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U.S. Foreign Policy & Egypt

We get the latest, and go to the huge foreign policy implications for the United States.

In this file photo from Sept. 14, 2010, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak meets with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt. (AP)

Whatever happens in Egypt in the days right in front of us, a spell appears to have been broken in the Arab world.

Awkwardly for Washington, it has been a heavily American spell. The deal was stability under authoritarian rule and, broadly speaking, an American agenda for the region.

If that’s all gone, or going, what’s the American posture now? Where do America’s strategic interests lie? From Tahrir Square in Cairo, right across the region, everything looks up for grabs. It could be good. Or bad.

We look at American foreign policy, reeling, turning in the Arab world.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests:

Nicholas Kristof, two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize and an Op-Ed columnist for the New York Times. He joins us from Cairo.

Susan Glasser, editor in chief of Foreign Policy magazine.

Nicholas Burns, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs from 2005 to 2008. He is former U.S. Ambassador to NATO, and he worked on the National Security Council under President Clinton. He is currently director of the Future of Diplomacy Project for the Programs on the Middle East and on India and South Asia, and a professor of diplomacy and international politics at Harvard’s Kennedy School. Hear Burns speak with Tom Ashbrook about U.S.-India relations.

Stephen Kinzer, former foreign correspondent for the New York Times and author of the new book “Reset: Iran, Turkey, and America’s Future.” His other books include “A Thousand Hills: Rwanda’s Rebirth and the Man Who Dreamed It” and “All the Shah’s Men.” You can listen back to On Point’s segment with Kinzer about Rwanda.

News out of Egypt:

Airport chaos eases while violence flares in Cairo

By TAREK EL-TABLAWY
AP Business Writer
CAIRO (AP) – In their rush, some forgot their bags.

The near mayhem at Cairo’s airport over the past few days gave way to slightly more organized chaos on Wednesday, with between 10,000 to 13,000 passengers making their escape aboard about 95 flights. Miles away, protesters fought supporters of embattled President Hosni Mubarak – clashes sure to further stoke fears about growing instability in the country.

Governments stepped up efforts to fly out their nationals and others scrambled for seats on commercial flights whose schedules have been amended to accommodate an onerous curfew.

As the terminals cleared out, airport officials said they found 120 bags scattered around, left by owners anxious to clear Egyptian airspace.

The U.S. flew out over 330 Americans on two flights on Wednesday, raising to more than 1,800 the number of U.S. citizens who have left on government-chartered aircraft. The flights Wednesday were the first since the State Department on Tuesday ordered non-essential U.S. government personnel to leave Egypt.
Others opted for commercial flights.

Clarksdale, Mississippi resident Carol Mangrum, had been at the airport since 3 p.m. Tuesday waiting for a flight that was to leave at 6 a.m. That flight was delayed even further – until 3 p.m.

“I’ve been here at the airport the whole time,” said Mangrum. “I’m tired, but anxious to go home.”

Even those who were to take government-chartered flights had some trouble. A group from Thailand was dropped off a half-mile from the terminal, and had to drag their luggage. It was unclear whether their bus had not been allowed to reach the terminal.

Those who had already left had plenty of stories to tell friends back home, even without witnessing the street battles Wednesday.

Georgia Supreme Court Justice Hugh Thompson and Ocmulgee Circuit Superior Court Judge Hulane George were among a group of 30 people who arrived Jan. 20 on a private tour to Egypt.

They were in Upper Egypt, an area famed for pharaonic temples and tombs, when the protests broke out. A day after witnessing their first demonstration on Jan. 29, their group was flown back to Cairo only to find themselves in the thick of the protests in the capital.

They remained at the airport’s main terminal where they were warned about the curfew – then set to begin at 4 p.m.

“They warned us if we stepped outside the terminal, we would be shot,” Thompson said upon his return home.

Back at his office at the Georgia Supreme Court, Thompson said he was still watching the protests.
“I won’t forget it,” he said. “If memory is etched by adrenaline, I’ll never forget it. Because there was a lot of adrenaline flowing.”

While few abided by the curfew, hundreds of passengers have found themselves stranded at the airport because of the difficulty of getting to a hotel. Taxi service from the airport is almost nonexistent during curfew hours.

In a sign that the airlines were starting to adjust more easily to the curfew, only about 500 people remained at the airport Wednesday night – a far smaller number than in the first few days of the mass exodus.

The flights largely came from abroad. EgyptAir, the national carrier, was flying only a fraction of its roughly 145 international and domestic flights as crew either failed to make it on time because of the curfew, or were too concerned about the mayhem on the street to come to the airport.

U.S. Embassy officials in Cairo said additional flights were slated for Thursday.

“Things are going very smoothly,” said Roberto Powers, the U.S. consul-general in Egypt.

Germany reported that about 1,100 of its citizens flew out of Cairo and Alexandria the day before, and consular officials were deployed at Cairo airport, as well as other cities.

A chartered flight was dispatched by Britain’s government to pick up British nationals stranded in Cairo. The cost per place was about $480 – a charge the government defended as necessary to not undercut commercial carriers. The U.S. was also charging its citizens who opted for the evacuation flights, though the costs had yet to be determined.

Several South and Latin American nations – including Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Argentina – said they had chartered planes, or planned to, in order to fly their citizens to safety.

Brazil said it was aware of 42 nationals who are trying to leave Egypt, but a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said no special flights were planned because commercial carriers were available. She spoke on condition of anonymity as she was not authorized to discuss the matter.

Trinidad’s foreign minister, Suruj Rambachan, said the Caribbean nation was trying to arrange commercial flights for the nearly two dozen nationals of the Caribbean island who want to leave Egypt.

One group that finally made it out was headed for Portugal. Airport officials said the 48 people were not allowed to leave on Tuesday, as they planned, because they showed up without passports.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.

Associated Press reporters from around the world contributed to this report.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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  • wfoster

    See for yourself our foreign policy HYPOCRISY!
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-12331456

    US Assistant Secretary of State Philip Crowley with all of his empty statements concerning Egypt and the unrest. I voted for the current administration, and they put someone like this as a representative to slick talk his way around tough and credible questions concerning the current regime in Egypt and the plight of those that seek free expression and democracy.

    He claims the military is playing a stabilizing role and is protecting the demonstrators, and nothing could be further from the truth. They are bystanders, watching the slaughter of their own people, not even a hint of a stabilizing force.

    This is the kind of rhetoric you get when you’ve been in bed with a dictator and a repressive regime for decades. Click the link provided above to see for yourself.

    This weak stance is not what I expect from our leadership, for those that seek a free and open society. Our government should condemn in the strongest of terms the repressive acts that we are watching unfold in Egypt.

  • Zeno

    Is there any need to explain the hesitation all around. If you have benefited from the dictatorship or been a victim of it your actions will be remembered when the dust settles and the purging begins.

    -If you’re in the military, you’re waiting for a clear victor to avoid repercussions or execution for your actions (either way).

    -If you’re an Egyptian politician you’re waiting for the same reasons.

    -If you’re a US politician you’re waiting for a clear winner to frame your partisan rhetoric that will conform to the party and business needs of the PACs you represent.

    -The only people who have clear intent are the wealthy tyrants who apparently hate the US even though we support them with our 1.5 billion annual gift, and the poor who just have no other way out of their abject misery and oppression.

    Everything will be kept deliberately vague until a clear power center is restored.

    White House Challenges Mubarak to Show Who He Is: http://www.aolnews.com/2011/02/02/white-house-condemns-violence-in-egypt/?icid=main|classic|dl1|sec1_lnk1|198917

  • Zeno

    Could it happen here? What would spark an American revolt: From Tahrir Square to Times Square http://www.energybulletin.net/stories/2011-02-01/tahrir-square-times-square

  • Michaelll

    Now compare this response to what the U.S. is saying about the Ivory Coast or Belarus

    “The European Union and the United States on Monday announced the introduction of new travel and financial sanctions on Belarus in response to December’s flawed elections and a brutal clampdown on opposition leaders and protesters”

    http://www.en.rian.ru/world/20110131/162396925.html

    WASHINGTON – The Obama administration is threatening the president of Ivory Coast with punitive sanctions if he does not step down from power after losing the West African nation’s elections last month.

    Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Thursday that President Barack Obama delivered the warning in a letter sent this week to Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo (BAHG’-boh).

    Gbagbo has refused to accept the results of the Nov. 28 vote giving his opponent victory.
    [ For complete coverage of politics and policy, go to Yahoo! Politics ]

    Clinton said Obama warned Gbagbo of “consequences” if he does not step aside and peacefully transfer power to his successor. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said the sanctions could apply to Gbagbo and others “if he makes the wrong choice.” The U.S. has joined the United Nations, European Union, African Union in calling for Gbagbo to step down.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101209/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/us_us_ivory_coast

    Now look at the link wfoster posted.

    Notice that in regards to the Ivory Coast or Belarus stability doesn’t even come up at all by the U.S. nor are they waiting for them to serve out there new terms.

    The U.S. should just admit there do not want democracy in Egypt as well President Obama has been a disgrace in this whole thing and I bet the Muslim world along with Europe is seeing the same thing and watching the big middle finger Obama is giving them. As for P.J. Crowley he’s a troll just like Clinton. Not only that it’s looking that the U.S. tried and help the government backed protesters as well(wiki leaks may tell us one day). Since all transportation was shut down in the previous days but magically started back up and the U.S. quick reaction to work with this dictator again.

    Remember this government still Tortures people and it still amazing me that people are taking the israeli line that the muslim brotherhood is going to go crazy if they take over even when there is amble amount of evidence this is not the case and even more amazing is that they are backing a Man like this how brutally oppressive his own people and think that somehow backing this guy for (sic) stability is not going to radicalize the protesters in the future.

    Also what does the U.S. response tell peaceful protesters? Is it that non-violent and peaceful protest do not work? I think the goal by both the U.S. and Egypt is to present the protester as extremist and try to push them into doing something radical than cry “See I told you they can’t be trusted with Democracy”

  • EIO Boston

    All these comments reflect the fact of how complex this situation is.Ivory coest and Belarus are clear because there was an election and someone who lost is trying to stay in power. The danger we have here is that if we think that once a crowd of partisans form, that that is enough to change a government, we are setting a dabgerous precedent.

    Imagine how quickly the Taliban or any other organisation, criminal or honestly patriotic can alot the power of changing those in power to their liking.

    Be careful what you wish for. Every time or situation in life has it’s truth, if you can find out what the truth really is.

    God Bless

  • Alex

    Foreign policy is built on nuance and understanding of differences between the countires. It would not necesserily be wise to use the same approach to Belarus and Egypt.

  • William

    Not much will change if the winning side does not move away from their Socialist economy to a more free market economy.

  • Dave

    Whatever the US does, we will be hated.

  • Arnold

    Where do we get off telling the democratically elected leaders of other countries what to do? We should be expressing platitudes about democracy and letting the people of these nations do what they can and hope for the best.

