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Thread: isn't it refreshing

  1. #1
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    Default isn't it refreshing

    That for once in the last two plus years, that our politicians on both sides are presenting a relatively unified voice, largely free of criticism of the president and state dept, on the subject of Egypt.
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: isn't it refreshing

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    That for once in the last two plus years, that our politicians on both sides are presenting a relatively unified voice, largely free of criticism of the president and state dept, on the subject of Egypt.
    Enjoy it, Paul.... sad to say, but it won't last long.

    Actually, you might be putting a bit too much of a rosy glow on it.... Obama's getting bashed, in some media outlets, for not being strident enough.
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    Default Re: isn't it refreshing

    Quote Originally Posted by Norman Bernstein View Post
    Obama's getting bashed, in some media outlets, for not being strident enough.
    I was primarily referring to the unified front that politicians from both parties are showing. Name a time on an important issue facing the U.S. that Obama has found himself being supported by names like McConnell and Boehner, not too mention such former foreign policy stalwarts as James Baker and others. You truly have to go to the margins to find a Republican politician that doesn't share the view that Obama is doing the right thing.
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: isn't it refreshing

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    I was primarily referring to the unified front that politicians from both parties are showing. Name a time on an important issue facing the U.S. that Obama has found himself being supported by names like McConnell and Boehner, not too mention such former foreign policy stalwarts as James Baker and others. You truly have to go to the margins to find a Republican politician that doesn't share the view that Obama is doing the right thing.
    You're probably right, about the politicans.... but possibly less so, with regard to the media and the pundits.

    But yeah, it's pretty hard to disagree with Obama's performance on this issue. I'd give Hillary pretty good marks, too... I think she's been a terrific Sec. of State. Regardless, I don't want to see her running for President
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    Default Re: isn't it refreshing

    Hopefully Egypts prison system will be reformed.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/internati...torture/70476/

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    Default Re: isn't it refreshing

    Mitch McConnell speaking with David Gregory on Meet The Press this last Sunday said it very well, that America needs to speak with one voice on the issue of Egypt. What happens behind closed doors is another story, but the example set by McConnell was a class act.

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    Default Re: isn't it refreshing

    Paul,

    Maybe it isn't quite such a 'kumbaya' moment in American foreign policy? I don't know what Gingrich said, but apparently, he said something:

    Potential Candidates Stay Mum on Egypt

    Politico notes that the unrest in Egypt has presented a difficult balancing act for the field of Republican presidential hopefuls, and "many of them aren't ready to say anything at all."

    Some of the biggest names in the running, including Sarah Palin (R), Sen. John Thune (R-SD), and Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-IN) have declined to answer questions on how they would handle the situation or whether Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak should step down.

    Meanwhile, there has been little consensus among those who have spoken up, from Mitt Romney's (R) support for President Obama's strategy to Newt Gingrich's (R) denunciation of it.
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    Default Re: isn't it refreshing

    Not only is it a good thing (IMO), but it's also a good precedent for both parties.

    When approval ratings for the leadership of each party improve in response to such an approach, maybe respect and mutual support can bleed over into other policy sectors...

    I think that a good many politicians have been watching developments in Tunisia, Egypt, and now Yemen rather thoughtfully. If public dissatisfaction is intense enough, politicians have to amend their approaches pretty damned quickly, or they'll find themselves kicked to the curb.
    "It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it." - Oscar Wilde

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    Default Re: isn't it refreshing

    Quote Originally Posted by Norman Bernstein View Post
    Paul,

    Maybe it isn't quite such a 'kumbaya' moment in American foreign policy? I don't know what Gingrich said, but apparently, he said something:
    The Senate Minority Leader and the Speaker of the House are standing in unity with the President on America's response to Egypt. The sniping by pundits and presidential hopefuls is just noise.

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    Default Re: isn't it refreshing

    Erster,

    I think it is better for a nation to choose its own government; Freedom and Democracy and all that stuff.

    And whether we like it or not, Suez doesn't belong to your country or mine, or to the Global Community. It belongs to Egypt. A legitimate, sovereign Nation State can do what it likes within its borders, regarding its own property. Of course, there are always reprocussions.

