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Who Didn't See This Coming... Cairo In Chaos

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From Fox News:

The military is attempting to clear out protesters from Tahrir Square after thousands of anti-government demonstrators and pro-Mubarak supporters clashed in the streets, hurling Molotov cocktails and rocks at each other. Gunman were seen firing into the square's crowd early Thursday morning.

Three soldiers were killed and at least 600 were injured from the violent protests, according to Egypt's state TV. A fourth person was killed early Thursday according to reports from Reuters and Al Jazeera.

The protesters accused Mubarak's regime of unleashing a force of paid thugs and plainclothes police to crush their unprecedented 9-day-old movement, a day after the 82-year-old president refused to step down. They showed off police ID badges they said were wrested from their attackers. Some government workers said their employers ordered them into the streets.

The notion that the state may have coordinated violence against protesters, who had kept a peaceful vigil in Tahrir Square for five days, prompted a sharp rebuke from the Obama administration.

"If any of the violence is instigated by the government, it should stop immediately," said White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.

Really, "it should stop immediately?"

It's another 3 A.M moment fail...


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Comments (60)

"If any of the violence is ... (Below threshold)
914:

"If any of the violence is instigated by the government, it should stop immediately," said White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs."

If not, let it continue. The President will address the issue when the teleprompter tells Him the coast is clear.

Just some more of that ther... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Just some more of that there "Smart Diplomacy".

See how Barry has them eating out of his hand?

What's next? A "sternly worded memo"?

"If any of the violence ... (Below threshold)
jim m:

"If any of the violence is instigated by the government, it should stop immediately,"

Well, yeah. Egypt is a secular dictatorship. Only radical islamists are allowed to commit acts of violence without being denounced (because if you denounce them they will cut your head off and Barry doesn't have the guts to do that even with a phalanx of Secret Service agents willing to die to protect him).

I love this from foreignpol... (Below threshold)
jim m:

I love this from foreignpolicy.com:

While much of American media has termed the events unfolding in Egypt today as "clashes between pro-government and opposition groups," this is not in fact what's happening on the street. The so-called "pro-government" forces are actually Mubarak's cleverly orchestrated goon squads dressed up as pro-Mubarak demonstrators to attack the protesters in Midan Tahrir, with the Army appearing to be a neutral force. The opposition, largely cognizant of the dirty game being played against it, nevertheless has had little choice but to call for protection against the regime's thugs by the regime itself, i.e., the military. And so Mubarak begins to show us just how clever and experienced he truly is. The game is, thus, more or less over.

So while Barry is trying to emulate Jimmy Carter by pulling the rug out from under our ally and turning the country over to radical islamists, Mubarak has out maneuvered him and will turn over the government on his own terms.

So in the final analysis obama takes what could have been a victory in supporting our ally and helping him leave gracefully and turns it into a rank betrayal and potentially turns a powerful regional ally into an enemy.

"It's another 3 A.M mome... (Below threshold)

"It's another 3 A.M moment fail..."
More like it's another "The police acted stupidly" moment. "We don't have all the facts, but we suspect the police."

The State Dept. is advising... (Below threshold)
Jim Addison:

The State Dept. is advising any Americans who wish to leave on a US Government flight to get to the airport now - "Further delay is inadvisable."

Naturally, the media/Obama spin is that the demonstrators are fresh-faced youth, the very flower of Egypt, the jewels of the Nile, who seek only peace, freedom, and democracy, and wouldn't harm a fly if it lit on their rosy cheeks. Credit CNN's live coverage for reporting the loudspeaker calls a few minutes ago: "Jihad! Jihad! Prepare for your martyrdom!"

In the immortal words of Yogi Berra, "It's like deja vu all over again." This is close to the situation in Iran in 1979. Of course, the America legacy media and the Left are four-square on the side of the "democracy" demonstrators." Then as now, we were told it was a broad-based movement, and the radical islamists were only a small part of it.

Right. And now CNN is repeating islamist propaganda, without evidence, and without question, on air. Anderson Cooper is broadcasting almost in the dark so he won't be found by pro-government forces who have not appreciated the one-sided reporting of US media. Props to Wolf Blitzer from the Baghdad bombing of 1991, hiding under his bed.

Considering our basic forei... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

Considering our basic foreign policy stance about democracy and our obvious support of this dictatorship, the US is in a bit of a bind. Eventually, repressive regimes will lead to social unrest--it's only a matter of time. This is when certain associations get dicey.

The Obama admin looks lost, for the most part.

Who knows how this will play out? Totally up in the air. This post discusses some of the possible scenarios:

http://bit.ly/hZLeTo

Jim A,"Then as now... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

Jim A,

"Then as now, we were told it was a broad-based movement, and the radical islamists were only a small part of it."

Who knows what the composition of this movement is really all about? There is speculation on all sides. The left says it's all about democracy, and the right assumes it's all about radical Islam. So what do you think makes sense? Openly supporting Mubarak? Trying to back democratic movements? Staying on the sidelines? Not like there are any easy solutions. It's all pretty much up in the air.

The biggest problem I have ... (Below threshold)
Patrick:

The biggest problem I have with the way this whole situation has been handled is the fact that Obama has come right out and said Mubarak has to go NOW so why would the opposition settle for anything less at this point? This should have been thought out better because that is an extreme position - the United States by making that our official position is taking sides when we should have been using diplomacy a lot more skillfully than that. I think we could have at least come to an agreement where Mubarak would step down in a controlled fashion (he already has done so publicly) while reforms and an election process could be proposed and set up. Now we have utter chaos and it was entirely predictable.

The major problem we face now is that the United States is now no longer seen as a reliable ally and that will have a chilling effect on our ability to influence events in the Middle East or any other region for that matter. Mubarak was hardly perfect but in that region it is probably impossible to do much better and you could do a hell of a lot worse. He may have been a dictator but he made peace with Israel and has not sought to expand his influence beyond Egypt's borders. In short, he was no Saddam Hussein which is ironic because while Obama has said that the Iraq War was a mistake (so removing Saddam was obviously not important to him) but apparently seeing Mubarak removed from power is?

