Egypt and America’s Tough Choices: Rachel Maddow & The Ed Show Tonight

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protesters peaceful cairo sanam.jpg
What is going on in Egypt now reminds me of the fall of Suharto in Indonesia, the expulsion of and collapse of Marco in the Philippines, the overthrow of Romania’s Ceausescu, and of course the Green Movement in Iran.
The first three dictators fell; the last regime remains in place, and it’s not certain yet what will happen in Egypt.
America is finally tuning in — where most of the Middle East has been tied to Al Jazeera on TV sets and internet portals since the dramatic collapse of Tunisia’s totalitarian regime.
The choice slice of Egypt President Hosni Mubarak’s address tonight was that the protests we are seeing not only in Cairo, but Alexandria and all over the country were a product of the freedoms that Mubarak had given people.
I’ll be chatting about the protests in Egypt and the tough choices for US policymakers with Rachel Maddow tonight — about 9:30 pm EST.
And then following, I will be the “anchor buddy” for the whole show (if things stay on track) with Ed Schulz of The Ed Show.
More soon.
– Steve Clemons

Comments

33 comments on “Egypt and America’s Tough Choices: Rachel Maddow & The Ed Show Tonight

  1. Mark says:

    Posted by Bill Pearlman, Jan 29 2011, 9:40AM
    “If the Suez canal closes there is not telling how high oil goes. You might want to consider that. And with Egypt on one end and Yemen on the other that’s a real possibility. I know I’m trying to hold back the sea here but not EVERYTHING revolves around Israel. Or the international Jewish conspiracy.”
    #####
    Egypt is in the midst of civil unrest – and Jews are the victims.
    Pearlman’s driving his car and the light changes red – and Jews are the victims.
    Pearlman goes to the grocery store checkout line and finds an elderly lady with a cart filled with items and a stack of coupons – and Jews are the victims.
    Pearlman reaches to pour himself a cup of coffee in the break room at work and finds only a few drops in the pot – and Jews are the victims.
    Pearlman is a Jets fan and watches them fall five points short of the Super Bowl last weekend – and Jews are the victims.
    Is there a single act of Pearlman’s life in which Jews and Israel are NOT the victims and the Holocaust is not seconds away?

    Reply

  2. Cee says:

    What a POWERFUL photo.

    Reply

  3. HiloFarmer says:

    With enormous regret I must say that as long as Keith Olberman is not present on MSNBC, I will not watch any information on MSNBC, nor will I buy any product produced by, processed by or sold by ANY affiliate of MSNBC.
    I am greatly saddened by the necessity of this decision.
    For now, I will get my news from Amy Goodman on Democracy Now. (And thanks to my good buddy Anna Karen for leading me to Democracy Now!)
    What I would like to see, would be Rachel and Keith on an independent network show. I am uncertain if the totalitarian corprocracy in America will tolerate that. Let’s hope a sponsor appears and we are allowed to be free.
    Peter

    Reply

  4. HiloFarmer says:

    With enormous regret I must say that as long as Keith Olberman is not present on MSNBC, I will not watch any information on MSNBC, nor will I buy any product produced by, processed by or sold by ANY affiliate of MSNBC.
    I am greatly saddened by the necessity of this decision.
    For now, I will get my news from Amy Goodman on Democracy Now. (And thanks to my good buddy Anna Karen for leading me to Democracy Now!)
    What I would like to see, would be Rachel and Keith on an independent network show. I am uncertain if the totalitarian corprocracy in America will tolerate that. Let’s hope a sponsor appears and we are allowed to be free.
    Peter

    Reply

  5. PissedOffAmerican says:

    The jackass Pearlman rears his ugly head. Note that NO ONE here has suggested a “Jewish conspiracy” being involved in what is currently unfolding in Egypt.
    And whoever assumes power in Egypt, or if Mubarak retains power, why would they shut off the tremendous revenue the Suez generates?
    Still waiting for Pearlman to contribute something worth reading. Apparently, it is a futile endeavor. The short format he uses is obviously not without motive. He simply over-extends his brain capacity after two or three sentences. Thank God for small wonders. Now, if he could only coach Nadine in the wisdom of employing brevity when one is offering worthless crap.

