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Egypt & Revolutionary Prospects

All eyes on Egypt. We get the latest and explore the full implications.

Anti-government activists protest in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Jan. 28, 2011. (AP)

We can’t take our eyes off Egypt. The United States can’t. The Arab world can’t. The whole world can’t. It is so compelling. And so consequential what happens now, what happens next.

There is the thrilling sight of Egyptians standing up for themselves, against dictatorship and corruption. There are the questions still over what happens with this uprising. Whether it fully succeeds, partly succeeds. And then, what “success” means.

A “new era” it’s being called already, no matter what happens.  From Cairo’s Liberation Square to the world, we look at the message from Egypt.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests: 

Anthony Shadid, Pulitzer-Prize winning correspondent for the New York Times

Shibley Telhami, professor of international relations at the University of Maryland and senior fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. 

Robin Wright, veteran reporter on the Middle East and author of Dreams and Shadows: The Future of the Middle East

Mona El-Gobashy, professor of political science at Barnard College. For the last decade, she has been looking at protest waves in Egypt. 

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  • Michael

    I’d notice by Friday both ATC and TOLN had there talking points and short cues of the end of the world going on.

    I’m sure the the Saban Center rep will hit these points.

    -We want democracy but are afraid of democracy in the middle-east cause people we helped put down may not like us
    - Well see what happen in iran(amazingly leaving out the part how we overthrew there democracy and install the brutal shah that killed thousands upon thousands. Then sided with another Brutal dictator that started a war with Iran killing close to a million people.
    -Evil radical islamist will take over(btw the mulsim brotherhood has the support of about 1 million out of 78 million about 4.5 times the vote that Michelle B. got in 2010)
    -Stating how ones concern yet leaving out the fact that solely being concerned or fearful does not give one the right to take away or back human and civil rights abuses(Southerns were concern about blacks voting in the south and we saw were that took us)

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    Egypt had 6% growth last year, I heard on Sunday’s network shows. I believe I heard that twice. I take it that those percents went to the oligarchs, not the 50% who live on less than $2 a day.
    I somehow do not think the 40-plus million living on $2 a day blame the United States for their oppression. I don’t think they don’t blame us for rising food prices, though someone in the Onpoint forum outlined last week how the QEII quantitative easing would go into commodities pushing up the global prices of food. And when I hear what Mubarak was offering Sunday, to lower the price of food, reinstate government subsidies, it reminds me of what American politicians do to keep the peons in line: provide more Food Stamps, more unemployment insurance, more free medical services, housing subsidies. It will keep them out of the streets.
    Sheep! This is not the same as enabling you. It does not push resources toward institutions that can give you jobs: not sooner; not later. (But I’d rather say that particular piece to our own Congress first; we need the exact same thing.)
    If the Egyptian aspiring middle class manage to set up a government that truly does what Hillary Clinton says, making a space for peaceful fruition of the aspirations and ambitions of the people, well, I want to know EXACTLY how that is done. Believe you me.

  • Nick from Massachusetts

    Just a comment…..

    My two friends (both of whom I do business with) from the Gulf region and one good friend in Israel all commented that our quick dropping of Mubarak looked like we were cutting and running. They were disappointed in us abandoning him so blatantly.

    This is NOT my opinion however it does seem like a quick reversal – but then I am not in the inner circles of our foreign policy.

  • Chuck Shack

    Poverty, high unemployment, limited future prospects and a government unable or unwilling to offer solutions or any meaningful change have been noted as the underlying cause for the unrest in Egypt. Doesn’t this all sound eerily familiar to the concerns we have right here in the U.S.?

    While we have a representative form of democracy, the two parties appear incapable of any real change and frustration here is growing. There appears to be a serious disconnect between our elected representatives and those who have voted them in to do the work.

    At the same time voters do not seem to have the stomach necessary to agree to touch choices that need to be made.

    Are the Tea Party activists the first small wave in a tsunami that could sweep these shores? As the disparity between rich and poor grows in this country does the gap between the haves and the have-nots threaten to make our democracy a hollow ideal?

    While I surely hope not, We could be watching our own future unfold before us in Egypt.

  • Zinovy Vayman, Galilee

    Thank you, Ellen Dibble, for the correct comparative analysis of the US run by Germanic brains and Egypt, a client state of people who are unable to Germanize themselves quickly as the Japanese did.

    As for Michael, he asks and replies to his question himself (take a look at his latest post on the Friday’s weekly discussion).
    FYI, Michael, I knew the Southern Levant before Joan Peters published her book, I knew that the British called the East Bank of the Jordan Moab while creating a job for some emir exiled from Arabia (Avi Shlaim called his grandson “my little king”). And I knew that the capital of the ancient Israeli Kingdom was on the East Bank too. I knew Gilad region on the East Bank and legends from there.
    Listen to the second hour, Michael, and think about Germanic genius.

  • Zane S

    President Obama’s equivocation on such a momentous occasion would nurture even more resentment in Egypt against the United States. Once again, we fail miserably to live up to our ideals.

    Zane in Salt Lake City, UT

  • Joan

    Keeping Israel unjustly propped up is the root cause
    of this unrest in Egypt and throughout the Arab world.

    If Mubarak wasn’t such a US puppet and an Egytian tyrant paid to play ally with Israel and prevent
    a just settlement from taking place with the Pale-
    stinians and Israelis –much of this unrest and
    outrage wouldn’t be occurring…

    Grant it there are many economic and freedom issues behind Egyptians’ mass frustation also but it seems
    to me the one overriding issue has been Mubarak’s disconnect with his peoples’ sympathy on the Israeli/
    Palestinian conflict…

    Yet I fear it will only be a matter of time before Americans will be on the streets protest (many are
    one step away )against this destructive relation
    ship too…

    The bottom line today Israel has outlived its placed
    in the Middle East and especially in this human rights world and many won’t be sorry to see it. Joan

  • Zeno

    “…when I hear what Mubarak was offering Sunday, to lower the price of food, reinstate government subsidies, it reminds me of what American politicians do to keep the peons in line…”

    I agree. But, when their dictator offers those subsidies, there is a significant difference. Their subsidies are paid for by US taxpayers to the tune of 1.5 billion each and every year!

    Our oligarchs have been borrowing money from China underwritten by the American taxpayers and just giving it away to one of their fellow oligarchs.

    Here is an idea that would mark me as a terrorist within the DC beltway: How about the Egyptian government borrow the money from Us and pay us the interest… Or better yet why don’t THEY borrow the money DIRECTLY from the Chinese.

    …and lets not forget the 3 billion we give to Israel each year by the same method. and all the others as well: http://blogs.forbes.com/brianwingfield/2011/01/29/making-sense-of-u-s-foreign-aid-to-egypt-and-elsewhere/

    We are the biggest fools on the planet! Fiscal conservatives in DC never mention this giveaway as waste, but point to Unemployment benefits paid for by US workers first! I wonder why?

  • Isaac

    So, this past weekend, I’ve had a number of questions running through my head, mostly related to how the United States plays into all of this.

    - I’ve read that the military forces in Egypt haven’t cracked down as much as, apparently, we’d all anticipated. Is this because they’re not really all that loyal to Mubarak? Or because Mubarak’s going easy on the protesters? Or because the U.S. Government is providing pressure for him to go easy on the protesters?

    - If this results in a new government, what do we do? After Israel, Egypt receives the most foreign aid from the United States government. What role do we have to play in the future?

  • SteveV

    Great Idea Zeno but I’ve got a better one. Take the total amount we give to the countries in the Middle East, then subtract that from the SS benefits paid in the US. Since stability in that part of the world is so important to our security I’m sure our senior citizens will respond in a positive way.

  • Ed

    Just when it looked like the Muslim world was moving toward the new caliphate – Al Queda, Sharia law,etc., recruiting the young people, there is a movement for democracy among the young people. An overnight occurrence.