I will guarantee you that the fact that we abandoned a long time ally like Mubarak so swiftly is being met with a fair bit of alarm in many other countries in the region.

will guarantee you that ... (Below threshold)
jim m:

will guarantee you that the fact that we abandoned a long time ally like Mubarak so swiftly is being met with a fair bit of alarm in many other countries in the region.

This is true. Our allies everywhere are sitting up and taking notice that obama has as little compunction about throwing a major ally under the bus as he does some low level staffer. They are waking to the fact that there is a president in the White House whose only allegiance is to himself and not his country or its interests.

A few unconnected thoughts:... (Below threshold)
Upset Old Guy:

A few unconnected thoughts:

bin Laden's statement about "picking the strong horse, how does this administration's actions square with that thought?

Burning food is as effective at "overloading the system and causing it to crash" at moving us toward that crash as signing up every illegal immigrant for social security benefits or giving them all free health care.

I still can't think of anything Obama should have done differently from what he has already done if his intention were to cause the failure of the American system.

Patrick,"Mubarak w... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

Patrick,

"Mubarak was hardly perfect but in that region it is probably impossible to do much better and you could do a hell of a lot worse. He may have been a dictator but he made peace with Israel and has not sought to expand his influence beyond Egypt's borders."

Mubarak's rule was a 30 year repressive police state. Calling it "hardly perfect" is a bit of an understatement. What about the commitment to democracy and freedom that the US supposedly holds dear? We can't seriously think of our selves as the global purveyors of freedom and support dictatorial rulers. Completely illogical. Also, don't you think that Mubarak is part of the problem here? Are you arguing that dictatorships and repression lead to stability? I think this is a serious flaw in our global foreign policy, yet many people want to just put a lid everything and go back to the same old "support the nearest complicit autocrat" model. It's only going to lead to more upheaval, either now or later.

This case illustrates why our longstanding foreign policy "realpolitik" of supporting autocrats in the name of short term interests is seriously counterproductive in the long term.

jim m,"Our allies ... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

jim m,

"Our allies everywhere are sitting up and taking notice that obama has as little compunction about throwing a major ally under the bus as he does some low level staffer. They are waking to the fact that there is a president in the White House whose only allegiance is to himself and not his country or its interests."

I think it's incredibly ironic that you guys are so openly calling Mubarak "our ally." I thought these associations were mere convenient alliances that had to be made in the name of pragmatism. How, in all seriousness, can a nation that is supposedly the global advocate of democracy be an "ally" of a dictator, especially when the population he rules is finally pushing him out? It's amazing how some of you drop all of the ideals about freedom, liberty, and democracy when it applies to others.

One more Patrick,"... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

One more Patrick,

"The major problem we face now is that the United States is now no longer seen as a reliable ally and that will have a chilling effect on our ability to influence events in the Middle East or any other region for that matter."

No longer seen as an ally to who? Dictatorships? Isn't that what we argued when we invaded Iraq in the name of liberty and freedom? Haven't we been arguing that our basic foreign policy is all about democracy and freedom rather than tyranny and repression? Of course this is going to make other oligarchs and autocrats edgy--isn't that the whole point? Or should we keep this two-faced support of autocracies AND "freedom" going at the same time? I mean, that worked out so well in Latin America in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, didn't it?

Concentrated power has a... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

Concentrated power has always been the enemy of liberty.

-Ronald Reagan

Democracy is worth dying for, because it's the most deeply honorable form of government ever devised by man.

-Ronald Reagan

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

-Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), Letter to Josiah Quincy, Sept. 11, 1773.

A little rebellion now is a good thing.

-President Thomas Jefferson.

Those who expect to reap the blessing of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.

-Thomas Paine.

How, in all seriousness,... (Below threshold)
jim m:

How, in all seriousness, can a nation that is supposedly the global advocate of democracy be an "ally" of a dictator, especially when the population he rules is finally pushing him out?

Well, Ryan, perhaps you could go back and look at Condoleeza Rice's speech from several years ago. In Cairo she delivered a speech calling for democratic reform. She said that the US had been trying to trade democracy for stability and getting neither and that the US would no longer do so. Obama's solution is to trade one friendly dictatorship for an enemy one.

And yes, Mubarak is our ally. He is a flawed and imperfect one, but Egypt under Mubarak, Sadat and Nasser has been our ally and supported our interests in the region. That is what an ally is, someone who supports you and your interests.

So while you are getting all high and mighty about how conservatives drop our ideals, we have been pushing for democratic change for a long time but you have been too self involved to notice. In fact what notice the left did make of speeches like Condi Rice's was only to mock and deride the ideas contained there in.

ryan a lives in a world of ... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

ryan a lives in a world of total black and white. Never shades of gray.

Ryan,You are sayin... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Ryan,

You are saying that we should not care about the turmoil in Egypt and that abandoning Mubarak is OK because he is a dictator, I would ask where was obama on thug dictators before this? Oh, I know he was sitting mute and listening to their anti-American rants that's where. He will sit by and listen to Ortega, Chavez etc tear down the US and democracy and never say a word. He never said a word about Egypt and moving toward democracy.

But Bush did. The Bush admin spoke out publicly about the need to move toward democracy. The difference is that Bush was pushing for democratic reform and obama is just abandoning our ally and not really caring what replaces him.

The fact is that if the muslim brotherhood replaces Mubarak it will not be a democracy but it will be a pseudo-theocracy like Iran that replaces Mubarak. El-Baradai is no lover of democracy he is only an empty figurehead.

If you had bothered paying attention during the Bush admin you would have heard the calls for democratization in the middle east. But the dems were all saying hat the middle easterners were incapable of having democracy because they were too backward.

Nevermind the racism behind that, the point is that the dems mocked the notion of putting democracy in the middle east when Bush was trying o do it. Now that There are governments falling in the middle east and north africa they want to talk about democracy and how important that is but they are doing nothing to promote it other than talk. The only groups with any organization out there are islamic fundamentalists. They will move to fill the vacuum of power. The dems are offering nothing to prevent them and even welcoming a religious dictatorship to fill the gap.

