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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Egypt and the death of the American Empire

What was I saying a few weeks ago about Tucson?

Looks like Thomas Walkom's thinking the same thing. Bet he's not the only one, either.

It's become abundantly clear over the last few weeks just how important it is for the United States to have reliable client dictatorships available to do its imperial dirty work. (Well, it's been clear for decades, but the Egyptian crisis has brought it into particularly sharp relief.) Easy access to resources for American corporations and investors, no regard for the needs of the local populations, and a well-armed security apparatus to keep people in line with fear, torture, and whatever else it takes. And for decades, it's had people willing to do that: the Shah of Iran, a succession of anonymous Latin-American meat-packing glitterati (h/t Roger Waters), Marcos in the Philippines, Suharto in Indonesia, etc. etc. etc.

Which is why we're seeing all the pious bullshit coming from Washington (which, incidentally, exposes all the blather about the difference between Democrats and Republicans as just so much kabuki theatre) about orderly transition and stability and democracy. It's the kind of "measured response" Stephen Harper would love, and it's got about as much substance as a fart in a hurricane.

As thwap puts it:

You either support the fall of a three-decade old dictatorship of thieves and torturers according to the will of the people, or you don't. Hiding behind decades of lip-service bullshit to democracy doesn't cut any ice either.

(The Israeli response is pretty telling as well: probably not the right moment for democracy in the Arab world. In other words, we're more comfortable dealing with assholes like Mubarak. Apparently they were pretty tight with the Shah, too.)

Do we have to go through this again? What Walkom probably knows but can't say is that democracy is the last thing Washington wants in places like Egypt.  And whoever replaces the United States as the pre-eminent world power probably won't have much use for it either.

(Update:  It seems Mubarak's rented muscle went all Rodney King on Anderson Cooper.  Washington whacking material it may be, but when even tame corporate meat puppets are getting curb-stomped, you've got to know the party's over ... )

3 comments:

  1. Too bad the United Fruit Company doesn't have banana plantations at risk in Egypt. Then you might see the true face of the US.

    American influence in the ME, a region it considers of strategic import to the US, is cratering. In some ways it resembles how the Soviets were forced to retreat from Egypt and other Arab states.

    Both Russia and China have sensed the emerging power vacuum in the Middle East and both are poised to exploit it. Russia has long talked of a naval port in Syria and China has a hungry eye on a similar base in southern Pakistan.

    America's hegemony was always as brittle as the despots it propped up. Once you enact those policies they might just serve you well for decades but leave a mess when they inevitably fail.

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  2. For Rogers cable customers in Toronto: free preview of Al Jazeera English on channel 176.

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  3. Something bigger than any pundit can muster is happening right now and we don't know what it is. There are just so few who can advise. This is not about the Muslim Brotherhood. It is about people vs. the conservative mindset. Simplistic I know but it must be said plainly and simply. The Egyptian people's plight cannot be co-opted by even more simplistic messaging by the right. Kudos to the major American media tonight for coming through. I breathed a big sigh of relief at CNN and NBC's coverage. Actually fair. Mostly balanced. Learning from Al Jazeera?

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