Regime Change vs. Regime Adjustment

-

mg_egypt.jpgThe US position on Egypt continues to evolve, but President Obama is increasingly caught in a vise between advocacy for “regime change” in Egypt and less disruptive “regime adjustment.”
Regime adjustment is not what the protests in Egypt have been about. They have been about dislodging Hosni Mubarak and his clan — who must be among the most privately successful structurally corrupt national managers in the world today.
But thus far the Obama team is beginning to acquiesce to the notion that Mubarak may stay, at least through September, and that “reform” of the government needs the active participation and cooperation of the incumbents.
This is a mistake. Those holding power today — particularly Omar Suleiman — will have the ability to legally neutralize reforms if they are the ones driving the political machine.
A short while ago, Vice President Biden issued the read out of his call with Suleiman and noted that he pushed these four points:

Comments

45 comments on “Regime Change vs. Regime Adjustment

  1. Julie Kinnear says:

    I am very surprised that the US government supports Suleiman as the future leader of Egypt. Don’t they realize that this man has been the right hand of Mubarak and the two have been involved in everything which is now refused by the Egyptian people? If this revolution is to be successful it is the people who should choose their future leader.

    Reply

  2. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    JohnH..thanks for the neoconmen…noble lies, indeed were apparently all the rage during the Bush/Cheney regime.

    Reply

  3. DonS says:

    “I think the idea here is a revolutionary declaration of the invalidity of the current government and current constitution, coupled with the relatively rapid adoption of a new constitution and creation of a new provisional government to govern the country during the interim period. If Egypt takes this path, there is no reason that Mubarak’s resignation has to be followed by elections in 60 days.” (Dan K)
    Or some doable variation. But it’s becoming clearer that the plan is to split the opposition, coopt as many as possible and retain as much of the status quo as possible.
    Here’s a link to a Laura Rozen piece on a WH meeting yesterday. The last sentence, from Fouad Ajami, relates a rather sad picture of floundering to restrain change:
    “Regarding Suleiman as the administration

    Reply

  4. DonS says:

    Yeah, well they’re coming back under rules that only require a majority because you know ya gotta have a Patriot At so all the Islamophilosocialistics don’t go around conspiritizing to bring down the oligarchy.

    Reply

  5. Don Bacon says:

    Thanks to the Tea Party who responded to Congr. Kucinich’s challenge to observe the Constitution,. Amendments I & IV.

    Reply

  6. Dan Kervick says:

    Speaking of lifting emergency laws:
    “WASHINGTON

    Reply

  7. Dan Kervick says:

    The Post article suggests that the White House’s thinking is constrained by their preference that Egypt retain its current constitution during the transition to elections, which contains a requirement of an election within 60 days if the President resigns. It sounds like they want only evolutionary change without revolution, change managed within the current constitutional structure.
    So I think they should review the proposal I linked to yesterday, presented by the law faculty of the University of Cairo.
    http://libertyforegypt.blogspot.com/2011/02/translation-of-statement-issued-by.html
    This proposal envisions a more revolutionary change in the political order. Some of the items in the proposal recommend doing things in accord with the current constitution. But the proposal also includes:
    “Secondly

    Reply

  8. questions says:

