voice of america

Obama: Anti-Dictator Demonstrators Should Stand Down

A traitor to his people.In Tuesday’s State of the Union address, Barack Obama did what every president does in that thing: He praised people around the world who rose up for democracy and against authoritarian regimes. It was because these people Thought Big and American that freedom would Win the Future! But though Obama praised voters in Sudan and demonstrators in Tunisia, he said nothing about what was going on in Egypt. In fact, he’s been completely quiet about Egypt. That is, until he was cornered on YouTube yesterday, of all things, by noted journalist the Keyboard Cat or whatever. According to Obama, the regime in Egypt is trying to be more democratic. And as for the demonstrators? He’s not going to say they shouldn’t want democracy. But he’s not supporting what they’re doing.

“The people on the streets have to be careful of not resorting to violence. And I think it is very important that people have mechanisms in order to express legitimate grievances,” he said on YouTube, probably auto-tuned.

In its relations with most countries, the Obama administration, like most any presidential administration, pushes for democracy pretty hard. Certainly with China, even if most people in that country are relatively happy with things! But when it comes to Egypt, it’s too hard to support democracy. “Mechanisms in order to express legitimate grievances” is what Egypt should have. Perhaps Egypt can build a facility where these people can go to talk about their grievances all day long. Like, for example, a prison!

According to new WikiLeaks, the U.S. has stopped criticizing the Mubarak regime in public. Mubarak likes this, because it turns out it’s pretty easy to ignore a presidential administration’s private pleading to stop being such a dictator!

Look, if the administration is against certain governments becoming democracies, it should just say so. With Al Jazeera collecting these uprisings into a narrative of a common Arab struggle, this may spread to even more countries. And the U.S. will be exposed for what it really desires: governments that are secular, not governments that are free. It’s better to be corrupt than be Muslim. There are some at least justifiable reasons to do that, and if the U.S. believes in it, it should stop pretending it thinks democracy is a good thing in all cases.

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Meanwhile, the Keyboard Cat sits alone at his piano bench on YouTube, waiting to play off the old regimes. [YouTube/NYT/NYT/NYT]

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About the author

Jack Stuef is your loyal editor and a freelance satirist or something like that. He is a contributing writer for The Onion. E-mail him or whatever.

View all articles by Jack Stuef

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83 comments

          1. gef05

            I was just dicking around with that and can't get it to take in the comment. It is both a conundrum and not a conundrum.

  1. horsedreamer_1

    The Keyboard Cat sounds like some slightly dweebish protege of the Neptunes or Kanye, maybe a Biz Markie for the new millenium, mixed up with those banging whippersnappers, Never Shout Never & Justin Bieber.

  2. baconzgood

    “The people on the streets have to be careful of not resorting to violence."

    Ya know, like getting shot in the head and stuff.

  3. LesBontemps

    "The people on the streets have to be careful of not resorting to violence."

    Unless those people on the streets happen to be the police or military, of course.

  4. prommie

    Everyone knows democracy is bad for corporate profits. Thats why we don't have one here, we just make pretend.

  5. horsedreamer_1

    Mubarak falling could be Honecker redux, or it could be the Assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, so a little moderation on the part of the U.S., for now, is not a bad idea.

    Plus: we saw how well embracing the Green Revolution in Tehran worked out, just two years ago.

    1. Moonbat

      Maybe keeping quiet and/or releasing some anodyne statement about 'observing developments in Egypt carefully' would be more appropriate than what Our Hopey did, then?

    2. An_Outhouse

      Whatever color the 'revolution' in Lebanon was, it has turned to shit, regardless of how much support was showed by the neocon armchair jock sniffers.

    1. gef05

      You have five fists – and I was going to add a sixth, but surely it's "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss"? I am distracted, so forgive me if I'm missing something obvious.

      1. Lascauxcaveman

        Shah = Khomeni = Sadam = Mubarak = ?

        As usual, I think we should try and stay the hell out of this one. No matter how much we try to 'help' we always manage to fuck it up.

  6. prommie

    I see that the Kenyan usurper/corporate tool (which is it now?) has succesfully encouraged Mubarak to call out the troops and start shootin'.

