Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Israel and US opposition to democracy in Egypt

This should not be a controversial proposition. The United States supported the Mubarak dictatorship for 30 years because of Israel. The United States right now supports dictatorships in its other effective colonies of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Bahrain, Yemen and others because of Israel. Israel is why the United States is the most vigorous adversary of democracy outside of its borders in the world. Israel is why the United States today supports the dictatorship in Egypt which took power from an legitimately and fairly elected government.

How do we know that Israel is why the United States supported the Mubarak dictatorship? Because that's what Barack Obama and Joe Biden said:

Biden: Mubarak Is Not a Dictator, But People Have a Right to Protest
(PBS Newshour, January 27, 2011)

JIM LEHRER: The word -- the word to describe the leadership of Mubarak and Egypt and also in Tunisia before was dictator. Should Mubarak be seen as a dictator?

JOE BIDEN: Look, Mubarak has been an ally of ours in a number of things and he's been very responsible on, relative to geopolitical interests in the region: Middle East peace efforts, the actions Egypt has taken relative to normalizing the relationship with Israel.

And I think that it would be -- I would not refer to him as a dictator.

Obama interview: the transcript
(BBC World Service, June 2, 2009)
Justin Webb: Do you regard President Mubarak as an authoritarian ruler?

President Obama: No, I tend not to use labels for folks. I haven't met him. I've spoken to him on the phone.

He has been a stalwart ally in many respects, to the United States. He has sustained peace with Israel, which is a very difficult thing to do in that region.

But he has never resorted to, you know, unnecessary demagoging of the issue, and has tried to maintain that relationship. So I think he has been a force for stability. And good in the region. Obviously, there have been criticisms of the manner in which politics operates in Egypt.

And, as I said before, the United States' job is not to lecture, but to encourage, to lift up what we consider to be the values that ultimately will work - not just for our country, but for the aspirations of a lot of people.

It is also openly known that while Egypt's elected commander in chief did not have direct relations with Israel, the general who led the coup against him did:
Israel Sees a Chance for More Reliable Ties With Egypt and a Weakening of Hamas
(New York Times, July 6, 2013)
While Mr. Morsi served as head of state, Israel’s only line of communication with Cairo was through the Egyptian military and security establishment, which is now controlling Egypt’s political process. Perhaps more reassuring to Israel is the role of Gen. Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi, the top commander who led the move to depose Mr. Morsi.

General Sisi is well known in Israel’s defense establishment from his past roles in military intelligence and in northern Sinai. An Israeli expert said that even after Mr. Morsi appointed General Sisi as his defense minister, the general’s office continued to communicate and coordinate directly with Israel. 
Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that Israel is behind the US and Western idea that it is not democracy for a party that wins an election to take power:

Erdoğan suggests Israel behind coup in Egypt, has evidence
(Today's Zaman, August 20, 2013)

"What is said about Egypt? That democracy is not the ballot box. Who is behind this? Israel is. We have the evidence in our hands," Erdoğan said. "That's exactly what happened."
He's mostly right about that. The idea that winning elections is not democracy is wrong but also uniquely applied to Israel's region. That idea seems to be used for one reason only, for Westerners to justify denying the power to set and execute policy to officials who are accountable to voters in Israel's region. In Israel's region, militaries tied and accountable to the US have to remove elected officials to protect democracy, and secular rights. And while they are at it, they can also continue to cooperate with Israel as directed by their US embassies and military bases without any oversight from the voters of their countries.

Did the Mossad send a coup plan to Abdel Fattah el-Sisi from its headquarters in Tel Aviv which Sisi then executed? I would guess not. Did US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel know about and approve the operation that led to the coup in advance, supporting it ultimately because of it offers strategic benefits to Israel? I would guess so. 60 years later, the US admits its role in the coup against an legitimate elected government in Iran. The US is far more widely and closely involved with Egypt's military in 2013 than it was in Iran in 1953. Maybe the extent of Hagel's knowledge of and involvement in this coup in Egypt will be revealed later.

Ties between the US, Israeli and Egyptian militaries

Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, Egypt Army Chief, Turns On Morsi, The President Who Promoted Him
(Reuters, July 3, 2013)


A career military man, Sisi was groomed for a leadership role after serving in top roles in the command, intelligence and diplomatic branches of the armed forces.

Among his previous postings were a stint as defence attache in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and command positions in the Sinai Peninsula which borders Israel and in the Northern Military Region which includes the second city of Alexandria.

"He had been carefully prepared for a high command position," said Robert Springborg, an expert on the Egyptian military based at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.

Apart from his comparative youth among top ranking commanders, two other attributes made him a good fit for the Islamist Mursi seeking a new generation of military leaders.

In a military known for its secularism, Sisi is a devout Muslim, whose wife is said to wear the niqab full-body covering. And after a year at the U.S. Army War College in Pennsylvania in 2005-2006, he was comfortable with the United States, which funds Egypt's military with $1.3 billion a year.

"Insiders in the U.S. government and military were aware of him. He was a name that was mentioned when people talked about next generations," said Springborg.

He had a favourable reputation among those who worked with him in the American military, although his course work was described as showing Islamist leanings, Springborg said.

"Islamic ideology penetrates Sisi's thinking about political and security matters," he said, citing material Sisi produced while at the course.

Steve Gerras, a retired Army colonel who was Sisi's faculty adviser at the college, described him to Reuters as a serious student and pious Muslim, open to the United States and passionate about Egypt's future.
How American Hopes for a Deal in Egypt Were Undercut
(New York Times, August 17, 2013)
The Israelis, whose military had close ties to General Sisi from his former post as head of military intelligence, were supporting the takeover as well. Western diplomats say that General Sisi and his circle appeared to be in heavy communication with Israeli colleagues, and the diplomats believed the Israelis were also undercutting the Western message by reassuring the Egyptians not to worry about American threats to cut off aid.

Israeli officials deny having reassured Egypt about the aid, but acknowledge having lobbied Washington to protect it.

When Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, proposed an amendment halting military aid to Egypt, the influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee sent a letter to senators on July 31 opposing it, saying it “could increase instability in Egypt and undermine important U.S. interests and negatively impact our Israeli ally.” Statements from influential lawmakers echoed the letter, and the Senate defeated the measure, 86 to 13, later that day.

What exactly is democracy?

Suppose someone tells you Barack Obama should not be President of the United States. Why not? Because democracy is not just votes, but it is also values. And Barack Obama is too socialist to qualify to lead the United States. Your answer should be that the voters of the United States are the only party fit to judge whether or not Obama is too socialist or if his socialism should or should not bar him from the presidency. Further, you should answer that the voters of the United States voted to give Obama a four year term and during that term he, and only he, is authorized by the voters to carry out the duties outlined in US governing documents as the responsibilities of the holder of that office. In an extraordinary circumstance, the elected legislature of the United States has the authority to remove Obama from office. Failing that, democracy means Obama serves the term he was elected to.