    Our democracy ain’t so great that our president or other politicians should be lecturing others, especially when our message changes so dramatically over the course of a couple days. It makes us look silly.

  • Al Dorman

    (Boston, MA)
    @Alex:
    Except, there’s not much of a difference between Minsk and Cairo. If we suspend all sense of morality and just focus on what would be “wise” in our foreign policy, both regimes are faking elections and using secret police to punish non-violent dissidents.

    In Egypt, Pres. Mubarak has promised stability by stamping down on Muslim Brotherhood and appealing to the West and Israel. In Belarus, Pres. Lukashenko has promised increased openness with the West and appealed to our apparent desires to punish Russia. So both are crackpot regimes with a bit of diplomatic leverage, then why the difference in approach? Why did the US and EU meet yesterday in Poland to pledge sanctions on Lukashenko, while we get mealy-mouth equivocation from our leaders on Egypt?

    Just a guess, but I’d try to see what the defense contractors and the Israel lobby have to say about regime change in Egypt, and just how much they have Obama’s ear…

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    From the BBC website, by Shashank Joshi (see the end of the excerpt I snagged): this article suggests the INTERNATIONAL community (and only that) has been placated by Mubarak’s agreement to leave in September. Joshi reminds that it was fractures WITHIN the army, where a critical mass of decision-makers led to overthrow:

    “No-one with any knowledge of Egypt can forget that it was a coalition of such officers that came together in the post-war Free Officers Movement that overthrew King Farouk I and led to the toppling of a succession of pro-British regimes.”

    Failing that, and meanwhile, the army won’t go after the presidential palace.

    “This forces the protesters to endure a harsh status quo or escalate by targeting the bastions of the state, the latter bringing upon them the wrath of an already petrified international community, who may feel it has done its job by putting a limit on Mr Mubarak’s term.

    “Those agitating for escalation ought to recall the anti-Saddam uprisings of 1991 by Kurds and others, in which the US first encouraged and then shied away from supporting resistance.

    “The result was massacres under the eyes of the international community.

    “Shashank Joshi is a doctoral student of international relations at the Department of Government, Harvard University, and Research Associate at the Royal United Services Institute.”

  • Lor Pamer, from Somerville

    Is Obama a Fox or a Fool? He lectured in Cairo, several years ago, regarding the importance of human rights. He held out his hand. Now he offers a fist to the Democracy Movement. It’s to be business-as-usual in Mubarak’s police state. The dissenters will be rounded up, tortured, and dropped off in the desert.

    I pray for the Egyptian Freedom Fighters: may they be successful in establishing a higher stage of consciousness among their people.

    For an accurate picture, check out Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now: http://www.democracynow.org.

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    Al, I think it was Newshour that reported yesterday that the defense establishment IN EGYPT is a third of the economy. (I’ve read tourism is also way up there.)
    And I had heard how the army owns such and such a hotel, apparently a for profit hotel. Yesterday’s report outlined that the army (defense dept in Egypt) owns big swaths of many parts of the for-profit economy, giving “defense contractor” new meaning.
    So the “pro-Mubarak” forces have that kind of buy-in as well. If 30 percent think the army might lose its 30 percent, there is a thought. Americans funding a third of that 30 percent (the report says USA pays for a third of Egypt’s military) might want to consider as well.

  • Al Dorman

    @Ellen:
    I definitely agree with you. I think the defense contractors in THIS country would be anti-regime change in Egypt, as it would be a peaceful change, and their blood-money military contracts with Mubarak would go away.

    Also, can we get rid of these GD spam posts?

  • John

    What are the Egyptians complaining about? It isn’t snowing there!

  • laura
  • DrewD

    The US has an empire. We can either be an empire of force or an empire of ideals. We should be strongly support democracy even when it may seem empower our enemies. There is no reason that we should pretend to stay out of Egyptian inner struggles when we have long played a role in supporting the current government.

  • Geri

    Kristoff doesn’t even attempt to hide his blatant bias – “GOONS”

  • PW

    We really need to be very, very careful here and, by the way, to be grateful for a patient, cautious and knowledgeable president. Most of us know very little about the complexities of the situation. Of course we want to find a way to facilitate democracy and recognition of the courage and good sense of the protesters. What we absolutely don’t want is cowboy bravado. That’s what we got in Iraq and Afghanistan with, to date, appalling numbers of lives destroyed in addition to tremendous costs in other ways.

    I’d like to see the energy, dedication and selfless courage we’ve witnessed in the pro-democracy protesters in Cairo emerge here in the US in a common effort to restore our democracy and our role as responsible, engaged citizens.

  • Omar El-Gharbawie

    The lack of resolve from Mr. Obama and the US Congress to unambiguously stop supporting Mubarak troubles me deeply. Congress’s inaction suggests that it is effectively sponsoring a regime that slays its own people in broad daylight. Such heinous acts were made clear in Tahrir Square on February 2. Mubarak’s false pledge of a peaceful transition, which was delivered on national television, is a commitment to silencing the protestors at any cost including their lives. As conditions become more dire for Egyptians with violence, food shortages and economic strife resulting from this crisis, they will be diligently tracking who extends a hand to them in their time of need. The US administration and Congress have to decisively on the side of 83 million Egyptians and not that of a criminal regime. It is the only lifeline for a long-term relationship between Egypt and the United States.

  • Isernia

    My question is not totally appropriate for today’s experts on foreign policy, but I will submit it anyway as it deals with revolutions in general.

    “Given that success of modern revolutions depend on the degree to which a society has a middle class, potential leaders, free press, high literacy rate, etc. what are the Egypt’s chances of becoming a nascent democracy?”

    Buffalo, NY

  • John-TN

    can the panel discuss a Egypt that holds democratic elections and the outcome not favororable to U.S. policy, are we prepared to let democracy happen without intervention?

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    I think it’s Kinzer speaking of Egypt supporting America’s Iran agenda.
    Actually, what Arab country does NOT support that agenda.
    But if Egypt gets a government that is less a paid-for puppet, more a people’s republic, maybe the Iranians will see “how it is done,” and get themselves a post-theocratic regime, and Iran’s strength will become aligned with our strength, and we will see their success as an advantage, not a challenge.

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    Kinzer states Egypt supports American agenda of Israel’s settlements on the West Bank and boycott of Gaza. Say what? I thought Obama had been saying just the opposite. So that would be Mubarak out there on his own. Right?

  • Dean

    Posted by Dave:
    “Whatever the US does, we will be hated.”

    It’s called historical momentum. We are hated because of our policies. If those change, the hatred will go away …eventually.
    ______________________________________
    Posted by Lor Pamer:
    Obama… held out his hand. Now he offers a fist to the Democracy Movement. It’s to be business-as-usual in Mubarak’s police state….”

    This makes no sense at all. Obama is not supporting this regime, nor its violence.

    This is not an easy problem to deal with, people. No nation, especially one as influential as the USA, can just reverse decades of policy overnight, abandoning multiple diplomatic relationships along the way. Change is coming, but it cannot come overnight.

  • Dean

    Ultimately, the interests of the US will best be served by supporting democratic movements everywhere, even if they result in strange [to us] forms of democracy, ones that seem dangerous.

    Nations that control their own destiny are far less likely to pose a threat to other nations than ones ruled by unpopular regimes underwritten by foreign nations.

  • John

    Thanks for pointing out this false choice!!

    Now, HOW do we get to that third option?

    Who will put in place the necessary safeguards to ensure a secular, pluralistic, and vibrant democracy?

    We need to have this conversation NOW, especially if you want the 20 million or so Coptic Christians in Egypt and abroad to fully support this movement.

  • John from Plainville MA

    The US government has to support the protesters. The Cold War is over– we have no right to be supporting oppressive regimes in the modern era.

  • John

    “efforting” – please stick to using real words

  • Isernia

    But what about the fact that Israel itself does not reflect our foreign policy principles…if one of America’s long-held tenets is that human beings should not be treated as the Palestinians have for the past 30 years! Unfortunately, our leaders the past 30 years in America have been manipulated by American Jews who threaten to not support politicians who DARE even question this pro-Israeli policy.

  • Dean

    The jig is up for the marionette empire of the USA. It is time to live up to our creed, and support it everywhere.

    In the 21st century, there is no keeping the wool over the eyes of the little people! Our own technology has made it impossible for the US to succeed in indirect management of the affairs of other nations for our profit.

    The US has become the most powerful nation on Earth largely because of the thousands of miles that lie between its shores and any real threat. Again resulting from our own technology, those thousands of miles are no longer a guarantee of our safety.

    The wise policy is to stop assuming that the subjects of our self-serving, undemocratic allied regimes will remain ignorant and pacified by fear. These new democracies may not do business with us, but they will have little reason to hate or threaten us.

    It is time to cut the puppet strings.

  • Tom N

    Tom, as a professional person myself who grew up in the Middle East, I strongly believe that the current “US policy elites” have a Deep Seated “Bias and Prejudice” against Middle Easterners exemplified by the polite condensation by one of your guests, the reason for this “Bias and Prejudice” is for another day to discuss. Today, the U.S. policy cannot succeed it is incompatible and self contradictory; one is either with the Democracy or with Military Dictatorships. The US policy and the Policy of the “West” is one important cause of the weakening of the Middle Class and Democracy Advocates in the Middle East & the Arab countries.

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    Kinzer says American foreign policy principles are not popular with the people, and therefore if we want non-tyrants in the world, leaders who are actually supported by their people, optimally who are in many ways LED by their people, we want principles and agendas that are actually shared by the people in the Muslim world.
    Why am I not afraid? I have been a lot more afraid seeing the Cold War domino strategy of bottling up people into this faction or that, with disconnects between what is paid for or fought for (by us) and what the actuality is — that strategy is useless post Cold War.
    We can’t spend our children’s and our grandchildren’s taxes to fight in Iraq and Af-Pak, against groups of disgruntled Muslims who see us as meddling in their affairs — we can’t do that and win by meddling more.

  • Webb Nichols

    One is reminded of what Bin Laden said when he was being interviewed in the Mountains of Afghanistan during the time that he was fighting the Russians and supported by the United States through millions of dollars funneled through the CIA.

    When asked way he had so much animus towards the West, he said roughly” You support dictators in the Middle East who exploit their people, you take our resources without fair compensation, and you are not fair when it comes to the Israeli-Palestine situation”.

    Sounds like you and your guests are talking about this reality.

  • Peter (Massachusetts)

    As usual, the MSM is not listening. This is a revolt against a dictatorship and its support system of corrupt and corrupting systems. It’s not a system that has failed to produce wealth for any but a tiny elite. THIS IS A CLASS WAR!

  • David W

    Is it accurate to refer to Mubarak as a “dictator”? An “authoritarian regime,” oppressive toward its opposition, yes (though some of that opposition is darn close to terroristic in nature).

