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26 January 2011

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Sidney O. Smith III

Evidence convincingly suggests that our national pathos is extremely distorted and has lead to an arrested development in the American character, 2011.

The best way to serve America is not to think like an American 2011. To do so, one has to become acutely aware of the influence of historical forces at work in the US.

steve

As far as supporting revolutions go, I think the US is entirely selective about that. I think much of US foreign policy is aimed at the status-quo if it is perceived as docile in the service of US interests (Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia until last week) and revolutionary if it is perceived as being of benefit (Iraq, Syria).

Of course, if the neo-cons think a popular revolution in Syria would produce a state easier to deal with than the present one, they once again prove their lunacy.

I think the US is fine with both dictatorships and democracies as long as they are subservient to our interests.

And in the Mideast, most of our "interests" seem to be defined as what is good for Israel.

CK

To support the aspirations is not the same as supporting the results of those aspirations. Aspiring to democracy is always verbally suportable, Hamas and Hezbullah and Chavez and Castro --- not so much.

Clifford Kiracofe

Up to the 20th century, US foreign policy generally was oriented toward dealing with the world as it is and toward seeking commercial benefit for the US through foreign trade.

We got into the "regime change" business in the War with Spain in 1898 and have had this interventionist impulse ever since.

We do indeed "reap the whirlwind" but our mistakes are forgotten/covered up/spun and we remain in denial.

Magical thinking and not realism are the order of the day.

Worst case for Egypt? Shift to Islamist/leftist internally, shift to China and away from US externally perhaps? Or...?

walrus

Col. Lang,

As I'm sure you will agree, at this stage Mubarak fils departure is rumour only, however like all good rumours, it is plausible to some, and such an action would be consistent with the deep fears that I know many of the very powerful feel.

As for American policy positions, and with the greatest respect, I don't think it matters what Obama says, or what the official policy line is any more, because those of us outside America know very well that it bears only a passing similarity to Americas future intent, no matter what it says today, but perhaps that can be said of all countries.

I would expect in Tunisia and Egypt that we are doing our level best in private to shore up the existing order since we are quite comfortable with it, and the last thing America and Israel needs are authentic democracies with an Islamic tinge in Africa. Why, they might even end up like Turkey! Quel horreur!

My own opinion is that the Governments of Tunisia and Egypt will try and stabilise the situation, and will probably succeed. They will then round up and imprison or execute the troublemakers at their leisure, most probably with the help of some American electronic intelligence.

Medicine Man

Thank you. Lately when I discuss recent events in the middle east with my fellows, I end up wondering if I'm the only person who remembers how revolutions often turn out. In fact, I think the American Revolution had an uncommon outcome.

Patrick Lang

MM

The American "Revolution" was a rebellion of people of means and people who wanted to be such against foreign rule. pl

Patrick Lang

walrus

"I would expect in Tunisia and Egypt that we are doing our level best in private to shore up the existing order."

I doubt that. we are too infatuated with the idea of revolution for that to be true. pl

Buzz Meeks

Pat,

You nailed this one dead-nuts on regarding the Troskyite/ U of Chicago cabal. As I recall a lot of these folks were associated with the late Scoop Jackson's office. The neo-con are the best friends the ol' Soviet Union ever had in this country. The Fifth Column marches on unimpeded, under investigated, and untouchable in the "courts".

robt willmann

Here are three brief video clips of the events in Egypt.

http://www.zerohedge.com/article/overnight-clip-revolutionary-egypt

Green Zone Cafe

CNN yesterday was lumping Tunisia and Egypt together with protests in Lebanon with the chyron "Struggle for Freedom."

Comparing Tunisia and Egypt with protests over the appointment of Najib Mikati seems like blatant propaganda.

William R. Cumming

Reading a fascinating book entitled "SAVAGE PEACE- Hope and Fear in America 1919" by Ann Hagedorn and published in 2007. Great discussion of US intervention on the side of the Whites in Russia during winter 1918-1919 wherein we were assisting the other allied powers in opposing the Russian Revolution.
The problem with the US is that the American Revolution was quite different from many others. So we seem to welcome revolutions in our enthusiasm for reform. Revolutions are not about reform but about power. Power is always taken and never given. I would argue that historically since 1789 it is usually better to be on the side opposing US interests in any revolutionary forum. We just don't understand. Nor do we understand our own history. Napoleon ended up ruling because he was one of the few officers willing to use then modern artillery on the CITIZENS running amuck on the streets of Paris. Blood flows in revolutions no matter who ends up with the power.

