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Posts Tagged ‘Middle East

Zogby- Politics and Nonsense on Egypt

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The narcissism of both the US and Israel has never been more complete or more anti-democratic.  Everything has got to be all-about-us, all the time.

When the Dust Settles, US Policies Will Remain the Same

By JAMES ZOGBY Counterpunch Feb 11, 2011

When US politicians are forced to discuss critical Middle East matters, more often than not their remarks either display an ignorance of facts, are shaped more by political needs than reality, or are just plain dumb. Commentary about the popular revolt in Egypt provides a case in point.

There was no doubt that the events in Cairo were momentous and, therefore, deserving of response. In the case of most US political leaders, however, struggling to come up with the right TV sound bite didn’t require actually knowing anything about Egypt. All that was needed was to frame the issue through either the prism of partisanship or that of unbending loyalty to Israel. The result was a string of comments, some bizarre, others dangerous.

The new chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, for example, cornered the market on incoherence and contradiction when she observed that “Mr Mubarak should… immediately schedule legitimate, democratic, internationally recognised elections,” adding however that “the US should learn from past mistakes and support a process which includes candidates who meet basic standards for leaders of responsible nations — candidates who have publicly renounced terrorism, uphold the rule of law, [and] recognise Egypt’s… peace agreement with the Jewish state of Israel.”

In other words, Ros-Lehtinen supports a democracy where we (not they) set up the criteria. Not quite “respect for the will of the people,” but still better than former Republican speaker of the House Newt Gingrich’s partisan tirade.

Gingrich, who is reported to be considering a presidential run, is shallow and remarkably uninformed about most Middle East issues. He gets by largely because he sounds so authoritative and always has a clever quip or two. In Gingrich’s assessment of the current situation, “there’s a real possibility in a few weeks… that Egypt will join Iran, and join Lebanon, and join Gaza, and join the things that are happening that are extraordinarily dangerous to us.”

Having thus displayed almost no understanding of the Middle East, Gingrich goes on to ridicule US President Barack Obama’s “naiveté”, charging that Obama “went to Cairo and gave his famous speech in which he explained that we should all be friends together because we’re all the same… and there are no differences between us. Well, I think there are a lot of differences between the Muslim Brotherhood and the rest of us.”

Gingrich’s parting shot was to state that the US administration “doesn’t have a clue”. Then, in order to demonstrate that he does, Gingrich offered this “advice” to Obama: “study Reagan and Carter and do what Reagan did and avoid what Carter did.”

If the need to take a partisan shot is central to some, more important for others, both Democrats and Republicans, is the need to make this all about Israel. Presidential aspirant and former governor Mike Huckabee, for example, used the occasion of the Egyptian uprising to make his 15th trip to Israel where he lamented that “the Israelis feel alone… and they cannot depend upon the United States, because they just don’t have confidence that the US will stand with them.”

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Consequences: the US is not immune

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Quote of the day- from Chris Hedges’  What Corruption and Force Have Wrought in Egypt:

The failure of the United States to halt the slow-motion ethnic cleansing of Palestinians by Israel has consequences. The failure to acknowledge the collective humiliation and anger felt by most Arabs because of the presence of U.S. troops on Muslim soil, not only in Iraq and Afghanistan but in the staging bases set up in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, has consequences. The failure to denounce the repression, including the widespread use of torture, censorship and rigged elections, wielded by our allies against their citizens in the Middle East has consequences. We are soaked with the stench of these regimes. Mubarak, who reportedly is suffering from cancer, is seen as our puppet, a man who betrayed his own people and the Palestinians for money and power.