
2. Rigged elections……………………………………..
3. Water cannons for “troublemakers”…………..
4. Cutting off outside communication…………..

Looks like Mubarak has all of the qualifications. And like most dictators, he just doesn’t get it. In response to the riots, he fires his cabinet. Sorry, Mr. Dictator, they don’t care about the rest of your government. It’s you they want gone. These are your average citizens: young and old, rich and poor, Coptic and Muslim – united in their hate for you.

The Obama administration is being extra careful with this one. Per VP Biden:

“Mubarak has been an ally of ours in a number of things. And he’s been very responsible on, relative to geopolitical interest in the region, the Middle East peace efforts; the actions Egypt has taken relative to normalizing relationship with — with Israel. … I would not refer to him as a dictator.”

Of course he isn’t, silly. We wouldn’t send $1.5B in aid every year to a dictator, right? Money we desperately need here, but I digress.

Mubarak isn’t giving up. Flipping the internet “kill switch,” arresting leaders of The Muslim Brotherhood, imposing curfews. I think the people will have to take that power from his cold, dead hands.

Looks like our meddling is blowing up in our face again. We have threatened to cut off the aid if he escalates the violence against the protesters. But, if he is overthrown, who are we going to aid pay off to play nice with Israel? The Muslim Brotherhood?

The United States government is pulling for Mubarak. We are also asking him to go easy on the protesters and start listening to what the people want. After all, we love democracy and freedom. Maybe not as much as we love Israel, but pretty dang close.


50 responses to “Semi-Presidential Republic

  • Kendrick Macdowell

    “Play nice with Israel”? “We love democracy and freedom. Maybe not as much as we love Israel.” Spinny, what are you saying? Is our relationship with Israel dishonorable in your view? Should we be doing something different? Should we be less connected to Israel, and more connected to — which of the democracies in the Middle East?

    • lbwoodgate

      I think the appropriate response Kendrick is we should always be opposed to aggression no matter which side instigates it. This isn’t always as black and white as it’s made out and I’m sure for survival sakes that Israel has to do what they feel is necessary to defend themselves, but then so do Palestinians. A powerful few on both sides are backed by rigid forces who do not want to give an inch to the other.

      The belief that God gave this land to Israel is only valid in their Holy Book and then the agnostic in me has to question if anyone has a rightful claim to it by means of an ancient text and written by people that knew no other way to explain some events in their world without attributing it to unseen spirits. It looks kind of silly to me.

    • SpinnyLiberal

      Kendrick – our relationship with Israel is what it is. I wish we had stayed out of it or as neutral as possible. LBJ screwed up and picked a side. Since then, the Arab’s hatred for the United States and her ally, Israel, has never stopped. I don’t know what we can do at this point. Follow the course, I guess.

      The one thing I wish we would stop is our unquestioning alliance with Israel. Every time Israel does something atrocious, they seem to get a pass – like the flotilla raid. Initially I heard condemnation of the act, but then VP Biden comes in with, “Well, Israel has a right to protect herself.” From people who were sleeping on a boat that was in international waters?

      I wish we could stand up and say “Hey, this crap is wrong. Even though, you’re our ally, you can’t bulldoze a protester like Rachel Corrie, even if she wasn’t American.”

      I doubt it will happen, but it would be a refreshing surprise if it did. Obama got close. Walking out on the dinner with Netanyahu was probably the closest I’ve seen to standing up to them.

      • Terrance H.

        Quite frankly, Spinny, you have to go back to the Treaty of Versailles for the beginning of the Middle Eastern upheaval. See A Shattered Peace: David Andelman.

        http://ashatteredpeace.com/

        I won’t argue with you regarding Israel’s perceived overreaction. Kendrick can have that battle if he wants it, because, frankly, I’m less sure about the particulars.

      • Kendrick Macdowell

        Wow. Okay. We have a very different view of the American alliance with Israel. And I admit straight up, my view is influenced by the fact that I have a son who is Israeli, a beautiful and kind boy, a mediator in his heart and soul, and he goes into the Israeli army next year. So apply the appropriate discount.

        I just first need to know whether you believe Israel has the right to exist. If yes, then we can talk. If no, then on this subject, we cannot.