Democracy does not mean "good". The United States was founded as a white-supremacist state with a slave labor based economy dedicated to taking by force over two billion acres of land from Native Americans. The United States is, as I write this, directing a civil war in Syria that has caused over 100,000 Syrian people to die. The United States is openly and thoroughly dedicated to the idea that preventing fewer than six million Jewish people in Israel from suffering the indignity of living under non-Jewish rule the way white South Africans live under non-white rule is worth any amount of suffering, dictatorship and restriction of rights and liberties for the hundreds of millions of people in Israel's region who are not Jewish. The United States is a bigoted nation. The United States is not a good nation. The United States is an evil nation according the the values the US itself claims to uphold. But the United States is a democracy.

Apartheid South Africa was in the 1940s, like the United States, a racist democracy. Nazi Germany, until the decree that its leadership was no longer subject to removal by voters, was a democracy. Democracy does not mean good. Democracy does not mean values.

Democracy means policy-makers can be emplaced and removed in an orderly fashion according to pre-established procedures by voters. Therefore to remain in positions to make and execute policy, officials are accountable to the people of the country, in effect to the voters. And really that's all democracy means. Democracy leads to secular governments in countries whose voters prefer secular government. Democracy leads to socialist government if the voters prefer socialism. Democracy means anti-socialism if and only if the voters of the country express that they prefer an anti-socialist government. Democracy means Islamism in a country where Islamists can or do outvote anti-Islamists.

If you or I believe government should be secular, and the voters of a country believe their government should be Islamic, then democracy means a government you or I don't like should be in power in that country.

The United States is in an interesting position, being the most vigorously active anti-democratic nation in the world while at the same time claiming democracy as one of its founding principles. No nation does more outside of its borders to oppose the idea that the policy makers of a country should be accountable the people of that country than the United States does in Israel's region on behalf of Israel. The United States has for decades supported relatively pro-Israel dictatorships in Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Yemen and others because governments accountable to their people in those countries might pose strategic threats ultimately to Israel.

In order to resolve the tension between claiming democracy as a value and opposing policy-makers being accountable to voters In Israel's region, Western commentators distort the definition of democracy itself.

From there we get the statement: democracy is not about elections, it is about values. I've only heard this statement made in the context of countries in the Middle East, and then to justify denying the people of countries in the Middle East the ability to hold policy-makers accountable in elections. Egypt's military should remain accountable not to the elected officials of Egypt, but to the US Embassy and military bases in Egypt and the US in order to protect Israel from Egypt's voters.

Claims that Mohammad Morsi or the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood were not democratic, coming from sources that did not offer such criticisms to either Hosni Mubarak during the 30 years that he had US support or Saudi Arabia today, including Barack Obama who refused to call Mubarak a dictator, are transparent advocacy of Egyptian policy being accountable, on behalf of Israel, to the United States and not to the voters of Egypt.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Some articles regarding Egypt

Study shows opposition to Morsi ouster rises to 69%
(Middle East Monitor, August 13, 2013)

A recent field study indicates that the number of Egyptians opposed to the overthrow of Dr Mohamed Morsi as President has risen to 69 per cent. Only around 25 per cent of Egyptians support his current detention, while 6 per cent prefer to keep their opinion to themselves.
Morsi Spurned Deals, Seeing Military as Tamed
(New York Times, July 7, 2013)
The abrupt end of Egypt’s first Islamist government was the culmination of months of escalating tensions and ultimately futile American efforts to broker a solution that would keep Mr. Morsi in his elected office, at least in name, if not in power.
Israel Sees a Chance for More Reliable Ties With Egypt and a Weakening of Hamas
(New York Times, July 6, 2013)
While Mr. Morsi served as head of state, Israel’s only line of communication with Cairo was through the Egyptian military and security establishment, which is now controlling Egypt’s political process. Perhaps more reassuring to Israel is the role of Gen. Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi, the top commander who led the move to depose Mr. Morsi.

General Sisi is well known in Israel’s defense establishment from his past roles in military intelligence and in northern Sinai. An Israeli expert said that even after Mr. Morsi appointed General Sisi as his defense minister, the general’s office continued to communicate and coordinate directly with Israel.


“It’s good that the Muslim Brotherhood has gone,” said Zvi Mazel, a former Israeli ambassador to Egypt. “If they had stayed in power for another two or three years, they’d have taken control of the military and everything else, and Egypt would have become like Iran.”
Gaza’s Economy Suffers From Egyptian Military’s Crackdown
(New York Times, July 25, 2013)
Along with the takeover in Cairo, the Egyptian military stepped up its campaign against Islamic militants operating against its forces in the rugged Sinai Peninsula, which borders Gaza. The clampdown has resulted in the destruction or closing of around 80 percent of the tunnels that run beneath the Egypt-Gaza border, long used for smuggling weapons and fugitives but also for construction materials restricted by Israel, cheap fuel and other goods.

So now, Abu Eida has no cement or gravel to operate his factory, one of the biggest in Gaza, the Palestinian coastal territory. Manar al-Batsh, an accountant at the plant, said 40 employees were sitting at home.

“If the crisis lasts until the end of this month, we won’t be able to keep those workers on our payroll,” he added.
Sudden Improvements in Egypt Suggest a Campaign to Undermine Morsi
(New York Times, July 11, 2013)
And as the interim government struggles to unite a divided nation, the Muslim Brotherhood and Mr. Morsi’s supporters say the sudden turnaround proves that their opponents conspired to make Mr. Morsi fail. Not only did police officers seem to disappear, but the state agencies responsible for providing electricity and ensuring gas supplies failed so fundamentally that gas lines and rolling blackouts fed widespread anger and frustration.

“This was preparing for the coup,” said Naser el-Farash, who served as the spokesman for the Ministry of Supply and Internal Trade under Mr. Morsi. “Different circles in the state, from the storage facilities to the cars that transport petrol products to the gas stations, all participated in creating the crisis.”

Working behind the scenes, members of the old establishment, some of them close to Mr. Mubarak and the country’s top generals, also helped finance, advise and organize those determined to topple the Islamist leadership, including Naguib Sawiris, a billionaire and an outspoken foe of the Brotherhood; Tahani el-Gebali, a former judge on the Supreme Constitutional Court who is close to the ruling generals; and Shawki al-Sayed, a legal adviser to Ahmed Shafik, Mr. Mubarak’s last prime minister, who lost the presidential race to Mr. Morsi.

