A SERIES OF PRINCIPLED DECISIONS  4:37 pm January 28, 2011

Hey, Here Is a Photo of Obama Egypt Anti-American Groups Can Use!

by Jack Stuef

Bros before hos (people who want freedom)!
Hey America, guess what your government did today? It sad idly while some security forces it funded in another country set their hoses on anti-dictatorship protesters who were praying. Yes, it appears that Egypt has gone to crap, and its authoritarian regime may soon crumble in the name of freedom. And where will the American president be in all of this? Standing next to that dictator, smiling, on millions of election posters for anti-American political parties very soon. There are many of these photos to choose from! Yes, the people of the Muslim world finally are standing up for themselves and for freedom, just like ol’ Georgey Bush wanted. But the United States of America is not joining them. Oh, there will be a “review” of our relations with this regime in “coming days,” according to Robert Gibbs. Hmm, too late? Decades too late, maybe?

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters Friday that the U.S. is reviewing its aid to Egypt in the wake of the violent protests taking place in the country.

“We will be reviewing our assistance posture based on events now and in the coming days,” Gibbs said. [...]

He added that the White House is “deeply concerned about the images and the events we see in Egypt today.”

Dear people of Egypt, we did give a shit when you were taking down your dictator, okay? We were deeply concerned! We just didn’t really do anything about it.

Sincerely, the Leaders of Democracy in the World, America. [Flickr/CNN]


Hola wonkerados.

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chascates January 28, 2011 at 4:38 pm

Hey, at least he's not kissing him as Bush did to the King of Saudi Arabia!!

gef05 January 28, 2011 at 4:55 pm

That's true, mao cat.

Although, you only ever saw the photos taken while the King was standing up straight, so we were spared the worst of it.

Walkinwiddaking January 28, 2011 at 6:33 pm

What's the difference? In either case we're still throwing our support to a tyrant. I'm just saying.

ifthethunderdontgetya January 28, 2011 at 6:34 pm

As far as you know.

Walkinwiddaking January 28, 2011 at 6:57 pm

As far as I know.

Walkinwiddaking January 28, 2011 at 7:30 pm


the_onceler January 28, 2011 at 4:38 pm

I just want to find some way to give credit to Sarah Palin for all these protests.

CrunchyKnee January 28, 2011 at 4:40 pm

Today all Egyptians are "mamma grizzlies?"

OC_Surf_Serf January 28, 2011 at 5:21 pm

Mummy Grizzlies??

Sophist [APPLESAUCE] January 28, 2011 at 4:55 pm

I just want to find a way to give Sarah Palin to these protesters.

JustPixelz January 28, 2011 at 5:29 pm

Don't try to tell me at least half the TP'ers fantasize about this happening here. Watering the tree of of liberty and so forth. Revolution is kinda messy, though. The American Founders knew that first hand. That's why they institutionalized revolution with a two year House of Representatives term.

mourningnmerica January 28, 2011 at 5:39 pm

And freeing the slaves.

ifthethunderdontgetya January 28, 2011 at 5:55 pm

Get real, JustPixelz.

The very last thing the teatards want to see is wrong-colored folk rising up for their freedoms.

They are a nation of Simon Legrees, in their twisted imaginations.

Numbat_Dundee January 28, 2011 at 6:16 pm

No way. The Teabaggers are wealthier than average for all their image as "trailer trash". This sort of revolt would be made by the people who currently don't vote and the teabaggers would all be trembling in their gated suburbs.

Weenus299 January 28, 2011 at 4:40 pm

“We will be reviewing our assistance posture based on events now and in the coming days,” Gibbs said. [...]

– You never see that shit carved on a memorial.

jus_wonderin January 28, 2011 at 5:07 pm

Yes, it rivals that great uncarved battlecry, RUN!!!

Tommmcatt January 28, 2011 at 4:41 pm

What if they started a revolution and nobody credited Irving Kristol?

SorosBot January 28, 2011 at 4:42 pm

If the revolt does force Mubarak out, will he leave office in the classical manner, via asp bite?

Weenus299 January 28, 2011 at 4:43 pm

Likely rolled up in carpet and thrown at PrezObama's feet.

Jack Stuef January 28, 2011 at 4:47 pm

Yes. Funny how those asps always seemed to bludgeon their victims with a sharp blow to a head first.

Also, haha, "asp."