        If Israel has the right to exist, if there can be a Jewish state on the Eastern Mediterranean, then it can rightfully defend itself. Every Israeli grows up knowing that many people around it and abroad would welcome its extinction. We in America have no comprehension of growing up that way. As the comments in this very thread illustrate, we’re a people focused on how best to use, or not, our enormous power. What a blessing. In Israel, the permanent and paramount question is survival — not how can we promote “Israeli interests” abroad, not what we can do to gain political, trade, or financial advantage — but simply how we can survive.

        I will debate with you until we’re both blue the commission of atrocities. Rachel Corrie burned an American flag during a rally in Gaza. She died purporting to be a human shield against a bulldozer, who may or may not have seen her. Righteous Rachel? Rachel Thaler 16, from Ginot Shomron, Rachel Levi, 19 from Ashkelon, Rachel Levy, 17 from Jerusalem. They were killed by terrorists. Don’t even get me started.

        If the dialogue is to trade atrocities, I’m sure I’ll win and you’re sure you’ll win, and we accomplish nothing.

        The flotilla raid was not even close to an “atrocity.” A defended provocation, yes. No nation on the planet is disallowed to defend its borders and control what comes into its borders — except Israel. Even the UN, which has more anti-Israel declarations and denunciations than all other nations put together, acknowledged Israel’s right to control its own shores. Israeli soldiers boarded the one ship in question, as was there right under international law, and were attacked. There is no question about who attacked first. Israeli soldiers, some of whom were wounded, responded lethally. That happens when you’re attacked. You respond. Your response may result in greater injury to the other side, and that, given the alternatives, is a good result.

        There is a better way to do this dialogue. A non-grievance-based way to do this dialogue. Because if the respective camps are going to continue nursing their grievances, well, that’s what we’ll be doing pretty much forever.

      • Terrance H.

        I wish your son good luck, Kendrick. I hope he makes it out all right.

        You make a good point regarding us Americans. Many of us don’t know what it’s like to be surrounded by people who would have us destroyed in an instant. We talk about engaging other nations in war or talks in an attempt to look out for our interests. That may seem a bit ridiculous given the peril other nations – such as Israel – face every day; but the reality is that we are, as Americans, hated, and though we are not surrounded by it, they will come to us in an instant; if 9/11 proved anything, it is that.

        I also think it is worth mentioning that a safe Israel is indeed in the interest of the United States – and every other person or group perceived as different – in any way – by the majority.

      • SpinnyLiberal

        Yes, I believe in Israel’s right to exist.

        As far as the flotilla massacre, this is where we can’t agree. There are differing opinions on the legality of Israel’s actions. And Rachel Corrie’s murder? Ugh. Anyway, I’m going to ask for an agree to disagree on these.

        I pray for your son’s safety in the army.

  • Terrance H.

    Spinny,

    I think you’re being a bit hard on President Mubarak. Since his ascension to the highest office, Egypt has been a positive force for peace in the Middle East, having maintained good relations with Israel in spite of protest from other Arab nations.

    There are other reasons why the United States and Israel should continue supporting him:

    1). Repeatedly engaged other Arab nations in peace talks with Israel and the United Sates; 2) Committed close to 40,000 troops to the Persian Gulf War; 3). Instituted a vigorous anti-terrorist network; and 4). If he is ousted, who the hell knows who might take his place? The United States and Israel cannot afford to risk some fundamentalist being put in his place.

    That much is clear. Whether he is indeed a dictator is less clear, but until we have proof, we have to assume he is being re-elected by the people.

    I really don’t care, to be completely honest. We simply cannot afford another nut-job running another Middle Eastern population comprised of nut-jobs! In fact, I’d like to see Israel bomb the hell out of Iran and every other Middle-Eastern nation opposed to peace.

    You don’t have to be anti-war to be pro-peace.

    • lbwoodgate

      Yeah, the Shah of Iran was our good friend too. Look where they got us.

      We can’t prop up repressive regimes and expect that not to have negative consequences over time. When things are unstable anywhere in the world, especially the middle east, we pay for it in the form of increased terrorism and loss of alliances and money.

      This unrest in Egypt can go against U.S. interests if we back Mubarak too far. It’s a diplomatic tight wire we have to walk here.

    • SpinnyLiberal

      Bombing Iran and every Middle Eastern nation opposed to peace? Can’t we just leave well enough alone? From the looks of it, there might be someone new because’s the nut job that is in place now tried to appoint a successor nut-job. Doesn’t look like the Egyptian people want his choice.