    A book to consider is:

    Phares, Walid ‘The coming revolution : struggle for freedom in the Middle East’ 2010, which says that there are pro-democracy groups of young people throughout the Middle East.

    Larchmont, NY

  • mary elizabeth

    To Zane:

    The situation in Egypt is immensely more complicated than you seem to imply.
    Read Ross Douthat in today’s NYTimes to perhaps better understand President Obama’s “equivocation”

  • http://www.gignouxphotos.com Alan, London, UK

    Should we really be so scared of a democratic Government in Cairo? its seemed earlier in the protests the EU and USA were trying to find a backdoor for Murbarak to retire to, seems like his son is in London already!

    This week, it seems as if Cameroun, Obama and especially the Israelis ( I would say due to Israeli pressure) are trying to save the regime, watch for the crackdown coming which the regime will win! How much longer will the regime have and then wait for the Whabbi Brotherhood to take over! Presently, what does Israel fear so much? fingers would be pointed at the West and confirm the worst suspicions that even middle class Egyptians have towards Israel, “Democracy and Human Rights for you but a piece of bread and a bowel of foul for you”

    If there is a new Government, the Peace deal will not be off but as El Baredi said, “We will review our foreign policy” which will probably mean the Gaza blockade is off and probably Egyptian support for an invasion of Lebanon or an attack on Iran would not be supported.

  • Michael

    “As for Michael, he asks and replies to his question himself (take a look at his latest post on the Friday’s weekly discussion).
    FYI, Michael, I knew the Southern Levant before Joan Peters published her book, I knew that the British called the East Bank of the Jordan Moab while creating a job for some emir exiled from Arabia (Avi Shlaim called his grandson “my little king”). And I knew that the capital of the ancient Israeli Kingdom was on the East Bank too. I knew Gilad region on the East Bank and legends from there.
    Listen to the second hour, Michael, and think about Germanic genius.”

    Again Zinovy Vayman, Galilee, Proof? The ancient Israeli Kingdom is not the same as the current created state you are aware of this right? And what’s the deal with Germanic comments? You are aware if it wasn’t for the information and culture taken from the arab world toward the end of the dark ages those Germanic states may not be the way there are today. As well legends do not mean facts or the Truth. You never answered or explain why you use the word Dilution of the Germanic Race?

    Nice that you knew about Southern Levant yet said your repeating her debunked lies. Your German master comment was quite troubling as well. Any reason why you make such a comment?

  • Brandstad

    While it would be great to have a democracy or republic in the middle east, the more likely prospect is that Egypt will become another unstable and oppressive Muslim military state used to threaten Israel.

  • Al Dorman

    (Boston, MA)
    The most risible line that I’ve heard from all these elitists on the Sunday chat-shows was

    “We want Democracy, but not what it might bring.”

    Let’s just deconstruct that statement a minute and learn the truth about our history. Start with the colonial mass murder we used to open up the Philippines, our Cold War implementations of right-wing dictators in Greece and Iran and other right-wing dictators in Guatemala and Chile. In this context, Egypt is par for the course. And the truth is we can refine that statement above.

    “We don’t want Democracy.”

  • John

    A successful democracy requires a secular society. Voting in a theocracy is not a triumph of freedom.

  • Cecilia from Jamaica Plain

    I am inspired by the courage and commitment to democracy that the Egyptian people are showing. I hope our government will actually stand for democracy this time and pledge its support as Egypt transitions into a government of and for the people.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    What’s happening across the Arab world is about time. The United States bears some guilt here, but so do the people of the countries in question. America needs to accept its duty to defend democracy and trust these democratic movements. The good news is that we can’t stop them anyway, and we might as well support them.

  • Brian, Amston, CT

    Is there really anyone, anywhere who isn’t with the Egyptian and Tunisian people right now? This is a HUMAN issue. Go Humans!

  • Charles A. Bowsher

    My idea for the Egyptian people to have their wishes heard.

    Last year I developed a model polling system for large crowds. It is modeled after the system used in stadiums to put on colorful displays where everyone has colored cards to hold over their heads to represent various images, designs or words. This technique can be used in areas similar to the square in Cairo where everyone is now apparently gathering on a “shifts” basis. It does require a central communication point or screen where questions can be put to the people assembled. In its most basic form my model would use simple yes/no questions and a single card with a different color, number, or letter (think Y/N, or white/brown) on each side of the card. For example, a question to put In the square in Cairo might be to ask, Do you wish President Mubarek to resign? If a person wants him to resign then they hold up the white side or “Y” side of the card. If they want him to stay they hold up the brown side or “N” side of the card. From a vantage point above, the decision will be obvious if the majority of the people lean one way. So the people can actually “see” the results instantaneously have display screens which show in real time an image of the crowd. For a more detailed analysis I envisioned when this came to me that software could be designed that could accurately count the number of “Y” cards and the “N” cards via imaging technology.

    I hope that the Egyptians have a chance to have their voices heard. I hope that this little offering is some help.

    If there are any engineers out their who can help with developing or financing the other refinements and enhancements please contact me via this site. Thanks, Charles, in KY.

  • Brandstad

    John,10:09 AM:

    A successful democracy requires a well educated and civil society. Without either of the two results in chaos or worse. I have been to Egypt and they are neither well educated nor civil.

  • Larry

    Obama should step up now and say Mubarak and his new torturer-in-chief vice-president Suleiman must go.

    Otherwise the America people will see him for the fraud that he is regarding Democracy for people around the world.

  • John

    I think that proposed voting technique would be horrible. A secret ballot is needed, not a way to appear to legitimize a crowd’s opinion.

  • Brandstad

    Obama has little to know foreign policy experience. It appears that his mode of operation with foreign policy is to lie low and say little.

    We will find out soon if Obama is a leader or a follower.

  • BHA – Vermont

    I don’t believe that Mubarak can ‘rope a dope’ his way back in. The place has exploded, it isn’t just a few people breaking windows in protest.

    You can’t put that back in the can and close the lid. The only hope for Egypt is for him to leave and someone who is massively popular (IS there anyone??) takes over with a plan for elections in 6 to 12 months.

  • Ethel

    Please stop blaming Israel for all the problems in the region.

    http://vimeo.com/16779150

  • John

    I want to share the Coptic Christian perspective with your audience and highlight their conspicuous absence from this protest movement.

    For the next 3 days, the 10 million Copts (Coptic Christians) living in Egypt and also the 10 million living abroad are engaging in a fast for the next 3 days as we all pray for a positive outcome … specifically, that a secular resolution can occur that will not leave us living under a fundamentalist regime headed by Il’ ikhwan (Muslim Brotherhood). (I don’t think that I or any other Egyptians really believed the view of your Brookings Institute advocate the other day who was glossing over their positions with a fairly positive brush.)

    Ultimately, I and some others are cautiously optimistic about this new movement, and that we can experience a fair and free democracy with those proper safeguards that Hillary Clinton called for … perhaps something like constitutional limits or strong, objective judicial system … as a way to prevent a “tyranny of the majority.”

    In the 70s and 80s, the Christian community experienced a similar moment of fear and uncertainty, and in the end God heard our prayers and protected us (like the last 1500 years). I trust that the future may not be so bad …

    John
    Princeton, NJ

  • Larry

    I love how our elites (Washington included) don’t seem to understand how this could have happened.

    Shouldn’t these people be happy living their 2-dollars-a-day life with the threat of torture ever present if they dissent?

    They can’t seem to imagine that these masses want and are demanding more.