    I’ve been concerned all along at the rush to assume that any massive demonstration is representative of the “will of the people.” There are 80 million people in Egypt. We know the Copts are not excited about what this uprising will bring. And now we know there are Egyptian citizens who do support the current government, or at least oppose its abrupt termination.

    If we support democracy, shouldn’t we be pushing for the protesters to accept a process by which a new government can be formed through a series of referenda leading to elections? Is it transcontinental “mob mentality” that is causing so many here to uncritically jump on board with the rebellion?

  • Tom N

    correction: intended to say Polite “Condescension” (not condensation)and lack of respect of the intellect of Middle Easterners…

  • http://layoffsupportnetwork.org/ Javed Ikbal

    To paraphrase James Carville, “It’s the Army, stupid!”

    Egypt’s Army, recipient of $1 billion in our tax money per year, has to decide if it is for the people or against the people.

    I saw something very close to this in Bangladesh from 1986-1990. The military dictator, Gen. Ershad, ordered Army trucks to drive over protesters, and his thugs (in and out of uniform) killed people. An iconic image of that protest can be seen here:
    http://blademagazine.wordpress.com/2010/11/09/let-democracy-be-free-by-pavel-rahman/

    The young man, who had written “Let democracy be free” on his back and “Down with dictatorship” on his chest, was shot dead by parties unknown on a winter day in 1987.

    Finally, when the Army refused to back Gen. Ershad in the face of the rising popular tide, he had to resign, and democracy came to Bangladesh on a road slicked by blood.

    As long as Mubarok enjoys the support of the Army, I am afraid it is going to be business as usual in Egypt.

  • Wes

    It is time for the U.S. to end its doublespeak. It it time for the U.S. to bring into alignment its foreign policy with its ideals of freedom and human rights. It is time to stop supporting dictators. – Wes, Cambridge, Massachusetts

  • Peter (Massachusetts)

    Correction to earlier post “This is a system that HAS failed …”

  • http://Twitter.com/Larry_Kelley Lawrence Kelley

    Bringing democracy to the Egypt (population: > 80 million!) via Twitter, Facebook and Anderson Cooper is a lot cheaper than what we did in Iraq. In the long run, a democratic neighbor will be good for Israel’s future. Time to evolve our foreign policy. – Lawrence Kelley / Clifton Park, New York

  • Dean

    I agree with the notion Kinzer just stated:

    We do have mutual interests with the Arab Middle East: Business.

    We are all about business, and the Middle East has always been about business. From ancient times, the most important trade routes ran through this same area. There is no reason that new, independent democracies won’t do business with the US.

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    I’m not interested in talking to Mubarak and his generals about what the United States wants. I’m interested in how the roiling masses somehow regurgitate a democracy that serves THEM. I know how easy it is to come up with a flawed result. Speak to the people. Let Obama’s administration worry about how to handle the upper crust and what they can or could do.
    There is a BIG issue about how the democratic movements manage to congeal and express themselves. Very big. For now, I try to pay attention to them over the net. I think we can all try to pay attention.

  • Martha

    I feel like I woke up to a conversation on a sinking Titanic. Rendition, helping keep Palestinians in a shrinking cage, edging to war with Iran – these are so obviously in our “interests”.

    Iran is going to have a nuclear weapon. Ironically we are making this a necessity even in the comic denial.

    Meanwhile the world has to listen to this pretend seriousness as a response to Wikileaks:

    “Disclosures like these tear at the fabric of the proper function of responsible government”, she says, beautifully begging the question when the meaning of question begging has been lost. Does the US Government function properly, is it responsible? Bracket everything you think about the wisdom of or whatever about the leaks and this blazingly obvious question now stands spectacularly posed. And yet, Ms Clinton’s whole act turns on evading a proper response. What now needs an argument to establish a conclusion is, rather, reflexively imported into her premises.” (http://goo.gl/5iBWa)

  • Dean

    It is time for Israel to survive or fade on its own.

    We have given this sentimental dream of a nation sixty years of security at our extremely high expense. If Israel can’t make it on its own by now, it should return to the mists of history.

    Our interests lie with democratic expression everywhere, not with Israel.

    And Israel is not a legitimate democracy! It is the product of ethnic cleansing dressed up as a democracy.

  • Mark

    In response to the called, Israel never signed up to the non-proliferation treaty, and as such was never called upon to forego nuclear weapons. It’s policy of non-announcement is a part of the country’s defensive doctrine in the face of an existential threat.

    Iran, North Korea, and over 160 countries in the world, in order to gain free money from the west, did precisely that, and are now working toward or already have blatantly violated their obligations under the same.

    Not to mention the fact that Israel has never threatened to wipe anyone off the map, nor does it’s sitting regime engage in genocidal rhetoric.

  • moses

    This doesn’t have to be an “either/or” argument. Sooner or later, a weakened Mubarak will exit the scene and the 80 million Egyptian people will remember who their friends were in a critical time of need.
    Moses, Lynn, MA

  • at – Santa Cruz

    “Israel is a democracy”

    Are you an idiot? You cannot even become an Israeli citizen unless you are a Jew. What kind of democracy form hell is that?

  • Jim

    Fix the Israel Palestine conflict and many other US Middle East policies and practices will fall into place. Israel is a stealing land from its Arab neighbors, doing so as a military bully armed by the US. They are also escalating the nuclear weapons race because they are a bully and they have nuclear weapons. As long as there is no “force equality” between the Israel and Palestine, Israel will have no motivation to do anything other than steal more land and build more settlements further infuriating other countries in the Arab world.

  • Michael Israel

    The audiance is sooo left-wing, its hilarious. U.S. Foreign policy is so arrogant and hypocritical. First, the U.S. pressures Israel to make peace with Egypt and “return” the Sinai. Now the listeners of this program are telling Israel to go to h-ll and deal with Egypt on their own. Fine, if thats what the american people want then the USA should stop sending billions of dollars to all of these mid-east countries and when Israel kicks their butt in the next war and takes over terroritory the USA better butt out.

  • http://ebenmarkowski.com eben Markowski

    Nice comment from Jolie! Thanks for putting her on air.

    Eben in Vermont

  • Alex

    “Except, there’s not much of a difference between Minsk and Cairo. If we suspend all sense of morality and just focus on what would be “wise” in our foreign policy, both regimes are faking elections and using secret police to punish non-violent dissidents.”

    Al. Minsk is not at all like Cairo. Belarus is a peaceful country with very tolerant populace. Last time its population resorted to any kind of violence was in 1940s in a form of guerrilla war against the German invaders. The consequence of a regime change there does not bring with it the same level of uncertainty for its region, and, indeed, the entire world (oil markets, terrorism, strengthening of radical islam, etc). If a different approach is called for we must use it.

    I myself prefer a policy of non-interference, however, such policy may well be an incorrect one.

  • Heather Bellanca

    The caller talking about the lack of focus on the interest of the local people in favor of U.S. and Israeli interests is stating my feelings. We cannot continue to prop up thugs because it is in our interest. It ends up creating problems for us in the long run. Our interest should be to support Democracy whenever it tries to emerge.

    And as for the Muslim Brotherhood – I’m so tired of the news media ignoring the expressions of moderation by Egyptians of all stripes and continue to lump anything “Muslim” with the threat of fundamentalist terrorists. Why don’t they conflate all fundamentalist terrorists – Muslim, Christian, anarchist…?

  • Peter

    In in Israel we praise the democratic to-and-fro, the multiplicity of contending opinions, even when the most intractable and even incendiary governments are elected.

    Now, the American foreign policy establishment is wringing its hands that a multi-party democracy in Egypt might overwhelm a dictatorship that seemed on the path to hereditary status.

    So, a North Korean style hereditary dictatorship is what works best for America?

  • Dean

    Posted by Mark:
    “…Israel has never threatened to wipe anyone off the map, nor does it’s sitting regime engage in genocidal rhetoric.”

    Israel HAS wiped someone off the map! And expands that wiping every day.

  • Andy Foreman

    Tom,

    On your show today you keep using the phrase “We support [country name]…” and therein lies the flaw in your guests comments, and those of others.

    We DONT support the people of these countries, we support the governments. As we are seeing in Egypt, we keep talking about Mubarak vs. the People.

    Think back to Iran in the 70′s. Did we support the Iranian people? No. We supported the Shah who tortured and hounded his people and then (big shock) the people revolted and we suddenly discovered we were on the wrong side.

    This is our constant and on-going problem. We support dictators and brutes who abuse their own countrymen and then we talk as though we are collectively idiots when the people revolt.

    The reason Iranians hate us today goes back to what we did with the Shah – and think about it – if OUR country had been ruled like that, with torture, murders, ‘disappearances’ and the hell that the Shah brought to Iran, would WE call these people “allies” now? Of course not.

    Our problem is, as it has always been, our own mindset. We think supporting Mubarak was the ‘right thing’ even as he abused his own people. And now? Once again we are lost in the very confusion we ourselves create.

    Thanks, and keep up the good work.

  • http://VPR Anne Bordonaro

    What is so frustrating in listening to so many American pundits is their conflation of supporting Israel with supporting everything that the Israeli administration does. To say that Egypt might end up like Turkey and that that would not be in our interest because Turkey “doesn’t support Israel” is wrong. Turkey has no interest in going to war with Israel or seeing Israel wiped off the map. But Turkey, like most of the Arab and Muslim world, does object to the policies of the Israeli government including settlement expansion, closure of Gaza, and refusal to negotiate a good faith peace settlement. Our interests are better served, as are Israel’s long-term interests, by helping to secure an Israel that is truly at peace with it’s neighbors and respectful of human rights. And we should not insist other countries must support Israeli policy unquestioningly if they wish to be our allies.

  • Wes

    It is time for Obama to tell Mubarak to go now. Not wait until the next election. Mubarak has no intention to allow free and fair elections. He never has. He can’t be trusted. He kills and tortures his own people. The Egyptian people have spoken very clearly. It’s time for Mubarak to go now. – Wes, Cambridge, Massachusetts

  • Cynthia Lawton-Singer

    What makes anyone think that we can oppose the WILL of the Egyptian people now, support their oppression by arming their oppressor, and oppose the process of democracy AND have these dictators continue to rule in ways that the old guard in this country consider “our best interest”? If that many people in Egypt feel that strongly, they may be beaten back now (after all, they are PEACEFUL, UNARMED protesters), but they will not become happy with their regime, and their discontent will lead to future instability.

  • rob

    Tom, Why didn’t you call out Mr. Burns when he insisted Israel is a democracy. It rules over 11 million people, 4 million of whom have no right to vote in Israeli elections. This has been the case for over 40 years now. How exactly is this democratic?

  • Nick

    The tragedy unfolding in Egypt (mubarak’s 30 yr dictatorship + his refusal to step down as President) has resulted in deep social fissures.