      • Terrance H.

        It’s not well enough, Spinny, when an entire people fear death every single, solitary day. The Jews are surrounded by hate. I wouldn’t blame them for blitzkrieg countries who seek to destroy them. It’s an attack first policy, but so what? In that region, at this time, what else can you do – save wait for a bullet to hit you or your family?

      • SpinnyLiberal

        We can leave well enough alone because, as you said, Israel is in an attack first policy. They are more than capable of handling things themselves.

      • Terrance H.

        I’m not convinced that Israel could take on the entire Middle East without the help of the United States.

  • Terrance H.

    Yes, lbwoodgate, President Carter’s ineptitude was rather damaging to American interests.

    No argument from me there.

    But you have failed to prove Mubarak’s regime to be oppressive in a serious way – if at all. The implication that we must back the Egyptian people instead of Mubarak or else, is about as asinine as it gets. President Mubarack is a moderate Muslim, not a radical. If we roll the dice and end up with snakes eyes, remember your comments.

    • lbwoodgate

      Wow! You went all the way back to Carter to find a Democrat to blame on this. Typical.

      Uh, and where’s the connection here between the Egyptian riots and Carter? This I gotta hear.

      And if people rioting in the street to remove what they feel is an oppressive government then I guess we shouldn’t be paying attention to anyone’s hysterical claims about oppressive government’s eh? Like the Tea Party maybe?

      Perhaps you should walk in the shoes of most Egyptians before you makes assessments about how moderate he is and how they’re being treated. It may be convenient for people like you to view him as a moderate as it relates to U.S. and Israeli interests, but then you might as well live on the moon as far the Egyptians are concerned.

      Your perception of what is relevant is pretty much a moot issue about something you might only have a peripheral insight to. But why should that stop someone who thinks they know everything?

  • Terrance H.

    lbwoodgate,

    You’re not a particularly bright individual, are you?

    Yeah, the Shah of Iran was our good friend too. Look where they got us.

    I waxed thusly,

    Yes, lbwoodgate, President Carter’s ineptitude was rather damaging to American interests.

    The Shah’s downfall happened on Carter’s watch. He responded with pure impotence!

    The Tea Party doesn’t want to overthrow President Obama; they won’t him to lose reelection, and so do I.

    Perhaps you should walk in the shoes of Jewish and Egyptian people before you scream reform. The reality of the situation is that Mubarak supports the United States and Israel; we cannot afford to roll the dice and potentially end up with a radical, like that nut in Iran.

    If you were a thinking person (i.e., a conservative), you’d know that.

    There is no reason we cannot listen to the grievances of the Egyptian people and encourage Mubarak to listen, all the while looking out for American interests.

    Thinking people….I digress.

    • lbwoodgate

      You know, when your first response to something is a negative comment on one’s character it means your throwing up a smoke scree to cover your own incompetencies. Make the other guy look bad and it may detract from your own short comings. How typical.

      The Shah’s downfall happened on Carter’s watch. He responded with pure impotence!

      What?? That’s it? How’s this got anything to do with the conditions in Egypt today. And what pray tell was Carter supposed to do? Hand the Shah back over to the Iranian revolutionaries? What exactly is it that you think he did that was impotent.

      The Tea Party doesn’t want to overthrow President Obama; they won’t him to lose reelection, and so do I.

      Oh of course Terry. Bringing guns to rallies and talking about using 2nd amendment options if the elections don’t come out the way they want it implies nothing of the kind about overthrowing the government? Riiiiiiight.

    • lbwoodgate

      There is no reason we cannot listen to the grievances of the Egyptian people and encourage Mubarak to listen

      Really Terry. Just kick back, invite the recipients in of a corrupt government that has exploited the people for decades and have a beer maybe to hash things out? Gee, why didn’t anybody think of this before.

      May, 2008 – “The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace hosted a panel on the current social and political unrest in Egypt. Steven Heydemann, vice president of the Grants and Fellowships program and special adviser to the Muslim World Initiative at the US Institute of Peace … summarized the current political and economic conditions in Egypt and suggested that the U.S. is unlikely to interfere in the country’s domestic affairs at this unstable stage in the Middle East’s history.