But it is the police returning to the streets that offers the most blatant sign that the institutions once loyal to Mr. Mubarak held back while Mr. Morsi was in power. Throughout his one-year tenure, Mr. Morsi struggled to appease the police, even alienating his own supporters rather than trying to overhaul the Interior Ministry. But as crime increased and traffic clogged roads — undermining not only the quality of life, but the economy — the police refused to deploy fully.


Ms. Gebali, the former judge, said in a telephone interview on Wednesday that she and other legal experts helped tamarrod create its strategy to appeal directly to the military to oust Mr. Morsi and pass the interim presidency to the chief of the constitutional court.
So Much For Mideast Democracy
(Eric Margolis, July 6, 2013)
The US provides Egypt’s military $1.5 billion annually, not counting tens of millions of “black” payments from CIA to leading generals, police chiefs, commentators and bureaucrats. Egypt’s military has been totally re-equipped with US F-16 fighter-bombers, M-1 heavy tanks, armored vehicles, radars, electronic systems, and artillery.

Washington has supplied Egypt with just enough arms to control its population and intimidate small neighbors, but not enough to wage war against Israel. Further, the Pentagon sharply limits Egypt supplies of munitions, missiles and vital spare parts. Many of Egypt’s generals have been trained in US military colleges, where they formed close links with US intelligence and the Pentagon. CIA, DIA, and NSA have large stations in Egypt that watch its military and population.

Under Mubarak, the US controlled Egypt’s military and key parts of its economy. When Morsi and the Brotherhood came to power, Washington backed off for a while but in recent months apparently decided to back the overthrow of Egypt’s first democratic government.

Juan Cole and Islamophobic Western claims about the Muslim Brotherhood

Recently Juan Cole presented a litany of reasons that the Muslim Brotherhood bears responsibility for the recent coup against Egypt's voters. As you might expect, ultimately his list reflects his view that he or people who agree with him, not Egypt's voters, should be in a position to decide any point of dispute regarding Egyptian government or policy. It's a typical American colonialist position, because Juan Cole is a typical American colonialist. Certainly not worse than anything anybody in the US State Department, the US Embassy in Cairo or the US military establishment tasked with Egypt would write. Just typical, and because it is typical it may be useful that Cole regularly puts his view in public.

So when I'm not too disgusted to go over and read it, or when someone I respect prompts me, I sometimes go over and read Cole's latest articles about the Middle East. Comments I leave generally do not pass his moderation filter and that's fine. I then just leave those comments here. This is a response to Egypt’s Transition Has Failed: New Age of Military Dictatorship in Wake of Massacre.

The Brotherhood cheated in the parliamentary elections, running candidates for seats set aside for independents.

The parliamentary elections were overseen by the military government, which decided which names were eligible to be put onto ballots. The Brothers were able to legally enter the election and Egyptians voted for them. It is a stretch to call that cheating.

Rabid anti-Democratic activists in the US might claim Barack Obama cheated by being on a ballot when he was really ineligible, but he was on the ballot based on rules he did not implement and voters fairly selected him over the opposition. That should end that story.

The Brothers won more support from Egypt's voters than the military expected or was comfortable with but that is not cheating. They also won more support than some Western commentators expected or were comfortable with. Again, not cheating.

He pushed through a Brotherhood constitution in December of 2012 in a referendum with about a 30% turnout in which it garnered only 63%– i.e. only a fifth of the country voted for it.

Just noting that 63% means nearly two out of three voters supported the constitution.

The judges went on strike rather than oversee balloting, so the referendum did not meet international standards.

The judges were open in their commitment to prevent civilian control of the military.

Also what are you claiming when you say international standards? If you have reason to believe the results were fraudulent and did not reflect the will of the voters on election day, then tell us what those reasons are, and what evidence supports such a view.

Morsi then invented a legislature for himself, declaring by fiat that the ceremonial upper house was the parliament. He appointed many of its members; only 7% were elected.

The rightfully elected legislature was voided by the court explicitly because the court disagreed with Egypt's voters about who should be in the position of power (see link above). Also the declaration that the upper house was the parliament was not by fiat, but part of the constitution ratified by nearly two thirds of Egypt's voters.

The Constitutional Assembly's alternative when it (not Morsi) decided to grant legislative authority to the upper house until the parliament was elected again was for Egypt to have no legislature at all.

In my view Morsi and the Brotherhood leadership bear a good deal of the blame for derailing the transition, since a democratic transition is a pact among various political forces, and he broke the pact. If Morsi was what democracy looked like, many Egyptians did not want it. Gallup polls trace this disillusionment.

Presidential approval decreasing during a term in office is far from grounds for a coup. Egypt's voters were asked directly not only about democracy, but about what constitution they wanted, they chose almost 2 to 1 to support what the Muslim Brothers presented.

If support for the Brothers had really waned, then secularists could have won the parliamentary elections scheduled for Spring 2013. Instead they announced they would boycott those elections and the court cancelled them at the same time secularists, military and court officials were planning a coup.

Gallup polls may be more trustworthy in the United States than in Egypt, despite their particularly poor recent performances in the US, but in no way can Gallup polls supersede Egyptian elections as indicators of the will of the Egyptian people. Boycotting and cancelling elections concedes that the anti-Muslim Brotherhood forces did not believe they had the support of the Egyptian people.

The ultimate reason for the Court and opposition's refusal to participate in the democratically scheduled election to restore a legitimate elected legislature was and is commonly well understood. "Whether or not the opposition boycotts, the Islamists probably would win a parliamentary majority."

What are see in Egypt is not two sides both failing a transition to democracy but rather the segments of Egypt's society closest to the West, closest to Western commentators and closest to the US establishment that for decades has been giving $1.5 billion openly to the Egyptian military and then secretly directing additional funds in bribes to Egyptian military and ruling personnel deciding, all along in coordination with US officials, that they do not approve of Egypt's voters' choices for the leadership of Egypt.

There has never been any indication that Morsi had any plans to avoid election when his constitutionally provided term was over, or that he would fail to step aside if he lost. One side in this dispute, the side that directly receives funds from the US government, has consistently taken tangible steps to evade the will of the people expressed by elections. Cole has consistently offered support for these tangible anti-democratic steps. The other side, the Muslim Brothers, has never acted to limit the sovereignty of Egypt's voters, but has been on the winning side of all six post-Mubarak elections: the immediate changes to the constitution, the lower house elections, the first and second rounds of the presidential election, the upper house election and the constitutional referendum.