Clifford Kiracofe

We had a "War of Independence." Our "Revolution" was in the sense of the term of that day: a major political change, a change in the constitutional order.

We believed we were restoring our "Rights as Englishmen" and that we were creating something new, a new republic with a new constitutional order. In this definition, it was "exceptional" and unique.

This is quite far from the SUBSEQUENT "revolutions" of the Jacobins, Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, etal. and now today's Trotskyist-Jacobin "neocons."

Arguably, the mass public is so dumbed down today that basic citizenship and basic American history and principles are remote from the masses. Thus, the easy manipulation by designing men and women on the "Left" and on the "Right".

As to the elites, they are decadent on the one hand and designing on the other and the Neocons are their natural "advisers." I read once that Richard Perle said something to the effect that he was surprised how easy it was...

walrus

Twitter hashtag #egypt

Calls now for a million person demonstration after Friday prayers.

I guess I spoke to soon about the Egyptian Government remaining in control.

par4

The Sun King and the Tsar caused their revolutions. Starving,oppressed citizens can't foretell what toppling the regime will bring about. They only know the present is intolerable.

Patrick Lang

par4

Goofy undergraduate crap. the revolution occurred in the reign of Louis SIXTEENth. Learn some history! Tsarist Russia was on the way to a modern economy when the first world war intervened. Pathetic ignorance!! pl

Norman Rogers

I came away from this book quite impressed:

http://www.amazon.com/American-Insurgents-Patriots-Revolution-People/dp/0809075881

Mr. Breen documents how the people--the farmers, the semi-skilled, etc--swept the American Revolution forward in ways that caught the elite off guard. Without a few hundred men, here and there, ready to actually shoot at British regulars and stand as an irregular militia, there would not have been a revolution. Even John Hancock could not have paid enough men to besiege Boston.

Anyway, the book reminded me why nation building doesn't really work unless the nation being built has enough people in it willing to bleed for it and how revolutions cannot be planned, predicted, or gamed out in any way.

mac

Well said about Revolutions.

The only one I really ever liked was the one that started at Bunker Hill. The rest have been real disappointments.

Patrick Lang

Norman rogers

Without the expeditionary force and fleet that the French monarchy sent we would still be tugging our forelocks and saying, "thank'ee guv'nor." pl

WILL

"The American "Revolution" was a rebellion of people of means and people who wanted to be such against foreign rule."

True, yet how sadly it turned out for some of the principals. The financier of the Revolution, Gouverneur Morris, and one of the heroes, Harry Light-Horse Lee (R.E. Lee's father) would subsequently spend time in debtor's prison.

Patrick Lang

Will

Lee threw his own money away. pl

walrus

Col. Lang,

What happens when a new Islamist Egyptian provisional government throws open the Rafah checkpoint next week?

Patrick Lang

walrus

War sooner or later and one can thank the Bush/Obama Administration with its encouragement of neocon inspired revolution. pl

Clifford Kiracofe

1. The larger public had to be brought along by the leadership; brought along to a clear understanding of why first resistance and then a War of Independence was necessary.

So we see the various pamphlets, writings, speeches of the leadership from 1763 on. And also the various acts of the legislatures.

In order to secure foreign alliances, we had to, for example:

1) Declare Independence (arising from a motion to do so from Virginia by Richard Henry Lee)

2) demonstrate military effectiveness--victory at Saratoga, for example.

The game of nations being what it is, the French, Spanish, and others had their own issues with the British Empire and so were thus inclined, at that time and for their own interests, to give us an essential assist.

2. It remains to be seen what will be the outcome in Tunisia. Will its "Mediterranean" and not "Arab" identity prevail? Will its "secular" and not "Islamic" identity prevail? Will its European inspired constitutionalism prevail? Will it be able to withstand subversion to include terrorism from the Gulf Wahhabi complex? Will it be able to stabilize suffiently so as to be ready for the 2011 tourism season, a core component of its very vulnerable economy? Will irresponsible political forces be successful in vitiating the present constitutional process leading to elections? Will the Army be able to defend an orderly constitutional process leading to elections and to the formation of a new government?

fasteddiez

The theory of revolutions of rising expectations plays a part, No?

Colonel, I thought that Tunisia had an unusually high level of education (college grad-wise), in contrast to other Middle Eastern Countries. This by itself would not be a total stumbling block for stopping an Islamist faction from taking over. However, would they not be less inclined to believe any of the Religiously based political entreaties?

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