    An equal concern + outcome is exponential rise of basic food staple costs in the region; this is likely to have a domino effect on the EU + the US, never mind all developing + poverty-stricken countries.

  • Cathy Etheridge

    We can’t sustain a policy of constantly controlling Israel’s neighbors so they will live peacefuly with with a militaristic and expansionist Israel. Israel needs to take responiblity for its policies.

  • Ellen Dibble

    It has been impossible to vote for a foreign policy that respects the peoples of the Middle East. One could not get it into the debate in a meaningful way or onto the agenda. Between oil interests and the volatility of a politically overheated region, it seems something that a democratic nation should put out for voters regularly. Nope. We need to remember that democracy begins at home. But you can’t vote meaningfully without having the facts set forth meaningfully. To the extent we vote on Middle East policies, it seems to me between the media and the partisan pushers, we end up voting with our eyes closed. It has been very frustrating here, so I can only imagine what it’s like in Egypt. It seems those protesters are voting with their feet where I have not had such a chance on their behalf.

  • Paul

    The Palestinians are nuts, they spit at every attempt Israel makes at peace. Also, the idea that Jews are not allowed to live in the west bank or gaza is racist. Why cant jews live in a future palestinian state? And who will compensate all of the Jews that were expelled from the Arab states in the last century? Jews and Christians are the indigenous people of the middle east, yet they are constantly opressed by muslim majorities. Why doesnt anyone care about this?

  • Jon

    The crisis in Egypt makes the best case for the failing American foreign policy. What are the core values of this nation in the most important nation in the most important region? Self-defined the morality of democracy or selfishness in supporting autocratic regimes for the interest of oil and Israel in the middle east? Americans can never sort this out because conflicting is the nature of the western culture, the conflicting between Christian ideology and amoral pragmatism. It’s the character of cultural hypocrisy. This goes exactly the same as this nation frequently makes deal with the Christian-defined devil – communist China.

  • Arnold

    Amen, conservation would be so much easier and more productive. There are sexy investments going on here, variable pricing, smart metering, device connectivity; and yet the media and politicians ignore at best, and at worst are following the money to clean energy dead ends, what is right in front of us.

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    Post-Cold War, in a booming economy (post the dot com meltdown about 1999), you want a nice trough for feeders. We had that during the Cold War. We had something everyone could buy into unquestioning, with patriotism on our chest. So circa 9/11/2001, what you do is re-evoke that Cold War standoff. You declare an enemy. You say I have found the Evil Empire, and you set about doing the necessary repressions in all the relevant corners of the world, and set up all the public troughs (contractors) who can participate in elevating the stand-off. There is lots of room for profit, and all sorts of ways of explaining it. Of course no one would defend out interests except ourselves. Of course it’s a zero sum game, and if it’s not us wrecking the planet, then it’s the EvilDoers. And of course we want to be the ones on top.
    The thing unseen by the Administration in the early 2000s was the fact of enormous common interests, that are only attainable when everybody is working together. It actually wastes money and lives to establish the world as us-versus-them. Why not use those resources to work together? “Just cut it out,” the fighting, as our mothers have said. There is work to be done. I absolutely to not assume that a country liberated from being under the thumb of the USA is going to become an EvilDoer, part of the Great Other. American interests are too much like the interests of the rest of the world. If they are not, they certainly should be. Must be.

  • Bill Hunter

    I am amazed that many of the callers to the show, and to a degree some of the guests as well, seem to regard our support of Israel as an inexplicable historical accident that now has become too inconvenient to maintain. We support Israel because it is, and always has been, a free and successful democracy amid a sea of despotism. For all of the same reasons, we can and will support the people of Egypt in their quest for self-determination. But it is truly frightening to hear some callers assert a kind of moral equivalency between the governments of Israel and Iran. Are the ideals of America that fragile?

  • David W

    These questions about why we place more emphasis on the best interests of the US and Israel reflect a dangerous ignorance in this country about the history of Israel and the nature of our relationship with it. All these people see or hear is that we give them 3 billion in foreign aid, and they know nothing, or have chosen to ignore, what Israel’s existence, survival and success mean to the US. The significance of Israel being a true democratic nation in the midst of massive sea of non-democratic nations can not be overstated. Israel’s entrepreneurial society has yielded countless technological advances in every field from communication, to industry, to health and defense–of which the US is a beneficiary. (Look up the statistics, and you will be amazed!) Israel’s universities provide valuable research and development to advance our knowledge in the sciences and humanities. Israel’s citizens have been first-responders in disasters around the world–from Haiti, to Kosovo, to Indonesia.
    The question is not whether Egyptian lives, or Palestinian lives, are worth less than Israeli lives. Of course they are not! But I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t place their closest friends’ needs and welfare above those of a stranger.
    Israel is a friend and ally to the US in a way that none of the other countries in the region are, so it is absolutely right and natural that we would be concerned for their welfare.

  • paul

    real deal,
    thanks for revealing your true motiviations, you antisemite. what is wrong with you? jesus was jewish, do you hate him too? open your heart to love, it is allahs will. get connected to your fellow human beings. this hatred you hold on to is the devil playing you.

  • Dean

    Posted by Paul:
    “And who will compensate all of the Jews that were expelled from the Arab states in the last century? Jews and Christians are the indigenous people of the middle east, yet they are constantly opressed by muslim majorities. Why doesnt anyone care about this?”

    Because it is not true.

    The Muslim world has been no more intolerant in its 1400 years than any other basis for society. The last two centuries have been a reminder of the hideous Crusades perpetrated on the Middle East by Christian Europeans hundreds of years earlier. The poverty that resulted from invasions and oppression into Muslim Middle East populations has resulted in resistant tendencies. Very understandable, natural human nature.

  • Dean

    Posted by Bill Hunter:
    “I am amazed that many of the callers to the show, and to a degree some of the guests as well, seem to regard our support of Israel as an inexplicable historical accident that now has become too inconvenient to maintain. We support Israel because it is, and always has been, a free and successful democracy amid a sea of despotism. For all of the same reasons, we can and will support the people of Egypt in their quest for self-determination. But it is truly frightening to hear some callers assert a kind of moral equivalency between the governments of Israel and Iran. Are the ideals of America that fragile?”

    Wow. Bill, take a history class.

  • Reiner Wilhelms-Tricarico

    The question was asked whether Obama could afford to now “suddenly throw Mubarak under the bus” after decades of wrong American policy: I say, yes he can, and yes he must! He should – today – freeze all military aid to the Mubarak regime. The question of what all has to be “balanced” here, and “weighed against”, etc – it is a bogus issue. Why do you first raise the question of what’s in the interest of the United states or in the ‘interest of Israel’? Do you believe the propaganda put out by Mubarak and Israel that it’s either reactionary dictators like him or Islamist fundamentalists? What is your fear – Does anyone really believe that the people who are now leading this pro-democracy movement are a bunch of Jew haters? Do you believe they will demand that Iran gets the nuclear bomb? We all know that this is not the case.
    In the next few days it will be decided whether the next steps in the history of Egypt are going to be lead by a young generation of educated people who are anything but Muslim extremists. Mubarak’s thugs are now out to kill this one hope for democracy. If they loose, and if they are gone, who will become the next leaders for that revolution? Because there is no way around that revolution – for millions this is a struggle for air, for survival. Do we want to wait until the next “revolution” is lead by the same low-lives who are now on a killing spree for the pay of $8.50 per day? Does anyone believe that they will love Israel and hate the Iranian theocracy?
    By waffling about “national interests in the region” and standing by while the democracy movement is killed by thugs we make ourselves complicit in their murder. And play away the best chances for a peaceful solution to all the problems in the Middle East. There goes your “national interest in the region”, America.

  • Michael

    Dean,
    The Muslims invaded Europe and Christian nations on many occassions, prior and after the crusades, but you dont see the europeans crying about it. Many atrocities and injustices have been committed over the last thousands of years. I mean cmon, Muslims built a mosque on judaism’s most holy spot!!!!! But cmon, its the 21 century, lets all try to get along. I for one am glad that Jews once again have self determination in their indiginious homeland. I hope the arabs embrace them and welcome them home.
    M

  • Jane Addams

    Wow, Tom, that was great to hear your listeners socking it to your speakers re: American Foreign Policy. Perhaps they were feeling inspired by the Egyptian people. We have indeed supported dictators abroad until it was no longer in our interest or possible to maintain. Should we talk about what the Shah did to Iran? Etc. Yes, that is the meaning of being hypocritical — how can we claim to have spread “American values” in this world, unless American values include crass ruthlessness.
    As free trade wipes out American power, maybe we will become more humble and realistic. Or maybe the sinking middle and working class will become more vocal.

  • at

    Michael wrote:
    “The Muslims invaded Europe and Christian nations on many occassions, prior and after the crusades, but you dont see the europeans crying about it.”

    This is certainly true. For hundreds of years pirates supported by Muslim kingdoms raided the coast of Europe to take slaves. This almost denuded the coast of small villages that couldn’t defend themselves in Italy. The market in Africa was so glutted with European slaves that it was more economical to work them to death than to feed them. Usually the big slave markets were owned by Jewish traders. (just a fact I am not an anti anything and wish the current spat here would end.)

  • Dean

    Posted by Michael:
    “The Muslims invaded Europe and Christian nations on many occassions, prior and after the crusades, but you dont see the europeans crying about it. Many atrocities and injustices have been committed over the last thousands of years. I mean cmon, Muslims built a mosque on judaism’s most holy spot!!!!! But cmon, its the 21 century, lets all try to get along. I for one am glad that Jews once again have self determination in their indiginious homeland. I hope the arabs embrace them and welcome them home.”

    I never said Muslims did not invade any other lands. I said that they are not the only bad guys in history. And yes, you DID see the Europeans cry about it! Ever hear of the Inquisitions? And the Crusades themselves? Which were primarily economic, but they were not just or humane. …And the way we treat Arabs now?

    Muslim societies, including Palestine and Jerusalem, were mostly places where Jews, Christians, and others could live side by side for hundreds of years, though not without incidents. There were Jewish princes in Andalusian Spain. It is simply not the nature of Islam to be intolerant. It is the nature of mankind.

    As for Palestine being the indigenous homeland of the Jewish people, that depends on when you start your calendar. They weren’t there at all until about 1100 BC, then lost control of the place several times over 1000 years, were thrown out entirely by Europeans, not Arabs, in 135 AD, and came back after an absence of 1400 years of Muslim rule of the area to say “Hey, all you Arabs get out!”

    Some claim. The Torah is not a land deed.

  • Al-J

    It was more than just piracy. Islamic armies occuppied spain and marched into France. Islamic armies destroyed the byzentines and occupied constantanople (today called istanbul) and wiped out centuries of western and christian religion and culture. Islamic armies built a mosque on Judaism’s most holy location, on purpose. Islam has been just as imperialistic as the western-christian nations. Imperialism is human nature and I’m glad that in the 21st century we are finally making a concerted effort to change the course of human history to something more positive. But the idea that muslims are constantly oppressed by the west or by jews is misleading, false, and creates a perverted victim mentality that in its extreme case leads to a death cult and suicide bombings.