Mohamed Morsi was (and actually is) the rightful elected President of Egypt with only the powers Egypt's voters granted him according to the Egyptian constitution. He has not acted any more dictatorially than Barack Obama in the United States and was always subject not only to reelection, but to recall and impeachment processes that would begin in the legislature, if Egypt's voters elected representatives who believed he should not serve his full term. Claims of authoritarianism or theocracy have always been unsupportable nonsense in the face of a clear opposing record. Cole describes the process of Egypt's voters deciding that the Muslim Brothers should be in power as a "slow motion coup" ultimately because he does not respect the right of Muslims to choose their own leaders and policies.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Why do they hate us? The dispute between the West and the Muslim world

To the question of what causes what Westerners call Islamic terrorism, George Bush famously and stupidly issued the answer: "They hate us because of our values." In the wake of the accused killing of a soldier Lee Rigby by Michael Adebolago and Michael Adebowale in England, we may ask, what is the real answer to that question?

There is a real dispute between the world's more than one billion Muslims and the West, led by the United States and the office of the US presidency held by Barack Obama. In that dispute, the West is really on the side of bigotry and racism while the Muslim world is really on the side of human equality. It is a dispute Westerners usually do not think about, but when they think about it, they lie to themselves and each other. Westerners lie because in this dispute, the West is opposing its own claimed values and ideals.

The object of the dispute is the question: Should there be a majority Jewish state in Palestine? Barack Obama believes the answer is yes. When that question has been directly put to non-Jewish populations in Israel's region, most non-Jewish people in the region answer no.

Here is a poll of Iran taken in 2009, for example:

18. Level of agreement - The state of Israel is illegitimate and should not exist.

Strong Agreement: 51.9%
Mild Agreement: 14.6% (total agree, 66.5%)
Neutral: 21.1%
Mild Disagreement: 4.6%
Strong Disagreement: 3.9% (total disagree 8.5%)
Barack Obama believes there should be a Jewish state in Palestine in much the same way Ronald Reagan believed there should be a white state in South Africa. In both cases, that was a disagreement with most of the people in the respective regions.

South Africa created a fiction where it described territory under its control as bantustans, formally independent states where Africans could vote, but that would leave the South African government with a white political majority even if it allowed a small number of black voters to remain in South Africa.

Nelson Mandela's ANC took the position: no political majority white state in South Africa. White South Africans will have to live under majority Black rule. Any white South Africans for whom living under Black rule would be such an indignity as to be impossible should leave.

Ronald Reagan sided with White South Africans as they tried to transition their system of denying the vote to Black people to one in which Black people would be allowed to vote, but in subjugated states that for security purposes would be dominated by a state whose government was to have a designed white majority.

Today Barack Obama sides with Jewish Israelis in their attempt to create and pressure the Palestinians to accept that situation rejected by Nelson Mandela and the ANC. A subjugated, controlled, and for security purposes, non-sovereign non-Jewish state created to formally allow non-Jews to vote while maintaining by design a Jewish majority state.

The core disagreement over the question of should there be a Jewish state in Palestine leads the West, the United States, Barack Obama to policies that are unconscionable by supposed Western values, even if necessary to maintain a Jewish state in a region where most people do not believe there should be a Jewish state.

Hamas - an organization that, like most Palestinian voters and most people in the region, does not believe Israel is legitimate and should exist - won the most recent Palestinian election. To punish the people for voting for Hamas, Israel's leadership announced that territory under Hamas control would be put on a diet.

Barack Obama supports limiting Palestinian access to food and uses US political and diplomatic resources to limit Turkish efforts against it and to coerce Egypt to cooperate with the embargo over Palestinian territory. Children in Gaza are hungry today because of the diet Barack Obama supports on behalf of Israel. Most people in Western countries that support that policy are comfortably unaware of the ongoing pain the West is imposing on that large population of civilians.

The United States is directing the distribution of weapons to a civil war in Syria that now that has killed tens of thousands of people.

One of the directors of US policy in the region, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman favors removing Bashar Assad from power claiming Assad plays an "extremely negative role in the region". What is this extremely negative role? According to Feltman, Syria under the Assad government supports Hezbollah, which with its allies won the popular vote in Lebanon's elections and is an ally of Iran, which Israel has identified as its primary strategic threat because of Iranian policies that are supported by the Iranian population.

Supporting a civil war in Syria, when it was first contemplated, would have been expected to lead to tens of thousands of deaths. As it has. Barack Obama has decided that reducing support for Hezbollah and Iran, despite the popularity of Hezbollah's and Iran's anti-Israel policies, is worth tens of thousands of lives in Syria. Most Westerners are totally oblivious to these deaths, promoted by their governments ultimately on Israel's behalf.

Everything Iran and Syria do to play, using Feltman's words, an extremely negative role in the region, would be done, with more resources and at least in some ways in concert with Iran and Syria by many of the states in the region if their governments were accountable to their own people. Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and others would support anti-Israel groups and would work to end Israel's military dominance of the region. The United States supports dictatorships over these countries to prevent them from taking popular measures that Barack Obama and Jeffrey Feltman would consider negative but that their own people would consider positive.

Outside of Israel's region, the United States is able to achieve its strategic and political goals with governments that have some degree of popular accountability. Israel's region, and Israel's inherent strategic vulnerability uniquely requires US ongoing support for the world's last remaining string of dictatorships directly descended from the colonial era.

Saudi Arabia in particular could base modern air defense systems on its territory that could reach Israeli airspace and deny Israel air superiority in any conflict. It could quickly reach a Japan-like nuclear posture that without actually building nuclear weapons would neutralize Israel's regional nuclear monopoly. It could also supply anti-Israel fighters with levels of armaments greater than those currently available to anti-Syrian fighters which would probably make living under Arab rule preferable for most Jewish Israelis than continuing to fight an active and indefinite insurgency.

The US' express commitment that Israel must alone have military superiority over all of its neighbors put together by itself requires a pro-US dictatorship in Saudi Arabia. That country must be ruled by a government that, unlike the people of Saudi Arabia accepts Israeli military superiority. Saudi Arabia spends more than three times as much on weapons as Israel every year. A Saudi Arabia which was accountable to its people rather than to the US would not cooperate with this open commitment by the US and would be impervious to some of the tools of coercion such as IMF loans that the US is now trying to use to control Egypt's policies after Hosni Mubarak, its pro-US dictator has been removed.

Saudi Arabia under its current pro-US colonial style dictatorship does not pose even as great a threat to Israel as Iran does because the foreign policy of Saudi Arabia is determined by people accountable to Barack Obama and Jeffrey Feltman but not accountable to the nearly 30 million people of Saudi Arabia. For Obama, dictatorship for those 30 million Arabs is an acceptable price to maintain an ethnic majority for fewer than 6 million Jewish people in Israel.