    The Government of Egypt will very likely understand that it is in its own best interest to keep the canal (and pipeline) open, even if some groups within Egypt see it differently. And if I'm wrong ... Suez still belongs to Egypt, to do with what they want. Forcing Egypt to do something else is an Act of War.
    "It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it." - Oscar Wilde

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    Default Re: isn't it refreshing

    Quote Originally Posted by TerryLL View Post
    The Senate Minority Leader and the Speaker of the House are standing in unity with the President on America's response to Egypt. The sniping by pundits and presidential hopefuls is just noise.
    + 1
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: isn't it refreshing

    Quote Originally Posted by TerryLL View Post
    The Senate Minority Leader and the Speaker of the House are standing in unity with the President on America's response to Egypt. The sniping by pundits and presidential hopefuls is just noise.
    I'm not disagreeing, but I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss all that sniping... some of it will morph into campaign rhetoric next year.
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    Default Re: isn't it refreshing

    It's quite a tightrope. A fair election of a new government would be fantastic.

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    Default Re: isn't it refreshing

    Paul, I wonder if the politicians in the US are just a bit humbled by the problems at hand, debt, wars, and here's a mass movement in Egypt where people without guns and violence are telling their dictator president it's time to go. It kind of puts our squabbling and presumption of power into perspective.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SgjIg...ayer_embedded#
    Last edited by LeeG; 02-02-2011 at 08:46 AM.

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    Default Re: isn't it refreshing

    I don't own an approved boat.
    ..and you can't spell, either?

    Your critique is wrong. The country is not the gov't or Mubarak per se, it's the people; much as when a church burns down, you'll always hear the minister say, 'the church isn't the building, it's our congregation'. etc.

    If we have any principles at all, we are 'for' the protestors.
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    Default Re: isn't it refreshing

    Erster,

    One third of the world's oil went through the Suez Canal in the 1950's.

    Which was why Britain France and Israel got so excited and invaded Egypt in 1956 - an invasion that was stopped by Dwight Eisenhower, who certainly thought that he was a Republican. Of course, there are those who would call him a RINO now, but anyway, he thought he was a Republican and so did the Republican Party.

    Today, about one million barrels of oil per day moves through the Canal in tankers and a further two and a half million barrels moves through the Sumed pipeline, which runs alongside the Canal (its a pair of 42" pipes) and is reloaded at the northern end.

    The United States uses more than twenty million barrels of oil every day.

    Now take a look at this little graph:

    IMAGINES VEL NON FUERINT

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    Default Re: isn't it refreshing

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan McCosh View Post
    It's quite a tightrope. A fair election of a new government would be fantastic.
    Ican't think of a word to describe just how utterly fantastic it would be - conceiviebly world changing.

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    Default Re: isn't it refreshing

    Erster, was Egypt in the right hands under a military dictatorship?

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    Quote Originally Posted by erster View Post
    ...But the point was that the region has a big potential to move backwards if the country falls into the wrong hands...
    True. But it is not up to us to decide which hands are the "right" or "wrong" ones. It's up to Egyptians.

    Unless, of course, we don't really believe in Democracy and Freedom.
    "It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it." - Oscar Wilde

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    Muhammad Ghannem told an Iranian news network that if he and the Muslim Brotherhood had his way, the Suez Canal would be closed immediately.
    Well you'd expect a remark like that from one of the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood when talking to the Iranian press, wouldn't you? If he actually had the power, which he doesn't and never will, he wouldn't actually do it. He's not stupid.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TomF View Post
    True. But it is not up to us to decide which hands are the "right" or "wrong" ones. It's up to Egyptians.

    Unless, of course, we don't really believe in Democracy and Freedom.
    The US policy toward Egypt for the last 30 years clearly indicates that we are quite willing to put Democracy and Freedom on the back burner in exchange for peace and security. Priorities shift with time and in response to conditions. If Democracy and Freedom appears to be the winning hand, I'm sure the US will (and has already) throw its weight in that direction. But the US has always done what is in the best interests of the US, as it should.

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    Default Re: isn't it refreshing

    It's called diplomacy Erster.
    Something that America has not engaged in too well in the past and many of us are plesently surprised and hopeful for.
    It's nice to see we are standing where we are supposed to be and not the primary country in some kind of "nation building" scheme that is purely in our own self interest.
    Thanks for this Paul. I hadn't given this dynamic much recognition.
    They could very well be bashing the sh!t out of the president.
    Study Peace

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Craig-Bennett View Post
    Erster,

    One third of the world's oil went through the Suez Canal in the 1950's.


    The United States uses more than twenty million barrels of oil every day.