    1. Lascauxcaveman

      That may be a little unfair. I think it's more likely that Hopey is pointing out the obvious to those protesters: the other side has more and bigger guns.

      1. Cicada

        I think there's a bit of "Oh shit, please don't blow up into a long violent civil war. Pleasepleasepleaseplease." going on too.

  7. cheaphits

    The uprisings in Egypt are not our battle, are they?

    Perhaps a lower profile until we see how this shakes out?

    Then again it's hard to drive American popularity down much further in the Arab world anyway. Ahhh hell, let's go ahead and choose a side early and permanently…roll the dice…

  8. Kidneys4Sale

    Maybe it's a trap. Maybe Barry is going to trick the GOPers into calling out for the US Murka to support the freedom of brown people on the other side of the world. Maybe he can turn it into a watershed moment for US diplomacy.

    Or maybe next week he'll get a fruit basket from Dick Cheney with a card that reads "Thanks for the help."

  9. SorosBot

    Both Republicans and Democrats alike are probably afraid of what the example of people rising up and revolting against a government run for the interests of big business along with police brutality might do to Americans.

    1. natoslug

      Oh please. The only Americans willing to revolt are driving hoverounds and wearing teabags taped to their hats. The rest of us are just trying to make a living and get BTVS back on the air. Although if a 12-hour work week was part of the demands, I suppose I might throw my support into the revolution.

  10. SorosBot

    Hell, it's the American way to rise up in revolt against the government recognizing the basic civil liberties of people with darker skin.

  11. donner_froh

    Damn Egyptians shouldn't be so impatient. The emergency decree under which Mubark rules has only been in force for 30 years. The should give it another decade or so to see if it will work.

  12. Lascauxcaveman

    It’s better to be corrupt than be Muslim. There are some at least justifiable reasons to do that, and if the U.S. believes in it,

    Yeah, I guess we're still gun shy about that whole Iran Islamic Revolution thing back in '79 or whatever.

    It’s better to be corrupt than be Muslim.

    By that metric, We should have invaded Iran, then Afghanistan, and left Iraq the hell alone.

    OMG! I've just realized Iraq was a terrible mistake! Who knew?

    1. natoslug

      Iraq was not a mistake. Those theoretical Weapons of Mass Destruction were threatening the laws of both physics and philosophy.

    1. mereoblivion

      Sort yourself out, mate. The Wandering Jew said "If a sparrow fall into a furrow . . ." Hold on, I need to go sort myself out.

  13. chickensmack

    We should be thankful we have American Idol and Xanax, because without distractions like that, we may actually shed a tear over the fascism our country enjoys.

  14. Oblios_Cap

    We never had these kind of problems in Central America when we let US Fruit democratically run things!

  15. Respitetini

    Propping up corrupt dictators against popular uprisings. What's next, skinny ties and a Duran-Duran revival tour?

    1. Weenus299

      It won't be long before Bob Geldof gets involved, and there'll be endless promotions of rice and music.

  16. LiveToServeYa

    Democracy is great, but let's not let it get out of hand. It's not like America was founded in violent revolution or anything. Violence: we hate that stuff.

    1. Weenus299

      When we struggled day and night to free all the slaves we purchased, we then committed a revolution, and made the Germans struggle very hard to give us our independence. It says so. Somewhere.

    2. Guppy06

      We'd be OK with the violence if the Egyptians were Republicans exercising their Second Amendment remedies.

  17. ttommyunger

    "Holy Shit! We have to keep our phony baloney jobs, we have to keep our phony baloney jobs! I didn't get a Harrumph out out you!"

  18. freakishlywrong

    And the U.S. will be exposed for what it really desires: governments that are secular, not governments that are free. This is an admirable desire. Our Government is neither secular nor free. Keeping politicians out of our reproductive decisions and bailing out billionaires with our money are what Ameridumb is all about.

  19. Monsieur_Grumpe

    This USA supported dictator policy is just not working. The obvious solution is to run these countries like a business. Works every time. Just ask Rush. Halliburton, Microsoft, Disney or Mattel should be put in charge.