      Hasan said there are a few questions that need to be addressed: What constitutes the present counterattack being carried out by the state? What is the historical significance of last April’s events? Is Egypt experiencing a moment or momentum?

      Hasan contended that what is happening today in Egypt is a serious and comprehensive attack on all political opponents of the regime regardless of their ideological background. The main objective of the regime is to make sure that there is no room for political mobility. The state is enforcing its agenda through a variety of means including constitutional changes and explicit repressive measures.

      The April strikes were instigated by unorganized bands of independent activists. These were different from the 2004-2005 strikes. The grievances at the moment are not only political but also socioeconomic.” SOURCE

      There’s a history here Terry that makes it too late for simply “listening to grievances” This isn’t a town hall meeting in Oshkosh discussing disappointments with garbage collection. The Egyptian people over the years are used to the talks that promise much and advance very little.

      Got any other bright ideas?

  • Terrance H.

    Spinny,

    I realize I may have insulted you given that you’re a libral. I apologize. My comments are strictly for liberals like lbwoodgate. The feel-good, fuzzy-wuzzly ones.

    • lbwoodgate

      Really Terry?? You’re going to play the macho card with me? That’s a hoot.

      • Terrance H.

        My name is Terrance, you impossible putz! I don’t call you “Woody,” now do I? (Not that you ever get one anymore – at your age, I mean.)

      • lbwoodgate

        I don’t call you “Woody,” now do I? (Not that you ever get one anymore – at your age, I mean.)

        Ha, ha, ha. That was, er, well, so immature. What are you, nine? But then what else can we expect from someone who uses a picture of an angry bird to represent himself. Yes, yes I know it’s the American eagle but in your case it’s just a bird.

        BTW, I call you Terry because it is the more child-like name of Terrance. When I’m calling you Terry that’s how I see you, as a child. Elevate your responses to to a more mature level and I’ll treat you like an adult, ok?

    • SpinnyLiberal

      I’m a feel-good, fuzzy-wuzzly one. Didn’t think that was a bad thing.

      • Terrance H.

        Perhaps, but you actually use your head. lbwoodgate is in attack-mode whenever confronting a conservative – because he is a doctrinaire liberal. There are no good conservative ideas – in his mind.

        I’m not kind to doctrinaire anybody’s…

      • lbwoodgate

        Terry,

        I’M IN ATTACK MODE?? DOCTRINAIRE MODE?? And I suppose you see yourself as the voice of reason and civility.

        Do you have these delusions often? I mean look at your angry bird icon. You have already set the tempo with this over the top imagery of yourself.

      • Terrance H.

        You don’t know me, yet you call my “Terry,” and I’m immature? That very well may be, but you’re disrespectful.

        That’s how I see you, as a child.

        I rest my case.

        You have difficult formulating a coherent sentence – yet, somehow, I’m the child. Riiight.

      • lbwoodgate

        You don’t know me, yet you call my “Terry,” and I’m immature? That very well may be, but you’re disrespectful.

        Jesus man, do you ever look in a mirror when you spit out these hypocricies?

        Your comments to me:

        You’re not a particularly bright individual, are you?

        If you were a thinking person (i.e., a conservative), you’d know that.

        My comments are strictly for liberals like lbwoodgate. The feel-good, fuzzy-wuzzly ones.

        I don’t call you “Woody,” now do I? (Not that you ever get one anymore – at your age, I mean.)

        You have difficult formulating a coherent sentence

        Your opening paragraph was little more than an excuse for your own ineptitude.

        Your attempts to rewrite history have been noted – and written-off as mere liberal foolishness.

        This is quite obviously another liberal falsehood.

        Perhaps then you wouldn’t look so truly pathetic.

        The rest of your idiocy is another attempt to rewrite history and vindicate the inept Carter.

        And none of this is disrespectful and arrogant to you? Do you talk to your family in this manner? Do you allow them to talk this way to you?

        Let’s do this. From here on out let’s not make disparaging remarks about each other and try to have a civil discourse on the issues. Are you up for it?

      • TerranceH

        lbwoodgate,

        Let us try to be civil then.

  • Terrance H.

    lbwoodgate,

    Your opening paragraph was little more than an excuse for your own ineptitude. You and Carter have much in common.