  • David W

    Posted by at – Santa Cruz, on February 3rd, 2011 at 10:56 AM

    Your comment is racist and, btw, untrue. This is from the CIA World Fact Book entry for Israel:

    Religion:
    Jewish 75.5%, Muslim 16.8%, Christian 2.1%, Druze 1.7%, other 3.9% (2008)

    https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/is.html

  • al

    Dean!! There has been a continued Jewish presense in Israel since the the biblical Exodus. And Jews, by and large, never wanted to kick anyone out, only to live side by side with arabs.

  • at, Santa Cruz

    True enough Al-J

    Charles the Hammer turned it around. Guess the French were really bad ass at one time. If it weren’t for them, we may all be Moslem.

    The Italians (Venice and Genoa) eventually brought it back home to them at Lepanto, as I remember. Here is a book about this that I loved.

    Empires of the Sea: The Siege of Malta, the Battle of Lepanto, and the Contest for the Center of the World

  • Dean

    Posted by Al-J
    “It was more than just piracy. Islamic armies occuppied spain and marched into France….”

    And so goes all human history…

    “…Islamic armies destroyed the byzentines…”

    Who had destroyed the people there before them…

    “…and occupied constantanople (today called istanbul) and wiped out centuries of western and christian religion and culture….”

    Oh, now hold on! What western culture was destroyed? Europe lost much of its culture in the Dark Ages, and only got it back by way of the Muslims who honored it tremendously!…

    “…Islamic armies built a mosque on Judaism’s most holy location, on purpose….”

    Making Muslims exactly as selfish as the Israelites and Chritians, who always did the exact same thing when they conquered a new city. Open your eyes, Al-J!

    “Islam has been just as imperialistic as the western-christian nations. Imperialism is human nature and I’m glad that in the 21st century we are finally making a concerted effort to change the course of human history to something more positive. But the idea that muslims are constantly oppressed by the west or by jews is misleading, false, and creates a perverted victim mentality that in its extreme case leads to a death cult and suicide bombings.”

    Now that I agree with. The last thousand years have been very, very hard on Arabs, first under the crushing destruction of the Crusades, then the Mongols, then the Turks, then the European imperialists, then the Zionists. Riches, the highest cultural achievements in the western world, and peace have melted away into a horrible poverty and abuse by puppet rulers paid by European and American quasi-imperialists. It is no wonder that Arabs feel oppressed.

  • at

    @ David

    If you are saying that these people can vote and run for office I think you are wrong, but I am certainly open to being corrected.

  • at

    Ok I was wrong, some of them can vote, it depends on what part of the country you are in.

  • James Romer

    There is a fundamental problem with the whole discussion this morning, a problem which neither the host nor the guests seem to be aware of. The word “we” was used over and over again, along with phrases such as “our national interest” and “America’s interest,” but nobody seemed to be aware that the interests that the US government promotes around the world (and here at home)are not the interests of ordinary people like me and most of your listeners but rather the interests of the elites who really own and run this country. If you want to have a discussion about how the elites might best go about promoting their interests in the world, fine. But, please, get off this “we” kick and wake up to the fact that there is a fundamental clash between the interests of the rich and powerful (regardless of their country) and those of the rest of us (no matter where in the world we live). And once you’ve woken up you might want to move on from a discussion of how democracy can come to Egypt to a discussion of how real democracy can come to America. Peace, Jim Romer, Quaker City, Unity NH

  • Dean

    Posted by al:
    “There has been a continued Jewish presense in Israel since the the biblical Exodus. And Jews, by and large, never wanted to kick anyone out, only to live side by side with arabs.”

    Um, really? Yes, there had been a few Jews there over the centuries after the Romans threw them out in 135AD. There were more than a few Arabs there, too. In fact, it was a Muslim land for a much longer time (1400 years) than it was an Israelite or Jewish land (less than 1000).

    There was a very, very small number of Jews in Palestine until the 20th century, when the Zionist movement made a concerted effort to reclaim the homeland after 1700 years of Christian anti-semitic oppression in Europe. But even in 1947, Jews were a minority. Arabs have now been expelled the way Jews were 2000 years earlier.

    Is that justice?

  • Dean

    Great point by James Romer.

  • al

    Dean,
    Arabs were not expelled from Israel. Since its founding, Israelis have made serious efforts to include Arabs in every level of society, including government. That is why today there are Arab members of parliament, members who denounce israel on a daily basis. If israel had expelled arabs there would be no arabs in israel, however, there are millions of them. To answer your question, yes, including arabs in society and government is justice. Many arabs left israel in 1948 because they were encouraged to do so by the other invading arab armies. The arab world helped cause this palestinian mess yet they continue to do very little to help bring about peace or compensate the jewish and palestinian victims. And finally, I have to dispute your dates and numbers. There has been a large Jewish presense in Israel/Palestine ALWAYS, even in spite of opression and exiles (which never lasted long). And until the zionist movememnt of the 19th century, Israel/Palestine was a washed up backwater of a province. Now its a flourishing mutli-cultural, mutli-ethnic, democratic society. That’s pretty amazing.

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    I think we need to hear from the American Jewish community as to whether Judaism is helped or hindered by the way Israel is proceeding.
    Whenever I have asked, I find out that American Judaism is not at all unified in its position. “Do you always agree with YOUR brothers and sisters?” That sort of thing. But I do kind of defer to them.
    It seems to me that the Jewish people who were interested in a cooperative integration with the culture where they live would be those who came to the United States. They are not saying they want to dominate the politics here. In Israel, they proclaim democracy, but they call it a Jewish democracy. That seems like an oxymoron. Ask the Christians and Muslims in Israel if they think it is a democracy with proper protections for minorities.
    I can’t deal with it. And I don’t think American oil interests in the region are helping. Just creating an excuse for favoring Israel. I don’t think American evangelicals glorifying Israel because of their Christian convictions helps the matter either. That perspective is like saying we have this bias, and therefore we are right. It is the reverse of saying we have a bias, and we know how to set it aside, or COUNTERBALANCE that bias because we understand justice demands that.
    I leave it to American Judaism to sort out Israel and its rightful orientation, historically and geographically. They clearly won’t let me the voter decide it for them. So they had better do it themselves, knowing better all the context as they surely do.

  • Conner

    A friend of mine just called me and said that all his post about Israel have been censored on this site. And I looked at copies of them and they were just historic quotes. I guess their power to censor Americans extends even to this little web site. I for one will never listen to this show again because of this prejudice and censorship. What a bunch of bull

  • Dean

    Ellen, that is well said.

    It is a tragedy that the place is so tied with strong religious passion in distant societies like the US. It muddles policy terribly.

    I think that there is a difference between Judaism and Zionism. That difference explains the nature of Israel’s “democracy”. I don’t think it is the responsibility of American Jews to dictate policies of Israel any more than it is the responsibility of Irish Americans to dictate policies in Ireland.

    But US policy should be more true to our ideals and ultimate goals. I do not believe those are served by our sentimental devotion to Israel.

  • sillyboy

    to Conner:

    Well what did he expect. Look at al-J, everything he said is Israeli propaganda yet it goes unchecked. You can bet that any posts that expose things for what they really are will be censored if it involves this subject.

  • Jim in Omaha

    I’m just asking: Does the government of ANY country in the middle East carry out policies that reflect the will of its populace? Which one(s)?

  • sillyboy

    sorry I mean al not al-j

  • Dean

    Jim in Omaha, How does that make the Middle East different from most anywhere else?

  • Connor

    Wow I noticed that several posts about Israel have been deleted since the show ended. Some little Zionist at work no doubt.

  • James Romer

    More on “national interest:” On CounterPunch today (February 3) there is a very interesting piece by David Price, an anthropologist who has spent time in Egypt among the rural poor. The following paragraph stood out for me, because it bears on the point I made earlier about there being no such thing as “national interest:” “The events of this past week leave me thinking about how President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton’s bungling support of their Egyptian client Mubarak unites me with my Egyptian friends, as I find myself in a position in my own country — with leaders whose support for Mubarak do not represent me or my interests in ways that parallel the distance my Egyptian friends have long felt from their President. As Mubarak’s career is one where his choices were limited by his Western minders, so Obama is limited by corporate interests, and long-term geopolitical forces he dares not upset and the shrill limits of Middle East possibilities imposed by America’s ‘special relationship’ with Israel.” Peace, James Romer

  • AnkleDeep

    Conner and company:

    If the foaming-at-the-mouth attitudes of the Zionists offend you, you should read Bondage of the Mind by Gold.

    Actually every fundamentalist of what ever faith should read it. Just to find out the truth about the lies they base their world view on.

  • Hmmm
  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    Have Egyptian educators moved that population to the point those people can outflank the West, with the “bondage of the mind” as practiced here, perhaps more of the worship-the-capitalist-golden-calf variety? If we are moving towards a truly democratic world, where no longer Might makes Right, and power/money is the ultimate arbiter, maybe we should study the kinds of education that lead to a civil society least in bondage. (In bondage to precepts that warp the judgment.) I think the sense of vulnerability and confusion can lead to groups centering their unity around ideals that seem fruitful but are not. Why? I think war leads people to learn the necessity of marching in lock-step; and children of warriors learn the same values; it’s us versus them; command and control.
    How many generations into peace does it take to develop attitudes that foster democracy? How many generations of prosperity does it take to foster a kind of capitalism that can set aside greed and redefine the word “flourish”?
    Why do I think Egyptian people can do this? They seem to want to, anyway. What could Egypt do? Today’s guest was pointing to Turkey; not a client state of the USA but a nation charting a course Egypt might well look to.

  • William

    It would be easy to have a foreign policy that does not support dictators. If we walked away from Egypt after Sadat got killed by the Islamic terrorists would Egypt had been better off now? Break off relations with China, Russia, most of Africa, Saudi Arabia, would these countries change much? Or, try to work with the guy in charge and see if you can change him a bit? The Islamic terrorists running Iran have proved that sometimes the previous dictator was not as bad as the current Islamic terrorists running Iran.

  • little people big mouths
  • DON’T DELETE MY POSTS

    WBUR why are you censoring all of my posts defending Israel . I see others are complaining ….So how many are we that you are deleting? I see that lies about Israel are not censored . WHY? by the way I had to use a friend’s computer to write this.

  • Dean

    William, Iran’s regime was at least partly created by British and American policy, in case you didn’t know that. Research what happened there in 1953.

    But I think we will see Iran become democratic in the next decade. That is a young, educated, cosmopolitan population. In any case, it is not for us to say.

