The Telegraph is not the world’s best newspaper and so I’ll probably get burned for linking to to this, Egypt protests: America’s secret backing for rebel leaders behind uprising
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 link The Telegraph has to th alleged Wilileaks document is not working and I cannot find it. Such a cable would certainly make relations with what might ultimately be victorious dissidents a lot stronger. The Right is falling all over itself offering lots of contradictory narratives. Former U.N. Ambassador and right-wing heart-throb John Bolton is warning a successful revolution in Egypt will bring radicals to power – he refers to the Muslim Brotherhood ( as does Islamophobe bed wetter Pam Gellar). As both TProgress and TNR state such fears are probably unfounded, Five Things to Understand About the Egyptian Riots
The ‘Islamist Menace’ is overblown. Some American commentators have argued that Al Jazeera is somehow fanning Islamism and anti-Americanism with its coverage. But as Marc Lynch has pointed out, Egyptian citizens, like Tunisians before them, are so—justifiably—angry at their governments that it’s hard to imagine what new provocations the station could come up with. Similarly, concern about the relative strength of the Muslim Brotherhood, which espouses a fundamentalist strain of Islam and has championed and employed violence in the past, should be balanced against three other facts: (1) The Brotherhood has renounced violence and it has been active in Egyptian politics, transformed by an internal debate about whether and how to participate, for some time now; (2) Thus far, observers on the ground report that it is young, secular Egyptians who are leading this revolt; (3) The Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, the largest opposition organization in Egypt, is a first-rank enemy of Al Qaeda, and has been for decades. (A chapter in the recent “Self-Inflicted Wounds” from West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center lays out the feud, and how it has played out in Egypt, South Asia and elsewhere, in detail. Briefly, the Brotherhood’s goals have been more political and focused on individual governments—and thus less focused on what Bin Laden refers to as the “far enemy”—the United States homeland.) Meanwhile, it is reasonable to be concerned about the future role of radical extremists where other forces are weak, but this kind of scaremongering is actually quite ignorant; it’s also disheartening and potentially damaging to the true democrats—some of whom organize around Islam, and some of whom don’t—that are doing the struggling and dying right now. Americans, like others around the world, are instinctively cheering for them. They are right to do so.
I also agree with TNR it takes some arrogance to try to get out in front of this story as events unfold. It is a pretty reliable prediction that whatever negative happens will be blamed on President Obama. It was not long ago we had pushes to spread democracy. Small d democracy, as students of political science know, is simply people voting for whatever is popular. What is popular is not always just. Thus one of the reasons the U.S. was founded as a democratic republic. Individual rights are respected, but we have the popular vote and some states have referendums. In a republic like ours you can vote for or against anything as long as it does not undermine the basic liberties outlined in the Constitution. Hopefully Egypt will embrace a democratic republic with a foundation of basic human rights. Bush and conservatives during the Bush era gave a lot of lip service to spreading democracy – a very good piece that looked at the Bush/Republican blatant hypocrisy on promoting democracy from 2006 by Glenn Greenwald – The fruits of democracy. The fact is that if some Middle-East authoritarians regimes opened the flood gates of popular elections tomorrow the people might well vote to install tyrannical theocrats. This fear has always been part of what guided America’s Egyptian policy. It was better the authoritarians you know than the authoritarians that might take their place. Times change and so should policy. It does not appear Egypt is headed in that direction, but revolutions, like war, do not always turn out the way one would like. If there is a power vacuum in Egypt where the police and well established institutions such as universities, the military and moderate religious leaders do not step in, other less desirable leaders could. Time to Rethink U.S.-Egyptian Relations
President Obama urged the government and protesters to avoid violence, and he called on President Hosni Mubarak to move forward with political and economic reforms. No matter what unfolds in the coming days and weeks, President Obama needs to develop a policy that follows up on those words. Otherwise America’s credibility and power to influence events in Egypt and region will continue to wane.
Much has been written about America’s declining power to shape and influence events in the Middle East and around the world. Part of this efficacy crisis is related to successive U.S. administrations making declarations that are subsequently not implemented into policy changes. The result: Stated goals are not achieved and America looks weaker.
Most recently in Egypt, the George W. Bush administration was notorious for elevating the rhetoric on freedom and then doing nothing when the Mubarak government took several steps backward into more repression. As Hisham Kassem, a prominent Egyptian publisher and democracy activist who won an award from the National Endowment for Democracy, told me in a 2007 interview for my book, “George Bush made the first serious U.S. attempt on democratization in Egypt. … now we’ve seen this U-turn take place—and believe me, this U-turn is very damaging—people who put their necks out on the line and risked their lives and reputation…the minute the United States backed off, Mubarak went back to take more power.”
As a result of that lack of follow through, America’s power and credibility in Egypt and the region suffered.
Bush 41 did the same thing with the Kurds and anti-Saddam dissidents back in the late 1980s. Thus not establishing the U.S. as having a great track record on living up to its promises. Push comes to shove our leaders have always chosen stability and cheap oil prices.
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) was one of the financial industry’s biggest apologists during November’s campaign, opposing the Dodd-Frank financial reform law while claiming that derivative deals were “non-risky,” even as they cost schools and cities all across the country (including many in Pennsylvania) millions of dollars. And Toomey has been totally unrepentant about his personal role in deregulating the financial industry.
In 2000, former Sen. Phil “mental recession” Gramm (R-TX) attached the Commodity Futures Modernization Act to an unrelated, 11,000 appropriations bill. The CFMA ensured that the growing market in over-the-counter derivatives, including credit default swaps, stayed entirely unregulated. Toomey — then a member of the House of Representatives — voted for that bill, and said that he would do it again, inaccurately claiming that the legislation “did absolutely nothing to cause the financial crisis.”
The culture of corruption is part of the Republican gene pool. Vote them into power and they cannot help themselves. If you’re against this kind of crony capitalism that rewards wealth and punishes working Americans you’re just a damn Marxist. Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission’s 10 Major Findings
“Over-the-counter derivatives contributed significantly to this crisis...”
Speculating on devices like collateralized debt obligations fanned the flames, with everyone from farmers to corporations to investors betting on prices and loan defaults. When the housing bubble popped, these were at the center of the fallout.
“The failures of credit rating agencies were essential cogs in the wheel of financial destruction…”
But, the report found, those bets wouldn’t have been possible without the seal of approval from ratings agencies.
“This crisis could not have happened without the rating agencies. Their ratings helped the market soar and their down- grades through 2007 and 2008 wreaked havoc across markets and firms,” the report reads.