Negropolis January 29, 2011 at 12:07 am

They are sneaky little bastards for sure. With their poison-tipped fangs, lithe flexible bodies, and socks-full of quarters.

Numbat_Dundee January 28, 2011 at 6:17 pm

"He took an asp to his man bosom".

mereoblivion January 28, 2011 at 6:33 pm

Age cannot wither him, nor costumes stale his infinite variety.

SudsMcKenzie January 28, 2011 at 4:42 pm

Hopey could totally dunk it on that guy, Jones however, is a different story.
We were talking about basketball right?

Crank_Tango January 28, 2011 at 4:44 pm

kenya jones and the temple of doom?

OneDollarJuana January 28, 2011 at 4:46 pm

I heard that Bill Clinton is giving advice to Barack based on his expert handling of the Rwanda events.

Rotundo_ January 28, 2011 at 4:48 pm

Hey, when the revolutionaries take over, they can seize the U.S. embassy and hold the diplo folks hostage like the Iranians did! They can do a "Death to Obama, Death to Mubarak" chant 'n' dance like they did in 80! Then the republican puppet the Koch brothers decide to purchase can do some back door deal to keep them until the puppet is inaugurated/appointed by the supreme court! Everything old is new again kids!

Ruhe January 28, 2011 at 4:48 pm

I'll give Barry the benefit of the doubt. I voted for him and I like to believe that while he knew going in he'd have to shake hands with a bunch leprous douche bags he probably also had himself convinced that he'd handle it differently, that behind closed doors he'd win them over or set them straight as the case demanded. And maybe he's done that. Maybe he isn't more involved in Israel because he knows Netanyahu is lying sack of shit and maybe Barry even told him that (a guy can fantasize). But in the end your foreign policy is what your aid dollars demonstrate that it is. Your friends are the ones who get the money even if they're your secret diary frenemys. I imagine Barry looks at the picture of him and Mubarek cavorting and thinks "being president sucks."

HurricaneAli January 29, 2011 at 5:00 am

That was beautiful and I wish I could give you more than one fist.

SorosBot January 28, 2011 at 4:49 pm

The thing is, as with the attempted revolt in Iran, Obama really shouldn't get himself involved here, and shouldn't say much beyond vague platitudes; it's an internal struggle in a part of the world that already believes the US interferes too much in their affairs, with good reason.

Ruhe January 28, 2011 at 4:52 pm


Grief_Lessons January 28, 2011 at 5:11 pm

That kind of sensible, reasonable comment is not going to win you any friends around here.

GOPCrusher January 28, 2011 at 5:38 pm

Agreed. Sadly though, if Mubarak is overthrown and some Islamic Fundamentalist group takes control of Egypt, the Tea Baggers will claim that its Obama's fault because he went to the Middle East and gave a speech, pull our troops out of Iraq, and basically encouraged the filthy Muslins.

hooray4anything January 28, 2011 at 6:06 pm

Exactly, he's staying the fuck away from it which is what he should be doing. Bush and his fellow Neo-Cons would be on every TV show saying with giant "Mission Accomplished" banners behind them and saying it was all due to W and Jesus.

It should also be pointed out that if the US said one thing or another, the opposing side would use that to their advantage so staying out of it gives nobody nothing in the regard

Bonzos_Bed_Time January 28, 2011 at 6:53 pm

But we already interfered when we gave them this year's installment of a billion dollars worth of weapons.

bagofmice January 28, 2011 at 8:03 pm

Nipple revocation is some powerful leverage

deyallbad January 28, 2011 at 8:58 pm

you guys are all missing the point

DashboardBuddha January 28, 2011 at 9:24 pm

that's what we wonks do best!

Bonzos_Bed_Time January 28, 2011 at 10:59 pm

It gets my attention!

edgydrifter January 28, 2011 at 4:49 pm

The only image I'm "deeply concerned" about right now is that peckerhead in the left side of the photo with the severe comb-over. That's a revolution against good taste there.

baconzgood January 28, 2011 at 4:53 pm

This picture doesn't make me as impressed as Rummy and Sadam.

ifthethunderdontgetya January 28, 2011 at 6:03 pm

And yet it is the same stuff, different day.