    Now take a look at this little graph:

    Erster c&p that from an internet echo chamber of so-called conservatives called Free Republic or Freepers. Facts optional and someone else is to blame. http://www.freerepublic.com/home.htm

    I can't let that chart go, from Ersters c&p quotation "....increase the price of oil and gas substantially." I am assuming he's concerned about the risk of oil going up in price from instability in Egypt, or if the Bad Egyptians got ahold of the Suez. Not sure of your intention in posting the chart but guessing it has something to do with our own vulnerability also being an internal issue.
    Here's one I'd like to complement it. I've posted it before, it's the percentage sales of cars vs trucks from 1980-2008. As domestic oil production declined and imports increased the proportion of light truck sales increased and cars decreased. Our tax and energy policy encouraged the purchase of less efficient vehicles for over 25yrs as domestic production irrevocably declines. So entering into a war in oil rich middle east in 2003 we've got the largest mix of inefficient vehicles on the road that will take over a couple decades to replace. While they are marvelously efficient SUV/light trucks they aint exactly the #1 choice if the largest country in the world is about to hit a peak in WORLD production with fast growing China/India buying oil at any price.
    Anyway for Erster, if you're concerned about oil prices going up, they will, if you're concerned about price instability because of changes in the middle east, too late, we did that well in 2003. If you're concerned about Egypt affecting world prices there are larger factors. Btw Egypt has pretty much stopped being an oil exporting country because they are consuming pretty much all they produce.


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    Quote Originally Posted by erster View Post
    You are presenting a premise that I reject Lee. Its not for me to decide one way or the other. I strongly reject that moving backwards is the right direction given what some of the voices that may end up in power is saying. Pointing out some of these statements are just that, a matter of fact. But even democrat presidents and democrat congresses have supported the numerous leaders in Egypt.
    I'm glad to hear that Erster, then I assume you are for this popular uprising in Egypt?

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    Quote Originally Posted by erster View Post
    The leader of CAIR from the states has traveled to the region too.
    so has the president of the USA, what is the problem with the director of the Council for American Islamic Relations going to an Islamic country? Is there an organization of American Islamic relations you'd rather be engaged in the mission? I bet the director of the Association of American Scientists has been to countries that practice,,,science!

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    Beck, hero of the Tea Party, has become the hysterical tribune of the anti-democracy forces, linking the uprising in Egypt to a bizarre alliance of all of his bÍte noirs. "This is Saul Alinsky. This is STORM from Van Jones," he warned on Monday, continuing, "The former Soviet Union, everybody, radical Islam, every—this is the story of everyone who has ever plotted to or wanted to fundamentally change or destroy the Western way of life. This isn't about Egypt. Everything is up on the table." It would all end, he warned, with the restoration of a "Muslim caliphate that controls the Mideast and parts of Europe," along with an expanded China and Russian control of the entire Soviet Union "plus maybe the Netherlands."
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-a...conservatives/

    Jesus H. Christ!!!
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    Default Re: isn't it refreshing

    Lee, carry on, I don't have time to reply to some sort of assumption in your own mind that you continue to project onto any and all posts.

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    Default Re: isn't it refreshing

    Quote Originally Posted by erster View Post
    As far as the assumption that Egypt is moving to democracy, not a single person can conclude this at this point in time. I am more measured when making assumptions like that at this time.
    And what is this then?

    Quote Originally Posted by erster View Post
    You will also begin to see the Christians in Egypt slaughtered the same way you see in Iraq too.
    More measured?
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    Quote Originally Posted by erster View Post
    Actually the recovery of the U.S. depends on many factors, one being the price of oil, the avaliable of oil and for sure any and all serious increases in the price of oil. We have witnessed several foreign countries lately being hurt by increased prices. These factors cannot be ignored. There are other countries that will be affected too, which also contributes to the world economy and needs oil to do so, even to provide food to its citizens.

    As far as the assumption that Egypt is moving to democracy, not a single person can conclude this at this point in time. I am more measured when making assumptions like that at this time. I think thats more of a partisan position. We are watching events unfold as we speak. No newcomer has risen out of the "flames" to lead at this time.
    At the very least it's citizens are risking life to reject dictatorship, I'd say that's a good start. You're right, the recovery does depend on many factors of which the price of oil is one. The price increase of oil starting in 2004 definately hurt the world economy. That is primarily our doing. The price increases to come won't be of our doing and we won't be able to do anything about it because we are totally dependent on world supplies and world demand. Our demand has gone down and the worlds is continuing with each new field costing more and more to extract.
    So we better figure out how to use oil more efficiently because we no longer have the wealth to buy it at any price.

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    Default Re: isn't it refreshing

    Yes Chris I am more measured than others that the country will move to free and open elections and democracy. We have witnessed the increased attacks on Christians even in Iraq. We also know that the christians in Egypt have been somewhat protected for years. So yes if the country does not go as we all hope it goes, we could see the same happen too. YMMV

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    Default Re: isn't it refreshing

    As far as the assumption that Egypt is moving to democracy, not a single person can conclude this at this point in time.
    Remarkable. What about these people?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Coose View Post
    oh yeah, now get Becks Tea Partayers with Koch billionaire astroturfers and Palins True Americans and we got some weird theater.