The conservatives have been interested in promoting democracy for well over a decade. The dems pay lip service to that notion but do absolutely nothing to further it and in the past laughed at the very idea and said that brown skinned people were incapable of having democracy.

jim m,"She said th... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

jim m,

"She said that the US had been trying to trade democracy for stability and getting neither and that the US would no longer do so. Obama's solution is to trade one friendly dictatorship for an enemy one."

That's because Rice is a smart woman, and has a good grasp on global politics.

"And yes, Mubarak is our ally. He is a flawed and imperfect one, but Egypt under Mubarak, Sadat and Nasser has been our ally and supported our interests in the region. That is what an ally is, someone who supports you and your interests."

He's a dictator, like Somoza, the Shah of Iran, Pinochet, and others, who we were willing to placate for geopolitical interests. It's a short-term strategy, and calling him an ally is, IMO, an overstatement. He certainly has not supported our interests when it comes to global political freedom, has he?

"So while you are getting all high and mighty about how conservatives drop our ideals, we have been pushing for democratic change for a long time but you have been too self involved to notice. In fact what notice the left did make of speeches like Condi Rice's was only to mock and deride the ideas contained there in."

Nice try lumping me in with "the left." Look, you can drop the little political science divisions any time you want. Just because I disagree with you doesn't mean that you can put me into convenient political categories. Rice, as I already said, is a sharp woman. I do not always agree with her overall political views, but I'll tell you what: she is well versed in politics and history. And I have seen her make Katie Couric look like a complete fool, which was pretty funny.

GarandFan,"ryan a ... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

GarandFan,

"ryan a lives in a world of total black and white. Never shades of gray."

Hardly. I realize that this is a complex situation, and that the outcomes are difficult to predict. I also realize that there is always a delicate balance that needs to be made between ideals, on the one hand, and pragmatism, on the other. Still, don't expect me to come out in open support for some dictator. This is an old foreign policy model that the US has used for way too long. We should have learned with Central America that this only leads to greater conflict down the road at some point or another. But, apparently, we haven't.

Wait, Condi Rice is a smart... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Wait, Condi Rice is a smart woman? But I thought that the dems said she was a race traitor and that obama had all the best and brightest in his cabinet.

The point was that the GOP had arrived at the democratization party a long time ago but people like yourself never noticed. While once you were mocking the right for wanting to promote democracy now you are claiming that they are late comers to the party. It's a nice talking point and you can appear fashionably smug while repeating it but it is a lie all the same.

Again I will say that Mubarak and Egypt are an ally. We may not prefer that form of government and I don't think anyone is pretending that it is anything but a dictatorship, but it is better than a hostile government. Egypt has been a strong ally for our interests in the middle east. They are the only arab nation to sign a peace treaty with Isreal. Jordan is saying that if the Egyptian government falls that their relations with Israel will likely turn hostile. Egypt has been an important linchpin to our policies in the region.

You say that you don't see things as black and white but then you do the exact opposite in talking about Mubarak being a dictator and saying that therefore he could not possibly be an ally.

Ryan:It is time th... (Below threshold)
Patrick :

Ryan:

It is time that you people on the left start figuring our that you cannot use our nation's standards as a means of judging the state of play in terms of what democracy looks like in the rest of the world. I don't exactly want to hear from people who said Saddam Hussein was no threat and that our involvement in Iraq was a mistake who now seem fit to go on crying about Mubarak's police state. Mubarak served a useful role for us in the war on terror and helped maintain a level of stability in a region that had seen several Arab-Israeli wars during the 1960s and 1970s. I know you probably care less about such things as you act all high and mighty. Yes, we should push some of these people more vigorously towards allowing for more and more freedom for their citizens but it is a delicate balance because you cannot just causally disregard the other issues that are important to our national security interests and hope that the next group of people who come to power don't end up looking like today's Iran - especially since they control a key waterway like the Suez Canal.

In some parts of the world there are not good choices and bad choices. Instead there are choices you can live with warts and all and then you have unimaginable consequences. If we get the latter all the blather about democratic ideals and freedom won't mean much when we will have lost our own...

jim m,"You are say... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

jim m,

"You are saying that we should not care about the turmoil in Egypt and that abandoning Mubarak is OK because he is a dictator, I would ask where was obama on thug dictators before this?"

I am definitely not saying that we should simply dismiss the social upheaval, violence, and unrest in Egypt. No way. What I am saying is that the tacit support of autocratic regimes is *part of the problem here*, and maybe should not be seen as a solution.

And where was Obama? Silent. That's where. Don't assume that since I disagree with you I am some rabid Obama fan. He has pretty much continued playing the same old game when it comes to foreign policy.

"He never said a word about Egypt and moving toward democracy."

Agreed. All in the name of "interests" and politics. Ironic, no?

"The Bush admin spoke out publicly about the need to move toward democracy. The difference is that Bush was pushing for democratic reform and obama is just abandoning our ally and not really caring what replaces him."

Look, US administrations for the past 30 years have supported Egypt. This isn't a policy that can simply be blamed on one party. This is a basic flaw in our long term foreign policy strategy. Many of our presidents talk about global freedom all the time, but many of them also continue giving billions of dollars to convenient "allies".

"The fact is that if the muslim brotherhood replaces Mubarak it will not be a democracy but it will be a pseudo-theocracy like Iran that replaces Mubarak. El-Baradai is no lover of democracy he is only an empty figurehead."

The Muslim Brotherhood is a wild card, and I haven't read anything so far that makes it clear how much of a chance they have to actually gain power. Solid democratic change in a police state isn't exactly easy, and as you mention groups like this can jump in and take power. As for El-Baradai, that's another wild card. A lot of people are going to be clamoring for power. My guess is that the military will take over. But that's just me.

"If you had bothered paying attention during the Bush admin you would have heard the calls for democratization in the middle east. But the dems were all saying hat the middle easterners were incapable of having democracy because they were too backward."

I paid plenty of attention. Yes, the Bush admin called for democratization. But your characterization of what the dems were saying is a bit overstated.

"Nevermind the racism behind that, the point is that the dems mocked the notion of putting democracy in the middle east when Bush was trying o do it."

Are you talking about opposition to the Iraq war?

"There are governments falling in the middle east and north africa they want to talk about democracy and how important that is but they are doing nothing to promote it other than talk."

Ya, politicians are good at that, aren't they. Plenty of hot air. Good point.