    Reply

  6. Bill Pearlman says:

    If the Suez canal closes there is not telling how high oil goes. You might want to consider that. And with Egypt on one end and Yemen on the other that’s a real possibility. I know I’m trying to hold back the sea here but not EVERYTHING revolves around Israel. Or the international Jewish conspiracy.

    Reply

  7. DonS says:

    Wig, is their a point you are trying to make, or does it just feel good to spite Steve Clemons? That’s pretty twisted you know.

    Reply

  8. questions says:

    Curious:
    “The American Embassy in Cairo helped a young dissident attend a US-sponsored summit for activists in New York, while working to keep his identity secret from Egyptian state police.
    On his return to Cairo in December 2008, the activist told US diplomats that an alliance of opposition groups had drawn up a plan to overthrow President Hosni Mubarak and install a democratic government in 2011.
    The secret document in full
    He has already been arrested by Egyptian security in connection with the demonstrations and his identity is being protected by The Daily Telegraph.
    The crisis in Egypt follows the toppling of Tunisian president Zine al-Abedine Ben Ali, who fled the country after widespread protests forced him from office. ”
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/egypt/8289686/Egypt-protests-Americas-secret-backing-for-rebel-leaders-behind-uprising.html
    And this is truly fascinating. What’s on the surface may or may not be what’s real…..
    “The poverty levels are appalling. In the past two years, the global economic crisis impacted Egypt adversely, and the current government was widely seen as too slow to react. According to Ha’aretz, “Egypt’s population of some 80 million is growing by 2 percent a year. Two thirds of the population is under 30, and that age group accounts for 90 percent of the jobless. About 40 percent live on less than $2 a day, and a third is illiterate.”
    On top of this, there is a succession struggle in the country as 82-year old Mubarak tries to arrange the transition of power after he steps down. There are rumors that his original plan to have his son Gamal succeed him encountered heavy resistance from the army, and he has been looking for a compromise.
    Stratfor believes that there is a hidden force behind the demonstrations, and this side plot motivates one of the think-tank’s main hypotheses. According to Stratfor:
    What we have to find out is who is behind this. It could be the military wanting to stage a coup to keep Gamal Mubarak out of power.”
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MA29Ak03.html
    *****
    It really is interesting the extent to which it’s possible that all the roles in this rebellion/revolution/uprising/coup/authentic search for meaningful participation/disgust at corruption/disgust at the economic mess — that all of this could actually be taking place in some completely other framework that few are aware of.
    And it could be many things all at once. It could really be completely spontaneous and managed all at the same time. The categories aren’t really clear.
    Probably this wouldn’t have happened without Tunisia. Tunisia was spontaneous, and Egypt is clearly spontaneous. But spontaneity requires some planning, too.
    US involvement? Palace coup? Just a perfect storm moment? Who knows.

    Reply

  9. questions says:

    A great post from Jonathan Bernstein:
    http://plainblogaboutpolitics.blogspot.com/2011/01/egypt.html
    Probably some of the smartest advice and analysis I’ve seen.
    Look for people who know what they’re talking about.
    Remember that there are all sorts of odd biases out there, like assuming that the US CAN do all sorts of things, that the US is at the center of everything, that US policy interests are always clear and with no internal conflicts of interest, and that people who are not particularly strident do not get asked back to the tv talkie shows.
    Worth the click.

    Reply

  10. samuelburke says:

    Steve, i would like to ask a special favor of you.
    Could you please take up the cause of the anti-internet kill
    switch for us the plebes. i have heard that our gov’t leaders
    have considered putting such a kill switch into law.
    Can you please bring this issue up now while americans are
    seeing how unfair and unjust such a power can be in the hand
    of an oppressive gov’t.
    we out here in the hinterland really do not trust Gov’t and
    rightly so. anything is possible under the wrong
    circumstances.
    The Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act gives
    Obama, all who succeed him, and before long almost every
    other ruler on the planet, an Internet “kill switch.
    Saturday June 5, 2010
    Proposed Law Would Give Feds Emergency Internet Powers
    ” A widely-cited report in Wired describes a legislative
    initiative by Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Senator
    Susan Collins of Maine that would vastly expand federal
    powers over “critical infrastructure,” including commercial
    Internet providers, in the name of Homeland Security.”