    Is it not ironic that the only reason the Israelites regained control of Palestine 2600 years ago after they were conquered by Babylon is because they were rescued by what is today Iran? No people can be condemned for the actions of its distant predecessors. History finds it own way.

  • William

    Dean – I’m well aware that the CIA and MI5 put the Shah into power. We also worked hand in hand with the right wing groups in Japan to ensure they were elected in post war Japan too. With all his faults the Shah, Iran was much better off under his rule than the current Islamic terrorists. Only a very violent revolution would get those Islamic terrorists out of power in Iran.

    Israel is the only sane player in the Middle East. I always felt their claim to that land was shaky but they have become a pretty good country compared to the other Middle East nations.

  • Dean

    William, That depends upon one’s definition of “sane” and “good”, I suppose.

    In any case, it would be wise for the US to work its way out of the Middle East. Let whoever wants to fight for it fight it out. We have our own hurdles to overcome right here, don’t you think?

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    hi, DON’T DELETE, I’ll tell you why I think the Israel posts are getting deleted. It’s because there is a large and vocal lot of us out here who OnPoint know could spout about 300 posts in very little time once we get started.
    And the idea is to talk about Egypt. Sure, there is a significant overlap, but from what they’ve deleted of mine, they’re saying okay, but redirect yourself to “foreign policy EGYPT” for now. Egypt could get lost in an all-out free-for-all about the history of Zionism or something like that.

  • don’t censor my posts

    why is WBUR censoring all my post?

  • well,well

    larger American interest subjected to spin

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynWjYHP91gA&NR=1&feature=fvwp

  • William

    Dean – Tough call to cut and run. I have often felt we need to become more like Japan. Just sell, trade and stay out of everyone business. But after 9-11 I think it pays to be a bit involved, even if only to provide some advice. It would be interesting to see what would happen if we got 90 percent of our electric needs from nuke power and greatly reduced oil imports. I think the Middle East would revolt in anger at our ‘not buying their oil”.

    Most of our own problems are self-inflicted. Poor leadership choices over the last 60 years have not helped us much. JFK and his Vietnam War. Nixon consumed with power, out of control spending by Congress.

  • wbur don’t censor my posts

    PS. I had to write from a friend’s computer because WBUR censors my posts . You can be sure that I won’t be quiet about it …

  • Dean

    William, I think we are mostly in agreement. I am not saying “cut and run”, but work our way out of our pattern of political manipulation, which could take a generation.

    I don’t think that you are suggesting that 9/11 would have happened anyway, if not for US policies in the Middle East, but it is imperative that we get the message sent by it.

    Everywhere populations get to express their political will democratically, we should try to relate to them, and I think they would be happy in such a relationship. I believe that self-determination is a great balm for historical wounds.

    Unfortunately, that has not been our history. Capitalism and freedom are not comfortable bedfellows.

  • William

    Dean, actually, I think if we pushed free market reforms more and did not worry so much about who is in power, eventually everyone wins out. Egypt has been a Socialist or central planned economy since Nassar took over and the common man has suffered.

    The guys that planned 9-11 just needed someone to blame for faults in the Middle East society. Hitler had the Jews. Stalin had the rich.

    There is no better economic system that capitalism. Even with the faults, it is better than anything else we have seen.

  • Dean

    “There is no better economic system that capitalism. Even with the faults, it is better than anything else we have seen.”

    Then let’s keep looking….

    I think free enterprise is good, but it Capitalism, and its ultimate expression: Imperialism, lends no more freedom to the common man than Fascism does. Is even the US system incorrupt? Not even close.

    But different ideals fit different populations differently. One size does not fit all. Let each population determine its own way, and avenues will appear to do business with them. Always have.

  • Rob (in NY)

    I find it somewhat ironic that the ardent supporters of Israel (and in some cases blind supporters of every Israeli policy) and those sympathetic to the Hamas view and do not accept Israel’s right to exist are both complaining about their posts being deleted. Perhaps, Tom and the On Point Staff should be awarded a Nobel prize for getting these two radical viewpoints to agree on something.

    In my opinion, most of the people protesting on the
    streets of Cairo are far more concerned about their own economic opportunities (or lack thereof) and lack of political freedom than the conflict between Israel and Palestine. It is completely absurd to say that people in Egypt are suffering because its government recognizes Israel’s right to exist under the peace and security agreements negotiated by Sadat and continued by Mubarek. In fact, these agreements have resulted in far more US and Western military and economic aid that Egypt would otherwise have received.

    It is not like the citizens of other Arab states that are effectively at a perpetual state of war with Israeli are better off.

  • millard_fillmore

    The Muslim world has been no more intolerant in its 1400 years than any other basis for society. The last two centuries have been a reminder of the hideous Crusades perpetrated on the Middle East by Christian Europeans hundreds of years earlier. The poverty that resulted from invasions and oppression into Muslim Middle East populations has resulted in resistant tendencies. Very understandable, natural human nature.

    Posted by Dean, on February 3rd, 2011 at 11:17 AM
    __

    Dean,

    AFAIK, India didn’t participate in any Crusades in the Middle east. Your comment smacks of apologia for Islam.

    “THE MOSLEM CONQUEST OF INDIA Chapter 6, Volume 1 of The Story of Civilization

    The Mohammedan Conquest of India is probably the bloodiest story in history. It is a discouraging tale, for its evident moral is that civilization is a precarious thing, whose delicate complex of order and liberty, culture and peace may at any time be overthrown by barbarians invading from without or multiplying within. “
    -Will & Ariel Durant

  • Dean

    millard_fillmore,

    I don’t see how I have been an apologist for Islam. Pointing out the fact that Muslims have not been any more aggressive, violent, or intolerant than other widespread ideological empires is only to lump them in with all the rest of bloody humanity. Was the expansion of Islam more violent or intolerant than the expansion of Christianity into the New World? Into Africa? Into Australia? More violent or intolerant than Rome? Than Babylon? Than any other conquering empire?

    Pointing out the bestial nature of one religious or ethnic group without associating it with the bestial nature of others is a trick of charlatans and bigots.

    I have pointed out that the history of the Middle East is not the history of Islamic intolerance and cruelty alone, but of universal intolerance and cruelty. Muslims have as often been the victims as the perpetrators. Their more recent victimization can explain some of their current sensitivity and anger.

    I have no beef with Will Durant, but his is only one point of view, and his sources are not the whole of human experience. He is a well-meaning, Jesuit-educated, white historian of European Christian heritage and sensibilities, whose first career intention was to become a Catholic priest. So, his excellent work should be seen as part of the true story, but not the whole.

  • Tom N.

    It is the moral and just stand to be for democracy to the people of Egypt & the Middle East against their dictators.

    We should not find excuses in what the Ambassador was referring to as our “interests”, because that means these “interests” are not moral and ought to be reconsidered?!

  • David W

    When people attack and disparage the country of Israel and the Jewish people, it makes me feel sick inside. Because that is my people, and my homeland. That’s why when people attack and disparage an Arab country, or Muslims, or Palestinians, it bothers me, because I know how it feels for them.
    Thank you, WBUR, for censoring most of the comments that have been made here with the sole intention of making someone else feel sick inside.

  • geffe

    By the way Egypt controls the Suez canal. A lot of oil and natural gas come through the canal. I’m not sure how much but I’m sure its substantial. The other issue is the US has armed the Egyptian military to the teeth.

    That said from what I’ve been seeing and hearing today Mubarak is nothing more than a thug and two bit dictator.

  • Rob (in NY)

    Geffe, Based on reports that I have heard from Charlie Maxwell and others (e.g. Maxwell is one of energy industry analysts that has been the most accurate regarding longer term oil price trends in my opinion), the oil supply flowing through the Suez Canal on any given day is actually less than 3% of the world’s supply. This compares to over 20% of all daily oil shipments that flow through the Straits of Hormuz. I believe the economic risk that most concerns investors and diplomats alike is that an unstable or Islamic fundamentalist Iranian style government in Egypt which breaks its peace agreement with Israel risks a much larger regional conflict and even a potential war with Iran. This could threaten to shutdown the Straits of Hormuz and have devastating global economic consequences that would hit the middle east the hardest, considering the dependence of their economies that depends on oil exports.

  • Zinovy Vayman, Galilee

    “Posted by al:
    “There has been a continued Jewish presense in Israel since the the biblical Exodus. And Jews, by and large, never wanted to kick anyone out, only to live side by side with arabs.”

    Um, really? Yes, there had been a few Jews there over the centuries after the Romans threw them out in 135AD. There were more than a few Arabs there, too. In fact, it was a Muslim land for a much longer time (1400 years) than it was an Israelite or Jewish land (less than 1000).

    There was a very, very small number of Jews in Palestine until the 20th century, when the Zionist movement made a concerted effort to reclaim the homeland after 1700 years of Christian anti-semitic oppression in Europe. But even in 1947, Jews were a minority. Arabs have now been expelled the way Jews were 2000 years earlier.

    Is that justice?

    Posted by Dean, on February 3rd, 2011 at 12:01″

    Yes, Dean, the creation of the State of Israel is a just
    move. Jews prayed for the right to return for hundreds of years. Perhaps, Prussians decide to return and ask Russian, Polish and Lithuanian settlers to leave. But no, they decide (tell me why )to lead more productive lives in the economic powerhouse of Germany since Prussians are almost 100% Germanized.
    The country of Palestine is a Jewish territory because Jews came there before Arabs and before Islam. Palestine is associated with Jews and their offspring Christians, not with Muslims. However ~10 mln Arabs control now 85% Palestinian land mass, being only 70% population. (Compare with Prussia.)
    Why is Palestine associated with Judeo-Christians? Because Germanic leaders of the modern civilization decided so– hundreds of years ago. They are trying to dissociate from Jews and Jesus nowadays but it is not easy.
    Palestine was a Muslim land for more than a thousand years but it was ruled by Islamized Turks who brought there settlers from Syria, from Egypt, from the Caucasus. Even Algerians came from afar. Many folks from Arabia and Mesopotamia arrived and tried to make a living. Bedouins roamed…
    Jews as an intentional community congealed in Palestine,
    Arabs did not.
    Jews wrote some interesting books (on the basis of the earlier civilizations), Arabs cite Jews and their achievements in their holy book. They pray at the Tomb of the Patriarchs but started this passtime 1000 years later than Jews.
    It is enough space for many people and their states in Palestine.( I count five states in Palestine now.) Recently one Spanish nun came to Bethlehem and claimed herself a Palestinian. She was welcomed. But decimated and expelled Jews? Jews who were not allowed to the US, Gt Britain, or Canada… What a reception they receive up to this day ! And Jews are overachievers of the modern times.

  • Ben Johnson

    Is reporting missing the mark? Provacative actions are taken in a enviroment quoted through out the listening world. Tahrir sqaure is the focus piont know. The US should hold to freedom.

  • Dean

    Zinovy,

    I am sensitive to the desire of modern Jews to have a nation of their own after so many centuries of cruel treatment, mostly at the hands of European Christians.