Barack Obama and Jeffrey Feltman disagree with the people of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and other countries on a key question: should there be a Jewish state. Because of that disagreement they work for the West to maintain hegemon-subordinate relationships with these countries that are remnants of the colonial era. Most Westerners are not aware of the string of effective colonies the US supports ruling tens of millions of Arab people on Israel's behalf.

The United States uses drones to attack in their homes people in organizations that oppose Zionism and the string of colonial-style dictatorships the US maintains on Israel's behalf. Victims of these attacks include US citizens and hundreds of children. Westerners are largely aware of the drones, but not that the children dying from them have been killed to ensure that fewer than six million Jewish people in Israel never suffer the indignity of living under non-Jewish rule.

The United States is supporting hunger, death and dictatorships throughout the Middle East ultimately on behalf of Israel. The dispute over whether or not there should be a Jewish state extends to be a dispute about whether or not civil war should be imposed on populations whose governments reflect their people's views on Israel. The dispute extends to whether or not Arab children should have limited access to food. The dispute extends to whether or not people in Israel's region in resourceful or strategic states should have governments accountable to them.

Barack Obama has taken the thoroughly racist proposition that fewer than six million Jewish people avoiding the fate of White South Africans is worth tens of millions of people who are not Jewish being ruled by dictatorship, millions of people going hungry, tens of thousands of people being killed in civil war, hundreds of innocent people being directly killed by American airstrikes and many other forms of damage and destruction that the US is committed to in the region on Israel's behalf.

The position that a designed Jewish majority state in Palestine is worth the misery continuously imposed on non-Jews, mostly Muslims, in the region to maintain its viability is no more defensible within the value system Westerners claim to uphold than the position that a designed White majority state in South Africa was worth the required misery for non-whites.

Westerners routinely ignore, lie about and evade issues related to Israel in the Middle East because their positions cannot be defended according to the values they themselves claim. George Bush and Barack Obama have never openly asserted that Jewish lives and interests are vastly more important than those of people who are not Jewish in the Middle East. They have consistently harmed huge numbers of people in accord with that belief that they do not admit they hold. But people are continuously dying over this Western bigotry whether Westerners openly state those views or not.

That is the real dispute between the West and the Muslim world. In that dispute, the West, even according to the values it claims to hold, is wrong.

If Barack Obama and George Bush were smarter and more honest they would have answered, "They hate us because we - supposed liberals or conservatives, democrats or republicans - are sanctioning, killing, starving, maintaining dictatorships and sanctioning millions of Arabs and Muslims on behalf of Israel."

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The case against Israel, or why Israel should not exist

If a state was created by atrocities, etc, as Israel was, that does not lead to the conclusion that it should not exist. A hypothetical country with a pristine origin and history still does not have a right to exist. "Right to exist" itself is a term I've almost only seen used in pro-Israel propaganda. Can you think of a context other than Zionism where the term "right to exist" has even been used?

But Israel is not viable without the active oppression, today, of hundreds of millions of people in the Middle East who are not Jewish.

Iran is the most important strategic threat to Israel. The policies that make Iran threatening to Israel: its refusal to recognize or maintain ties with Israel, its support for anti-Israel groups and its efforts to increase its military capabilities are all popular with the Iranian people (PDF link).

Saudi Arabia has more money than Iran and is closer, and if the people of that country could vote, they would vote for a government that is has hostile to Israel as Iran is, or more. Israel would not be viable if Saudi Arabia was as actively hostile to Zionism as Iran is.

To avoid that, the United States supports a dictatorship over Saudi Arabia's almost 30 million people. The United States does not need the dictatorship to sell oil. A democracy in Saudi Arabia would still sell oil. The United States needs a dictatorship to refrain from using the proceeds of oil sales to threaten Israel. A democracy in Saudi Arabia would not do that. The pro-US dictatorships over the tens of millions of people in Jordan, UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and others in the Middle East in the same way are ultimately maintained today for the sake of Israel.

The United States is a hegemonic power that disregards and acts against the interests of people, especially poor people, all over the world, but it only requires a string of friendly colonial-style dictatorships in Israel's region. The US requires this string of dictatorships in Israel's region because without them Israel is not viable.

Aside, Iran would also have no problem selling oil to the US. The US blocks Iran's oil industry because, and only because, Iran uses or would use the proceeds of its oil sales to support anti-Israel groups. Historically the US oil lobby once competed against the US Israel lobby in an attempt to participate in Iran's oil industry. The oil lobby was defeated in a humiliating fashion.

Another aside, Iran believes it has the right under the NPT to have the same nuclear capabilities countries like Japan have - which is to say while Japan has no weapon, it could build one in an emergency. Israel cannot tolerate other countries in its region even having NPT safeguarded legal Japan-like capabilities. Current US diplomatic efforts against Iran are motivated by this proposition.

Back to Israel. Most people in Israel's region consider Israel an injustice. That does not mean those most people in Israel's region hate Jews, any more than the African opposition to Apartheid South Africa could be explained by hatred for white people. But just as Americans offered rationalizations and justifications for US support for Apartheid South Africa that were not compelling to Black audiences; Israeli, American and other Western arguments for the necessity of Israel as a political majority Jewish state are reasonably not compelling to Middle Eastern audiences.

I'll point out that both Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hassan Nasrallah have said that they favor Zionism ending by elections which put in place majority Muslim governments, not by killing anyone. That is how Apartheid ended. Supporters of Israel have a strong interest, because they disagree with the idea of Zionism ending the way Apartheid did, to present opponents of Zionism as more menacing and less reasonable then they are.

For the United States, in the face of the reasonable opposition of most of the people of the Middle East, maintaining Israel requires the active oppression, today, of the hundreds of millions of people in the region who are not Jewish.

For one example, the sanctions, invasion and occupation of Iraq that killed well over half a million Iraqi children would not have been necessary except that a powerful Iraq would threaten Israel more than Iran is acknowledged to today.

Again, the threat Iraq posed to the pro-US oil dictatorships, to the questionable degree that such a threat is real, is only threatening because the US needs those dictatorships for their cooperation with Israel, their refrain from using their resources to oppose Israel. The US does not need dictatorships to sell oil.

The United States did not kill half a million Iraqi children for oil. The United States killed those children for Israel.