"The only groups with any organization out there are islamic fundamentalists."

Not necessarily. Do you think that all of the protests in Egypt were organized purely by Islamic fundamentalists? If so, what do you base this on (sources)? There do seem to be civil society movements going on, but there are also more radical groups. I don't think it's as clear cut as you make it.

"They will move to fill the vacuum of power. The dems are offering nothing to prevent them and even welcoming a religious dictatorship to fill the gap."

In all fairness, we don't really know how things are going to play out, and who is going to make a power grab. As for the Dems, they tend to be pretty good at offering fairly worthless solutions.

"The conservatives have been interested in promoting democracy for well over a decade."

Some of them. And some of them subscribe to a particular geopolitical worldview that results in the support of autocratic regimes. So the rhetoric doesn't always match with the actual policies. And I would say the same for many Democrats as well.

Just so we're clear, do con... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Just so we're clear, do conservatives only appreciate democratic self-determination if people exercise their voting franchise to elect leaders that act in America's interests?

The Mubarek problem comes d... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

The Mubarek problem comes down to the question of the vacuum. If this were a case of the good, decent people of Egypt rallying for democracy against Mubarek, with a nice, clean-cut local boy of impeccable credentials making their case for them, that would be very nice, but the real case is a lot grimier. The uprisings were well-organized, seem to have caught all the major players (including Mubarek's regime and the U.S. State Department) by surprise, and have been, as these things go, relatively mild in violence, looting and damage. However, that control appears to be slipping now. This level of planning and organization suggests a set-up, someone putting a plan in motion only when everything was in place. Whoever started this movement had money and power already, and is just making a move to claim the top spot. So, we're probably looking at either a relatively minor coup in the extant system, or a very sophisticated move from outside. If The Muslim Brotherhood is behind this, it's slicker than anything they've done in Egypt since Nasser, and very different from their past M.O. That does not preclude a move by a new group, or even an action by Al Qaeda if they see a percentage in the new regime.

The leading candidate to take over is currently Omar Suleiman, the Vice President. The chief problem is that Mubarek named Suleiman just this past Saturday, and also because Suleiman was Mubarek's intel chief for more than 20 years, making him unpalatable to most of the rebels. It also does not help that Suleiman is 74 years old; replacing the 82-year old Mubarek with a guy who thinks just like him and is of similar age, does not speak well for succession planning. Mubarek has a son, but by all major accounts he is neither acceptable to the major players nor personally interested in the job. In short, if/when Mubarek steps down the job will either be filled by someone hated almost as much as Mubarek, or by a complete unknown who will be mistrusted and immediately brought under fire. If the violence continues to escalate, as appears to be likely now, then the new President will be forced to take strong-arm tactics, like martial law and military suppression of resistance, just to get order restored. That is, he will appear to be using dictatorial powers, no matter what image he wanst to convey or his real support for democracy in any substantive fashion.

Just so we're clear Hyper, ... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Just so we're clear Hyper, from my experience there are no Democrats or Republicans, no Environnmentalists or Tea Partiers, and no Liberals or Conservatives in Egypt as we know the names here in the United States. As a result, your last query is irrelevant and off-topic.

jim,"Wait, Condi R... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

jim,

"Wait, Condi Rice is a smart woman? But I thought that the dems said she was a race traitor and that obama had all the best and brightest in his cabinet."

In case you haven't figured out yet, I speak for myself. Don't keep making assumptions about my political views based upon your understandings of what Democrats do.

"The point was that the GOP had arrived at the democratization party a long time ago but people like yourself never noticed."

The point is that US foreign policy has been two-faced for decades. And this applies to both parties. We talk a lot about democracy and such, but also have a long history of supporting anti-democratic regimes. This isn't something that can be pinned on one party; it's been a pretty consistent foreign policy tactic for decades.

"Again I will say that Mubarak and Egypt are an ally. We may not prefer that form of government and I don't think anyone is pretending that it is anything but a dictatorship, but it is better than a hostile government."

Ah, I see. So it's better to have people living under a brutal, repressive regime than to have political freedom and the ability to determine their own affairs. Interesting. Does that really jive with our ideals about freedom and governance? You're basically saying that our way of life should be contingent upon the lack of political freedom of others. I don't think that's a good long-term strategy, personally. Eventually, that's only going to lead to conflict.

"Egypt has been a strong ally for our interests in the middle east. They are the only arab nation to sign a peace treaty with Isreal. Jordan is saying that if the Egyptian government falls that their relations with Israel will likely turn hostile. Egypt has been an important linchpin to our policies in the region."

Oh, I know WHY we supported him. But all we are doing is using dictators to keep a lid on their populations. And in my view this tactic has only made things worse in the Middle East. Look at the histories of Latin America and tell me that our support of people like Pinochet and Somoza was a good idea. It wasn't--and it's not like the populations of these nations don't know what's happening. Bad plan. We're supposed to be all about political freedom. We can't have it both ways.

"You say that you don't see things as black and white but then you do the exact opposite in talking about Mubarak being a dictator and saying that therefore he could not possibly be an ally."

If the guy runs his country as a police state, he's only an ally of convenience. Mubarak works with us because we give him billions of dollars, not because he agrees with our ideals about governance, human rights, and freedom (obviously). Think about it.

Patrick,"It is tim... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

Patrick,

"It is time that you people on the left start figuring our that you cannot use our nation's standards as a means of judging the state of play in terms of what democracy looks like in the rest of the world."

Right. Tell that to Ronald Reagan. So you're saying that our ideals about political freedom don't apply? How so?

"I don't exactly want to hear from people who said Saddam Hussein was no threat and that our involvement in Iraq was a mistake who now seem fit to go on crying about Mubarak's police state."

Hussein was another one of the dictators who we placated until he stopped toeing the line. Mubarak has been more willing to go along with our wishes, but he's no better than Hussein was.

"Mubarak served a useful role for us in the war on terror and helped maintain a level of stability in a region that had seen several Arab-Israeli wars during the 1960s and 1970s. I know you probably care less about such things as you act all high and mighty."

It's not about being high and mighty. It's about sticking to what we are supposedly all about. We can't keep talking about global democracy while supporting folks like Mubarak in the name of economic and political interests.