  • http://zeitvox.com Citizen Zed

    Check out Juan Cole’s number one foreign policy challenge, written on 1/1/11: http://goo.gl/tMp7d

    When Tunisia went so quickly, it shouldn’t have been surprising that Egypt would light up, the question was only how far it could go: http://goo.gl/Cujpr

    The people of Egypt have been in suspended animation, emasculated by the machinery of geopolitics and the “peace process”. Sleeper has awoken in Egypt. And one upshot, along with release of “Palestine Papers” is that the “peace process” is dead.

  • Larry

    A successful democracy requires a well educated and civil society. Without either of the two results in chaos or worse. I have been to Egypt and they are neither well educated nor civil.
    Posted by Brandstad

    And you think Americans are?

  • cory

    C’mon. This is a double nothing burger with a side of who cares. Somebody please tell me what’s gonna change in Egypt? It is just as likely to get worse there than it is to get better.

    Good God, they could end up with a plutocracy like ours!

    Leftfield, Wisconsin

  • Andrea Griffin

    What I would like to hear is LESS about how the uprisings in Egypt will affect the US and/ or Israel and more about a peoples right to determine freely and fairly the kind of nation and government THEY want. This revolution is NOT about us!

    I’m from Hanover, PA

  • http://WRNI Rich

    My concern is a repeat of history.
    Saddam was toppled in Iraq and it was reduced to sectarian islamist based violence. Here we have another, perhaps less violent and demented ruler who has fought to keep his country secular and open being removed. This will be reduced to another islamic, intolerant US and Israel hating republic.
    Is it possible that some nations need to be run with a stronger hand because that is the language understood there? That democracy is possible but not really welcomed by the opposing parties?

  • Michael, Jersey City, NJ

    Are you kidding me?! How can there be so many rational Brotherhood sympathy on this program?

    Lets not forget that Hamas is a daughter organization of the Brotherhood. Nearly every terrorist attack for the last few decades in Egypt has been organized through the Brotherhood – both against Christians and tourists.

    Verbal denunciation of violence is all fine and dandy, but you have to wonder whether or not there must have been a credible reason why the U.S. left Mubarak in power for so long on his mere threat that they were the likely alternative.

  • Larry

    “What are the core America interests?”

    That’s easy.

    Israel and OIL.

  • Brian, Amston, CT

    Brandstad said — “A successful democracy requires a well educated and civil society. Without either of the two results in chaos or worse. I have been to Egypt and they are neither well educated nor civil.”

    One need only turn on the television to get the same impression about Americans. Be careful about making blanket judgments. Most Egyptians are EXTREMELY civil and they have demonstrated this via their respectful approach with the soldiers, and neighbors protecting and taking care of each other.

  • http://cyberfumes.blogspot.com Dave Eger

    I think that would depend on who the “we” is that is going to be in trouble.

  • Sara

    I’m wondering what’s going on in Yemen, sounds like they have a much greater challenge; and Iran, from so many months ago.

    I’m disappointed that our government may be backing Mubarak more than Egyptian citizens.

    I can’t believe that some people in our country, as I saw on the Daily Show, attributes these inspired citizens actions to Obama or Bush…really?

    It all makes me think of what little I know of our own revolution, where France helped us. I don’t believe they tried to control how our government would form.

  • Bumstead

    I agree with Brandstad. Obama needs to take control of foreign policy just like George W. Bush did. Send in our military and occupy the country. And borrow the total cost of doing it.

  • Hayyim

    I’m sorry the time pressure led Tom to cut off my call. I wanted to say that the reason our government and policy-making circles are so deeply suspicious of democractic transformation in the Middle East is their guilty conscience. They anticipate that when the people of Egypt and elsewhere become free to form a government that reflects their political views, including in foreign policy, their anger at long-standing U.S. support for their repressors will come to the fore.

    When one has a guilty conscience, the place to begin is with some reflection and repentance. On that basis we would be able to celebrate this most American-inspired, social-networking, democratic upheaval.

  • Sam Kopper

    THIS is the way revolution leading to democracy SHOULD look. THIS is what America SHOULD back. THIS is what will, when history looks back, COULD (if we handle it right) make a total mockery of the sad, tragic, misconceived military-created interventionism of George Bush. Andrew Bacevich should call the shots now.

  • Ashraf

    No body asked the logical question till now, why everyone other than Mubarak are against Israel? change your policy against Israel and everyone will be happy.

  • http://onanov.com Donald Baxter, Iowa City, IA

    the United States, an allegedly democratic country, doesn’t trust other nations with democracy it seems–surely the USA trusts Egyptians with free and fair elections about as much as Mubarak does.

  • geffe

    There are 10 million Coptic Christians in Egypt. They have been living in Egypt since the first millennium which is way before Islam was even a religion. How does this effect them?

    If Egypt becomes a Islamic state, which is could, what next?

  • Larry

    I agree with Brandstad. Obama needs to take control of foreign policy just like George W. Bush did. Send in our military and occupy the country. And borrow the total cost of doing it.
    Posted by Bumstead

    So right. We are already over there and what are the 140,000 mercenaries we are paying 4 and 5 times what US soldiers get paid going to do when we “leave” Iraq?

  • geffe

    No body asked the logical question till now, why everyone other than Mubarak are against Israel? change your policy against Israel and everyone will be happy.
    Posted by Ashraf

    Wow, you have such an amazing command of international relations and the complexity of this region.

    I suppose you could say the same about Iran as they are not Arabs, add to that that 90% of Iranians are Shi’a.

    Wait, we are already doing this and it has no effect on the problems in the region.

  • geffe

    Larry, Bumstead was joking, he was being ironic.

  • Larry

    Larry, Bumstead was joking, he was being ironic.
    Posted by geffe

    I know.

  • Ashraf

    No body asked the logical question till now, why everyone other than Mubarak are against Israel? change your policy against Israel and everyone will be happy.
    Posted by Ashraf

    Wow, you have such an amazing command of international relations and the complexity of this region.

    I suppose you could say the same about Iran as they are not Arabs, add to that that 90% of Iranians are Shi’a.

    Wait, we are already doing this and it has no effect on the problems in the region.

    Posted by geffe

    Can you tell me what exactly are you doing? I just want to remind you that the Arab world had no problem with US till 1948, when you implanted Israel in the middle east. We, in Egypt, have never invaded any country. We fought in 1973 to get back our land. You want to suppress the Arab and Muslim world for ever, and you thought you succeeded, but our revolution shocked you. Change your policy, respect our rights, and we are willing to live in peace. If you gathered the nuclear arsenal of the whole world and bombed us with it, you can NOT stop us from getting our freedom.

    The region is not that complex sir, it is just your media that brain-washed you to convince Americans that this is the only way to deal with the situation.

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    Zinovy, you refer I think to a post from Friday; I’m not sure. You think the Japanese and North Americans Germanize their government and Egypt has not? (What is “germanize”? What is Egypt’s government that is NOT germanic? Egypt’s government seems very german in its emphasis on order and control, if you ask me. Just for starters.)
    Are you confusing Germanic with Celtic? Do you mean Germanic DNA? Or Germanic philosophy? If you mean dialectical logic, a lot of that is Greek, a lot of that is Arabic, a lot of that is Jewish — none of that being Germanic, as far as I know.
    I wasn’t talking about Germanic. I have a great respect for Germany. The Protestant Reformation started there, with a monk called Martin Luther, who saw the corruption based in the ignorance of people unable to read the Bible themselves (preprinting press), but Catholics also heard Latin in church; the flock was not supposed to understand, in many ways. Something happened in Germany that was different from the rest of Europe circa 1840, and it has to do with no tradition of unity, rather many principalities, princes, and therefore less authoritarian. Therefore pulling together a concept of Germany came late. Certainly back in Roman times, Germany was a thruway for invasions (the best I can remember). So “Germanic” means what? Well-organized? Great poets of the 19th century? Great philosophers and composers of the same era?
    What do you mean by Germanic? Are you defining “what I admire” as Germanic?