    Iran is the perfect example. You said it yourself. “That worked out well for us” speaking sardonically. That’s precisely what could happen in Egpyt: instead of a moderate ruler pushing peace, we end up with a radical pushing war. Liberals are comfortable with that notion; we conservatives are not.

    Carter failed to act until it was too late. Read about it; I’m not here to educate you. You ought know it, though, as you were around during the time; I wasn’t even thought of yet.

    And I’m more than positive that a few nuts, self-acribed to the Tea Party, are a good representative sample to examine the sentiments held by the collective mind. Makes peeeeeerrrfect sense.

    Get real.

    • lbwoodgate

      Yes, yes. Liberal blah, blah and liberal blah, blah. So everyone now knows if they didn’t already of what you think of liberals. Big whoop.

      Your condemnation of me is water on a ducks back loudmouth. Can you not answer a simple question? What was Carter expected to do? The times were different with the nation just recently out out of an unwanted war in Vietnam. The public was not ready to commit troops on foreign soil again so soon and besides, had we gone in to stabilize the effort with combat troops it would more than likely have been a bigger quagmire than Iraq has turned out to be.

      So what’s your answer hot shot. How is Carter at fault here other than doing what every other President before was him was doing, exactly what you’re expecting us to do with Mubarak – keeping him propped up despite growing political unrest. Yes he is a stabilizing factor for the region but has done so with an iron fist and now he and the rest of the region will pay the consequences if this rebellion keeps escalating.

      So what should we do today regarding Egypt that you feel Carter didn’t do back in 1979? Got in real answers toad?

      • Terrance H.

        If Egpytian government is indeed oppressive, I’ve seen nothing definitive on it. In fact, take a look at the <a href=”https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/eg.html”.CIA World Factbook: no mention of corruption whatsoever. It does, however, say: The government has struggled to meet the demands of Egypt’s growing population through economic reform and massive investment in communications and physical infrastructure.

        The government has failed to address the economic problems, sure. But is that really a reason to support the atrophy of a moderate Muslim regime in a region riddled with radical Muslim regimes? No!

        Never once have I faulted the Egyptian people for protesting. Not once. I do, however, fault those who want the government overthrown, replaced with…and the crapshoot begins. I think this protest is precisely the wake-up call the government needed.

        As for your nonsense regarding President Carter, I’ll say it again: He could have acted sooner! He didn’t.

        Try this, though.

        Facing a revolution, the Shah of Iran sought help from the United States. Iran occupied a strategic place in U.S. foreign policy toward the Middle East, acting as an island of stability and a buffer against Soviet penetration into the region. Pahlavi was pro-American, and domestically oppressive. The U.S. ambassador to Iran, William H. Sullivan, recalls that the U.S. National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski ‘repeatedly assured Pahlavi that the U.S. backed him fully.’ However, President Carter arguably failed to follow through on those promises. On November 4, 1978, Brzezinski called the Shah to tell him that the United States would ‘back him to the hilt.’ At the same time, certain high-level officials in the State Department decided that the Shah had to go, regardless of who replaced him. [emphasis added]. Brzezinski and Energy Secretary James Schlesinger (former Secretary of Defense under Ford), continued to insist that the U.S. would support the Shah militarily. Even in the final days of the revolution, when the Shah was considered doomed no matter the outcome of the revolution, Brzezinski still advocated a U.S. military intervention to stabilize Iran. President Carter could not decide how to appropriately use force, opposed a U.S. coup and ordered the USS Constellation aircraft carrier to the Indian Ocean, but soon countermanded his order. A deal was worked out with the Iranian generals to shift support to a moderate government, but this plan fell apart when Khomeini and his followers swept through the country, taking power 12 February, 79. (Wikipedia free encyclopedia)

        The Shah’s downfall was Carter’s fault. Your attempts to rewrite history have been noted – and written-off as mere liberal foolishness.

      • lbwoodgate

        Terry,

        My arguments on Mubarak really don’t differ that much from yours. If you go back a read them you’ll see I too was not advocating a violent overthrow of the government. You clearly read into what I was trying to say because YOU were in the attack mode.

        Your lite interpretation of the Egyptian government failing to address the economic problems completely misses the history that has seen such attempts fail over and over. I wish they were better able to address their needs but clearly they have fallen short for at least the last 2-3 decades. Read up on the history.