    And that’s the problem. Suleiman is vile. The system is vile. A non-system is vile….
    Things are going to work out one way or another. I think the constant pressure of the protesters is a good thing. The more constant, widespread, public and well-behaved it is, the harder a time Egypt has with a crackdown.
    I am hopeful that there can be a multi-stage process of some sort in which each new stage increases the level of legitimacy such that the whole process, from the first stage, is deemed legitimate.
    I don’t really know if a caretaker government is the way to start, or if Mubarak’s abdication is the best first step, or if the election of a slate of electors in Sept. is a good first step….
    These are things for Egypt’s legal and political community to figure out. But a phase-in of a new government, resting temporarily on the current mess, but only as a transition, seems to be a good idea.
    The stages and dates and prerequisites need to be made clear from the get-go…. By this date, no more emergency laws. By this date, new parties will have signed up with some kind of party registry to get ballot positions. By this date, the following 5 electoral laws will have been enacted. By this date, candidate slates will have been approved along the following political and regional lines. By this date, the…..
    And out of this process should come first a temporary structure, and then more elections and decisions for a more permanent structure.
    This kind of set up is taxing on everyone. It costs money, it takes passion and organization to make it work, it increases the number of decision points which gives voters a chance to see what the parties are aiming for and it leaves a lot of space for undoing buyers’ remorse.
    There should be a clear set of dates for future electoral changes. They may even want fairly stringent term limits for now (though I generally detest term limits, I can see the argument for them after the overthrow of a tyranny.)
    All of this is very “granular” and Egypt-specific, and so well above my pay grade. But the legal community in Egypt should be able to craft a multi-stage phase in that increases the legitimacy of rule in Egypt.
    As for Suleiman, Mubarak picked him. His target audience is not really the protesters. And actually, this adds a whole other dimension — for whom is the Egyptian gov’t — the domestic and international consumers of Egyptian rule may well have different preferences…… (understatement!)

    Reply

  9. Paul Norheim says:

    Questions,
    I read the Washington Post article earlier today (lunchtime here in Norway now); and I agree that it’s worth reading.
    “Many of those urging a speedier exit for Mubarak acknowledge that the country is not prepared for quick elections.
    Some of them support the idea of a transitional government that might take power soon and then wield power for as
    long as a year, putting off a presidential election until early 2012. ”
    In that case, it’s obvious that the US-backed Omar Soleiman can not be entrusted the supervision of an interim
    government.

    Reply

  10. samuelburke says:

    instead of listening to all the post egyptian revolution analyst,
    why not listen and or read Eric Margolis who actually expected
    these changes going back to april of this year.
    monday morning quarterbacking is for kiddies.
    “An impending explosion in Egypt was obvious to old Mideast
    hands like myself. Last 26 April, I wrote a column, “Eruption on
    the Nile,” predicting Mubarak

    Reply

  11. questions says:

    From the same article, no polling firms, no campaign laws or campaign finance laws…. You know, elections are a whole lot more complicated than just putting an X on a name and sticking the paper in the box….
    And then there’s this:
    “The legal obstacles to credible elections are huge. For starters, Egypt would have to revoke the state-of-emergency rule that Mubarak declared when he took power in 1981; it prohibits more than three people in a political organization from meeting without permission. ”
    Also from the same WaPo article.
    It’s worth reading the whole thing as it really conveys a sense of just how complex and institutionally dependent fair elections are. The fairness issue is crucial in weak, newly established governments.
    It might be worth remembering that Socrates was executed for his crimes by a weak, newly founded, post-coup democratic government. It’s dicey all around.

    Reply

  12. questions says:

    Here’s this, but not everyone agrees:
    “Under Egypt’s constitution, the country will be required to hold a presidential election within 60 days if Mubarak quits or is pushed out; only candidates handpicked by Mubarak’s party would be eligible to run.
    Many of those urging a speedier exit for Mubarak acknowledge that the country is not prepared for quick elections. Some of them support the idea of a transitional government that might take power soon and then wield power for as long as a year, putting off a presidential election until early 2012. ”
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/08/AR2011020806004.html?hpid=topnews

    Reply

  13. questions says:

    Dan, 12:20 a.m. Spot on.
    The inchoate must turn real. The protesters need a program. People have to meet and institutionalize so that when the train goes into the station (as noted above) it’s not just the out-of-date, out of style MB on board with its most regressive members having the greatest intensity and therefore winning the day.
    Intensity wins in democracies. Institutions prevail. The protesters have short term intensity and no institutions. The MB may well have long term intensity and institutional heft.
    And of course, the gov’t has the status quo which is a powerful force in the world.
    The protesters need to turn their intensity into something institutionally hefty, with an eye towards legitimacy at every stage. Meet, vote, agree, meet, vote, agree. Write, vote, memos, vote. Widespread voting. Demographically broad inclusion. And vote and meet and vote again.