  • geffe

    OK then why did you post what you did? I love the semll of double irony in the morning…

    One has to ask why we don’t have more protest here in the US. The Egyptians are protesting about their standard of living as well as the oppressive Mubarak regime.
    The middle class in this country is losing ground just as they have in Egypt. We are not at the state of the Egyptians, but the question is how long until we are?

    We live in a plutocracy and we Americans seem pretty complacent about it. ( I’m including myself in this complacency)

  • geffe

    OK then why did you post what you did? I love the smell of double irony in the morning…

    One has to ask why we don’t have more protest here in the US. The Egyptians are protesting about their standard of living as well as the oppressive Mubarak regime.
    The middle class in this country is losing ground just as they have in Egypt. We are not at the state of the Egyptians, but the question is how long until we are?

    We live in a plutocracy and we Americans seem pretty complacent about it. ( I’m including myself in this complacency)

  • Dean

    Geffe, please knock off the comparisons between American government and Egyptian.

    We are the richest country on Earth, they one of the poorest.
    Our government is partly corrupt, but not completely.
    We have actual elections, they do not.

  • Larry

    The elites in this country are intent on looting the very foundations of the economy until it all falls in.

    Then, Americans will have no choice on what they must do to survive.

  • geffe

    Ashraf, it’s all Israel’s fault, I get it.

    What I’m trying to do is to point out how your statement was misguided. If Israel did not exist do you think things would be different in the Middle East in terms of oppressive regimes? Do you really think that there would not be a Murbarak or an Assad?

  • Dean

    The simple truth is that the policies of the US in the Middle East are coming back to bite us in the tush. But it might end up being a love-bite, not a mauling – if we live up to our own creed for a change!

    We now have a chance to become the beacon of democracy we have illegitimately claimed to be for two centuries. No more propping up totalitarian regimes for our own imperial purposes. Ultimately, that will be the end of us, the way it was for Britain, and Rome, and every other empire in history.

    Let this country rule itself, and it will have no beef with the US. It never did before we got too involved in the Middle East, and would have no reason to after.

    Saudi Arabia might be next, and that would be good in the long run as well. They will still trade oil with us, as it is the entirety of their economy. It will come at their wish, though, not ours, and that is nothing more than free enterprise. e are supposed to worship that, as well.

    We also cannot continue to guarantee the existence of Israel at our own expense. It was created out of a distant dream, and it has been coddled for sixty years by the strongest nation on Earth. It has not been in the interests of the US to continue that coddling, certainly since the end of the Cold War.

    If Israel is a successful enterprise, it must be so on its own now. If it can succeed under its own cultural and economic power, we will continue to be its friend. But if it cannot, under the weight of its opposing resident majority, it should disappear into the dreams of history again, and we must let it do so.

  • Dan

    Ashraf how about giving back the land to the 1 million Jewish refugees kicked out of Arab countries

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    The guests were great. Too great. I’ll have to relisten. (Wishing for transcript here.)
    It was one of the women who was saying the State Department can hardly be seen to first encourage the Tunisian uprising and then DIScourage the Egyptian uprising. We have been “caught out.” The world has played upon us what Obama played upon the AMA when he got them out of the goodness of their beneficence to agree to send doctors to Vietnam, and then (THEN), in front of the cameras, how could they THEN fulfill the purpose of their visit and state that they could not continue to treat senior citizens on Medicare with rates of remuneration less than they want.
    Here, how can the US not support Egyptian citizen interests (like the Medicare patients) after supporting the Tunisian citizens (the special doctors sent to Vietnam).
    Somebody on the show said that no faction in Egypt has any interest in making war on Israel, which certainly was the issue that created the peace treaty between Sadat and Carter. The 1967 war preceded that treaty by about 13 or 14 years. The desert boundary I believe had been a route of incursion by Egypt. But I’m not sure I see how billions of US dollars are needed in order to NOT send tanks over that desert line. Maybe it takes billions of defense dollars to CROSS that line and venture into Israel’s vast southern desert. But to hold back???? The cost of sitting pat? Has Israel shown signs of taking back the Sinai?
    Oy!

  • mary elizabeth

    To Larry
    Let us first celebrate the bravery of the Egyptian people and join with them in spirit. Let’s not use it as another opportunity by some to stick it to Obama. He indeed does champion the human rights of the Egyptian people and always has. As President,he is walking a very thin line and cannot risk an implosion by giving out poorly thought out statements to a population already on the edge.

  • Larry

    To Larry
    Let us first celebrate the bravery of the Egyptian people and join with them in spirit. Let’s not use it as another opportunity by some to stick it to Obama. He indeed does champion the human rights of the Egyptian people and always has. As President,he is walking a very thin line and cannot risk an implosion by giving out poorly thought out statements to a population already on the edge.
    Posted by mary elizabeth

    I do celebrate the bravery of the Egyptian people.

    I just don’t want to see them crushed by the lack of bravery from Obama.

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    Someone posted, if we don’t let Egypt’s current uprising succeed (as if we the Americans had any say in it), there will only be a greater and worse revolution later on. The pressure cooker theory. The “pressure” was being set out as extremism, as if the only democratic “heat” in that part of the planet were radical jihad.
    From the documentaries I’ve seen, radical jihad to some extent came about the same way the arming of al Kaida came about, as a spinoff of our attempting to gain supporters more familiar with that part of the world who would drive the Soviets out of Afghanistan. Money came into the region, I think from Saudi Arabia, to educate children (and feed them, by the way), educating them the way they do, in the Quran. I don’t know the exact arc, and Pakistan is vast, but jihad is now being seen as a DEFENSIVE struggle, not an aggressive struggle. It is a defense against a “West” that is determined to undermine them. I forget what it is the West is doing, but invading, demeaning religious attitudes, creating threats and challenges (cultural and physical) in many parts of the Islamic world.
    There are a few nonprofits who make it their business to carry the good news to various Islamic mosques that no, the West is not trying to crush Islam, and they do not need to feel threatened, and therefore feel that they need to crush the West.
    I’m not sure what “the West” is. I understand that David Letterman has quite a following among even rather fundamentalist Muslims. They like the way he interacts with the powers that be. He can chop away at this and that and get away with it, even get a laugh. Oh, is this the Western way?
    So apparently freedom of expression and freedom of assembly are parts of “the West” that even jihad has some respect for. But when jihadis feel that their values and homes are being attacked, then what do you expect? Is it paranoid for them to say that? I ask you.
    Sometimes a nation that is coming together into a democratic whole creates the most beautiful and powerful traditions. I’m thinking of Germany as it came together, and Italy as it came together — after the upheavals in Europe that happened around 1840. Enough of kings and empires. Enough of every little duke with his entourage. Let’s come together in nations, and make a name for ourselves. And then you have cultural renaissance and much to celebrate. Egypt could do that too. They don’t necessarily go straight to Mussolini and Hitler. Or, as in Russia, straight to Stalin. Why not? Because of twitter. If there are actually reasonable people out there, they can identify and capture the zealots and put them in zoos. Okay, I go too far. We are likely to face 3 billion bin-ladens. Okay, I go too far.

  • http://shulmandesign.net Alan Shulman

    Nothing against Martin Luther and his efforts to expose corruption in the Roman Catholic church’s hierarchy and philosophy, but John Wycliff (English) and John Hus (Czech) both preceded Martin Luther in calling for reform of the same practices in that church.