Sure, Mubarak toed the line and did what we asked. But supporting him was still short term thinking. In the long run his 30 year repressive regime fomented a great deal of social unrest, inequality, and loss of political freedom. My argument: that's not really going to suit us all that well in the long term.

"Yes, we should push some of these people more vigorously towards allowing for more and more freedom for their citizens but it is a delicate balance because you cannot just causally disregard the other issues that are important to our national security interests and hope that the next group of people who come to power don't end up looking like today's Iran - especially since they control a key waterway like the Suez Canal."

I agree that it's a balance, and it's not an easy decision. There are ideals, and then there are realities. But the social unrest in Egypt is another reality, and it is the direct result of decades of repression. See my point? So trying to keep a lid on this by resorting to the same old tactics is both going against our supposed ideals AND counterproductive in a very real sense. Repressed populations don't usually breed peace.

It's neither irrelevant nor... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

It's neither irrelevant nor off-topic. Either you support democracy and allowing people to determine their own political future, or you don't.

Either you think freedom is a good thing full stop, or you think that tyranny is sometimes preferable if it's in your own interests.

DJ wrote,"The Muba... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

DJ wrote,

"The Mubarek problem comes down to the question of the vacuum. If this were a case of the good, decent people of Egypt rallying for democracy against Mubarek, with a nice, clean-cut local boy of impeccable credentials making their case for them, that would be very nice, but the real case is a lot grimier."

Agreed, completely. It's definitely anything but a clear cut situation.

ryan, can you tell me what ... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

ryan, can you tell me what level of influence you believe the United States should use in the political character of foreign states? You mentioned Pinochet as an example of a U.S. mistake. However, I do not recall that we had an effective option in that case which was both pragmatic and ethical. If we have to choose, which is the "right" choice, the fascist or the communist?

It's neither irrel... (Below threshold)
ryan a:
It's neither irrelevant nor off-topic. Either you support democracy and allowing people to determine their own political future, or you don't.

Either you think freedom is a good thing full stop, or you think that tyranny is sometimes preferable if it's in your own interests.

I think Hyperbolist brings up a pretty salient point that definitely merits consideration. We can't have it both ways, after all.

Allende was not a communist... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Allende was not a communist. He was a democratically elected socialist. He was murdered by an American-backed fascist thug.

Democratic socialism is preferable to fascism. It's not even debatable.

hyperbolist: "It's neit... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

hyperbolist: "It's neither irrelevant nor off-topic."

It most certainly is, at least as you phrased the question. What happens in Egypt is definitely pertinent to us, but you disrespect teh Egyptian people as much as you pretend conservatives do, if you imagine we are the masters of their destiny, and that they do not ultimately make their own decisions.


"Either you support democracy and allowing people to determine their own political future, or you don't."

But this statement is a non-seqitur, in the context of your earlier argument. Or are you truly so fatuous as to believe we and we alone hold the keys to the repository of Democracy and self-government? Or that our nation desires, or even could, deny democracy to a nation simply because the political party in control sees an advantage in backing a pet thug? Yes, mistakes have been made in the past but arguably due to limits on our choices, failure to see the brutes for what they were, and, to use Clausewitz' overused phrase yet again, the 'fog of war'.

"Either you think freedom is a good thing full stop, or you think that tyranny is sometimes preferable if it's in your own interests."

What a load of bilge. It's what someone throws at his opponent in hopes of staining his intentions and ideals, with no virtue of presenting an honorable and pragmatic alternative. I have little liking for some of our past political leaders, but for all of that I have even less doubt that they all loved liberty and freedom enough to support whenever and however they believed could be done.

My problem, ryan, is that H... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

My problem, ryan, is that Hyper seems to think we're the Masters of the Universe. That whatever we Americans decide is what will happen. The fact that we don't influenece everthing, and can actually control or direct very little, is a point he seems to have completely missed.

Let's say, for argument, that President Obama comes up with a great solution for the crisis. Let's say he thinks of a guy who would be a great replacement for Mubarek, acceptable to the Egyptian people in general, the regional powers, and the United States. Let's say Obama calls up Mubarek with the idea.

And Mubarek tells him to go to hell.

Or the protestors won't accept it.

Or Egypt's neighbors, like Algeria or Saudi Arabia, refuse the suggestion.

What are our options, really?

Force the solution on them?

Really?

By the way, thanks ryan for... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

By the way, thanks ryan for some great perspective and for advancing the discussion.

Supporting Pinochet over Al... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Supporting Pinochet over Allende was not making the best of a bad set of circumstances. It was straight-up evil, full-stop, and showed complete and utter disdain for democracy, the Chilean people, and the concepts of freedom and liberty more generally speaking. Ditto for Rumsfeld cozying up to Saddam Hussein. How exactly does that denote some underlying love of freedom and democracy on Reagan's part?

Speaking of non-sequiturs, I never once suggested that the United States can or should influence the outcome except to forcefully declare its support for free elections the world over. I never suggested that Obama should attempt to install some other leader. What I am complaining about, is the fact that people who fetishize "freedom" and "liberty" appear more interested in the price of oil than in celebrating the undoing of a thuggish dictator by a popular civilian uprising.

Which serves to bolster my sincere belief that a helluva lot of Americans really don't care about the concept of 'liberty' except when it applies to themselves.

Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnd, a... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnd, as if on some perverse cue, hyper decides his screen name should amplify his fanaticism.

You should really consider changing your name to 'Context Optional', hyper. It would better define your tactics.

So you support the democrat... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

So you support the democratic uprising in Egypt, right DJ?

Or is the value of freedom somehow context-dependent? In which case, when did you become a moral relativist? I thought conservatives were supposed to have a problem with that.

Again with the labels, C-O?... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Again with the labels, C-O?

I don't have my program with me. Who is suporting democracy in Egypt right now, the people with the guns or the ones using Molotov cocktails? The people carrying police badges billy-clubbing civilians or the 'citizens' looting stores?

Are you really so naive that you think this is a textbook civil rights effort, or are you just so dishonest that you desperately want to find a way to smear the other side of the political aisle so you can pretend you are morally superior?