        I realize that to a military hawk like yourself that bringing our military forces in to bear on Iranian protesters seems like the right thing to do but since, as you admit that you weren’t there, then you are unaware as I have mentioned that the American public was not ready for such another intervention after Vietnam. There could have been riots in U.S. streets then if this had happened.

        It’s true that losing the shah hurt the stability of the region but even many in the military in Iran were not supportive of the Shah so it is uncertain whether our efforts militarily would have succeeded or not.

        “A group of military personnel, in a show of support for the revolution, march in front of Alavi school, residence of the leader of revolution”

        “I am a military man and will not interfere in politics.” — General Amir Hossein Rabiei, Commander, Imperial Iranian Air Force”

        “Western diplomats close to the armed forces believe that the generals have reached the conclusion that they are not powerful enough to take power through a military coup.” — Associated Press, Dispatch from Tehran

        “The armed forces must not interfere in politics. They must be supportive of the constitution, and the legal government.” — General Abbas Gharabaghi, chief of staff of the Iranian armed forces

        There was a “mass military salute by the personnel and officers of the Iranian Air Force to Ayatollah Khomeini during their visit to his headquarters at Alavi School earlier today.” SOURCE

        Many on the right want to blame Carter for ineptness purely out of political biases, but they speak out of a militaristic point of view that knows only war and violence as a response to things. We’ve seen how this has failed in Iraq and sadly may come about in Afghanistan too.

        But I’m sure you’re convinced that we could have saved the day in Iran and nothing else matters regarding the actual circumstances that ultimately led to the Shah’s downfall and the rise of a radical anti-American element that no one wanted.
        Saying that Carter was responsible for the Shah’s downfall is as irresponsible as saying George W. Bush conspired to blow up the WTC to promote public support for his war on Saddam Hussein. One man cannot be held accountable for factors they have no control over. It’s comic book mentality to believe otherwise

    • Terrance H.

      lbwoodgaate,

      It is rather indicative of liberals to transmogrify their verbose twaddle, or else misrepresent their opponents’ thinking, when reality comes calling. I never ascribed to you a support for violence; though your gleeful moral support for a protest that has crushed the lives of at least 100 people is rather illuminating.

      This unrest in Egypt can go against U.S. interests if we back Mubarak too far.

      Perhaps you should walk in the shoes of most Egyptians before you makes assessments about how moderate he is and how they’re being treated. It may be convenient for people like you to view him as a moderate as it relates to U.S. and Israeli interests, but then you might as well live on the moon as far the Egyptians are concerned.

      One can infer from your bombast that you do not support Mubarak, and would like to see him dismissed. I responded to said foolishness.

      I wish they were better able to address their needs but clearly they have fallen short for at least the last 2-3 decades.

      This is quite obviously another liberal falsehood.

      In July 2004 Mubarak accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Atef Ebeid and most of the cabinet. He then appointed Ahmed Nazif as the new Prime Minister. The new cabinet was generally viewed with optimism.

      Economic conditions were starting to improve considerably after a period of stagnation. The new cabinet headed by Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif was somewhat successful in overcoming the grim economic situation. The Egyptian stock market came in first place out of all emerging markets in terms of percentage increase for the fiscal year 2004/2005. However, unemployment still persisted and Mubarak came under criticism for favoring big business and privatization as opposed to workers’ rights. (Wikipedia)

      The economic problems have been on and off, as they are with most any nation. The problem was Mubarak’s failure to address worker’s rights, among other things.

      None of which, however, justify an insurrection.

      I realize that to a military hawk like yourself that bringing our military forces in to bear on Iranian protesters seems like the right thing to do but since…

      This is meaningless noise. I have said repeatedly that I am a non-interventionist. Try debating an issue with the use of logical fallacies, would you? Perhaps then you wouldn’t look so truly pathetic.

      The rest of your idiocy is another attempt to rewrite history and vindicate the inept Carter.

      • lbwoodgate

        You have misread me on just about every point here. Try reading my posts as something that is NOT an attack on your restricted view of the world.

        “The economic problems have been on and off, as they are with most any nation. The problem was Mubarak’s failure to address worker’s rights, among other things.”

        I’d be curious to know how you have formed this view. What’s your sources?

        Here’s but one recent story that might provide a clearer picture of the reality – Egypt’s uprising unites society in rage

      • TerranceH

        lbwoodgate,

        I gave your link its due attention, but I found only that which is not in dispute; i.e., the Egyptian people have been ignored. I found nothing which might indicate that Egypt’s economy has been in ruins for “2-3 decades.”