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    Default Re: isn't it refreshing

    A crystal ball projection that a group will be "slaughtered" is not measured. It is as hysterical as Glenn Beck.
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    Quote Originally Posted by erster View Post
    Lee, carry on, I don't have time to reply to some sort of assumption in your own mind that you continue to project onto any and all posts.
    what was the significance of your statement?

    "But one thing to consider is the outside forces thats involved in the protests. The leader of CAIR from the states has traveled to the region too."

    Are you saying that the director of CAIR is a factor in Egyptians street protests against dictatorship?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Coose View Post
    . It is as hysterical as Glenn Beck.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WIKtvDY3dnw

    Sounds like Erster is channeling Beck.

    Beck, hero of the Tea Party, has become the hysterical tribune of the anti-democracy forces, linking the uprising in Egypt to a bizarre alliance of all of his bÍte noirs. "This is Saul Alinsky. This is STORM from Van Jones," he warned on Monday, continuing, "The former Soviet Union, everybody, radical Islam, every—this is the story of everyone who has ever plotted to or wanted to fundamentally change or destroy the Western way of life. This isn't about Egypt. Everything is up on the table." It would all end, he warned, with the restoration of a "Muslim caliphate that controls the Mideast and parts of Europe," along with an expanded China and Russian control of the entire Soviet Union "plus maybe the Netherlands."

    It sounds nuts, of course, but such fears are now rampant on the religious right, which has long seen American involvement in the Middle East in millennarian terms. In the apocalyptic view of politics that dominates the Christian right, Muslim nations are closely connected to the rise of the Antichrist, while the restoration of the Jews to the entire biblical land of Israel is key to the Second Coming. The end of days will be marked by the emergence of a one-world government and a great world war in the Middle East, culminating in a battle at Megiddo, or Armageddon, an actual place in Israel. (Beck is a Mormon, but he's always incorporated elements of American evangelicalism into his ideology.) To side with the protesters in Egypt, at the expense of Israeli security, is to back Satan's team in the coming biblical showdown. Thus John Hagee, the chiliastic preacher who founded Christians United for Israel, took to his website to praise Hosni Mubarak as "an American ally and closet friend to Israel," writing, "Israel will soon be surrounded by enemies screaming for their blood. Will America support them? Our president certainly has not been supportive of Israel to this point in his administration; why would he change now?"
    Last edited by LeeG; 02-02-2011 at 10:25 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TerryLL View Post
    The US policy toward Egypt for the last 30 years clearly indicates that we are quite willing to put Democracy and Freedom on the back burner in exchange for peace and security. Priorities shift with time and in response to conditions. If Democracy and Freedom appears to be the winning hand, I'm sure the US will (and has already) throw its weight in that direction. But the US has always done what is in the best interests of the US, as it should.
    We differ on the "should" part.

    US policy, whether in Egypt or elsewhere, has always been to secure the best interests of the US. That's the historic reason for supporting Mubarak, but also Marcos in the Philippines, the Shah of Iran, various nasties in Latin America, etc. etc. The question is whether the best interests of the US should take precedence over the suffering people elsewhere.

    Let it be said, of course, that the US is far from unique in this.
    "It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it." - Oscar Wilde

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    You truly have to go to the margins to find a Republican politician that doesn't share the view that Obama is doing the right thing.
    Never fear. Normans been there and done that...

    http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...vents-in-Egypt

    Sorry to burst your bubble.

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    TomF:
    The question is whether the best interests of the US should take precedence over the suffering people elsewhere.
    Especially when it's counter to the long-term best interests of the US. We supported the Shah until we supported Saddam until we orchestrated his overthrow. Look what that got us - more dependence on OPEC oil and a hostile Iran not to mention the costs of all the wars we've fought over there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    I was primarily referring to the unified front that politicians from both parties are showing. Name a time on an important issue facing the U.S. that Obama has found himself being supported by names like McConnell and Boehner, not too mention such former foreign policy stalwarts as James Baker and others. You truly have to go to the margins to find a Republican politician that doesn't share the view that Obama is doing the right thing.
    Quote Originally Posted by erster View Post
    Paul, you evidently have not been paying attention to the call to arms against Isreal in the supposed call for democracy. This country has turned it back on an allie that spanned across both democrat and republican presidents. You will also begin to see the Christians in Egypt slaughtered the same way you see in Iraq too. Yet the media has chosen not to cover this either while spinning things towards a move for a better Egypt. The Nobel peace price guy is the one that also supports a nucleaur Iran too.
    To the margins... or to the Bilge <sigh>
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    Quote Originally Posted by David G View Post
    To the margins... or to the Bilge <sigh>
    interesting to find norm and oyster in similar company
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: isn't it refreshing

    You clearly don't understand what you posted.