The people who want Hosni M... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

The people who want Hosni Mubarak to leave his office and open the government up to democratic elections are the ones supporting democracy.

The people who have a problem with them are the ones who are enemies of democracy.

I would assume that you have no problem, in hindsight, that the French Revolutionaries, or the American Revolutionaries, used weapons, right? Does resorting to violence discredit an entire political movement? Because if so, I'm not sure that even Gandhi's independence movement would meet your threshold of moral righteousness.

By the way, 'moral relativi... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

By the way, 'moral relativism' isn't a label. It's what someone who bends their principles to the whims of 'realpolitik' is guilty of. It's a failing of either intellect or intestinal fortitude.

You miss the point, C-O. D... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

You miss the point, C-O. Deliberately, it appears.

As usual.

You continue to presume that anyone in revolt against the government in Egypt is good and right and true, hmm?

Interesting that you brought up the American and French revolutionaries, their use of arms, and particularly that you seem to consider them moral equals.

Just proves you skipped History class, boyo.

DJ,Sorry for the l... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

DJ,

Sorry for the lag. Internet issues for a while there...

"ryan, can you tell me what level of influence you believe the United States should use in the political character of foreign states?"

I think we should use our political and economic influence wisely, basically. Meaning that we should not offer material and economic support to governments that openly repress their populations. It's a bad long term plan.

"You mentioned Pinochet as an example of a U.S. mistake. However, I do not recall that we had an effective option in that case which was both pragmatic and ethical. If we have to choose, which is the "right" choice, the fascist or the communist?"

We had options when it came to Pinochet. We certainly did not have to back a repressive dictatorship that approached a fascist regime. There was a democratic system in place in Chile--that's part of the reason why Pinochet did what he did in the early years to get rid of opposition.

Chile is a good example of the basic foreign policy toward many Latin American nations during that time: we backed autocrats who agreed with us, rather than more democratic movements. Hence the lingering ambivalence about the US throughout Latin America. In many cases, we picked the anti-democratic side and justified our actions by calling everyone else "communists." As the histories of Guatemala, Honduras, and Chile (among others) show, there was a lot more to the story. The problem with democracy is that people can actually choose the government they want--socialist or not. And that's not always economically or politically agreeable to the US.

If American revolutionaries... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

If American revolutionaries were entitled to use arms against a monarchist enemy, then so too were the French, and so too are the Egyptians. You're employing (or suggesting I employ) some crass utilitarian calculus in order to gauge the moral permissiveness of a revolution; whereas I'm suggesting that you take seriously your (presumed) distaste for dictatorial thugs and allow the Egyptian people the opportunity to pick their own leadership, even if that leadership ultimately ends up being less than friendly to the West and to Israel. It's their right, and it's Israel's and the West's right to respond appropriately if that is what happens.

ryan's last paragraph there is totally correct. And even if Allende was a communist--which he wasn't--how did America have the right to back, and legitimize, a murderous tyrant who killed his political opponents and oppressed the people of "his" country in the name of "free markets"?

DJ, "My problem, r... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

DJ,

"My problem, ryan, is that Hyper seems to think we're the Masters of the Universe. That whatever we Americans decide is what will happen. The fact that we don't influenece everthing, and can actually control or direct very little, is a point he seems to have completely missed."

That's a good point: there are limits to US power. We certainly can't control the world, and we definitely cannot fix everything. But we do have influence, and I would rather see us side with democratic movements over autocratic regimes any day. In the past, we have made some bad calls, and I think we need to rethink some of our basic policies if our international rhetoric about freedom and democracy is to be taken seriously anymore.

"What are our options, really? Force the solution on them?"

That's not what I am saying. Maybe our options lie in finding and connecting with the democratic movements that do exist. Maybe an option would be to help foment international solidarity and support for peaceful, democratic transition. I don't think force is the answer. And I also don't think that backing the autocrat who helped create this situation is the answer either. Mubarak is a big part of the problem...that's my argument. I don't see how he can be a part of the solution since he is basically the symbol of 30 years of repression.

Thanks Ryan. You hit it on... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Thanks Ryan. You hit it on the head when you said there was more to the story. I think part of the problem is we don't know what was said in the discussions made at the time of decision; it was understood that the Soviets wanted to expand their influence, and Latin America certainly was targeted. I suspect we had incomplete information, and the decision was made with assumptions playing a greater role than we like to imagine. It's easy to cast blame on a former President (be it Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, LBJ, Nixon, or so one) and say he was "choosing" to support an autocrat, instead of considering that the situation may well have looked different from the perspective of the time and conditions when and where the decision was made. FDR made deals with Stalin that would be damned by many people later who never looked below the surface; the same I think is true of many such decisions. Was it wrong to support Pinochet? From where we sit now, it's easy to say 'yes', because the path not taken looks not only morally better but we like to believe it would have led to democracy and freedom.

But would it?

Consider Germany in the 1920s, or Lebanon in 1975, or even Russia in 1918 before the Leninists made their move ... there have been a number of nations which tried to choose democracy, only to lose everything to a monster who turned everything to his advantage. A U.S.-friendly Pinochet was a monster, to be sure, but would it have been better to let Chile become like Cuba, Angola, Cambodia, or any of the other regimes which fell prey to even darker monsters. It's easy here to assume that if we had not supported Pinochet, we could have supported a true democracy, but we don't really know what would have happened. We don't live in a world where we are the only actors, and there are consequences for mistakes even when they come from the best intentions.

Certainly, we must learn from our mistakes, and demonstrate commitment to our ideals. Otherwise, we would be not only hypocrites, but have no credibility in our policies.

Which reminds me. Grimy as our hands are from our past, America still has a much better reputation and history regarding its promises and commitments than many other nations. Doesn't mean we can ignore our blunders, but for the most part, we are still considered the good guys around the world, and rightly so.

So C-O, you really c... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

So C-O, you really contend that

Robespierre was the moral equal of Jefferson?

That Napoleon was the moral equal of Washington?

The presumption is so asinine and ludicrous that any discussion of the comparison fails, irreparably, at that point.

DJ,"I don't have m... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

DJ,

"I don't have my program with me. Who is suporting democracy in Egypt right now, the people with the guns or the ones using Molotov cocktails? The people carrying police badges billy-clubbing civilians or the 'citizens' looting stores?"