    Reply

  14. rc says:

    kotzabasis, Feb 09 2011, 4:13AM
    Where do you see Gaddafi and his regime?
    His folk seems rather more happy than the other authoritarian models.
    (btw: don’t like your white font on black — very hard to read)

    Reply

  15. kotzabasis says:

    Egypt: Which Side Will The Dominos Fall?
    Egypt, not unexpectedly for those who have read history and can to a certain extent adumbrate its future course, as one of the offsprings (Tunisia was the first one) of the rudimentary Democratic paradigm that was established in Iraq by the U.S.

    Reply

  16. Dan Kervick says:

    A new tweet from Wael Ghonim
    “An officer just called me to tell me: I escaped from the service after ElAdly asked us to fire live bullets randomly on protesters. #Jan25″
    (7 minutes ago)

    Reply

  17. Dan Kervick says:

    Syrian government rushing to get out ahead of change:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/feb/08/syria-facebook-unbanned-people
    I think the Obama administration deserves some credit here for the regional rush to reform. It’s not that they have much direct influence in places like Syria, but I think leaders throughout the Arab world looked to see whether the US was going to help Egypt simply crush their protest movement. And when the answer came back from Washington, “No, not exactly,” a lot of authoritarian bosses suddenly felt much less comfortable and realized the long-feared genie was escaping from the bottle.
    The US media has instinctively rallied around fellow-reporters facing government intimidation and arrest, and the US government seems content to let this growing public and media pressure build.
    Arab allies are now telling the US, “Our countries aren’t ready for democracy yet.” But after today it looks like the US is perhaps starting to respond, “That’s what you always say. That’s what you’ve said for decades. Enough. Get moving.”
    On the Palestine front, there may be a way of tapping into this youth energy to push forward real Palestinian reform and new elections. The Palestinian Authority is old, and discredited by the Palestine Papers. And Hamas similarly represents an authoritarian model that the new Arab youth appear to reject.
    The White House has struggled to find a coherent response in an inherently unstable and confusing situation. Now they have to find a way of discreetly supporting Egyptian civil society leaders not too closely tied to the government – academics, jurists, major media organizations, independent party leaders – who are increasingly reaching out to the protesters themselves to organize a movement immediate constitutional reform. The US can leverage its relationship with the Egyptian military to help to build bridges between key elements of the military, the protesters (who still seem to have a predominantly positive image of the military), and members of the civil society reform groups and intelligentsia.
    The protesters are riding high on gusts of emotion, courage in unity and enthusiasm, but with no clear vision that I can see yet of how this movement arrives at a new government for Egypt. They need help. The rest of the world needs to figure out how to reach out to them with genuine support without trying to muscle in and direct a movement in which the principles feel ownership and self-reliant pride.
    Rather than waiting for Mubarak to step down, perhaps the protesters and civil society leaders should simply call a meeting – a congress – at which they pass and proclaim a declaration announcing an end to Egypt’s current regime. They could adopt a provisional constitution – the jurists say such constitutions are already prepared and written in draft. They could meet at the National Museum, or even directly in Tahrir Square, or the National Assembly building if they manage to take it over. Declare Mubarak’s presidency over instead of waiting for him to declare it over himself. Designate some new location as the central seat of government so that it simply doesn’t matter whether Mubarak leaves his place or not.
    At that point they could invite the military to recognize the new government, and settle in to wait. They could invite all serving civil servants to drop their NDP membership and remain in their jobs for now, or resign in honor without recriminations. Send out cables to Egypt’s diplomats with the same message.
    Global telecoms and internet companies can help, working with governments, to make sure the new provisional government has access to a global communications network that cannot easily be shut down by the authorities.
    Once the die has been cast, the US role would be to let the military know that they expect them to give their allegiance to the new government, and that they will organize a global arms and funding embargo if they demur.