BaldarTFlagass January 28, 2011 at 6:23 pm

Well, since that picture of Rummy and Saddam didn't matter to the righties, I'm sure that this picture will have the same lack of traction with them, right?

deborahlquinn January 28, 2011 at 4:55 pm

As sorosbot says, above, this situation does seem like we're damned if we do, damned if we don't. Intervene and we're the bossypants west, telling everyone what to do; steer clear and we're seen dictator lovers. Basically, yet another way in which Obama is fucked by systems set in place long before he ever got to office. Would be nice to hear a more principled & less mealy-mouthed statement coming out of Gibbs, however. At least an apology for the fire hoses, if nothing else.

Weenus299 January 28, 2011 at 4:57 pm

O/T with the president/peanut dictator theme, it looks like a couple of dudes who just got out of a meeting and are headed downtown to pick up girls and get wasted.

prommie January 28, 2011 at 4:58 pm

That there is one ugly motherfucker. Some bridge somewhere is missing its troll, thats all I know.

CalamityJames January 28, 2011 at 9:16 pm

She's not missing, she quit halfway through her term.

Weenus299 January 28, 2011 at 4:59 pm

Mubarak looks like a shoepolished version of Mr. Magoo.

LiveToServeYa January 28, 2011 at 5:03 pm

At least Mubarak isn't smiling. Or is he? He is. I've seen better smiles on mummies.

SayItWithWookies January 28, 2011 at 5:04 pm

It's hard to work with a dictator even when you have to. It's also hard to approve of removing this dictator when you have no idea what he's going to be replaced with. Then again, it's hard to stay back and do nothing while some people (some of whose politics you approve of, and some of whose you don't) run around killing each other. And if the revolution takes a week it's not really going to matter because there's little we can do that would be responsive in that amount of time. On the other hand, if President Obama wants to ignore Egypt until it plays out, he can spend his time working with John Boehner. So — planes full of flame retardant with wi-fi hotspots over Cairo it is.

user-of-owls January 28, 2011 at 5:11 pm

Because masochism is my family value, I listened to a few minutes of the most odious (for me) tantrum-throwers, Hannity. It was in equal measure morbidly interesting and intellectually nauseating. On Egypt, Obama is:

1) Evil if he does not support the liberty-cravin' people against a ruthless dictatorship, and;

2) Evil if he does not support said dictatorship's annihilation of the liberty-hatin' moderates in Muslim Brotherhood.

I would swear that this Tourette's poster child was struggling with cognitive dissonance, but that would imply cognition.

vulpes82 January 28, 2011 at 5:21 pm

As others have said, vaguely supportive-but-not-totally comments are really all the Admin can/should do at this juncture. We want to support democracy, but Mubarak has been our ally for a long time, and if we threw him over in half a second and he survives, he'll be pissed, and even if he doesn't our other allies will think we're fair-weather friends they can't actually trust. And on the other side, the protesters don't want our support anyway; El Baradei basically ASKED Obama to butt out yesterday, for instance.

Numbat_Dundee January 28, 2011 at 6:05 pm

Also Mubarack's so useful for torturing people that get renditioned. Now they'll have to be shipped to Uzbekhistan and the agency reps won't be able to do some sightseeing or get a decent hummus.

the_onceler January 28, 2011 at 7:25 pm

I tend to agree, BUT, Mubarak needs the US more than we need him.

BklynIlluminati January 28, 2011 at 5:22 pm

Needs more burkas and turbans not muslin enuf

DingusMcHatred January 28, 2011 at 5:23 pm

I like burnin', 'splodin, yellin', fire, and loud noises.

x111e7thst January 28, 2011 at 5:26 pm

I understand that Hosni is about to give a State of the (Egyptian) Union address any moment now.

SayItWithWookies January 28, 2011 at 5:32 pm

He's going to announce that this is Egypt's Challenger moment.

BarackMyWorld January 28, 2011 at 5:27 pm

That's how Egyptian's walk? The Bangles lied to me!

Extemporanus January 28, 2011 at 5:44 pm

HEY OH (wayyy oh, ay oh, wayyy oh)!

user-of-owls January 28, 2011 at 6:17 pm

Born in Arizona,
Moved to Babylonia

BaldarTFlagass January 28, 2011 at 6:19 pm

♪*whistles peppy tune that can't be replicated on comment board*♫

I wonder if they, like the cops, are at the donut shop.

weejee January 28, 2011 at 5:29 pm

The downside of democracy is you get who wins. Here we got Shrubbed twice. That said, our trying to pick winners has had little historical success. Although supposedly under house arrest Mohamed ElBaradei, has links to the Muslim Brotherhood (BTW, membership in which is illegal in Mubarakland). I'd say Barry/Hillz are best to stay with only calling out excesses and let the Egyptians decide what is best for them. Remember Osama used to be our boy way back when. Our trying to embrace someone we like from those out in the streets might literally be a kiss of death.