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    Jeffe, I actually do think the dictators you mention (Mubarak and Assad) might not have such an iron fist if there weren’t such oil reserves within their purview (the Suez Canal, actual wells). Would the United States care so much about Israel, with its purported defense system (nuclear), which Netanyahu says is useless to Israel because a first strike would wipe them out, would we send money not only to Israel but to Egypt on Israel’s behalf, by the billions, if it were not to defend oil interests in the region?
    And in order to protect oil interests, you can’t risk governments answerable to the people, rather than governments answerable to American foreign aid. How can a tyrant be a puppet? I ask you. I don’t know the area closely, but I would say without the oil, our tax money would stay at home and be building a 21st century infrastructure. In short, there is something circular going on.
    American interests: oil and Israel can be collapsed into oil and a client-state (or so) to keep it flowing.
    If we have a broader interest in the stability that we say democracy can bring, that remains to be seen. It actually remains to be seen here as well, because just like countries where elections are fraudulent and therefore participation is either 100% (remember Iraq? voting for Saddam Hussein by 100%?) or very low. If we drum up enough partisanship, we can get a fair turnout, but it is not too impressive.
    People are in the streets in America now. In Cambridge, for example, demonstrating for people in Egypt. We like the idea of people coming together and putting together a better system. Evolution or revolution? Or some blend. Oh, I hope there is NOT some “strong man” to foist order. I hope there is a “weak sister” (or several) to help generate the best Egypt can bring.

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    Alan, yes. And you could find reformers of all stripes from all over the earth. Reformers/protesters, prisoners of conscience, travelers of the way less traveled — they all depend upon human freedoms or actually they blaze the trails as they go. Democracy is a process, not an achievement. It is perpetual change. Thomas Jefferson knew it. Our whole history is about that. One doesn’t seal it up and bake it and eat it. It’s organic.

  • Mariam Boston

    I don’t think the fear of extremists is just a scarecrow tactic. It is real. They may start quietly and once in power they can change. We experienced that in Iran and we can see how hard liners have expanded their enemies to their once close friends, let’s say no more . That said, Egypt does not have an iconic leader as Iranian revolution had. The waves of demonstrators will sweep us whether we side with them or not. I am disappointed by the administration reaction to what is imminent. U.S has to convince Mubarak to leave, they have to try to establish a communication channel with moderate opposition, try to support them and influence them if you will, in order to minimize the effects of the impact. Unfortunately I can see this opportunity is slipping away, the way the administration has been reacting. They keep consulting Israel, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, fine, but look it is coming and these guys didn’t get it either. The right wing of Israeli government can not offer any solutions, intel might be, and has failed by further radicalizing the movements over the past few decades.

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    I should say that a great deal of German culture that I love so much is actually Jewish. It is Germanic in the sense of being part of German culture, but it is Jewish. (I’m getting dizzy. I’m going out for a walk. I’m waiting to hear why my DNA has cursed me because of my ancestors about 3,000 years back, or blessed me. But I know about mathematics and see that for family trees to be complete, you get a shape like this, and you’ll all find you are descended from Alexander the Great or Abraham or … (starting 1870)
    ——————————————– begat 1
    ……………………………. begat 2
    ………………… begat 3 (60 yrs)
    ………….. begat 4 (80 yrs)
    …… begat 5 (100 yrs later)
    …. begat 6 (120 yrs later)
    . (me)

  • http://shulmandesign.net Alan Shulman

    I am less hopeful than you about the positive outcomes that result from the creation of nations, Ellen, though certainly I wish the best for Egyptians and all peoples, including our own, as they seek justice and true representation. Germany, did not go straight to Hitler, but before him there was the Kaiser and before him Bismarck, certainly no democrats they. Too soon I fear new nations descend into organizations to promote the interests of a select few whose concerns soon diverge from those of the average person. With that in mind, perhaps we all should be embracing Jefferson’s revolution every generation.

  • Zeno

    Whatever happens in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Israel, ect should be none of our business. They are sovereign nations seeking the best governance that they can muster. We should have no opinion or input into THEIR affairs, and should just stop telling others what we want.

    Ironically stated hopes and dreams for good governance from a a failing empire which should put it own house in order first.

  • http://NPR jerome parker

    Leslie Gelb? Why not just have Netanyahu decide the fate of the revolution?

  • arius

    Tough times for the US. Cat is out of the bag now and everyone knows what US foreign policy is really about.. Its payback time.. people in US.. start selling your stocks.

  • Zinovy Vayman, Galilee

    Ellen Dibble says the truth:
    “I should say that a great deal of German culture that I love so much is actually Jewish. It is Germanic in the sense of being part of German culture, but it is Jewish. (I’m getting dizzy. I’m going out for a walk. I’m waiting to hear why my DNA has cursed me because of my ancestors about 3,000 years back, or blessed me. But I know about mathematics and see that for family trees to be complete, you get a shape like this, and you’ll all find you are descended from Alexander the Great or Abraham or … (starting 1870)
    ——————————————– begat 1
    ……………………………. begat 2
    ………………… begat 3 (60 yrs)
    ………….. begat 4 (80 yrs)
    …… begat 5 (100 yrs later)
    …. begat 6 (120 yrs later)
    . (me)”

    Dear Ellen:

    It looks like you are one of the best of writers congregating on this blog and exchanging their observations in a GERMANIC tongue.
    It is the fusion of the Germanic and Jewish genes which produced the outstanding phenomenon of the North Atlantic civilization.
    I advised Michael to plumb Germanic genius in the second hour but Diane is Jewish with a German nobility name

    Let’s try to understand why Germanic peoples and Jews are so advanced that others are ready to chop them to pieces. For starters, it is more complicated than just Abraham, Alexander from Macedonia or Chenguiz-han.

  • geffe

    I actually do think the dictators you mention (Mubarak and Assad) might not have such an iron fist if there weren’t such oil reserves within their purview (the Suez Canal, actual wells).

    Kind of a red herring is it not? The Middle East is an oil center and the industrial world depends on oil to a large extent. Even so why do you think that a dictator such as Mubarak would not be in charge one way or another?
    There are plenty of examples of countries that do not have oil that have or had dictators. Romania comes to mind as does the former Yugoslavia.

  • Dave in RI

    In a month or so, Jews the world over will celebrate the achievement of their freedom from an oppressive Egyptian regime some 5000 years ago. It is amazing to think that this year, the Egyptian people themselves may celebrate their own, parallel liberation!

    I hope and pray that the fruits of liberty will bring the two peoples into closer relationship.

  • John

    There is no evidence supporting that myth.

  • Jon

    It looks to me that just 2 to 3 people answering each other on this board..boba bowee

  • William

    It is interesting that the Obama administration would not support the rebellion in Iran a few years ago but supports this one in Egypt.

  • Joseph

    I hope we have learned the lesson now that we should have learned from previous experiences, over and over, since the end of WWII. People in these countries will in the end decide what government to have. If the U.S. attempts to install or prop-up a government because we think it is in the interest of the US., something that has historically usually meant corporate interests, in the end it will come back to bite us in the the ass when the unstoppable tide brings in a government that now has reason to be hostile to the U.S. as a country. A lesson that we are already fated to learn again when the U.S. occupation ends in Iraq and Afghanistan and those countries truly choose their own government. The best thing the U.S. can do as far as Egypt goes is to stand clear.

  • Michael

    Reported in Haataz News today the Tea-Fav called for cutting off aid to both egypt and Israel and stated

    Tea Party representative Rand Paul tells CNN’s Wolf Blitzer he has a lot of respect for Israel but he doesn’t believe the U.S. should be funding the Mideast arms race during financial crisis. In an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Wednesday Paul said that “Reuters did a poll, and 71 percent of American people agree with me that when we’re short of money, where we can’t do the things we need to do in our country, we certainly shouldn’t be shipping the money overseas.”

    “You have to ask yourself, are we funding an arms race on both sides? I have a lot of sympathy and respect for Israel as a democratic nation, as, you know, a fountain of peace and a fountain of democracy within the Middle East. But at the same time, I don’t think funding both sides of the arm race, particularly when we have to borrow the money from China to send it to someone else. We just can’t do it anymore. The debt is all- consuming and it threatens our well-being as a country,” Paul said.