    Reply

  18. JohnH says:

    We have few models for Obama’s behavior in these circumstances. Sweet words and noble rhetoric conveyed in White House statements are meaningless and reveal nothing about Obama’s intentions.
    The closest parallel to the current situation was the coup in Honduras, which overthrew President Zelaya to maintain the status quo. At the outset, Obama condemned the coup, which was the first in Latin America in more than a decade. Europe and Latin America quickly condemned it, too.
    Obama quickly retreated, doing nothing to seriously challenge the coup, tacitly endorsing the status quo, patiently allowing the regime to consolidate its power, and ignoring massive demonstrations and brutal government repression.
    Why would Obama act any differently in Egypt? What would motivate Obama to challenge the status quo, which has served US interests for decades?
    The main difference from Honduras is the media. The protests in Tahrir Square have received widespread, positive publicity that the protesters in Honduras never got. Egyptian government goons got negative publicity, while the government goons in Honduras got none.
    If Obama wishes to maintain the status quo, which I believe he does, he must primarily manage the perceptions game. He “demands” for reform and restraint.
    Reform must be clear but cosmetic, otherwise it risks the status quo. Concessions must be sufficient to convince most Egyptians to go home. And if Egyptians go home, the story disappears. Any Americans who happen to remember the story a week later feel happy about the positive role their government played.
    Restraint must also be cosmetic. The government’s goons must stop being openly thuggish and start being judicious and very, very quiet.
    In Honduras maintaining the status quo required neither reform nor restraint, because the whole event never received any publicity in the US. The government’s goons were free to be at their thuggish worst. And no changes were required either, because nobody knew.
    To show that Obama is playing anything but a public relations game in Egypt, analysts need to demonstrate that the US (and Israel) have an interest in something besides the status quo or its cosmetically different equivalent.
    So far there is no evidence that anyone in Israel or the US has any fire in the belly for something different. Again, actions not words are what count.

    Reply

  19. DonS says:

    NYT article:
    “As the Obama administration gropes for the right response to the uprising in Egypt, it has not lacked for advice from democracy advocates, academics, pundits, even members of the previous administration. But few voices have been as urgent, insistent or persuasive as those of Egypt

    Reply

  20. Don Bacon says:

    We’re only observers here. It isn’t like we had our asses on the line in Tahrir Square.

    Reply

  21. DavidT says:

    So the US should …. ?

    Reply

  22. Don Bacon says:

    Current speculation has Mubarak going to Germany for “medical care.”

    Reply

  23. JohnH says:

    No, the Obama team has a policy and is sticking to it. What you are watching is spin and public relations, not to be confused with the administration’s real intention, which is to change the regime in Egypt as little as possible.
    Appearing to be on the side of change, albeit cosmetic, is exactly the same strategy Obama used in his campaign for President. Action, though, is all on the side of keeping the Bush era status quo.
    It will be interesting to see how he runs as the “change” candidate in 2012…

    Reply

  24. Daniel Nona says:

    The Obama team doesn’t seem to be able to decide on a policy
    and stick with it. They either live up to the great speech the
    president gave in Cairo in 2009 or live down to the worst fears of
    Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Israel. History is waiting to see if they
    repeat the Eisenhower encouragement to the good people of
    Hungary to resist the Soviet oppression until the Soviet tanks
    rolled in, the US rolled out and the tanks rolled over the
    Hungarians. The Middle East had 30 years to capitalize on the
    Camp David Peace Accords and secure working agreements with
    one another. Did they not realize that Mubarak would some day
    pass out of the picture, one way or another?