    Reply

  11. rc says:

    While Iran chaffs at the bit to erase Israel from the world map (a cartographic victory I assume), China has effectively done that with Egypt on the internet map.
    >>>>>>>
    China has blocked the word “Egypt” from the country’s wildly popular Twitter-like service, while coverage of the political turmoil has been tightly restricted in state media.
    China’s ruling Communist Party is sensitive to any potential source of social unrest.
    A search for “Egypt” on the Sina microblogging service brings up a message saying, “According to relevant laws, regulations and policies, the search results are not shown”.
    The service has more than 50 million users.
    News on the Egypt protests has been limited to a few paragraphs and photos buried inside major news websites, but China Central Television had a report on its midday broadcast.
    China’s foreign ministry did not respond to a request for comment Saturday on the events in Egypt.
    >>>>>>>
    http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia-pacific/2011/01/201112991712140318.html
    This is one reason to vote “USA” today — unless, of course, we see a future where an “According to relevant laws, regulations and policies, the search results are not shown” also comes out of Washington DC? It is just a click away … must be tempting for some to contemplate.

    Reply

  12. rc says:

    From Russia with ‘Love’…
    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2010/nov/11/worst-madness/
    And more recently an interview with Snyder:
    “Bloodlands – the Holocaust in Eastern Europe
    Most people tend to think of Auschwitz when the Holocaust is mentioned. However, Timothy Snyder believes that our concept of the Holocaust needs to be much broader. If we include the murderous policies of Stalin and Hitler towards the people in the lands between Russia and Germany, including Poland, the Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania and Latvia, the death toll of the victims and ethnic and political schemes totals 14 million. These lands he describes as the Bloodlands.” (25 Jan 2011)
    http://www.abc.net.au/rn/latenightlive/stories/2011/3121235.htm

    Reply

  13. rc says:

    Maybe you can also throw in the end of Gen Augusto Pinochet’s 17-year brutal and murderous dictatorship in Chile.
    There are plenty of hits under “Chile launches probe into president’s death”.
    Many include the following observation: “Henry Kissinger, US secretary of state under then president Richard Nixon, made quite clear what US intentions were after Allende’s election.
    “The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves… I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its people,” Kissinger said at the time.”
    http://www.france24.com/en/20110127-chile-launch-first-probe-allendes-death
    Has anything really changed? Or do they trust common voters now? Not in Gaza it seems.
    Given the Egyptian dictator’s historic links with Moscow, this is all very complex and interesting.
    It also adds color to my thesis on the cultural-political links with the Russian environments in both Israel and Egypt. I’ll post a couple of interesting links below on the “Bloodlands*” that has reset some of my understanding of the WW2 history related to the holocaust etc.
    [*Title: Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin. Author: Timothy Snyder Publisher: Bodley Head]

    Reply

  14. JamesL says:

    Egypt protests: secret US document discloses support for protesters
    via a commentor to Juan Cole
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/egypt/8289698/Egypt-protests-secret-US-document-discl
    oses-support-for-protesters.html
    or at Cole’s site at:
    http://www.juancole.com/2011/01/egypt-is-a-praetorian-state-cole-on-democracy-now.html#comments

    Reply

  15. WigWag says:

    We need another Chas Freeman interview. He’s an expert on Saudi Arabia and it seems that there have also been protests in Saudi Arabia but on a tiny scale compared to what’s happening in Egypt. News reports suggest that “agitators” used their blackberries to tell demonstrators where to congregate. The Saudi police have arrested several hundred people.
    If the Saudi demonstrations become larger and more violent, perhaps Steve Clemons could pick the brain of his colleague Chas Freeman. After all, Freeman is close to the Saudi regime and knows them very well. Not only was he the American Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, but after he left office, the organization that he ran received funding from the Saudi Government.
    Perhaps Steve could ask Ambassador Freeman whether he would like to see the Saudi Royal Family overthrown. After all, Freeman has always been a big supporter of the Saudi Government. After the Obama Administration withdrew Freeman’s nomination, he complained in an interview with Fareed Zakaria that “Saudi Arabia has definitely been successfully vilified in our politics.”
    It would be fascinating to know if Freeman supports democratic elections and the rule of law in Saudi Arabia and what he would advise his friends in the Saudi Royal Family to do if the regime was under serious threat.
    Oh wait; I know. Freeman has been down this road before. How many years ago was it when Chinese young people, who were remarkably similar to the young people demonstrating in Egypt now, decided to make their stand in Tiananmen Square. Of course, the Chinese Government decided to pursue a different course than the one that Obama is now urging on Mubarak.
    China decided to butcher the young students occupying the Square. But Freeman complained that the Chinese were too restrained. This is the exact quote from an email that he sent,
    “I find the dominant view in China about this very plausible, i.e. that the truly unforgivable mistake of the Chinese authorities was the failure to intervene on a timely basis to nip the demonstrations in the bud, rather than — as would have been both wise and efficacious — to intervene with force when all other measures had failed to restore domestic tranquility to Beijing and other major urban centers in China. In this optic, the Politburo’s response to the mob scene at “Tiananmen” stands as a monument to overly cautious behavior on the part of the leadership, not as an example of rash action.
    “For myself, I side on this — if not on numerous other issues — with Gen. Douglas MacArthur. I do not believe it is acceptable for any country to allow the heart of its national capital to be occupied by dissidents intent on disrupting the normal functions of government, however appealing to foreigners their propaganda may be. Such folk, whether they represent a veterans’ “Bonus Army” or a “student uprising” on behalf of “the goddess of democracy” should expect to be displaced with dispatch from the ground they occupy.”
    If Steve decides to interview Ambassador Freeman again, I hope that it is not presumptuous of me to recommend a couple of questions.
    Steve could ask the Ambassador whether he thinks the “dissidents intent on disrupting the normal functions of government” in Egypt should be “displaced with dispatch.”
    Steve might also ask the Ambassador whether he thinks the Egyptian Government is guilty of a “failure to intervene on a timely basis to nip the demonstrations in the bud, rather than — as would have been both wise and efficacious — to intervene with force when all other measures had failed to restore domestic tranquility

    Reply

  16. JohnH says:

    Chicken Little Nadine squawks again: “Nobody can even suggest anything contrary to sharia without tiptoeing around the idea and proving their loyalty first by blaming America and Israel for everything bad in Egypt.”
    News reports have noticed the absence of Islamist influence in the Tunisian rebellion (placards carried by protesters, etc.) The Egyptian rebellion was started not by Islamists but by young people using Twitter.
    Nadine and her ilk have a knee jerk need to blame everything bad that happens in the Middle East on Islamists. The fact that ordinary, secular people might revolt is bad for the Zionist narrative, which needs to bring the US into Israel’s fight against Amalek, a character from the Zionist imagination whose people David exterminated (until Likud brought him back as an Islamist.)

    Reply

  17. Dan Kervick says:

    “I think Obama is hiding under the bed.”
    Grow up.

    Reply

  18. nadine says:

    Mark, Jen Rubin doesn’t need to punch a hole in anything; the weight of events is crushing the pseudo-explanations of the realists.
    The US did not impose Hosni Mubarak on Egypt. Nor did Israel. The masses are not revolting against him for the Palestinians (whom they despise) but because they have no jobs and no future.
    For 60 years, Arab dictators have told their people, “Hey, stop complaining about no jobs and no freedom. Look over there! The Palestinians are suffering! We’ll worry about the economy and political reforms later!”
    It’s not working anymore. Guess what? Arab dictators everywhere have REALLY stopped caring about the Palestinians, or Israeli housing projects, or any of that nonsense. It was useful while it lasted, but they’ve got other worries now. Obama is just too dumb to get it yet, because his model of the Middle East is upside down and backwards. Like Steve Clemon’s.
    It’s 3 AM in the White House, and the phone is ringing.
    I think Obama is hiding under the bed.

    Reply

  19. nadine says:

    Dan Kervick, the difference between Communist Europe and the Egypt is not so much between their respective corrupt dictatorships, as with what is likely to replace the dictator if he falls. Most of Eastern Europe became more or less democratic after 1991. Most of Eastern Europe had only been Communist for 50 years, didn’t want to be Communist, and looked to Western Europe for its models.
    This is not at all likely in Egypt. The civil society to support a democracy is not there; and the weight of Islam on public discourse is crushing. Nobody can even suggest anything contrary to sharia without tiptoeing around the idea and proving their loyalty first by blaming America and Israel for everything bad in Egypt.
    The history of the Mubarak regime is that the only place he gave breathing space for opposition politics was the mosque, and that in limited form. Secular opposition was crushed. So the only people who are organized right this minute outside of the government are the Muslim Brotherhood. They aren’t fighting for freedom, but for the power to be the killers instead of the slain. Remember that Ayman al Zawahiri came out of the Muslim Brotherhood. So did Hamas.
    God help the Copts (who are already being slaughtered) if the Muslim Brotherhood takes power. They’ll be driven out like the Chaldean Christians are being driven out of Iraq.

    Reply

  20. Mark says:

    Steve,
    Nice job on Maddow.
    I was surprised that you cut right to the chance and explained the linkage between U.S. policies in Israel and Egypt. I appreciated your realist application to the situation.
    As a side benefit, I could just here Jenny Rubin punching a whole in her computer monitor as she listened to the realist rundown. (chuckle)

    Reply

  21. Dan Kervick says:

    Morning prayers in Egypt should be ending within the next half hour.

    Reply

  22. Dan Kervick says:

    “Can we consider the ongoing collapse of dictatorships in the Middle East with the now praised collapse of the communists in Europe 20 years ago?”
    I was wondering about this when I saw the scenes today of the Egyptian protesters climbing on top of a tank, and treating the soldiers well. That reminded me of Moscow 20 years ago.
    What *might* be happening in parts of the Middle East is that protesters are realizing the hollowness of the state’s power because they are realizing that the security forces have only a professional, but not an emotional, attachment to their regimes.
    The difference between Tunisia and Egypt, on the one hand, and Iran on the other is that the Iranian uprisings followed a hotly contested election. And while there was corruption in the election, it still seems likely that the declared winner was the actual winner. In any case, the Iranian Revolution is only a little more than three decades old, and still has a strong base of ideologically and emotionally committed support. It is not just a hollow shell waiting to crumble, even if there is a strong committed opposition.
    That doesn’t seem to have been the case at all in Tunisia, and increasingly it appears that Egyptian security forces have no passionate attachment to the state they serve either.
    There is a tendency to see this whole series of events through the usual prism of “Arab affairs”, and as a further extension of the usual kinds of problems we have seen in the Middle East for several decades. But these revolutions have a new and very prominent economic dimension brought on by the global economic downturn. These Arab countries might be tipping first because they just happen to be the world’s biggest economic basket cases. There are Islamists of various kinds involved in the protests, but there are also communists and nationalists involved, as well as a lot of fairly secular and worldly youth without jobs and prospects, and without any strong ideological complexion.
    Obama might want to re-think his head-in-the-sand rhetorical strategy adopted in the state of the union speech of declaring the recession over, painting a rosy picture of recovery, confining all of the progressive elements of his agenda to long-term plans for the future based on public investment, and all but entirely ignoring the acute present problems of 9.5% unemployment and staggering socio-economic inequality, all so he can suck up to the US Chamber of Commerce and the Jamie Dimons of the world during his two-year re-election stretch.
    Interestingly, ABC News followed up its reports on the Egyptian revolution tonight with a shocking report on hedge fund manager John Paulson pulling down $5 billion dollars in personal profit last year. The mind reels at the gap between the grotesque, stinking reality of American social conditions and Obama’s obtuse, elitist take on that reality.

    Reply

  23. samuelburke says:

    MJ Rosenberg.
    “If one needs additional proof that the “pro-Israel” lobby and
    the policies it dictates to US policymakers are bad for both the
    U.S. and Israel, look no further than what is happening in
    Egypt.
    The regime that the Israeli government and its U.S. lobby have
    depended upon to enforce the status quo is going down. It is
    not clear when, but it’s going to be soon, much sooner than
    anyone ever anticipated. And you can be sure that any
    democratic government that takes Mubarak’s place is not
    going to play the role of America’s (let alone Israel’s) enforcer
    in the Middle East.
    Hopefully, the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty will survive

    Reply

  24. JamesL says:

    You mentioned both Israel and dictators in some small time span that got broadcast???? Really?? And Rachel didn’t choke or go green or anything? How about the producers? Hugs and kisses at your send-off?

    Reply

  25. samuelburke says:

    these words from Brzezinsky sound prophetic.
    “For the first time in human history almost all of humanity is
    politically activated, politically conscious and politically
    interactive

    Reply

  26. Caroll says:

    Well done Steve….
    Very on point and astute comments…exactly what the public needs from our media.
    I was going to beg you not to consider a job with the networks just in case they were trying to lure you..but I guess I don’t have to…they wouldn’t hire anyone full time with the ability to actually analyze objectively and pass it on the viewers.
    So I guess TNW is safe.

    Reply

  27. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Well done, Steve. It will be interesting to see if Rachel ever invites you back, for your daring to tie this into our relationship with Israel, and our “need” for a dictator in Egypt because of our relationship with Israel.
    Honest, man, I really was impressed, and owe you an apology for my previous post. I think you will get no small amount of flack for bringing Israel into the discussion.

    Reply

  28. samuelburke says:

    Gosh darn Steve, i salute you.
    just watched you tell it like a champ on Rachel’s show.

    Reply

  29. The Pessimist says:

    Questions for the collective:
    Can we consider the ongoing collapse of dictatatorships in the Middle East with the now praised collapse of the communists in Europe 20 years ago?
    Are the two events objectively equivalent?
    Spew away nadine.

    Reply

  30. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Well, be careful about blathering something stupid and hypocritical about “the rights of peaceful protesters”. There are some of us out here that are aware of what the Israeli jackboots do to peaceful protesters. Tonight I have watched one TV asshole after another decry the very kinds of actions that Israel engages in daily, without a peep from these oh-so-concerned corporate media mouthpieces.
    And as if that isn’t bad enough seeing the irresponsibility of these fraudulent members of the so-called Fourth Estate exhibiting this selective and pseudo-compassionate stance, it is doubly disgusting seeing Obama assume the same insincere pose. What has occurred this last year in B’iln has not escaped notice, despite the cowardice of our media and these whores in DC.
    One hopes that you won’t assume this same insincere posture, and express such a selective concern for the rights of people to protest peacefully.
    But hey, bright lights and celebrity, who can resist, eh? Whats the truth matter when ya can rub elbows with the stars?
    Who knows, Steve, Emily might even be watching with her one good eye. And heck, Tristan’s family might point his face at the TV, in the hopes that he can actually comprehend what he is looking at. Perhaps you can look them both in the eye and tell them about how concerned Obama, Clinton, you, and our media are for the rights of peaceful protesters.
    I’m sure you won’t do it on the air, but you might wanna ask Rachel how she feels about being such a fuckin’ hypocrite? Or don’t Palestinian peaceful protesters matter? Oh well, she’s probably drooling over the prospect of having another Neda to exploit for political spin.

    Reply

  31. samuelburke says:

    Steve we will find out if America is tuning in when wikileaks or
    some such entity releases the cables and communiques from our
    Gov’t representatives.
    alas the politicos speak with a forked tongue.

    Reply

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