    The response even by J-Street was tough.

    ““Senator Paul’s proposal would undermine the decades-long bipartisan consensus on U.S. support for Israel. Any erosion of support should concern Israel’s friends on both sides of the political aisle, and we call in particular on leaders and donors in Senator Paul’s party to repudiate his comments and ensure that American leadership around the world is not threatened by this irresponsible proposal,” the statement issued by J Street read. ”

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/u-s-democrats-and-pro-israel-lobbies-slam-republican-senator-s-call-to-halt-israel-aid-1.339662#

    So when the U.S. wants to try and bring a peace deal to the middle east and ask the Israeli to stop settlements there told to bug out but when the U.S. says okay btw your not getting any more money or we’re reducing aid there supporters go crazy.

    The comments below it are quite interesting as well. Both the left and right are agreeing with the guy. close to a 50/50 split it seems.

    To be fair Senator Paul called for cutting all Foreign aid not just to israel.

  • david

    So many countries in turmoil all around in this one area. Does anyone ask why???? Is there something else going on behind the curtain. The Muslim brotherhood is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I bet this little uprising spreads further. How about Europe are maybe the USA. I heard on the news a man in Chicago at a protest rally calling for revolution here in USA just like the ones over there, against our government!
    Dangerous times.

  • joshua

    why is American media so dramatic? I suspect CIA, US empire building hands at work and were all supposed to cower–oooh listen to the big bad planes overhead! bunch a crap.

    What did Egypt do to piss off the US fascists?

  • Ren

    I just heard Hillary Clinton utter: “We want to see a real democracy that reflects the vibrancy of Egyptian society . . . .” Total baloney. Why? The U.S. rendition program with Egypt is an unprincipled program of torture. Torture does not reflect in any shape or form a vibrancy of any society. See Human Right Watch report:
    http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2011/01/31/egypt-impunity-torture-fuels-days-rage

    Egypt is currently a client state of the U.S.: aid for pacification and status quo in the Muslim world.

  • joshua

    David–we do need a revolution in America. You can’t possibly believe there is anything good about the billionaire fascists that have taken over the US gov. They never ever ever ever do anything the people want or in the people’s interest. The US is not a democracy. Don’t be a fool. Americans are so apathetic and ignorant and sheepish, while every other country in the world rises up and takes actions–in true democracies. Even if we had a benevolent monarchy we would be better off. The media is a farce. The gov is an illegitimate illusion, a farce, a joke, a tyrant. open your eyes. America is not just and America is not immune to evil. To do nothing is guilt. Nazi soldiers were condemned for taking orders and propping up evil–and ignorance was not an excuse. America rise up!

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    I am still wondering about the super-race of German extraction dominating the earth and being challenged by non-Germans. I have not read Wagner, but I do recall reading about one wave after another pouring out of the vast Russian steppes into the Roman empire, each with separate genes. Germany did not congeal into a nation until after Napoleon, after the Austro-Hungarian empire, being part Spanish. Excuse my spotty history. But the word for German in Russian is nemetz, which as I recall means something like outsider, “one who does not speak,” or “one who does not speak our language.” Or maybe “man without a country,” person of no place.” And the word German? Means cousin or relative, related, “germane.” And Deutsch as in Deutschland? I think it means folks, us folks, but I’m not finding my sources.
    If you were a reader of Arabic, you would probably think all the great writers and thinkers were Arabic, and all the great people were those they wrote about and extolled. Likewise if you were a reader of Chinese. Likewise Russian and Slavic languages. I’m tempted to be facetious and say since I don’t know about African history and language, clearly they don’t have anything of any merit.
    A nice short history of Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood is in “A Traveller’s History of Egypt,” by Harry Ades, published by Interlink in 2007, from about page 350. I’ll try to do a synopsis.

  • Ren

    Someone here wrote: “What I would like to hear is LESS about how the uprisings in Egypt will affect the US and/ or Israel and more about a peoples right to determine freely and fairly the kind of nation and government THEY want. This revolution is NOT about us!”

    It’s all about the U.S. and U.S. hegemony in the Middle East. What obscurantists term “U.S. strategic interests” needs to be made clear. This is the global problem of the late 20th and 21st centuries. Unpack the “interests” and you begin to unravel the institutions of oppression sustained to procure these “interests.” Unfortunately, Americans are unable to move beyond sloganisms, and tackle their government’s material complicity in propping up dictatorships/oligarchies around the world.

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    In 1973 Sadat took the Sinai from Israel, “proclaimed the war a glorious triumph, despite … about 5500 killed. Even so, this … exploded the myth of Israeli invincibility… the oil states clamoured to supply Egypt with financial and military aid.”
    “Renewed relations with West after the October War [led to} infitah, the 'open door' policy ... June 1974, offered incentives, Western technology, and Arab oil money to revitalise the private sector. It was hoped this would liberalise the market, reverse the suffocating centralisation of the Nasserist economy and pare down the serpentine bureaucracy..."
    "Neither did infitah solve the problem of mounting foreign debt nor provide food for a population fast approaching 40 million people. Where Egypt had for centuries been the breadbasket of the world, it now had to import more than half of its grain. High inflation had forced ... subsidies on basic consumer goods... The [IMF] [made Egypt squeeze its people]. The instant and violent reaction from the people rocked the regime. Riots broke out in Cairo, Alexandria … 80 people were killed and 800 injured. Such scenes had not been seen since the riots of 1952, which was also the last time that the army had to be called in to restore order. The government quickly backtracked, restoring subsidies…. Most also realized thhat proper foreign investment would not come until Egypt had peace with Israel.” Next, Camp David in 1978, and Sadat’s peace. In May 1977, the Arab Socialist Union was dissolved, but the new multi-party democracy “made it virtually impossible for real opposition to form. Sadat guaranteed his primacy by taking control … as the National Democratic Party (NDP)…” “Parties could not be constituted on a religious basis, but from the early years Sadat, the self-proclaimed ‘pious president,’ had encouraged the resuscitation of Islamic organisations.”
    (Okay, so the internal dynamics of a religious group were recognized and encouraged. Remind you of anything?)

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    To continue from the Short history for travellers:

    Sadat hoped by nurturing Islamists to “please his donors in the religiously conservative Arab world, and also counter the activities of the ‘atheist’ left at home, which he regarded as his most dangerous opponent. … to attract young people to movements apparently less hostile to his regime. Within a couple of years, radical Islamic organisations including the Muslim Brotherhood were not only dominating student unions but also flourishing in society at large. The public seemed to be rediscovering religion since the passing of the Nasser years… Television programmes began to centor ‘offensive’ scenes featuring kissing, drinking or adultery…” “The Coptic Church also enjoyed a spiritual reinvigoration from 1971.”
    Then the Islamists rejected the Camp David accords, Muslims and Copts clashed. “Using hs notorioius new ‘Law of Shame’ to muzzle his detractors, he ordered the arrest of 1536 people in September 1981…” and Sadat was assassinated by an organized group of four in October. Mubarak had been the vice president. In turn, he sought to “extend a placatory hand not only to Islamists but to the opposition in general.”
    “Only once , briefly, has there [been serious challenge to Mubarak], after 17,000 conscripts of the Central Security Forces rioted in February 1986 over poor wages and living conditions, setting fire to hotels, cars and nightclubs in the tourist areas around the pyramids at Giza.” The field marshal Abu Ghazala quelled the revolt, but being strong enough to do that, he was strong enough to have had rumors about him ascending to the presidency. So he was removed from office in 1989.
    “Following Sadat’s murder in 1981, the Muslim Brotherhood was forced to distance itself from militants and adopt a more moderate line. It renounced violence and was given opportunity…” “The Brothers made quick progress, capturing the high-ground in moral and cultural debates anad winning support in areas whose elections were outside direct government control — student unions and professional guilds, including those for doctors, dentists, engineers, pharmacists and finally lawyers too. In the 1987 parliamentary elections they took sixty seats in coalition with the Socialist Labour Party, a measure of their enormous informal power and backing by the devout and educated middle classes.”
    (Hey, I thought it was the bottom 10 percent; or 20 percent, and that they function as a social service safety net…)