        The Wikipedia article I quoted, I think, confirms my sentiments: the government has ignored the people, and the recent downfall of the world economy was the last straw.

        Protest is one thing, insurrection is quite another. How many people are dead? How many injured? And for what? To achieve something that could be achieved peacefully. Calm, non-violent protests would are more effective than violent, knee-jerk hate-mongering.

        I believe the United States should go in there diplomatically and mediate between the government and the people, to figure out the best plan of action. I believe this because I don’t think we can risk an uprising that may result in another radical regime in a region riddled with radical regimes. The stakes are far too high!

      • lbwoodgate

        Protest is one thing, insurrection is quite another. How many people are dead? How many injured? And for what?

        I find this to be an amazing response from you. Our own evolution as a nation was the result of the blood by colonialist who opposed monarchial rule; monarchial rule that refused to consider the peaceful petitions of the colonists for years. Are you suggesting that the fight that resulted was all for nothing?

        No one wants to see a deadly mess here but sometimes that occurs simply because the powers that be are intransigent. This violence is not a one-sided reaction. How long are the Egyptian people expected to tolerate abuses so we in America and Israel can feel secure?

      • Terrance H.

        lbwoodgate,

        I have no expounded on my point well-enough, but I will later this evening when I reply to your post on my blog. Instead of jumping back and forth, I’ll address your statements in one place.

        I need some time to review your links.

  • Kendrick Macdowell

    Terrance and lbwoodgate, you both make some good points. I think there is a parallel to Iran in 1979. There was a naivete in the Carter White House — not surprising given Carter’s lack of any foreign policy experience coming into the presidency, which is familiar today. And the people he appointed didn’t do much better. Andrew Young, Carter’s ambassador to the UN, said Ayatollah Khomeini was “some kind of saint” (prompting George Will to quip that sainthood isn’t what it used to be). National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski thought the coup a net positive because he viewed the Ayatollah as “an effective barrier against Soviet influence.” So there was, depending upon your point of view, either wishful thinking or delusion at that dramatic moment. As it was then, so today we cannot yet know what will happen. We cannot yet know with any certainty where to land on the side of history. Unless you can pick the winner with certainty in such a circumstance — either because you know what will happen or you can make it happen — then your best bet is to hedge.

    It’s certainly true that a new regime could be better. Given the history of the region, it’s a somewhat better bet it would be worse. And I’m viewing better and worse through the lens of regional stability, determination to counter Iranian nuclear, terrorist proxy (Hezbollah, Hamas), and destabilization ambitions, and willingness to make peace with Israel. In 1979, as it develops, we ended up with worse, and ironically, but for Saddam Hussein going into protracted and bloody wars with Iran, Iran may have been a much more pernicious influence in the Middle East.

    Being a “friend of the Shah of Iran” was not really how the Carter White House handled the situation. Quite the contrary. And we didn’t score any points with the new regime. Quite the contrary. So rushing to embrace the current rioters strikes me as short-sighted right now — even if history ultimately turns out to be on their side.

    • Terrance H.

      As usual, Kendrick hits the nail on the head – and says it nicer and more articulately than I.

    • lbwoodgate

      Naivete was perhaps a factor within the Carter administration but a fool’s rush into a military situation much like we attempted in Iraq was also a naive approach. To simply think that might will make everything right dismisses too many other variables that were in play in and around Iran at the time. How naive and foolish it turned out for the Reagan administration to support Saddam Hussein to fight our battles against Iran, but who knew? As I mentioned to Terrance above the Iranian military itself was not all the stable and in favor of keeping the Shah in power.

      Hindsight is always 20/20 but at the time and considering the anti-war mood of the general American public in the 70’s I’d be willing to bet that those on the right who wanted us to intercede militarily, would have balked at this situation too had they been in the seats of power then. It’s easy to throw stones from the outside until you are sitting in their seats.

      To be clear though, we are in agreement that political unrest in the mideast could work against American and Israeli interests. There must be efforts, as there should have been all the time, to accommodate the legitimate grievances of Egyptians by forcing Mubarak to take stronger anti-corruption actions via our monetary support of his government. But the failure to do this effectively lies more on those who preceded Obama so lets keep things in their proper perspective.

