Real democrats don't bankroll dictatorships
Every Egyptian knows today is that the United States government is not a friend of Egypt, it is a friend and ally of the Mubarak regime — a regime that does not represent the Egyptian people. Democracy is not the United State's gift to the world and it will not be acquired under American tutelage. Real democrats don't bankroll dictatorships.
"The United States of America stands with the people of Tunisia, and supports the democratic aspirations of all people," President Obama said on Tuesday, but he could not say the US stands with the people of Egypt, even though they are currently making their democratic aspirations crystal clear.
What the people of Egypt know, as do the citizens living under every US-backed autocratic ruler in the Middle East, is that if they are to win the prize of democratic freedom, they must surmount the obstacles that the US government throws in their way.
Instead of backing democracy in Egypt, the administration supports reform and it claims that Hosni Mubarak is capable of bringing about the necessary changes.
At the State Department yesterday, a Middle Eastern reporter challenged Clinton, saying:
The message from Egypt is simple: the Egyptian people want democratic freedom and an end to dictatorship. They want an end to a brutal regime that still retains Washington's support. The demonstrators are not calling on Mubarak to implement reforms; they are demanding that he go — and that is a demand that, so far, the Obama administration refuses to acknowledge.
As the Jerusalem Post reports:
There is not a prevalent sense among Egypt watchers in Jerusalem that the disturbances pose a threat to Mubarak's regime. Rather, the concern is what comes after the 82-year-old Mubarak, and whether his successor – whether his son or someone else – will have the same authority and command the same degree of allegiance.
The sense in Jerusalem is that it would be a mistake to look at the events in Egypt and see an extension of what happened in Tunisia.
Egypt, it was pointed out, is not as closed as Tunisia was under ousted president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali – it has a different political culture, with more organized opposition and more outlets for letting off steam than existed in Tunisia. Most importantly, the army is considered loyal to the government, whereas the commander of the Tunisian army determined that it would not face down the protestors there.
Labor MK Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, who is close to Mubarak and met on Tuesday with a senior Egyptian official, said Mubarak's regime was strong and stable. He said there was no Egyptian who was serious enough competition for Mubarak to lead an effort against him.
Defending tyranny as "an ally and friend"
Al Jazeera: Right, but we're not talking in general terms here. Egypt is not letting its people protest peacefully. It's deploying the full ranks of its US-backed $1.3 billion-backed security forces to beat up those protesters. Isn't it time perhaps to be a little firmer with President Mubarak?
Crowley: We are giving Egypt advice publicly and privately. We have concerns about what is happening on the street. We are watching the situation carefully. We are in touch with the Egyptian government and we're making clear that Egypt should allow its citizens to peacefully protest.
AJ: And if it doesn't, is that funding — is that US support in jeopardy?
Democracy is not the United State's gift to the world and it will not be acquired under American tutelage. Real democrats don't bankroll dictatorships.