    Reply

  25. samuelburke says:

    Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of
    Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, addressed
    the fears head-on last week in an address to Israel’s prestigious
    Herzliya Conference. Lamenting what he called

    Reply

  26. Carroll says:

    Here is the question.
    Mubarak/Sulieman/military are in waiting game with the pro democracy protest revolt.
    What if the protesters don’t give up or give out?
    What if the protesters are willing to go all the way and let the economy crash and Sulieman runs out of patience? –and turns the military on millions of protesters?
    What then Obamarama?
    More from Harper’s friend, Yusuf al-Misry
    “Egypt Today entered a higher level of the unfolding crisis. New segments of the population joined the protests with workers in the Suez Canal, government services and some private industries calling for an open ended strike. At the same time the vice president Gen Omar Sulliman concluded a meeting with editors of newspapers during which he dismissed any idea of the President leaving and of any immediate changes to satisfy the protesters. He refused suspending the emergency laws and promised a gradual move to reform. Mubarak and Sulliman do not understand that while reform indeed needs sometime, time is becoming a rare commodity in the current situation and something should be done to calm down the street. But what?.
    The only demand that could have a profound effect on the current dynamics is the departure of the President. Sulliman does not want want to take this step. but there is something else he does not seem to appreciate enough. While the protests expand geographically and socially, the regime does not have any real muscle to force order. Using the armed forces will put in risk the cohesion of this institution. The forces of the ministry of interior have evaporated. That is if using force against such huge masses is of any effect.
    Therefore, the two sides are determined to carry on. The regime is bidding on time. But if Today is an example, times is not in its side. But there is a question about the sustainability of such a huge popular thrust so to speak. Many here in Egypt believe that the wave will go on and increase. I still have doubts though I think the the balance is tilting towards a continuation of the protest.
    The problem here is that the longer the confrontation goes, the greater the damage is to both sides. To explain further the meaning of “damage” in the case of the popular movement, one needs only to examine the current role of the Muslem Brotherhood (MBs). Today in Alexandria for example a law prof and a “Brother” said bluntly that the search for a Constitutional way out is “nonsense”because “there is now a revolutionary legitimacy”. This revolutionary legitimacy, he said, abrogates the current constitution hence any solution based on it. The guy was addressing hundreds of thousands of protesters whom I think did not understand what he means. But the meaning is obvious. If the current constitution is based on the pale interpretation of the separation between Church and state then it might be useful to start talking about this foggy “revolutionary legitimacy”. Later we may hear the the Quran is the only constitution or something like that.Another example of the damage happening to this popular uprising comes from a quick view to Tahrir Square at night. When the large masses of population go home those who remain are mainly the young urban educated youth who started this whole thing and the MBs. The youth try desperately to confront the logic of the MBs in hundred of “discussion rings” where a hundred or so of participants debate different issues central among them is the difference between the “civil state”-i.e.secular, and the Islamic state. The MBs adopt a diluted version of the Islamic state as known to sholars may be to absorb the position of the youth and “educate” them that there is in fact “no difference” between what they want ant the “true” – i.e.diluted- Islamic state. No one of a higher intellectual and cultural background is there to face that. The youth are fed up with the heavy “educational” hand of the MBs but they need them to fight with them.Therefore, the longer it goes the more damage is incurred to the movement of the population.
    As for the damage to the regime it is also obvious particularly in the case of Gen Sulliman. With every day passing the General looses credibility with the population. As these people will not “evaporate” like what happened with the interior ministry. When all dust settles there will be still people. The same who waited for Sulliman to do something in vain. With the continuation of the confrontation the risk is higher. Sullimans started talking about saboteurs and “foreign elements” among the protesters at the Tahrir square. That might be the early step for a bold move against the people at the square. A soldier sometime should abide by a higher call.
    Until now the damage is limited, that is relatively of course. But things can get much worse.” Yusuf al-Misry
    http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2011/02/more-from-harpers-friend-yusuf-al-misry.html#comments

    Reply

  27. Cee says:

    The Egyptian government is dragging its feet, and there are still many political detainees imprisoned. The government can’t be a fair broker in this exercise.
    Amen Steve.