To sum up, Israel should not exist as a majority Jewish state not directly because its creation was illegal and immoral. Israel should not exist because its existence as a political majority Jewish state requires the active oppression, right now, of hundreds of millions of people who are not Jewish on behalf of fewer than six million Jewish Israelis.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Congratulations Egypt on passing a constitution

I would have written a more secular constitution than Egypt's Constituent Assembly did. I would have, more importantly to me, given an entire committee of elected civilians oversight of Egypt's military budget, establishing at least as much civilian control over the military as exists in the United States. To top that off, I would have written into the constitution that foreign contributions to the military especially from former colonial hegemons such as the United States must be visible to the public.

But I don't vote in Egypt's elections. The people of Egypt do, and all indications are that Egyptians have written and approved by a substantial margin a constitution that fits their values and priorities, rather than Barack Obama's, Juan Cole's, Tom Friedman's values or even my values and priorities.

Cole might say that there should have been more secular representation in the Constituent Assembly. There in that case might exist a difference of opinion between Cole and the people of Egypt over exactly what is the right amount of secular representation in a constitution-writing body. A colonialist would propose that if the people of Egypt and Juan Cole, a US citizen, disagree about what would represent a reasonable distribution of power between secularists and religionists, Cole's position, rather than that of Egypt's voters, should prevail. No reader of this blog by now could be surprised that Juan Cole takes exactly that colonialist position.

But after decades of being ruled on behalf of the government Cole votes for, Egypt is coming to be ruled on behalf of Egypt's voters themselves. That is a great step forward, and the squawking we hear from supposedly liberal and supposedly conservative commentators in the West criticising Egypt's democratic process despite the election results is actually evidence of what a significant step forward it is.

Congratulations to all of the people of Egypt.

Also congratulations to Egypt's Muslim Brothers. They have campaigned or lobbied on the most popular sides of six elections post Mubarak now. The first constitutional amendments, the People's Assembly, the Shura Council, two rounds of Presidential elections and now the constitutional referendum.

The people of Egypt have clearly expressed faith in this group of people to set Egypt's policies. I send them all of my best wishes and hopes that they prove worthy of this faith that they've been shown by the people of Egypt.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

"Near fatal blows" to a two state solution

So Israel is building more settlements. These settlements are in areas that if annexed apparently would make a continuous Palestinian state in the West Bank impossible. That would be according to every Western commentator I've seen on the issue an almost fatal blow to hopes for two states. Here's the New York Times with one example:

So far this week, Mr. Netanyahu’s hard-line government, defying the Western powers, has approved construction of more than 6,000 new housing units. The approvals follow an announcement late last month that Israel would continue planning for new development in the E1 area — a project northeast of Jerusalem that would split the West Bank and prevent the creation of a viable contiguous Palestinian state. Ban Ki-moon, the secretary general of the United Nations, has called this project an “almost fatal blow” to a two-state solution.
Really quickly, first of course, Israel is not viable without US support. The US has to maintain a string of colonial dictatorships throughout Israel's region, has to impose bombings, sanctions and civil wars on countries outside of that string of colonies and if it was to stop, Israel would be forced to either negotiate a South-Africa style settlement that would end Zionism, or it would fight and lose wars against the countries in its region and accept such a settlement ending Zionism after.

So Israel cannot and does not actually defy Western powers. If Barack Obama told Netanyahu that these settlements would result in the US withdrawing its support for Zionism, Netanyahu would halt the settlements. Without US support not only would the settlements not be possible, but Israel as a Jewish state in a region of US-controlled stooge dictatorships such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, UAE, Bahrain and others would not be possible.

But beyond that, I find humor in the idea that these blows are "nearly fatal". That raises the question of when would claimed hopes for a two state solution actually die, what would have to happen for a blow to those hopes to be fatal, as opposed to nearly fatal?

The answer to this question as I've said in this blog before is that the point of these hopes for a two state solution is not for there ever to actually be two states, but to allow Israel's supporters to pretend that they are not as evil as they are.

Barack Obama supports Israel restricting the access children in Gaza have to food. That is a disgusting policy, even by the values Obama claims to uphold. But because of hopes for a two state solution, Obama tells himself and those who'll listen to him that this policy is only temporary. A two state solution is around the corner after which children in Gaza will be able to eat what they want, their parents will be able to produce goods and export them.

Instead of a reflection of Obama's racist idea that Jewish children in Israel are more important than Arab children in Gaza, the siege is a temporary sacrifice to hopes for a two state solution. The purpose of these hopes is to shield people like Barack Obama from the implications of their own pro-Jewish racism.

So are these settlements really almost fatal blows to these hopes? These hopes were never real enough to live or die. States with tens of millions of people live under pro-US dictatorships and will have to be under US control forever if Israel is to remain viable as a Jewish state.

How is fewer than six million Jewish people having an enforced Jewish political majority state more important than over 40 million mostly Muslim people in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain and others having policy makers who are accountable to their voters? Because Barack Obama and other supporters of Israel are religious bigots who devalue Muslim people as human beings in service to Zionism.

Hopes for a two state solution are how they lie to themselves and to each other to disguise the anti-Arab racism and anti-Muslim bigotry inherent in their support for Israel. These hopes will not die or nearly die because of any settlement building. The impulse and need to lie to themselves and each other about their bigotry that fuels these supposed hopes for a two state solution are only growing stronger as Israel becomes more vulnerable.

But back to the Times, here is another funny passage:

Since the 1993 Oslo Accords, hopes for Mideast peace have envisioned two states, for two peoples, living side by side in security. But there is increasing talk now of a one-state future, which would be disastrous to both sides. By absorbing the West Bank, Israel would risk its character as a Jewish state because Israeli Jews could become a minority in their own country. Israelis would also have to decide whether to give Palestinians equal rights, the denial of which would harm Israel’s standing as a democracy.
One state would be disastrous to both sides? The New York Times describes how the process of losing an enforced ethnic political majority state that White South Africans went through as a disaster for Israeli Jews, but where is the explanation of how it would be a disaster for the Arabs and Muslims? And if it's only a disaster for one side, why say both?

Westerners, liberal to conservative, just have a huge fog of lies that they tell themselves and each other especially about the Middle East and Zionism. If they were to stop lying, it would be more than a fatal blow to the supposed hopes for a two state solution.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Not rooting for Morsi, but rooting for democracy

To be clear again, I don't think of myself as necessarily a fan of Morsi - even though I am impressed that he is doing a good job preventing the SCAF from delivering the "monopoly over many aspects of foreign affairs" that it was until this summer very confident it could give the US.

I'm a fan of the people of Egypt selecting a leader, and selecting representatives in Parliament and that ruler and those representatives serving until the next election, held when the rules say they will be held, then Egypt's voters can choose again. I'm also a fan of the people the Egyptians select being the actual people who make policy in their country, as opposed to unelected groups carving out monopolies to serve foreign interests.