      Thanks for your calm and collective response Kendrick

  • Terrance H.

    Well, looky here, Mr. Woods:


    AMMAN, Jordan (AP) – The leader of Jordan’s powerful Muslim Brotherhood warned Saturday that unrest in Egypt will spread across the Mideast and Arabs will topple leaders allied with the United States.

    Hammam Saeed’s comments were made at a protest outside the Egyptian Embassy in Amman, inspired by massive rallies in neighboring Egypt demanding the downfall of the country’s longtime president, Hosni Mubarak.

    About 100 members of the fundamentalist group and activists from other leftist organizations and trade unions chanted “Mubarak, step down” and “the decision is made, the people’s revolt will remain.”

    Elsewhere, a separate group of 300 protesters gathered in front of the office of Jordanian Prime Minister Samir Rifai, demanding his ouster. “Rifai, it’s time for you to go,” chanted the group.

    Jordan’s protests have been relatively small in size, but they underline a rising tension with Jordan’s King Abdullah II, a key U.S. ally who has been making promises of reform in recent days in an apparent attempt to quell domestic discontent over economic degradation and lack of political freedoms.

    But as a monarch with deep support from the Bedouin-dominated military, Jordan’s ruler is not seen as vulnerable as Mubarak or Tunisia’s deposed leader. Even the Brotherhood – a fiery critic of Jordan’s moderate government – has remained largely loyal to the king, who claims ancestry to Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.

    Many believe it’s unlikely King Abdullah will bow to demands for popular election of the prime minister and Cabinet officials, traditionally appointed by the king.

    Saeed said Arabs have grown disgruntled with U.S. domination of their oil wealth, military occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan and its support for “totalitarian” leaders in the region.

    “The Americans and (President Barack) Obama must be losing sleep over the popular revolt in Egypt,” he said. “Now, Obama must understand that the people have woken up and are ready to unseat the tyrant leaders who remained in power because of U.S. backing.”

    Saeed did not specifically name King Abdullah. But he said Jordan’s prime minister “must draw lessons from Tunisia and Egypt and must swiftly implement political reforms.”

    “We tell the Americans ‘enough is enough’,” he said.

    Rifai has in the last two weeks announced a $550 million package of new subsidies for fuel and staple products like rice, sugar, livestock and liquefied gas used for heating and cooking. It includes a raise for civil servants and security personnel.

    Still, Jordan’s economy struggles, weighed down by a record deficit of $2 billion this year, rising inflation and rampant unemployment and poverty.

    http://apnews.myway.com/article/20110129/D9L25G0G1.html

    Real big surprise.

    • lbwoodgate

      Well, well, well. Looky here. Terri found a comment that supports his view. You forgot to mention that this political uprising in both Egypt and Tunisia did not involve the Muslim Brotherhood. The fact that they would exploit it comes as no surprise to anyone. So what’s your point?

      It’s clear from this article too that a radical few in Jordan will not necessarily be taken seriously, at least that was your point of view earlier when you facetiously said “that a few nuts, self-acribed to the Tea Party, are a good representative sample to examine the sentiments held by the collective mind.”

  • Terrance H.

    If you seriously believe that the Muslim radicals I speak of are a relatively small minority, then you’re beyond help. The downfall of the Shah is a perfect example of how easily radicals can exploit an insurrection. Why allow it to happen if it isn’t necessary, particularly at time when a large number of American soldiers are in the processes of fighting not one, but two wars in a region riddled with radical regimes?

    Try using your head once in a while.

  • Terrance H.

    Well, Spinny, this post was a hit. 44 comments! Crazy.

    • SpinnyLiberal

      There is such turmoil there right now. It’s the uncertainty, and I believe what we’ve done in that region is blowing up in our face.

      • Terrance H.

        lbwoodgate made some good points on my blog, so when I respond I’ll hopefully be able to my put my position into proper context; I’m not sure it’s precisely clear to everyone.

  • Questioning With Boldness...

    Dang!!! How did I get to this party late? Where was my invite, Spinny? Lemme guess… it was in the mail? Ugh… that dang subsidized USPS strikes again! What an “interesting” exchange of opinions/ideas. I think I’m glad I actually missed out on this one.
    Look at what you stirred up Spinny! 😉

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