  20. baconzgood

    Aaaahhhhh. Look at how cute my pet troll is who's been down fisting every comment I make the last few days. Isn't he an adorable under bridge dweller.

  21. user-of-owls

    You guys have it all wrong. Biden is actually saying the same thing as the protesters.

    They're telling Mubarak "Go!" (as in Get The Fuck Out!)

    Joe's also saying to Mubarak "Go!" But in his case, it's more like You Go Girl!

  22. OneDollarJuana

    The most important news item I see here is that Egypt has shut down its entire internet in an amazingly short time. Although this has been done before, it has never been done in such a large country. Heads up, everyone! It's time to figure out communication redundancies in case we face the same communication blackout. Twitter won't always be there for you.

    1. Weenus299

      I still use notebooks (the paper kind) and I have been known to handwrite letters and various missives indicating my displeasure of our government.

  23. Moleman_v3

    Egypt's only had 3 "presidents fo' life" since 1956. Aint "democracy" great? I don't think even the USSR managed that feat for any 55-year stretch. Apparently rulers dont get, um, colds as often in the land of the pharaohs

  24. Weenus299

    And so, my fellow _____s. Ask not what your country can do to you, ask if you can go to another country.

  25. problemwithcaring

    The hysteria is really unwarranted here. The spread of democracy is simply one foreign policy goal among many. And by many, of course I mean oil.

  26. Lazy Media

    If there were any free "Islamic Republics," you might have a point. Islamists are like Bolsheviks; let them take over your revolution and you wind up with something a lot worse than your previous corrupt dictator. See Iran, Afghanistan, Somalia, Gaza.

    Egypt's different from Tunisia because the Islamists are the main opposition to the government. I'm all for the protesters, but I'd like to see them get what they want — economic reform, more freedom of speech and less corruption. If the demonstrations topple the state, they'll get NONE of that, and a big fat dose of repressive, Wahabbist theocracy.

    Islamist radical states and the terrorists they support kill WAY more Muslims than anyone else. You don't have to be a white supremacist or Zionist to want to suppress jihadists; they suck.

    What we need is for Mubarak to be smart enough to stomp on the demonstrations in a nonlethal, torture-free way, and then give in across the board to their demands without a Tunisia-style collapse of the state apparatus. Followed soon after by free elections not involving him to follow shortly afterward. That's a tall order, but it would have an infinitely better outcome than rule by riot.

    1. Lascauxcaveman

      Hahahaha. I'm reading along and agreeing with you and then we come to the wishful flight of fancy that is that last paragraph.

      Yeah, good luck with all that.

  27. Allmighty_Manos

    Have you noticed that all these neocon jerks who for years were screaming about bringing democracy to the Arabwolrd now seem to have jack shit to say on the subject? Krauthammer seems more interested in wasting his print run making fun of solar panels.

    1. SorosBot

      Their problem is that Obama's response has been neutral, so they don't know what to say; if he supported the protesters they would support Mubarak;if he supported Mubarak, the protesters.

  28. GOPCrusher

    Cue Michele Bachmann comparing The Tea Bagger Movement to the protests in Egypt in 3….2…..1……

  29. buffles

    "And the U.S. will be exposed for what it really desires: governments that are secular, not governments that are free." – I'm sorry, but this is a little too snotty for my tastes. Any government that is NOT secular is by definition NOT free. That doesn't mean that all secular governments ARE free – they're certainly not, but there's no such thing as a non-secular free country. Never has been.

    As for using this moment to crap all over the administration, Obama is playing the hand he was dealt. What's he supposed to do, come out for democracy in Egypt, shout "Down with Mubarak" and then let the Fox Noise machine blast away at him when the Muslim Brotherhood wins a legitimate election and rescinds the treaty with Israel?

    Mostly just wanted to contest that quote I started with, though. To paraphrase Jefferson, "in every country and every age, the priest has always been an ally of the despot." Secular and free is best. In the absence of that, better to be secular and not free than to be neither. Religion is evil, government force is evil, but the combination of the two is like evil squared.

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