Numbat_Dundee January 28, 2011 at 6:02 pm

It's rarely a case of "picking winners". More often they get installed and they're almost always nasty. Puppets are usually nasty. Look at Punch – always bashing his wife.

imissopus January 28, 2011 at 5:33 pm

Really working hard to come up with some outrage over Hopey today, huh Jack?

Lascauxcaveman January 28, 2011 at 10:42 pm

Yet the commentariat seem to be taking a more nuanced, thoughtful view.

Are there any other political blogs where that happens on a regular basis? Usually the commentors on politcal yak sites seem to eager to excoriate the sins perceived by a narrow view that wants to pick on a few particular sore spots while ignoring how we got them in the first place.

imissopus January 28, 2011 at 11:31 pm

That's just what makes us so special.

LibrulEleet January 28, 2011 at 5:38 pm

Didn't the Egyptian leaders learn anything from the Ten Plagues?

jim89048 January 28, 2011 at 9:58 pm

Hey, that's twice as many plagues as there were pillars in the SOTU that Glenn Bleck imagined Obama gave last Tuesday!

DemonicRage January 28, 2011 at 5:40 pm

It's all about Israel. Didn't Mubarak come to power after the last despot dictator leader of Egypt signed a treaty with Israel and was assassinated? I was listening to a French language news broadcast where some big Egyptian opposition leader/ critic of the Mubarak Governnment who had been living in exile was flying back to Egypt, to help take part in the Revolution, and one of the things he said was that, when things get reshuffled in Egypt, it will be time to take action against the Israeli killers of Muslims, or words to that effect. So what we are seeing now–the young people in the streets protesting, may usher in a regime that is not so much what peace fans might wish for.

Numbat_Dundee January 28, 2011 at 6:00 pm

I think you'll find that it's all about poverty and a regime that kills and tortures its citizens and is headed by corrupt plutocrats who let the population starve. Popular revolutions don't happen because of foreign policy. Not that the people on the streets probably wouldn't mind having a swipe at Israel.
So "peace fans" just have to contemplate whether they want a "peace" that's guaranteed by torture and tyranny along with the blissfully peaceful existence the inhabitants of Gaza and southern Lebanon have been experiencing recently.
PS: You make it sound like the exiled opposition leader was some sort of crazed Islamist. He's actually a Nobel Peace Prize winner, like Barry!

PublicLuxury January 28, 2011 at 5:40 pm

Pal'in 'round wif tearists.

mourningnmerica January 28, 2011 at 5:45 pm

That is one ugly despot.

Numbat_Dundee January 28, 2011 at 5:51 pm

Well…photos or no photos. The fact that the tear gas canisters (according to the Guardian live feed of the protests) apparently have "made in the USA" printed on them probably wouldn't help. Egypt was the chief place to send people when they were renditioned for a little outsourced torturing (from sea to shining sea).

jim89048 January 28, 2011 at 6:05 pm

(from sea to shining sea)
Who knew that would also include the Mediterranean?

problemwithcaring January 28, 2011 at 5:53 pm

Foreign policy from this Diddler in Chief is too nuanced. Can't we just Shock and Awe the muthafuckas into democracy already?

Lascauxcaveman January 28, 2011 at 10:44 pm

Yeah, works ever' time.

JackObin January 28, 2011 at 5:53 pm

I see sarah Palin as Cleopatra in these chilling events. Anyone know where I can get an asp?

user-of-owls January 28, 2011 at 6:07 pm

You need that asp asap?

Pragmatist2 January 28, 2011 at 6:58 pm

We're all looking for a little asp, man.

Lascauxcaveman January 28, 2011 at 10:46 pm

Can't get that FedExed, I don't think.

genxr January 28, 2011 at 5:57 pm

This is like that photo of Bush holding the Saudi prince's hand. Except here Obama is reaching to hold his hand, and Mubarak is pulling his hand away.

user-of-owls January 28, 2011 at 6:00 pm

Fox News commentators are all over this "abusive tyrants must go" meme. Witness, for example, one brave patriot who rightly called "a spade a spade" in reference to Nelson Mandela's release from a hospital:

the cost was all those victims he killed (especially the children), responsible for killing and the stain on their memories that such a person could become the political leader of a country….hmmmm sounds like Castro, Chavez and even more like Hitler !! The only difference between them and Mandela was…..well you know the difference !