If we saw that in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain and the other US colonies in the region then Zionism would not be viable, Iran would be maybe the fourth or fifth biggest threat to Israel's security, Israel would probably sue for peace the way the White South Africans did and a tremendous amount of misery in the forms of sanctions, stooge dictatorships, captured political officials, annulments of parliaments, drone strikes, blockades, invasions and imposed civil wars in that region would be averted.

I'm much less concerned with the names of the leaders or their parties. I don't root for any party, I just root for voters to decide and for the elected officials to have true policy making authority while being accountable to their own people.

The United States and the West - because of Zionism - oppose that and alongside that cause almost immeasurable amounts of pain and destruction throughout the region of the Middle East. That's why the United States is a horribly evil country measured on the basis of its own proclaimed values.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Egypt's judiciary admitted it does not want voters to control Egypt's policy

Just as background to the current conflict in Egypt, I want to point to an article that results from statements a high Egyptian judicial official made that were accessed by the New York Times:
Judge Gebali said her own direct contacts with the generals began in May last year, after a demonstration by mostly liberal and secular activists demanding a Constitution or at least a bill of rights before elections. “This changed the vision of the military council,” she said. “It had thought that the only popular power in the street was the Muslim Brotherhood.”

It was also around that time, Judge Gebali said, that she began helping the military-led government draft a set of binding constitutional ground rules. The rules protected civil liberties, she said, but also explicitly granted the military autonomy from any oversight, as well as a permanent power to intervene in politics. “The military council accepted it, and agreed to issue a ‘constitutional declaration’ with it,” she said.

... Egyptian jurists now say that the generals effectively planted a booby trap in the parliamentary elections by leaving them vulnerable to judicial negation at any time — if the generals allowed previous precedents to apply.

... The decision “is in the drawers of the constitutional court, and it could be taken out at any time,” Prime Minister Kamal el-Ganzouri told Parliament’s speaker, Saad el-Katatni of the Muslim Brotherhood, as Mr. Katatni recalled in March from the floor of Parliament.
I also want to make sure readers of this blog understand that the Constitutional Court was prepared to rule on December 2 that the Constituent Assembly should be dissolved because it was emplaced by the Parliament that it dissolved earlier:
The Supreme Constitutional Court set 2 December to issue a ruling on the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly tasked with drafting a new constitution.

Two lawsuits filed against the assembly demanded annulling the law issued on 12 July by the dissolved People's Assembly laying out criteria for the selection of the current Constituent Assembly members.

Deputy head of the Supreme Constitutional Court Maher Samy told MENA that two lawsuits filed against the assembly demand its dissolution for being based on a law issued by the dissolved People's Assembly.

Both lawsuits, according to Samy, contend that the Constituent Assembly constitutes an obstacle to the implementation of the ruling of the Supreme Constitutional Court issued in June annulling the parliamentary elections law and dissolving the People's Assembly.
The crisis in Egypt is caused by a judiciary that openly does not believe Egypt's voters should control Egypt's military and therefore Egypt's foreign policy. Many in the United States, ultimately on Israel's behalf, agree with this counter-democratic idea held by Egyptian court officials, people such as Juan Cole, Jimmy Carter, Barack Obama, Thomas Friedman and the entire mainstream US foreign policy community.

It is easily predictable even if outrageous to see Americans project their own hostility against democracy in Egypt onto Morsi. So far, Morsi is innocent.

I'll also point to a statement of support for Morsi from Egypt's Nour Party:
"The president's decisions did not come out of the blue; it is clear to anyone following recent political events that there have been attempts to lead the country into a state of lawlessness," Nour Party spokesman Nader Bakkar stated.

He pointed in particular to the dissolution this summer of Egypt's democratically elected parliament based on a ruling by Egypt's High Constitutional Court.

The party spokesman asserted that the recent replacement of Prosecutor-General Abdel-Maguid Mahmoud – who, according to Bakkar, "had stood against the revolution" – with Judge Talaat Abdullah, "has given hope to the families of the revolution's martyrs, after everyone had accused the president of not doing enough to attain martyrs' rights."

Bakkar went on to warn against opposition calls to dissolve the Constituent Assembly (tasked with drafting a new constitution) and Shura Council (the upper, consultative house of parliament) and for President Morsi to step down.

"How can we allow a handful of individuals and political forces – which don't represent the people – to bring an end to all state institutions?" he asked.
I think that's well said, and I suspect a lot more people in Egypt agree with that statement than one might imagine reading twitters aimed at English-speaking audiences.

A note about Egypt: Outsiders who respect democracy will support the Islamists

The most important threat to colonialism - especially in the Middle East where the people of the United States have a vehement disagreement with the people of the region about Israel - is policy-makers who are accountable to voters.

You can bribe either Mubarak or Morsi, as long as there is nobody to compete with them for reelection who has an incentive to investigate and expose the corruption. It is much more expensive, in fact impossible for the US to bribe a majority of Egypt's more than 50 million voters.

So what's important is that there is a competitive process for control of foreign policy, and that the results of that competitive political process are respected.

So once a side wins a contested election, as long as it does not abolish future elections, there is no such thing as being over-supportive of that side. The people of Egypt support Morsi and a large Islamist majority in Parliament. Who I support is irrelevant compared to that.

The US embassy has recently begun tweeting that no one group in Egypt should have too much power. "We want to see the constitutional process in #Egypt move forward in a way that does not overly concentrate power in one set of hands". Somebody in the State Department, rather than Egypt's voters should, according to the US, decide how much power is too much and who should hold it. Not only did this principle never apply to Mubarak, but today this principle does not apply to the pro-US colonial dictatorships of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain, Kuwait, UAE and others. This is just an example of Americans across the political spectrum lying about the Middle East.

In countries close to Israel, the United States structurally cannot get the kind of cooperation it needs for Israel's security from voters. So it needs foreign policy to be outside of the control of the electorate, the way it has been in Turkey, though in Turkey responsibility for foreign policy is, in theory, slowly reverting to effective control by elected officials.

Turkey, when its foreign policy was fully controlled by the military and unaccountable to voters, is the exact model today proposed for Egypt by Juan Cole, and more or less openly by other US officials and commentators. To Cole that's good enough for Arabs and Muslims. If foreign policy is not under control of the voters, that's ok because eventually it may be in the future. For now the US Embassy should determine Egypt's foreign policy.

Cole is a pure anti-Muslim and anti-Arab bigot, so is Barack Obama. They are supposed liberals who represent what is disgusting about the United States. Cole lies and says the reason he wants the army to control foreign policy is to protect minorities. What does the army have to do with women's rights? How many women's rights were there under Mubarak - who Cole described as unproblematic for the US? Disgusting. I've talked about that too long already, but that is the mainstream foreign policy view of the United States.