    I am standing with the Copts because the only way things will change in this country is if we come together.

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    Default Re: isn't it refreshing

    I think you're far from the only person who'd be concerned, were an Islamist government to come into place in Egypt. And the well-being of Copts or other minority groups would be only a piece of the concern.

    But this is precisely when we find out if we interested in Freedom and Democracy, or if it's all just words. It could be that in the final analysis, all we care about really is our own interest.

    If we're absolutely willing to sacrifice Freedom and Democracy for other people in order to gain order and security for ourselves, how do we know where to draw the line? Where to compromise our own Freedom and Democracy when someone tells us that our order and security will be threatened if we don't.

    Jack Nicholson's wonderful, frothing-at-the-mouth speech in A Few Good Men comes to mind ("You need me on that wall"). Was he right? Is order a higher good than freedom?

    What would your Founding Fathers have answered?
    "It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it." - Oscar Wilde

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    Default Re: isn't it refreshing

    What am I assuming?

    I am assuming that Egypt doesn't currently have a government we'd call sovereign, free, and democratic. And that you and I probably share a pretty common understanding of what we mean by those terms.

    I am assuming that Egypt doesn't currently have the civil society institutions that seem necessary to make a "transition to democracy." But that's common among countries coming out of a dictatorship, and they can be built. Look at Latin America for examples.

    I am assuming that some forces in Egypt actually want democracy and freedom, and others don't. And the groups will have to duke it out over time, and come to a resolution. Maybe Egypt won't get to Democracy yet, but maybe it will. The international community actually has some viable influence here, if we're careful and respectful.

    Finally, I am assuming that as is true in all countries, dealing with minorities will be a huge issue for Egypt. I agree that there are real risks to the Copts, but they also quite obviously have allies among non-Christian parts of society. No society deals with minority rights well - talk to me about First Nations or Francophone people in Canada, or think about race issues in your place. Or Arabs and Africans in Europe. Or pretty much anybody in Japan who's not Japanese.

    You're right to be worried about minorities in Egypt - I think a society is judged by how they treat their minorities. But it's up to the Egyptians. Not up to us to determine anything for them, if we're actually serious about sovereignty, freedom, and democracy.
    "It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it." - Oscar Wilde

  44. #44
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    Default Re: isn't it refreshing

    Quote Originally Posted by TomF View Post
    You're right to be worried about minorities in Egypt - I think a society is judged by how they treat their minorities. But it's up to the Egyptians. Not up to us to determine anything for them, if we're actually serious about sovereignty, freedom, and democracy.
    Reading Pat Langs blog he makes the point that once Obama said Mubarak should step down NOW the US crossed a threshold of rhetoric that can't be walked back.

    http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_s....html#comments

    Husni Mubarak has decidedto defy Barack Obama and to rally available police and population control forces against the mobs of revolutionaries. Rocks, bricks and mounted agents of the government are attacking the crowds. In his televised announcment of his own withdrawal from public life Mubarak accused the demonstrators of "abuse of freedom of speech," "lawlessness," criminalty" etc. and said that these "criminal elements" must be "punished" before elections can be held.

    President Obama has engaged the policy and prestige of the United States on the side of the revolutionaries when he said "now." Such commitment should not be withdrawn else the world will rightly conclude that the bravery and dedication of American troops as demonstrated in Iraq and Afghanistan is once again sadly matched by the fecklessness of American government.

  45. #45
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
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    Fredericton, New Brunswick
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    Default Re: isn't it refreshing

    I understand that's what Mubarak is doing. And I also understand the point you (and Pat Langs) are making about having crossed a rhetorical bridge with that word "now."

    IMO, this is now when Obama needs to visibly engage the international community needs to step up to put diplomatic pressure on Mubarak - to cease the violence, and to work with an honest-broker to get a transition to September elections underway in an orderly fashion.

    Saying "now" was very unfortunate. But I think the answer won't be sending troops in to show that Obama has a spine. I think it will be to bring international pressure to bear ... so that Obama doesn't look weak, and doesn't look like an interventionist. That will not win the population's support.
    "It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it." - Oscar Wilde

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