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    Continuing from Harry Ades’ book: “For a while, the militants kept a low profile. Some that had been arrested in the 1981 clampdown and released in 1984 began to reform secretly as Jamaa Islamiya (“Islamic Group’), under the tutelage of the blind Sheik Umar Abd al-Rahman [he who is in prison for life I believe due to his part in the first World Trade Center explosion], the mufti of Sadat’s assassins. Others, like the physician Ayman al-Zawahiri, leader of al-Jihad, were hustled out of the country and urged to join the jihad in Afghanistan against the Soviets… The USSR collapsed and the militlants returned battle-hardened and fanatical, as convinced of their invincibility as of the justness of their cause.”
    “The two extremist groups, Mamaa Islamiya and al-Jihad, unleashed a brutal terror offensive against the Mubarak regime between 1992 and 1997.”

    I think that’s enough. You can probably remember the attacks on tourists? The bus of several dozens tourists shot down, for instance? Tourism is a huge percentage of Egypt’s GDP.
    Why is Egypt so economically vulnerable? Mubarak has done a few projects towards enabling his country to produce more, participate more.
    I obviously have to read a lot more.
    But as usual, to say his regime was dictatorial isn’t the whole story; nor is it the whole story to say he is using oppression to keep down the Muslim Brotherhood.

  • Robert Hennecke

    Seriously you people are getting seriously off topic by drifting into how Germans and Jews have much to do with the Egyptians. Egyptians are Egyptians and they need to be allowed to make their own decisions and create their own futures without any limitations or threats to do this or that. Let them be who they want and must be.
    Regarding concern that the military in Egypt will open fire on the citizens of Egypt and the likelihood of Mubarak to step down: Since ancient times (when the pyramids were being built) the military was a cornerstone of Egyptian society tha…t guaranteed the integrity and continuity of the state at all cost. Even Pharohs were temporary if they stumbled too much and were deemed a threat to the stability of Egypt. The reason Mubarak has yet to step down is (I’m certain) is that he is being provided a short period to settle affairs and prepare to permanently leave. PROOF: his children and wife have already left for London with 100 suitcases. The military is trying to map out the best possible scenario but they will not permit total anarchy to break out, not permit extremist to take control and is more likely than not trying to strike a balance between domestic concerns and maintaining international support. Mubarak is guaranteed to be gone within a week at the most. There is NO WAY that Egypt’s military will open fire on protesting civilians, absolutely no way and certainly not on orders from a president with a short shelf life

  • Martin Miller

    down with dictators!

    The symbolism of these protest is beautiful. Its a shame this rotten man is seen by so many Egyptians as an American puppet.

    I hope the Egyptian people get the honorable leadership they deserve and are fighting for.

  • Robert Hennecke

    Who’s interests are at stake with Egypt, the US or Israel. Standing in the way of the wishes of the people of these countries for reasons that are not aligned with the interests of those people will surely be remembered by the muslim world and will cost tenfold. Propping up a hated regime for the sake of keeping Israel happy is unwise and speaks volumes about who pulls the strings in the US and Canada

  • wavre

    @ Heneker

    I totally agree with you, but just a little historical reminder: The Egyptians of the Pharaoh’s periods(mostly Negroids)had nothing in common with the actual Egyptians(mostly Arabs)who invaded the region of north-Africa in the 7Th century.
    This doesn’t make the core of your analysis less relevant.

  • http://victorials.wordpress.com Victoria

    “A successful democracy requires a well educated and civil society. Without either of the two results in chaos or worse. I have been to Egypt and they are neither well educated nor civil.”

    Nor are we! But we are pacified by our cheapo consumer madness tv culture; don’t have a good future, but can buy lots of crap (made in china) at the dollar store! So why complain? It could be worse…

    It is worse, we just don’t realize it yet.

    What’s happening in Egypt is very exciting, and I wish Americans could rally together to throw out the millionaires controlling everything, without any idea what it means to ride a bus, or search for a cheap place to live, or get your teeth pulled out because you can’t afford fillings -

    We are Egypt, we just don’t get it yet – In fact, almost everywhere is Egypt – too many rich ruling too many poor, too many people going hungry, getting desperate, while the rich trade away our futures for their immediate luxury and excesses, and Power…

  • Zinovy Vayman, Galilee

    “I am still wondering about the super-race of German extraction dominating the earth and being challenged by non-Germans. I have not read Wagner, but I do recall reading about one wave after another pouring out of the vast Russian steppes into the Roman empire, each with separate genes. Germany did not congeal into a nation until after Napoleon, after the Austro-Hungarian empire, being part Spanish. Excuse my spotty history. But the word for German in Russian is nemetz, which as I recall means something like outsider, “one who does not speak,” or “one who does not speak our language.” Or maybe “man without a country,” person of no place.” And the word German? Means cousin or relative, related, “germane.” And Deutsch as in Deutschland? I think it means folks, us folks, but I’m not finding my sources.
    If you were a reader of Arabic, you would probably think all the great writers and thinkers were Arabic, and all the great people were those they wrote about and extolled. Likewise if you were a reader of Chinese. Likewise Russian and Slavic languages. I’m tempted to be facetious and say since I don’t know about African history and language, clearly they don’t have anything of any merit.
    A nice short history of Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood is in “A Traveller’s History of Egypt,” by Harry Ades, published by Interlink in 2007, from about page 350. I’ll try to do a synopsis.

    Posted by Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA, on January 31st, 2011 at 9:03 PM

    In 1973 Sadat took the Sinai from Israel, “proclaimed the war a glorious triumph, despite … about 5500 killed. Even so, this … exploded the myth of Israeli invincibility… the oil states clamoured to supply Egypt with financial and military aid.”
    “Renewed relations with West after the October War [led to} infitah, the 'open door' policy ... June 1974, offered incentives, Western technology, and Arab oil money to revitalise the private sector. It was hoped this would liberalise the market, reverse the suffocating centralisation of the Nasserist economy and pare down the serpentine bureaucracy..."
    "Neither did infitah solve the problem of mounting foreign debt nor provide food for a population fast approaching 40 million people. Where Egypt had for centuries been the breadbasket of the world, it now had to import more than half of its grain. High inflation had forced ... subsidies on basic consumer goods... The [IMF] [made Egypt squeeze its people]. The instant and violent reaction from the people rocked the regime. Riots broke out in Cairo, Alexandria … 80 people were killed and 800 injured. Such scenes had not been seen since the riots of 1952, which was also the last time that the army had to be called in to restore order. The government quickly backtracked, restoring subsidies…. Most also realized thhat proper foreign investment would not come until Egypt had peace with Israel.” Next, Camp David in 1978, and Sadat’s peace. In May 1977, the Arab Socialist Union was dissolved, but the new multi-party democracy “made it virtually impossible for real opposition to form. Sadat guaranteed his primacy by taking control … as the National Democratic Party (NDP)…” “Parties could not be constituted on a religious basis, but from the early years Sadat, the self-proclaimed ‘pious president,’ had encouraged the resuscitation of Islamic organisations.”
    (Okay, so the internal dynamics of a religious group were recognized and encouraged. Remind you of anything?)

    Posted by Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA, on January 31st, 2011 at 9:15 PM”

    Ellen:

    There were no Russian steppes then and since 20 years ago they are not Russian again.
    I am talking about Germanic, not just German peoples.

    I am also talking about modern times, not a distant past when great Jewish and, much later, Arabic thinkers emerged. But Jews are able to continue their amazing crops of geniuses since they started to cling to the Holy Roman Empire run by Germanic supermen.

    PS Sadat’s army was utterly defeated in 1973, it did not take the Sinai, it was surrounded on the east bank of the canal and begged for water while Germanic masters played their chess game.
    However, on the day of the Jewish fast the Egyptian soldiers (trained by Russians) did overrun positions of Israeli Jews. They did it following the Russian model when ten Soviet soldiers died per one German soldier during the Great Patiotic War.

  • Jayco

    This will someday be the USA if we don’t straighten out our act! With more and more poverty and unemployment happening in this country today! People losing their jobs, and at the same time, prices on everything going up and up!! Not a good move!!

  • Brett

    Mubarack has tried to pacify the people, e.g., installing a new cabinet, rewriting their constitution, etc. It seems the people aren’t buying it; they won’t buy anything short of his stepping down (the protests continue; the protesters continue to increase in numbers, defy curfews, and so on). He will leave Egypt, and it will happen soon; his family is already in London, and they wouldn’t have gone as they did if he thought his pacifications were going to work (his son’s exit speak volumes, I think). His “holding on” I think indicates some attempt to make a transition so as not to create an opening for the likes of the Muslim Brotherhood or their ilk. I hope this is what his behavior indicates, anyway.

    Events will be interesting to watch; it has been interesting to see how much modern media (social and otherwise) have played a role in these events. Egypt is in a fish bowl and the whole world is watching, which has given the people an edge and has backed Mubarak into a corner. The events will unfold (or unravel) fairly quickly in my opinion. We (the US) need to walk a fine line, strike some kind of balance in giving an appearance with respect to action, inaction, concern, and support.

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    Zinovy, the book says Sadat declared victory, which as we know is very different from actual victory. The Dodd/Frank bill addressing misdeeds in the banking industry may be another example of a victory/accomplishment declared but not as advertised.

    I take it you mean that you are defining Germanic as including Slavic. The steppes haven’t moved. I think the relation of your thesis of Germanic superiority to the situation in Egypt is beginning to be clear. It’s closer to a theory of superiority of those with DNA stemming from Russia. Am I right? And the relation to Egypt is that not many Russians have settled in Egypt over the course of the millennia. Therefore, the prospects for Egyptian success are limited? Is that it? Notwithstanding a 5,000-year-old civilization?
    Well, what can I say. If you want to limit your critique of Egyptian capability to the era since colonial domination and then something like puppetry of rulers acting at the direction of one or the other of the superpowers (apparently Nassar leaned toward the Russian side of the Iron Curtain), then I think one can argue the debilitating effects of client states where, as Tom Friedman was saying the other night, whole nations (those with oil, those with propped up by agreements like Sadat’s that are dear to Western nations) have lived in a kind of dream-state for generations. They haven’t had the challenges in quite the kind of HD, hyper quality that countries without that insulation have. Democracy doesn’t mean much under those circumstances. Faouad Ajami of Johns Hopkins (I believe) on Charlie Rose last night compared the situation in the Middle East to the situation in Europe during the 1848 revolutions, when the tyranny of kings was shed in many places. He read a piece describing that sometimes people have a horse and feed a horse, but it’s not until events like those of 1848 when a people actually decide they want to climb on and actually RIDE that horse. http://www.charlierose.com/guest/view/1708
    There’s the link. It is actually riding that makes a people politically savvy. At least that is so if that kind of savvy parallels intellectual savvy. The intellectual accomplishments of the Jews, I believe they will tell you, is in many ways based on their religious education where they do not start with a Christian-style credo. Everyone on the same page? Okay, now pray. No. They start by debating in the minutest way every aspect of Jewish tradition. They are lawyers and manipulators of ideas and facts from the time they are able to read words. It is no mystery to me why Jewish people succeed so well. I think those of us who live among and compete with Jewish people are made all the stronger for having them to challenge us.
    I appreciate the chance to get at some of the SUBTEXT that underlies the standoff in the Middle East, but I am really interested in how Israel positions itself about now. The book I was reading pointed out that Egypt could not flourish so long as they were at logger-heads with Israel. (I quoted the exact line.) It was in their own self-interest to establish a sort of peace.
    Wow.

  • Zinovy Vayman, Galilee

    To Ellen:

    Slavic peoples are included in the Indo-Germanic tribes but they are far from the Germanic ethnos. Slavic peoples were mixed up with the Finnish people, with Tatars in the east and a lot of with Germans in the west (Poland, Czechy), with the Illirians and Turks in the south. 300 years ago Russian rulers started to germanize Russia but this effort was stunted by the 1917 revolution.
    Egypt and Russia were Hellenized at some points of their histories and the Coptic Egyptians are still holding out…

    I shudder from the comparison of Mubarak’s Egypt with the 1848 Europe. It is laughable as well but the chattering classes love to pass time and show off a bit.

    I agree that Egypt needed peace and needs it now.
    But some hotheads might try to vent frustration of the masses towards
    more or less Germanized Israel; it may be some Egyptian pinpricks
    in the body of the Jewish-run state. After all, not long ago Egypt did not call itself Egypt but the United Arab Republic.

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    Is Hellenized and Germanized the same?
    I guess I mean, are the same ethos at work? (You refer to “Germanic ethos.” I don’t even know who was in what is now Germany at the time of, say, Socrates. But I know Alexandria was the Rome of the ancient world. Their library was the center of learning, and everybody went there to trade ideas. One of Mubarak’s projects is a library in Alexandria set to rival the Library of Congress. Again, that is from my speed-reading yesterday, and I remember thinking, watch for it — if Egypt can still afford such luxuries along with enabling its citizens in new ways. So Greek and Alexandrian ethos are in my mind pretty well enmeshed. Germanic, on the other hand, is a mystery to me. I see what you say. But there were Celtic peoples, I believe, in that region before the invasions that I think were to some extent the result of circumstances and tribes pushing each other westward, and to some extent the opportunities for plunder in the Roman empire. As you say, these waves of people are of various “extraction,” and if you say “Germanic” is an “ethos,” rather than an “extraction,” then I suppose it doesn’t matter. But their modus operandi was nothing to glorify. It gave us the Dark Ages in Europe. Is that the ethos that you speak of?
    I’m thinking you might have in mind the spirit of empire as deployed after, say, the Spanish rout of Latin America. So sophisticated empire building. Not the evangelical kind. Something like that. I think it’s been determined that such imperialism detracts from the peoples subjugated. How did India come out of England’s suzerainty? Germanized? I’m not sure you could say that. India is a layering of many cultures, with an anglo layer.
    And I don’t know what you’d make of the spread of Chinese culture all the way around the world before it shut itself off early in the 15th century. We know the way Arab culture kept the light of civilization alive during those Dark Ages foisted on us, apparently by Germanic tribes. So. I’ll be glad to see that light shining brighter again soon.
    What did Germanic ethos bring us? We learned in school about the concept of a moot court being Germanic. I can’t recall what it meant, perhaps that the subject up for debate wasn’t worth debating and might as well be dropped, which in many ways this is. When we all arrive at Valhalla, the gods at the gates of St. Peter will ask, which ethos did you come from? From Japanese? Oh, you can go to level X. From Egyptian? Oh, you can go to level Y. We’ll see.

  • Zinovy Vayman, Galilee

    To Ellen:

    Thank you for helping me to elucidate some points.

    Hellenized and Germanized is a kind of the same.
    We should pay attention that they were happening two thousand years apart.

    I am talking about ethNos.

    I am talking about the Germanic civilization in the Northern Europe, about modern times, about modern Egypt which is ethnically different from the past. It is more Semitic, more Kushitic now…
    You end with a poetic metaphor but, in truth, we disappear without a trace–eventually.

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