    I am aware of the historical connection between Judaism and the Holy Land.

    But if we are to use as the determinant of possession the idea that “The country of Palestine is a Jewish territory because Jews came there before Arabs and before Islam”, then we are to create a terrible problem for many nations all over the world. Indeed, by that standard, Egyptians would be able to claim Palestine as their own, because they were there before the Israelites!

    In any case, the ethnic and geographic origins of the Hebrew people and of the Israelites is impossible to know with any certainty. They were one of the many diverse peoples living in the larger Middle East when they became known by the religion and culture by which we know them today. They had an intermittent period of political control of parts of Palestine for about a thousand years, broken many times by more powerful incursions by Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans. The amount of land under the control of the Hebrew kings at any time was dependent upon many factors, and varied enormously. And it was all a very long time ago.

    One fact that we do know with certainty is that most of the Muslim residents of Palestine for centuries before the re-creation of Israel in 1948 are genetically indistinguishable from the Jews who returned into it themselves!

    Yet, those Muslim, “Arab” Palestinians have been forced by the creation of a Jewish state to relinquish their claim to the land they occupied for more centuries than even the Israelites of antiquity.

    That is not justice, my friend. Perhaps if Israel had been founded as an inclusive state instead of an exclusively Jewish state, things might have been different. Perhaps things will be different in the future. I wish both peoples only peace and prosperity …and equal standing under the law.

    I wish the same to you.

  • Ben Johnson

    The skills and opening up to discourse has changed. Communication shift has changed. USA produced a innovation affecting the whole world of the young. Islam is the most active. Change and the communication of individauls have expressed. Via of the internet 20 years and growing.

  • Shermin

    Hi Tom, I made this point on one of your earlier broadcasts – what do you mean by Islamist/Islamism?? Are you referring to radical/fundamentalist people who claim to follow Islam, or do you mean any form of Muslim-led majority? If you mean the former then say so instead of abbreviating it out of convenience. Otherwise you imply that there is some inherent problem with a government led by people who follow the religion called Islam.

  • Ben Johnson

    THINK THIS. A WORLD WIDE UNITED NATIONS STOCK MARKET.
    WOW.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Ben Johnson

    Egypt is showing a WHOLE world effort. Nothing finite in their view. These educated WANTING individauls hoping to particapate. Big world DUDES.

  • Ben Johnson

    COOLER HEADS PREVAIL. It a discussion to a process. No one knows the out come. Its matters thou the discussion. Thanks NPR. Ben.

  • Ben Johnson

    Nuit Egyptain god.

    In Egyptian mythology, Nuit or Nut was the sky goddess. She is the daughter of Shu … The Osiris Ani saith:- Hail, thou Sycamore tree of the goddess Nut! …

    http://www.crystalinks.com/nut.html
    She my have a word or so written in history to express today.

  • William

    Dean – Imperialism has very little to do with capitalism. Imperialism can best be defined by Great Briton and their quest for a world wide empire for the royal family. Capitalism destroyed imperialism and lifted more lives than any other economic system known to mankind.

    Certainly, it is up to each country or society to determine their own path, but I don’t see why we should support failed states that adopt failed economic ideas.

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    I’m reading the history of Cairo, and if you want to see a place that has been destroyed and rebuilt reflecting the shifting tides of power for millennia, there is your fine example. I wouldn’t know which strand of say 150 years to use. If you “just” go from the Islamic conquest forward (before that, it had been known as Baghdad on the Nile for a while, Coptic but with much bloody strife given the splits among Christian doctrines), you see one Muslim dynasty after another, sort of like the ascendancy of the Dutch, the Spanish, the Austrians, the French, the English — which is meaningful to me because I know the literature and art and history), but here it is branches centered maybe in Damascus, maybe in Baghdad, maybe in Constantinople; one set Mamluks who were former slaves, another set of Shiia “out of the west” (not what I’d expect), and with each new regime, there is massive destruction and a new “city” built close by (all this near the canal connecting the Nile to the Red Sea). Check out the al-Hakim mosque and its history, the mad 11-year-old ruler who wanted incestuous relations with a sister, who seems to have had him disappeared in the woods. Anyway, I wanted the derivation of the word Cairo, and I see it is the city founded after the more southern city of Masr, and it means al-Qahira, the Triumphant (of course).
    I’m mostly getting this from the Rough Guide history, and it may be easier to think in terms of the emotionally laden, myth-laden Jerusalem, but it’s much more interesting to try to wrap the mind around the history of Egypt. For me, it’s the medieval Egypt that is most intriguing. City burned down. City flattened. Women boiled alive in groups for being too noisy. It begins to be vivid.

  • susan

    The so called suffering of the palestinian people is are based on fabricated lies :

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3079049095214906504#

  • susan

    and if you are all so concerned about real refugees you would fight for the rights of the 1 MILLION JEWISH REFUGEES KICKED OUT OF ARAB COUNTRIES ,the horrible massacres in sudan among others AROUND THE WORLD . No you have an agenda against Israel . I would not be surprised if you were not paid to write all this hatred!!!

  • julie f.

    I’m ashamed at the ignorance of some listeners! The terribly misinformed gentleman from Nashville whose comment about why should Iran not be allowed to have nuclear weapons while Israel can!! Seriously, dude? Has everyone gone insane (not to mention anti-Semitic). Yikes!

  • Thomas

    I think you need people to speak out who have spent a certain amount of time living outside the USA. I live in Japan and this has really helped me see the strengths and weaknesses of US culture, and gov. policies.

    So the point I wish to make is that the concepts of freedom and democracy can apply to all countries and cultures. We got these ideas from the Middle East, And the Middle East got these ideas from the idea traffic on the Silk Road. So freedom and Democracy are concepts owned by the world not the prerogative of any current US foreign policy. THEREFORE the US should act with the benefit of the whole world’s interests. Having established this as a reference point and a foundation of policy, the US should

    a) chart a course for Murbarak to step down, and allow the people of Egypt decide for themselves. This is largely what I interpret in Sec. of State Clinton’s comments. The knee jerk reaction is to fear the Egyptian people’s decision. The US is saying, “We want you to decide for yourselves, but we want you to make a decision we like”. THIS IS WRONG!

  • harry

    Inspired by the recent uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, a Facebook group called “The Revolution of Honor – Gaza” has called for a “day of rage” next Friday to protest against the Hamas government which rules the coastal enclave .The group has grown to some 10,000 members just three days after it was launched.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ymgm2sqqHmk&feature=player_embedded

  • John Converse

    I appreciated hearing one of my favorite authors, Stephen Kinzer and your other guests. How you all could have avoided discussing the petroleum industry, which to me is what the Middle East problem revolves around, is a mystery. I would also expect some mention of tanks, since the armaments industry is the other main material factor.

  • Zinovy Vayman, Galilee

    “Zinovy,

    I am sensitive to the desire of modern Jews to have a nation of their own after so many centuries of cruel treatment, mostly at the hands of European Christians.

    I am aware of the historical connection between Judaism and the Holy Land.

    But if we are to use as the determinant of possession the idea that “The country of Palestine is a Jewish territory because Jews came there before Arabs and before Islam”, then we are to create a terrible problem for many nations all over the world. Indeed, by that standard, Egyptians would be able to claim Palestine as their own, because they were there before the Israelites!

    In any case, the ethnic and geographic origins of the Hebrew people and of the Israelites is impossible to know with any certainty. They were one of the many diverse peoples living in the larger Middle East when they became known by the religion and culture by which we know them today. They had an intermittent period of political control of parts of Palestine for about a thousand years, broken many times by more powerful incursions by Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans. The amount of land under the control of the Hebrew kings at any time was dependent upon many factors, and varied enormously. And it was all a very long time ago.

    One fact that we do know with certainty is that most of the Muslim residents of Palestine for centuries before the re-creation of Israel in 1948 are genetically indistinguishable from the Jews who returned into it themselves!

    Yet, those Muslim, “Arab” Palestinians have been forced by the creation of a Jewish state to relinquish their claim to the land they occupied for more centuries than even the Israelites of antiquity.

    That is not justice, my friend. Perhaps if Israel had been founded as an inclusive state instead of an exclusively Jewish state, things might have been different. Perhaps things will be different in the future. I wish both peoples only peace and prosperity …and equal standing under the law.

    I wish the same to you.

    Posted by Dean, on February 3rd, 2011 at 7:22 PM”

    To Dean:

    You did not reply to my question about the difference between Prussians in Germany and Arabs in Palestine!
    1.I don’t say entire Palestine should be free of Arabs and ready for Jews. But Arabs (70% Palestinian population) keep their Palestinian land (85% entire Palestinian land) free of Jews who are not allowed even to walk there.
    2.The majority of modern Jews desire not their own state but to live in a Germanic country (England, the US, Germany, etc.)Many modern Arabs want the same. Tell me why.
    But Jews are forced into their Bantustan.
    3.There is almost no connection between the ancient Egypt and the modern one (the “revolutionary” mob destroying mummies in Cairo.)
    I repeat–Jews formed their commonwealth and culture in Palestine and established capital cities in Machanaim, Jerusalem, Samaria, Hebron. They wrote the Bible.
    Apart from Crusaders, neither Greeks, nor Arabs claimed Palestine as a separate entity.
    4. Babylonians acknowledged the Jewish connection to Palestine and allowed Jews to rebuild Jerusalem.
    I guess, 100 years ago Germanic powers did the same.
    Do not belittle the Jews (one of the tribes somewhere, origins unknown). They were and are the most enviable group. They made themselves into the great people (but not nation) and succeeded to Judaize Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and America. Who needs that, you may ask now, in 2011. But your ancestors thought otherwise.
    5. Your half-truth about the genetic make-up of the Palestinian Arabs. Apart from Crusader and Greek genes, (often the Arab elite and Christians ready to serve the Muslim majority) the Arabs might be closely related to the Arab Jews (almost 1,000,000) who were expelled from the Arab countries and settled in Palestine in the last century. Germanic Jews are different and they run the State of Israel. They are closer to Christians and Crusaders–genetically.
    Black Jews are closer to the sub-Saharan Africans.
    6. The State of Israel was founded as an inclusive state.
    More than that. Paradoxically, Arabs are more equal than Jews within the State of Israel. They cherish Israel and do not want to live elsewhere except, of course, Germanic Europe or America.
    7.And now for laughs-justice. Justice is for money, my friend. Check lawyers’ rates. Check their Talmudic lingo. Jews buy justice. And Arabs, rich with oil and donations from the West (do not kill us right now, Arab heroes)are now trying to buy “justice.”
    They want Germanic prosperity, but it cannot be attained in the foreseeable future.
    Or, perhaps, justice means to sit on the Amerindian landwith almost no trace of Amerindians…

  • Jeff Ewener

    Listening to your podcast from Toronto, Canada.