    Reply

  28. JohnH says:

    OK Pearlman–a neo-conmen is usually a follower of Leo Strauss, who believed in the “noble lie.” In pursuit of their agenda, neo-conmen made lying central to their agenda, coming up with whoppers, such as Iraq WMDs, Iraqi Al Qaeda connection, Iranian nuke program, and their phony promotion of freedom, democracy and human rights. Because many of them are closely associated with highly effective Israeli propaganda, it is no surprise that they were also effective promoting the use of preemptive military force as a tool of first choice, thereby bloating the defense budget and causing the deficit to spiral.
    As for their “democracy promotion,” the hollowness of the rhetoric becomes evident when you ask about how many democracies the US spawned during the neo-conmen dominated Bush era. The number is obviously very, very small, since I never hear any politicians boasting about it.

    Reply

  29. Don Bacon says:

    The PNAC Principles, one might say, were contradictory.

    Reply

  30. JohnH says:

    Yes, there is some amazement that the neo-conmen are not all singing the same tune on Egypt. Daniel Luban notes that “it may be unfair to see the neocons

    Reply

  31. Carroll says:

    OBAMA THROWS HIS WEIGHT BEHIND GEN. SULEIMAN; IS HISTORY REPEATING ITSELF?
    Photo of Gen. Suleiman meeting with opposition figures by Soliman Oteifi / AP
    Defying the conventional wisdom, Robert Springborg, professor of national security studies at the Naval Postgraduate School, has written a piece, see here, in Foreign Policy that lays bare three critical questions that together determine what will happen in Egypt:

    Reply

  32. Matthew says:

    I find it so heart-warming that the US cares so much about Egypt’s “stability” and “economy.” We cared a whole a hell of a lot about Iraq’s and Iran’s, didn’t we?

    Reply

  33. Carroll says:

    Some people aren’t “getting it”.
    Steve gets it.
    The US ‘acceptance” of Sulieman–(and they probably suggested his appointment)–means the US is “transitioning” the popular revolt to a new ruler, NOT to a democratic form of government.
    And let’s drop the bullshit that we aren’t interfering. Of course we are interfering..thru Obama’s public statements, thru sending the hack Wisner to see Mubarak, thru Hillary telling the protesters to “talk to” Sulieman.
    We just didn’t interfer in the protesters behalf.
    Probably the only reason any of the opposiiton agreed to talk to Sulieman is because they are hoping against hope that the US isn’t screwing them again and the US will hold Sulieman’s feet to the fire. I think they are hoping in vain.
    So when this goes no where for Egyptians except back to the same old thing –what next?
    Well, if you want to avoid burning down the entire country in protest you get yourself some really good assassian teams while Egyptians go about their normal business and you start killing off every or all the leader(s), military and political, the US tries to insert till there aren’t any left or you get down to some who will accept direction from the people.

    Reply

  34. Parvin Kouliev says:

    By letting Mubarak finish his unelected ‘term’, the Obama administration will carry moral responsibility for any suppression against Egyptian people. Since Mubarak’s regime is not even fairly elected by the people, why they have to invite protesters to dialogue at all. Until two branches of government: executive and parliament are reelected, the people of Egypt can liberalize court system by electing judges and opening civil and criminal cases to put pressure on Mubarak’s regime.

    Reply

  35. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    I’m opposed to the whole concept of “regime”…it sounds so oppressive…I think they should can the whole deaal and start fresh with a more representative-flexible form of gov’t…no more “President for life” crap….that’s just monarch sans the headpiece.

    Reply

  36. DonS says:

    “It’s hard to believe that the US doesn’t have enough leverage to oust Mubarak.” (don b)
    I would say ‘impossible’ to believe, Don. All the denials and non-denial denials from the WH and others that the Egyptians fate will be decided by the Egyptians do not alter the fact that the US has been involved up to it’s eyeballs, as the chief enabler of the regime in the past, at least financially, and as a player behind the scenes over the past two weeks. The US has hardly tried to conceal it’s involvement — and as the putative ‘great power’ it would be foolish to pretend too much. The US will not be able to run away from the outcome by denying it hasn’t had crucial input at crucial points — though that is exactly the line we will be fed.
    And of course, should this uprising be squelched, Obama won’t have to deal domestically with the soft on Muslims accusations of the wingnut right (not saying this is prime in the calculus, just a nice side benefit for the continually rightward drifting WH). Unsurprisingly, those accusations will be hurled in any event.