SayItWithWookies January 28, 2011 at 6:28 pm

And shame on that terrorist Crispus Attucks for getting his fellow Bostonians killed, too.

genxr January 28, 2011 at 7:46 pm

Yeah the only difference between Mandela and Hitler is… well… Mandela is in no way like Hitler. Other than that, I defy anyone to tell me the difference!

Lascauxcaveman January 28, 2011 at 10:48 pm

OKyeahWellThen, Desmond Tutu. He's just like Hitler, gol-dangit.

imissopus January 28, 2011 at 8:04 pm

The only difference between them and Mandela was…..well you know the difference !

Mandela doesn't care for streudel?

user-of-owls January 28, 2011 at 8:19 pm

C'mon, guys. It was the mustache, of course. I mean really, what else could it be?

Guppy06 January 28, 2011 at 6:16 pm

"Damned if you do, damned if you don't," but why do we even care either way, from a foreign policy standpoint? Egypt is neither a major oil exporter nor in the way of our access to landlocked Afghanistan. All I'm seeing is the Suez (which is more of a European concern), and Israel. It seems that the biggest supporters of Mubarak's regime here in the US are the usual suspects at AIPAC.

Doesn't all this "realpolitik" bullshit require knowing why you're playing the game to begin with? Especially if we're going to set ourselves up for the same scenario time and time again?

imissopus January 28, 2011 at 6:45 pm

Pretty sure our navy uses the Suez all the time to get ships to the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf so they don't have to take the long way around Africa, so it's a pretty big U.S. concern. And Egypt keeping peace with Israel is not exactly trivial as far as general Mideast stability is concerned – it's one of only two or three Arab countries to ever recognize Israel's right to exist. If Mubarak's fall somehow leads to chaos on Israel's southern border and makes Israel even more neurotic and prone to lashing out, it's going to be a huge headache for the U.S.

hooray4anything January 28, 2011 at 7:49 pm

It should also be pointed out that our RealPolitik has been kind of sucking for the past few decades so maybe we should be like George Costanza and decide to do the opposite of everything we do.

vulpes82 January 28, 2011 at 10:30 pm

Egypt also has a huge population and is seen as the leader of the Arab world. Just because they don't have oil doesn't mean they're unimportant.

Guppy06 January 29, 2011 at 12:07 am

Important to the region and the world in general, sure. But important to us specifically? So much that we have to prop up a banana republic?

Banelm January 29, 2011 at 7:51 pm

If we just called the whole Egypt – Israel thing a write off, we could save over 3billion a year. Just think of all the tax breaks for the rich we could provide with that!!

Bluestatelibel January 28, 2011 at 6:22 pm

Kind of like starring in "The Lady or the Tiger," except they're playing with you and there is no lady.

fuflans January 28, 2011 at 6:24 pm

barry's being like a sphynx for the cultural sensitivity.

DoktorZoom January 28, 2011 at 7:11 pm

I'm not sure that any photo involving Mubarak will ever be taken at face value again, anyway. Even those, like this one, that are NOT retouched.

slithytoves January 28, 2011 at 8:19 pm

Is it me or do presidents do a lot of touching?

sweetcommunist January 28, 2011 at 8:30 pm

“deeply concerned about the images and the events we see in Egypt today.”

Or, y'know, the images and events we imagine we see. 'Cause of the media blackout. Yeah.

voodooeconomics January 28, 2011 at 9:19 pm

White House following events on Situation Room. Do we have an ambassador in Egypt.
Please stick a fork on Mubarak. Ha should go to Geneva soon.

TheHigherSpread January 28, 2011 at 9:27 pm

Hey, here's a photo that a shitty blog can use to troll its readers!

Listen, I get that Wonkette is now in Deathporn Mode all the time and is basically trying to hump the corpse of Layne's depleted 401k, and I enjoy bagging on Palin as much as anyone, but idiocy like this shows why you're just way out of your fucking depth. As has been noted above, if the U.S. takes a strong position on Egypt, it will most likely make things worse. But Jesus, at this point Wonkette really has become Let's Just Find Something Wrong And Figure Out How We Can Extract Maximum Anti-Yuks About It. I feel like everyone here should be on suicide watch. Meghan Carpentier must be having a right good chortle about all this.

In short: I'm sorry your life is shitty! Try again.

jim89048 January 28, 2011 at 11:39 pm

Hey, can we split up your pee points, you know, socialistically, since you won't be using them anymore?

Neilist_Returns January 29, 2011 at 3:22 am

Be my guest. Add another masturbatory exercise to your well-established repertoire.

jim89048 January 29, 2011 at 10:36 am

Oooh, sounds like somebody failed their CCW re-certification…

Neilist_Returns January 31, 2011 at 1:15 am

Okay, that MUST have been a joke.

If only because of what it takes to re-qual . . . .

DashboardBuddha January 28, 2011 at 9:30 pm

Damn…this has shitstorm written all over it.

JackMioffer January 28, 2011 at 9:38 pm

This is good news for John McCain, I'm sure. Somehow. Also.

hunterblatherer January 28, 2011 at 10:44 pm

I already know what it's like to be attacked by US funded security forces for participating in the right of peaceable assembly, since I live in New York.

Lascauxcaveman January 28, 2011 at 10:56 pm

Hopey's talking tough to Mubbie, anyway…

Egypt's crackdown on demonstrators drew harsh criticism from the Obama administration and even a threat Friday to reduce a $1.5 billion foreign aid program if Washington's most important Arab ally escalates the use of force.

Stepping up the pressure, President Barack Obama told a news conference he called Mubarak immediately after his TV address and urged the Egyptian leader to take "concrete steps" to expand rights and refrain from violence against protesters.

Meanwhile, Mubbie fire his cabinet. Yeah, that solve your problem, Mubbie.
(rolls eyes)

ttommyunger January 28, 2011 at 11:37 pm

The eight-hundred pound Gorilla present, but not shown in that shot is Israel. Don't think they aren't putting some major pressure their number one Sugar Daddy to keep Mubarek in power. BTW, nobody is listening to what Gibbs says; they are fixated on the ginormous cold sore on his upper lip. Jeebus H. Christ on a Cracker, has no one in our White House heard of concealer?

ShaveTheWhales January 29, 2011 at 1:41 am

1. Yup. See and ignore vast rant below.

2. Gibbs is just trying suggest the possibility that he might have contracted herpes.

ttommyunger January 29, 2011 at 10:59 am

In his dreams.

Negropolis January 29, 2011 at 12:09 am

Hosni is totally what Sarkozy will look like when he gets to that age.

Not funny, but true.

ShaveTheWhales January 29, 2011 at 12:53 am

Supported by a very nice BV cabernet, and fully expecting ridicule from folks who know more about the Middle East than I do (which is certainly a large number, even excluding those who actually live in the ME), I am going to make a serious remark.

The US reaction to the situation in Egypt is yet another symptom of the absolute underpinning of our foreign policy in the Middle East — our unvarying support for Israel, no matter what. This is the longest-standing pillar in our foreign-policy edifice (I did mention I was drinking, right?). It has far outlasted the Cold War. The folks on Taiwan wish that we were as committed to them.

As it happens, I support Israel's right to exist, and to defend itself. I'm quite certain that most of the explicit "exterminate Israel" crowd are not motivated mainly by religious fervor, but by the fact that lambasting a symbolic enemy is a good way to gather support (cf., black guy in White House, job-stealing Messicans).

Sadly, the resourceful, bold, underdog Israelis of my youth (or my youthful perceptions) have gradually evolved to a Fortress Judea mentality that — however understandable it may be — pretty much guarantees that Israel will be a foreign irritant forever (or until the Rapture, I guess).

My point in this comment is not related to who's right or who's wrong about Israel's right to exist, or its treatment of Palestinians, or the reaction of various nutbars.

My point is that the US has adopted a position of absolute support for Israel, no matter the circumstances, and maintained this since WW2. We will sometimes remonstrate with them, but we have never significantly withheld support, no matter what.

Clearly, this invariant posture is not an example of Realpolitik. Israel has no natural resources ("oil") worth exporting, and its notable technical achievements could have been achieved by the same people in Silicon Valley or La Jolla. It does not occupy strategically important territory

The support flows from other sources: Jews certainly deserve a homeland; there are quite a few influential American Jews; Israel is at least as much a democracy as the US, and is still largely populated by Europeans and their descendants; more recently, we have End-Times Christians looking for their red heifer. In aggregate, this has meant uninterrupted support for the Israeli government. We may sympathize with the Palestinians, but never to the extent of reducing aid to Israel.

So, Egypt. The fundamental reason the US has supported Mubarak all these years is (IMO) that he has accepted Israel's right to exist. I know that he's suppressed the Brotherhood and maintained some stability (remember when Saddam maintained stability in Iraq?), but the main thing is he's been an anchor against the idiot-push-Israel-into-the Med-(as if you could) crowd. The fact that he was a dick tater was kind of irritating, but at least we didn't have to worry about election results.

The present situation is sadly reminiscent of the Iranian Revolution. We backed an autocrat for what were, initially, defensible reasons; but over the decades we stopped paying attention to local events and reverted to "but he's our SOB".

Right now, there would be no point in suddenly supporting the rebels. Those who have negative feelings about the US have been developing those feelings for years, and that's not going to change overnight. The best thing we could do would be to visibly persuade Mubarak to gracefully withdraw. I'm not holding my breath.

Longer term, as long as we maintain our uncritical, unwavering support for Israel — and reflect that in our support or lack of support for neighboring states — the Middle East will remain a set of foreign policy land mines.

Mariecohn January 29, 2011 at 7:32 am

Right on. It has long been this way, and US support for Israel, right or wrong, is not going to evaporate, and the reasons have nothing to do with the country's strategic importance to our country.

The enemy (Mubarak) of my enemy (Muslim Brotherhood) is my friend, or so Mossad must think right now. However, I would venture to say that Mossad hasn't seen anything yet, if/when Mubarak falls. Neither has the US, having wished/hoped/prayed for decades that its roughly equivalent annual foreign aid assistance to both Isreal and Egypt would keep things on an even keel. This deal will finally prove fruitless. All we got from it was a nasty, blood-stained tee-shirt inscribed with a lovely dove.

As a Jew, i look deep into my soul to try and discover both culpability and a responsible proposal for ways Mubarak can save face, Hopey can hang on to a shred of dignity as he navigates troubled waters that have been roaring since before his birth, and the Israeli government can come to grips with reality vis-a-vis the first and largest state in the region to recognize it's right to exist. Keeping this peace will be impossible, I fear, in the absence of serious introspection on our part. Calling on Mubarak to do this or that means nothing without an equal commitment to call on Israel to keep its distance at this time.

Egypt's self-determination is paramount here. Other countries have their own pecuniary and parochial interests, and those must be taken into consideration at the appropriate time. What kind of country would we be if we preached one thing and acted on another? (OK, snark returns for that one….)

Numbat_Dundee January 29, 2011 at 8:05 am
jim89048 January 29, 2011 at 10:24 am

Foreign trade in a nutshell. I buy linens from them, they buy tear gas from me…

Plowmon January 29, 2011 at 8:46 am

That's not Hosni, that Manuel Noriega! Bush must've sprung him from prison and installed him as El Jefe a Egypto when we were absorbed by the steroids in baseball crises…

smitallica January 29, 2011 at 12:27 pm

Obama just has to come out and say that there IS no pro-democracy revolution going on in Egypt. There couldn't be, because we didn't invade them. Problem solved.

Gainsbourg69 January 29, 2011 at 7:56 pm

Musharraf, Ben Ali and now Mubarrack. Can't our fascist dictators catch a fucking break? I mean, god damn.

Lascauxcaveman January 28, 2011 at 10:54 pm

♬ ♪ Neilist started a joke / which started the whole world cryyyy-ing ♬ ♪

ShaveTheWhales January 28, 2011 at 10:56 pm

Did you shave that seal-point, or is it just over-exposed?

imissopus January 28, 2011 at 11:30 pm

I'm noticing a real bitterness to his posts. His work lacks the bombast that made him so amusing back in the day. Now he's just like every other troll. Very sad.

Neilist_Returns January 29, 2011 at 3:19 am

Like most of your kind, you mistake "contempt" for "bitterness."

And "amusing"? In here? You mean "smug self-righteousness," don't you?

The defining characteristic of the "liberal mind"?

But enough: Time for you and the rest to get back to your busy task of being Totally Irrelevant and Unimportant.

Neilist_Returns January 29, 2011 at 3:23 am

Oh, a "pussy" joke. My, how clever, witty and original you all are.

HistoriCat January 30, 2011 at 12:28 am

So we're playing both sides? Sounds like a good idea – we want to be able to point to our support for the winners.

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