This is a solid point. It IS good to be both realistic and skeptical, for numerous reasons. At this point, it's not all that easy to tell which way this will go, or who will actually gain power. When situations like this break out, it's not like there are clear sides that are easy to differentiate. Social change and revolution aren't exactly clear cut. Some democratic movements are legit, and others are little more than rhetoric.

That said, I think Hyperbolist is making an important counter point: we also shouldn't just assume that this is only about fundamental Islamists. Yes, the MB is a player, but from what I have read they do not seem to be primary players at this point (but this could change pretty quickly). There do seem to be democratic, popular components to this, and ultimately I think it's important to refrain from making either overly cynical or naive proclamations about what is "really" happening. Overall, we don't know.

But I do think that when the chips fall, we should do all we can to align ourselves against anti-democratic regimes. That's my basic point. When it really comes down to it, I would rather see the US be on the right side of history. Realpolitik sounds very calculated and rational and all, except when we look up 30 years later and realize that our names are being associated with a repressive autocrat. I think we need to shift away from that longstanding strategy, and our founding ideals and principles provide a solid argument for why that's necessary.

Thanks Ryan. I don't reall... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Thanks Ryan. I don't really see many people supporting Mubarek just now. The problem is who comes next?

Also, you just mentioned that you don't see force as the answer. In that case, how does the uprising have moral validity? If Mubarek leaves office, it will clearly have happened in reaction to the use of force against him. The presumption has been made that the revolt is broadly supported by the public, but there is no real way to confirm that just now, and even if it is, how can we know whether the man (the Middle East being what it is, I think we can safely assume Mubarek's successor will be male) who takes office will represent the public will? There have been no debates, no series of campaigns and elections to demonstrate the public support for anyone. Worse, the only available data shows broad support for Mubarek, by 'virtue' of his broad margins of victory in past elections. Not that anyone believed those numbers, but any claim now that the new leader enjoys public support could and would be quickly attacked on the same basis as our mistrust of Mubarek's elecion numbers. There simply is no objective way to measure public support or the true will of the people. For instance, none of the protests or uprisings have been shown to involve more than about 100,000 people, which is a substantial number, but in a nation of 83 million citizens , it cannot be said to conclusively demonstrate majority support for the revolt. It can truthfully be said that a lot of people are angry and in revolt, but who they support, what they want and why is not so clear. The mood and will of the nation's majority is even less certain, and at a time when assumptions are known to be foolish, this is one where we should be even more careful than usual.

Ryan, I think we shall have... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Ryan, I think we shall have to agree to disagree about hyperbolist. Actually, hyper has made some good points from time to time, but today he seems to just be trying to blame conservatives and smear the right with false claims and innuendo. Just as you noted that some people are playing up the boogeyman of the Muslim Brotherhood, whom I see as unlikely to be behind this movement, I see hyper as tossing off claims and statements he knows to be vacuous and of no truth.

For example, we all appear to want a stable, democratic Egypt. It's what we believe would be best for the people, the region, and even for U.S. interests, be they political, economic, or even military. It also works well in a regional community which includes nations like Israel, Turkey, Kuwait, Dubai, and Iraq, where true human rights and open development of business, education, and cooperative opportunities exists.

It appears that Mubarek would stand against Egypt growing in that direction. The problem is that many of his potential successors would also oppose freedom and growth, for reasons ranging from personal greed to cultural paranoia, from political maneuvers from the past to schemes designed to gain some advantage in the future. And the players don't wear uniforms to clearly tell us who wants democracy and who just gives it lip service, who wants his people to be heard and who would rather they just shut up when they did not like his policies.

In the end, few of us - if any - will have any say in how this plays out. We serve best, I think, as representatives of our parts of the demographic, not from racial or cultural backgrounds, but - I hope - as representatives of considered opinion and rational thought.

To accomplish that, however, we need to do better than smear people with labels and stereotypes. I wonder if our friend hyperbolist can do that in this case?

DJ,"Thanks Ryan. Y... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

DJ,

"Thanks Ryan. You hit it on the head when you said there was more to the story."

There's almost always more to the story. Different sides of the political spectrum always highlight some parts and occlude others. Good to keep in mind.

Since my area of interest is Latin America, I certainly have my opinions and issues with certain histories in that region. In Latin America there certainly was a lot more to the story than many pundits and historians talk about. During the 1960s-1980s, the situation was often framed in overly simplistic terms. Many Americans bought into the idea that it was all about communism vs western democracy, which wasn't *exactly* the case. In many cases whole populations were labeled as commie sympathizers just because they opposed repressive governments. And then sometimes certain segments of the populace was caught somewhere in the middle. In Guatemala, for example, the US helped oust a left-leaning government (Arbenz) and supported the installation of a military regime that ruled for some 40 years. It was a completely disastrous decision on our part that certainly didn't do anything to curtail the violence and turmoil.

We made that call mostly because of certain economic interests (ie the business interests of United Fruit). We also made lots of excuses for the Guatemalan government in the 1980s, when thousands of people were being killed. It was disastrous foreign policy, and a case in which we aligned ourselves, clearly, with the wrong side.

"Was it wrong to support Pinochet? From where we sit now, it's easy to say 'yes', because the path not taken looks not only morally better but we like to believe it would have led to democracy and freedom."

Since there was indeed a democratic system already in place, I think it's pretty clear that it was not a good idea to provide material and economic support to a military regime that took over. I think we must have known at the time, but the anti-communist fervor kind of screwed with our judgment. The US acted out of concern for business interests and the spread of communism, and tended to see any opposition in some really reductive ways. Some worried that Chile would head in the direction of Cuba, and others claimed that there was a lot of Soviet influence. Allende's support from the US was cut off, and he did seek assistance from the USSR, but he was basically rebuffed. So yes, Allende was a leftist, and yes, he certainly did not agree with the basic economic principles and policies of the US. But he had popular support--definitely more than Pinochet, who went on a campaign of "disappearing" thousands of political opponents once he gained power.

Overall, to me it would have made a lot more sense to put some of the ideological differences aside and try to work with the democratic system that was in place in Chile at the time. Instead, we took another route. I don't think it was a good call--and we consistently made these sorts of "realpolitik" decisions in Latin America.

Sorry for the long post.

ryan: "Sorry for the lo... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

ryan: "Sorry for the long post."

LOL, as if I could ever complain about someone else being long!

One last reply before I get... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

One last reply before I get back to work for a while. Nothing like global political discussions to keep me distracted from getting things done!

"Also, you just mentioned that you don't see force as the answer. In that case, how does the uprising have moral validity?"

I thought you were referring to actions of the US. As for the uprising in Egypt, from what I see it has been fairly peaceful all things considered. The violence is going to increase as the govt cracks down, and that's not going to be pretty. As for the use of force and moral validity, well, the US Revolution was certainly all about the use of force, and nobody questions its moral validity.

"...how can we know whether the man (the Middle East being what it is, I think we can safely assume Mubarek's successor will be male) who takes office will represent the public will?"

I don't really think we can. But we know that Mubarak certainly doesn't speak for the public, so there's our starting point. Figuring all this out definitely isn't easy.

"There have been no debates, no series of campaigns and elections to demonstrate the public support for anyone. Worse, the only available data shows broad support for Mubarek, by 'virtue' of his broad margins of victory in past elections."

Absolutely. Good point. While there appears to be populist support in some form or another, it's all very informal. There really is no democratic system in place--this is a police state. So the transition--if it even heads in that direction--is going to be anything but smooth.

"Not that anyone believed those numbers, but any claim now that the new leader enjoys public support could and would be quickly attacked on the same basis as our mistrust of Mubarek's elecion numbers."

That's what some analysts are already arguing--that we should expect to see some different factions jockeying for power. And it's not going to be easy to assess the supposed "public will". All very good points.

"The mood and will of the nation's majority is even less certain, and at a time when assumptions are known to be foolish, this is one where we should be even more careful than usual."

Agreed. But I also think it's not a time to backslide into what "worked" in the past (ie supporting the likes of Mubarak). The only choice is forward, wherever that goes.

"For example, we all appear to want a stable, democratic Egypt. It's what we believe would be best for the people, the region, and even for U.S. interests, be they political, economic, or even military."

Ya, in general I agree with you. I think that hyperbolist is pointing out that some folks are a little too willing to play the pragmatic card and come out in support of "our ally" while dismissing democracy a little too easily. And to be fair, I have heard politicians on both sides of the aisle allude to the need to continue supporting Mubarak. So this isn't something that can be pinned on one party. The Democrats are just as complicit with this sort of two-faced foreign policy as anyone.

"And the players don't wear uniforms to clearly tell us who wants democracy and who just gives it lip service, who wants his people to be heard and who would rather they just shut up when they did not like his policies."

I wish they did wear uniforms. Yes, another good point. There is often a chasm between rhetoric and actions--and this is almost impossible to predict. Gotta love them politicians, telling the people how they are going to change the world while they keep the status quo up and running. More bread and circuses, no?

"To accomplish that, however, we need to do better than smear people with labels and stereotypes."

I completely agree with that. Thanks for bringing up a lot of good point here. I know disagree here and there, but it's always interesting to discuss these sorts of issues. I'll check back later on this evening after I get through this pile of work that's staring me in the face.

ra

PS: Sorry for the long wind... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

PS: Sorry for the long winded posts, folks. Looks like I need to go to the Ernest Hemingway school of literary brevity, no? I have no excuse, except that it's obviously all Sarah Palin's fault.

;)

Ryan, my last 2 comments go... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond in a Box?:

Ryan, my last 2 comments got hung up by the network; I keep getting told my comment is pending approval by the 'blog owner'.

Guess I posted too many times?

I don't recall calling you ... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

I don't recall calling you any names today DJ.

Here's my point, which ryan has made more eloquently: everyone knows that Mubarak is a shitty person, and that Egyptians are not free. No one knows what would happen if he were to give up his office: maybe Israel would lose its main ally in the region, or maybe Egypt would flourish.

So, we're to choose between what we currently have (a totalitarian police state run by a thug) or letting the Egyptian people take a chance.

I don't see how the second option isn't preferable to the first; and, I don't see how it's anyone's business but the Egyptian people's what they choose to do with their democracy if in fact they manage to establish one.

If your concern is related to the future of Israel, well, how does the well-being of 7,000,000 Israelis trump that of 80,000,000 Egyptians? It doesn't, obviously, so that's not much of an argument.

Hyperbolist, you are correc... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Hyperbolist, you are correct insofar that your contributions to this thread have been far below your normal ability. You appear to have been trying to take the Egyptian crisis, and turn it into a reason to insult your political opponents here. A weak effort, frankly, and badly played. I still think you may have been trying to do that, and the name-calling comes down to your sometimes silly attempt to slap stereotypes on entire groups of people. Comment #24 was out of line, and you know better.

Now, if you have been following along, Ryan and I are in pretty good agreement here, and at the risk of claiming I know what I'm talking about, you might consider reading what we have covered here; frankly you're still a few pages behind.

As to your contention that there are only 2 possible outcomes, bullshit. There are all sorts of outcomes which could happen, and the discussion surrounds not only who the major players might be, but also the Law of Unforseen Consequences which comes into effect - Ryan and I have both noted that the violence has been a least controlled and limited in the early stages, but recent events indicate that control is slipping. If an all-out insurgency gets going, everyone loses no matter who starts it.

As for Israel, so far as I can see, you're the first to bring it up, so that try is a bust as well.

Grow up, dude. You're usually better than this.

I think time is indeed runn... (Below threshold)

I think time is indeed running away for the protesters. As it stands now, Mubarak can only wait, as it is a stalemate. No one is moving to take key buildings and the army is staying put, so Mubarak can wait it out and then go through with some sort of transition which will secure people around him keep power. Really, with such protests, contained as it is, the regime can just wait it out. Nobody is coming for them and sooner o later many people will just want a return of some sort of stability.

Although Mubarak remains in... (Below threshold)

Although Mubarak remains in power, the feeling of victory prevailed in the square among the burned out remains of vehicles and chunks of concrete strewn on the street.




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