    Reply

  37. Dan Kervick says:

    Biden’s statement seems like a definite improvement. Points one and two are definitely in the direction of empowering the protest movement and keeping the pressure on the regime. Lifting the emergency law would be a major step in empowering Egyptian civil society.
    Not only are many detainees still imprisoned, but there are reports that more activists were detained today.
    I can understand why the administration is reluctant to call outright for Mubarak’s resignation. But nothing is going to break until Mubarak is gone. If Mubarak goes and the emergency law is lifted, my guess is that many of the protesters and opposition will be willing to begin partnering with government representatives on devising the transition to a new Egyptian political order.
    But the longer Mubarak sticks around, the more entrenched and uncompromising will be the opposition. Mubarak’s departure is needed as a major victory, something the protesters can point to as success on their major demand, so that they can begin working with government representatives on a new Egypt without being accused of betraying the revolution.
    “They have been about dislodging Hosni Mubarak and his clan.”
    That clan might include the entire NDP. I believe Wael Ghonim called for disbanding the NDP in his interview yesterday.
    If Mubarak steps down and cedes power to Suleiman, perhaps Suleiman should offer to go out to meet the protesters at a neutral site, rather than have them come up to meet him.

    Reply

  38. Don Bacon says:

    Biden’s four points are largely procedural and sensible, keeping in mind that this is an Egyptian matter for Egyptians to decide.
    The Egyptian dissidents have made it clear that they will not tolerate outside interference. They are the ones who have put their lives on the line.
    Feb 3
    A senior White House official told Jewish leaders that the United States does not deal with the Muslim Brotherhood but would not interfere in the Egyptian transition process.
    Feb 7
    Gibbs also reiterated that Egypt’s new leadership “will not be determined by us.”
    The dissidents would have appreciated some outside interference in one matter — ousting Mubarak. It’s hard to believe that the US doesn’t have enough leverage to oust Mubarak. But that went out the window when Obama sent Frank Wisner, a FOM (friend of Mubarak), to Cairo as a US envoy. That was certainly ill-considered, especially when Wisner (a business associate of Mubarak) called Mubarak indispensable.

    Reply

  39. DonS says:

    Though it doesn’t fit neatly withing the framework of pol sci 101, and therefore lacks the institutional heft of a ‘sitting government’, this uprising contains a moral force that is amazingly powerful and resilient, and peaceful, within a brutal authoritarian context.
    Steve continues to see the right way forward: don’t trust anything coming from this regime; the regime must step aside. Or, as I would put it; leaving the fox to watch over the rebuilding of the henhouse is stupid, immoral, and doomed not just to failure, but a bloody end. To the extent that the US and it’s operatives are involved, so much will they bear responsibility for the outcome.

    Reply

  40. Paul Norheim says:

    …the democracy-haters, led by Israel, AIPAC and the neo
    conmen, have the administration in their clutches.”
    As for the neocons – not univocally anymore, John. There is
    currently a significant split on this among the neocons (and
    non-neocon conservatives), and prominent figures in the
    movement, among them Bill Kristol and Elliott Abrams, have
    sided against Mubarak. I think this development eventually
    may diminish Netanyahu’s influence on the US congress – to
    which extent remains to see…

    Reply

  41. questions says:

    Can he be caught in a vise instead?!
    Thanks!
    He quit smoking according to his wife, so no more vices!

    Reply

  42. JohnH says:

    “Plus ca change…” If that doesn’t work then the Sicilian adage: “now we have to change everything” (so everything stays the same).
    Though Biden may read his list, a cute PR gesture, the democracy-haters, led by Israel, AIPAC and the neo conmen, have the administration in their clutches. They will most likely prevail in maintaining the unsustainable status quo. Israel, after all, is the reigning champion of kicking the can down the road, regardless of the long term consequences.

    Reply

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *