Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Chomsky on Egypt, Obama, Israel & Mubarak (U.S. Policy Supports Brutal Dictator)

VIDEO: Chomsky on Egypt, Obama, Israel & Mubarak (U.S. Policy Supports Brutal Dictator)Chomsky on Egypt, Obama, Israel, Mubarak

BTW, President Sadat of Egypt had offered a full peace treaty to Israel in 1971 but Israel rejected it. "Sadat's offer was closely in accord with official U.S. policy, but Washington decided to back Israel's rejection of it, adopting Kissinger's policy of "stalemate": no negotiations, only force." (Chomsky, Failed States, p. 173) Powerful media outlets like the New York Times falsify history by denying Sadat ever made the 1971 peace offer. "Newsweek refused even to print a letter correcting outright falsehoods on this matter by their columnist George Will, though the research department privately conceded the facts. The practice is standard." (Chomsky, Pirates and Emperors, Old and New: International Terrorism in the Real World, p.29) (Also see p. 127 of Understanding Power: The Indispensable Chomsky)
Well, Obama very carefully didn't say anything. Mubarak would agree that there should be an orderly transition, but to what? A new cabinet, some minor rearrangement of the constitutional order, it's empty. So he's doing what U.S. leaders regularly do. There is a playbook whenever a favored dictator is in trouble: try to sustain him, hold on; if at some point it becomes impossible, switch sides. The U.S. has an overwhelmingly powerful role there. Egypt is the second-largest recipient over a long period of U.S. military and economic aid. Israel is first. "In fact, if you look at the leading recipients of U.S. aid, most of it military aid, two countries are in a separate category: Israel and Egypt, which gets half the aid given to Israel. This arrangement is part of the Camp David agreement from back in 1979, unofficially. Aid to Egypt is basically aid to Israel, to encourage Egypt to play along. But aid to Israel and Egypt is in a separate category, way above anybody else." Chomsky, What We Say Goes, p.165 Obama himself has been highly supportive of Mubarak. Asked by the BBC, Obama said he didn't regard Mubarak as an authoritarian ruler, he also said he was a "force for stability and good in the region"! This is one of the most brutal dictators of the region — how anyone could have taken Obama's comments about human rights seriously after that is a bit of a mystery. But the support has been very powerful in diplomatic dimensions. Military — the planes flying over Tahrir Square are, of course, U.S. planes. The U.S. has been the strongest, most solid, most important supporter of the regime. It's not like Tunisia, where the main supporter was France. They're the primary guilty party there. But in Egypt, it's clearly the United States, and of course Israel. Israel is—of all the countries in the region, Israel, and I suppose Saudi Arabia, have been the most outspoken and supportive of the Mubarak regime. In fact, Israeli leaders were angry, at least expressed anger, that Obama hadn't taken a stronger stand in support of their friend Mubarak.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

An Open Letter to President Barack Obama about Egypt & Mubarak

NEW VIDEO: An Open Letter to President Barack Obama about Egypt & Mubarak

See video
Dear President Obama:
As political scientists, historians, and researchers in related fields who have studied the Middle East and U.S. foreign policy, we the undersigned believe you have a chance to move beyond rhetoric to support the democratic movement sweeping over Egypt. As citizens, we expect our president to uphold those values.
For thirty years, our government has spent billions of dollars to help build and sustain the system the Egyptian people are now trying to dismantle. Tens if not hundreds of thousands of demonstrators in Egypt and around the world have spoken. We believe their message is bold and clear: Mubarak should resign from office and allow Egyptians to establish a new government free of his and his family's influence. It is also clear to us that if you seek, as you said Friday "political, social, and economic reforms that meet the aspirations of the Egyptian people," your administration should publicly acknowledge those reforms will not be advanced by Mubarak or any of his adjutants.
There is another lesson from this crisis, a lesson not for the Egyptian government but for our own. In order for the United States to stand with the Egyptian people it must approach Egypt through a framework of shared values and hopes, not the prism of geostrategy. On Friday you rightly said that "suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away." For that reason we urge your administration to seize this chance, turn away from the policies that brought us here, and embark on a new course toward peace, democracy and prosperity for the people of the Middle East. And we call on you to undertake a comprehensive review of US foreign policy on the major grievances voiced by the democratic opposition in Egypt and all other societies of the region. See video (link to HD version here) info for link to this open letter and signers. Also a link to a FAIR article.