    Very illuminating, thoughtful discussion.

    Interesting that the question is posed as either/or — an Egypt that is stable, predictable & supports US foreign policy (but is autocratic), OR one that is democratic (and thus supports core US political values) but is unpredictable and a potential opponent of US policy.

    This ignores the feedback (or should we say “blowback”). Al-quaeda is a reaction against US support for brutal dictatorships, Iran in 1979 was a reaction against US support for a brutal dictatorship.

    The fact is, neither of these two options is free — there is a cost to both of them. The right-wing, scare-mongering, control-freak, Israel-at-any-cost approach loudly points out the cost of democracy, but downplays or ignores the cost of autocracy. Partly that’s because a lot of that cost can be “externalized” — the way a corporation can externalize the cost of pollution or global warming. They think it will be paid only by the people over there, who can’t vote in the US and can be ignored.

    And it’s true. They will be the ones to pay it — in fear, blood, grief, broken lives, frustrated hopes — until they can’t pay any more. Then the bill will have to be paid by the US and its allies. And by then it will be a big one.

  • JOSE GRULLON-SURO

    In one of On Point programs, on e of the guest said that we should not throw Mubarak un “under the bus”. Well, if the alternative is to throw the egyptian people under Mubarak and his Generals’ tanks, I’ll throw Mubarak “under the bus”.
    It’s time we stop supporting Dictators just because they “side” with us, and start helping the people that want democratic reforms. If we don’t do this because we are afraid that the extremists will dominate the movement, sooner or later our lack of integrity will come to hunt us.

  • millard_fillmore

    “Pointing out the bestial nature of one religious or ethnic group without associating it with the bestial nature of others is a trick of charlatans and bigots.”

    __

    True, except that to point out the bestial nature of one religion, you’ll have to reach way back into the past (Crusades et al), whereas jihad is a present-day global reality, as is massacre of Ahmaddiyas, as is Shias and Sunnis killing each other, as is Kurt Westergaard attacked, as is brutal slaying of Theo van Gogh for making a film. Besides, I don’t see any Christian or US hand that’s responsible for Muslim-Muslim violence and blasphemy violence, no matter how twisted a logic you use to paint Muslims as victims. So, yes, your comments are still an apologia for Islam.

    And really? Will Durant’s is one point of view because it throws a spanner in your fantasy? Enlighten us to a different point of view then, and let us know the lies Durant told, instead of indulging in ad hominem. And what makes your views – filled to the brim as they are with liberal guilt – more valid and acceptable than Durant’s?

  • millard_fillmore

    Dean, while you’re at it, maybe you can explain how USA or Christianity is responsible for this ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-12344959 ). Or would this fall under your “different ideals for different populations”?

  • Salma

    Dean, are you Michael?

    Millard, not demonizing Islam and Muslims is not being apologetic to Muslims. It is saying things as they are. The conquest of India, by the British, the French and the Portuguese is not referred to as the Christian conquest, is it? Why should then, the Mogul conquest of India be refereed to by its religion? It seems to me that you have different ideals for different populations.

    While we speak about bestiality, lets speak about the 600 people Israel (a democracy) massacred in Gaza in December 2008, 1/3rds of which were children, without any reprimand. A disproportionate response, as always. Atleast having a real Government in Egypt gives a balance of power to the region, and the people get to decide whether they want to uphold the peace treaty or not, just as people of other nations get to decide.

  • millard_fillmore

    “The conquest of India, by the British, the French and the Portuguese is not referred to as the Christian conquest, is it? Why should then, the Mogul conquest of India be refereed to by its religion?”
    __

    Simple – because religion was a huge motivation for the Islamic conquest in India, and the Islamic iconoclasm, which resulted in many Hindus (najis kaffirs) massacred and numerous temples destroyed, is still strong – as is evident from the recent destruction of Bamiyan Buddhas and persecution of non-Muslims in Pakistan. Is your memory really that weak or did you overlook those uncomfortable facts?

    I don’t hide my dislike of the two major monotheistic religions (Islam and Christianity) – both claiming monopoly over god, but we’re not discussing Christianity here, and neither are Christians today killing each other over religion, like Shias and Sunnis do, or like Ahmaddiyas are killed by Muslims because the former are committing “blasphemy” – whatever the f*ck that means.

  • millard_fillmore

    “Millard, not demonizing Islam and Muslims is not being apologetic to Muslims.”
    __

    Salma,

    Curious choice of a word – “demonizing.”

    Criticizing and stating facts is not the same as demonization. If it were demonization, then I’d think that both Republicans and Democrats demonize each other quite regularly. I’m not sure why people bring in words like “demonization” and “hatred” whenever some valid criticism of Islam is made – as if Islam is above criticism, but don’t mention these words when Republicans or Democrats are criticized. What kind of asinine logic results in people taking that kind of position is beyond me.

  • Mike2.0

    “1.I don’t say entire Palestine should be free of Arabs and ready for Jews. But Arabs (70% Palestinian population) keep their Palestinian land (85% entire Palestinian land) free of Jews who are not allowed even to walk there.”

    Again both blatantly false and taken by Joan Peters book a “time Immemorial. This leaves out the effort before and ongoing effort to bring Jews to israel. It’s the fail belief that Since israeli of the passed (1k plus year ago )held more land than that all the land is still actually belongs to the Jewish state based on the bible

    2.The majority of modern Jews desire not their own state but to live in a Germanic country (England, the US, Germany, etc.)Many modern Arabs want the same. Tell me why.
    But Jews are forced into their Bantustan.

    Proof you speak for the Modern Jewish majority? Many Modern Israeli Jews desire to keep a Jewish majority in Israel, and uses whatever means needed to do so. how many of that majority are being bribed(subsidies,housing,grants) to come to israel? How many are being preyed on(fear tactics). The U.S.,UK and the west are “not” forcing jews out in modern times. The U.S. even allows for Dual Citizenship or it’s Jewish Citizens to go and serve in the Israeli Military(unheard of btw for any other group in the U.S.)

    3.There is almost no connection between the ancient Egypt and the modern one (the “revolutionary” mob destroying mummies in Cairo.)
    I repeat–Jews formed their commonwealth and culture in Palestine and established capital cities in Machanaim, Jerusalem, Samaria, Hebron. They wrote the Bible.
    Apart from Crusaders, neither Greeks, nor Arabs claimed Palestine as a separate entity.

    If there no connection to modern Egyptians living is egypt now to there passed than that only weakens the case of a deep connections to modern jews living outside of israel. It’s silly to say a Jew who never been to israel has a deep connection to it because he is jewish but a Egyptian living in egpyt does not because he is Egyptian.

    4. Babylonians acknowledged the Jewish connection to Palestine and allowed Jews to rebuild Jerusalem.
    I guess, 100 years ago Germanic powers did the same.
    Do not belittle the Jews (one of the tribes somewhere, origins unknown). They were and are the most enviable group. They made themselves into the great people (but not nation) and succeeded to Judaize Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and America. Who needs that, you may ask now, in 2011. But your ancestors thought otherwise.

    What the poster attempts to do is claim that because some jews did great things all jews do great things. What is interesting to look at is while Jews were the minority in many European countries there religion was moderate(to some extent) and had to rely on Both Muslims and Christians. But when the State of Israel was created(mind you with help from terrorist groups Stein Gang,Irgan,Lehi(btw IDF troops are given the Lehi medal there) even after at first banned these terrorist groups they later voted the leader of one as there P.M. Interesting to Note we can find the same type of racism,hated within the Israeli government and population against non-jews that some Israeli grandparents suffered in europe(often the same reasoning as to why it’s okay.

    5. Your half-truth about the genetic make-up of the Palestinian Arabs. Apart from Crusader and Greek genes, (often the Arab elite and Christians ready to serve the Muslim majority) the Arabs might be closely related to the Arab Jews (almost 1,000,000) who were expelled from the Arab countries and settled in Palestine in the last century. Germanic Jews are different and they run the State of Israel. They are closer to Christians and Crusaders–genetically.
    Black Jews are closer to the sub-Saharan Africans.

    Speaking of Half truths what the poster leaves out is.

    From a Jewish-Zionist point of view the immigration of the Jews of the Arab countries to Israel, expelled or not, was the fulfillment of a national dream—the “ingathering of the exiles.” Since the 1930s the Jewish Agency had sent agents, teachers, and instructors to the various Arab countries in order to propagate Zionism. They organized Zionist youth movements there and illegal immigration to Palestine. Israel then made great efforts to absorb these immigrants into its national, political, social, and economic life.

    6. The State of Israel was founded as an inclusive
    state.
    More than that. Paradoxically, Arabs are more equal than Jews within the State of Israel. They cherish Israel and do not want to live elsewhere except, of course, Germanic Europe or America.

    David Ben-Gurion, the first Israeli Prime Minister, eloquently articulated the “transfer solution” as the following:

    In a joint meeting between the Jewish Agency Executive and Zionist Action Committee on June 12th, 1938:

    “With compulsory transfer we [would] have a vast area for settlement …. I support compulsory transfer. I don’t see anything immoral in it.” (Righteous Victims p. 144).
    In a speech addressing the Central Committee of the Histadrut on December 30, 1947:
    “In the area allocated to the Jewish State there are not more than 520,000 Jews and about 350,000 non-Jews, mostly Arabs. Together with the Jews of Jerusalem, the total population of the Jewish State at the time of its establishment, will be about one million, including almost 40% non-Jews. such a [population] composition does not provide a stable basis for a Jewish State. This [demographic] fact must be viewed in all its clarity and acuteness. With such a [population] composition, there cannot even be absolute certainty that control will remain in the hands of the Jewish majority …. There can be no stable and strong Jewish state so long as it has a Jewish majority of only 60%.” (Expulsion Of The Palestinians, p. 176 & Benny Morris p. 28)

    “As historians of the 1948 war know well, the Haganah prepared in March 1948 a strategic plan (the Dalet or “fourth” plan) to deal with the imminent invasion of Palestine by the Arab countries. A major aim of the plan was to form a continuous territory joining the lands held by the Jewish settlements. The plan clearly states that if Arab villages violently opposed the Jewish attempt to gain control, their populations would be expelled. The text was first made public in Israel in 1972 as an appendix to the last volume of the semiofficial History of the Haganah. ”

    I think the U.S. is behind close doors telling the Egyptian president to wait it out. Sad that if the protesters loses and the cameras go off how many will probable be tortured,arrested or never heard from again.

    Where’s wikileaks at lol

  • Devon

    Posted by al-
    “There has been a continued Jewish presense in Israel since the the biblical Exodus. And Jews, by and large, never wanted to kick anyone out, only to live side by side with arabs.”
    By the logic that who was there longer should get to live there the arabs should get Palestine. They have been inhabiting there before and during the time that the Israelis lived there. The Israeli occupation in Israel is only a small period of time compared to the Arabs’.

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