Back to democracy. Egyptians are in Egypt. They have the close view of all of the details they need to figure out the way to manage all aspects of policy, including foreign policy, most consistent with their own values. I don't know how they will solve the problem of Egypt's seemingly structural external dependency but they'll do a better job of solving it than I could from far away.

All they need are politicians who are accountable to them, not to the US Embassy and a little time.

Qatar is a US colony today. Qatar makes a lot of pledges. Those pledges are actually fulfilled if Qatar gets US permission to fulfill them. One day Qatar will be democratic but until then, pledges of support from Qatar mean no more and no less than the pledges Egypt has already gotten from the US and Europe. They are a problem, but the people of Egypt can and will solve those problems better than I could.

The question, as always, is will Egypt get a constitution that puts foreign policy under the control of voters. Juan Cole opposes that. Jimmy Carter opposes that. Thomas Friedman opposes that. The US state department, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama oppose that. All because the United States is an evil nation. They'll all come up with different rationales, but look at how each of them supported Mubarak yesterday, and how each of them supports Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Jordan today.

A competitive electoral process in Egypt whose winner will control foreign policy. The US opposes it. The SCAS opposes it. The SCAS-courts oppose it. US non-official commentators oppose it. The Muslim Brothers have no reason to oppose it, especially now, after showing that they represent a majority of Egyptians. I've seen no indication that they or Morsi do in fact oppose it.

But until the people of Egypt stop voting for the Islamists, outsiders who respect democracy will support the Islamists.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

If you want to be disgusted by American colonialism in the Middle East, Tom Friedman is always a good place to go

I thought I had earlier written here about Thomas Friedman as the author of the Middle East peace initiative, presented as coming from Saudi Arabia, but fairly openly dictated by Friedman himself. Looking into the archives, I didn't find it so I'll link to Friedman's earlier columns now.

Friedman's February 6, 2002 letter to the rulers of Arab states:
You need to face up to something: Ehud Barak gave us an Israeli peace plan, however rough. Bill Clinton then followed up with an American peace plan. Now is the time for an Arab peace plan. No more you guys sitting back complaining about everyone else's peace plans. It's time for you to put on the table not only what you want from Israel -- an end to occupation -- but what you collectively are ready to give in return.
Friedman in February 17, 2002 describing the response to his letter in a private audience with Saudi Prince Abdullah:
After I laid out this idea, the crown prince looked at me with mock astonishment and said, ''Have you broken into my desk?''

''No,'' I said, wondering what he was talking about.

''The reason I ask is that this is exactly the idea I had in mind -- full withdrawal from all the occupied territories, in accord with U.N. resolutions, including in Jerusalem, for full normalization of relations,'' he said. ''I have drafted a speech along those lines. ''
It goes without saying that this is not how independent countries make or publicize changes in policy. We'll never see an American journalist make a policy demand of China, then travel to China to be told "that's just what I was thinking". Or even Uruguay. Especially a policy that the people of the country reject about four to one. I consider this the best recent illustration of Saudi Arabia's status as a US colony.

A person like Juan Cole reflects American colonialism - he presents arguments similar to those of other people like who think like him to justify the US' ability to set policy rather than the people of Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, UAE and others for their own countries but he does not implement the policies himself. A person like Barack Obama directly implements American colonialism. Obama openly says the United States will do everything in its power to secure Israel. Some of the things in the US' power have been to support pro-US colonial dictatorships in the countries listed above and probably also to non-publicly orchestrate things such as civil wars in Syria and Libya and the June 2012 dismissal of the Egyptian parliament by vestiges of the Egypt's pro-US dictatorship.

Friedman is somewhere in between Cole and Obama. Probably more influential than Cole, less directly involved in the implementation of colonialism than Obama. All three, when they do speak or write in public, sound essentially the same. Which brings us to Friedman's recent op-ed about Egypt in the context of Israel's attacks on Gaza. In every important way, it could have been written by any of the three or by any American or even western colonialist.

Friedman presents this wrong, bizarre but commonly held by Americans idea that China is an example of rational foreign policy while Iran or Hamas are not.
Hamas, by getting embroiled in a missile duel with Israel and then calling on Arab countries for support, particularly Egypt, was testing Cairo as much as Israel. And the question Hamas was posing to Egyptians was simple: Did Egypt have a democratic revolution last year to become more like Iran or more like China?
Many countries make sacrifices for objectives that are not purely strategic. Not least the United States that describes its support for Israel as sacrosanct - a religious term - and whose commercial oil interests were humiliated when they tried to oppose the American pro-Israel lobby. The US' trillion dollar invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as its maintenance of a string of colonies in the region in direct opposition to the US' own professed founding values are ultimately sacrifices the US makes for Israel, those sacrifices are the US acting like a cause instead of a responsible country. The cause being Zionism and the bigoted proposition that fewer than six million Jews avoiding the fate of White South Africans is worth any cost imposed on hundreds of millions of non-Jews in their region.

China does have good economic relations with the US - as long as and only as long as the US does not cross lines such as to even recognize an independent Taiwan. Mainstream US political leaders claim they are willing to jump into a ditch with rifles and fight and die to defend Israel. Fortunately for the US and China, nothing comparable has ever been the case regarding an issue the people of China feel strongly about. The Chinese opening to the US simply would not have happened if the US political system had been distorted in favor of Taiwan in 1970 as it was distorted in support of Israel then or as it is today.

If the US was willing to abandon recognition of Israel, it could have relations at least as close with Iran, with Egypt or with theoretical representative and popularly accountable governments in what are now the US colonies of Jordan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE and others and throughout the Middle East as it has with China. The United States is not willing to do that. The United States, Obama, Cole and Friedman would prefer to see colonialism, sanctions and civil war throughout the region than see Jews in Israel live under non-Jewish rule the way White South Africans do. But that's American irrationality, not Iranian, Egyptian or Palestinian.

Friedman says that Morsi should take up his peace initiative and bring it to Israel. The terms of that peace initiative are not popular in any Arab state, but the Saudi dictatorship still took the hint. Fortunately Egypt, though its parliament was dissolved after decreeing that Israel is its number one enemy, has a leadership emerging that is accountable to the Egyptian people, unlike Saudi Arabia, whose leadership is accountable to Juan Cole, Barack Obama and Thomas Friedman.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Of course Morsi is more legitimate than the pro-US dictatorship's judges

In an absolutely breathtaking move, in June 2012 the Hosni Mubarak-appointed Egyptian Constitutional court voided the parliamentary elections and dismissed Egypt's legislature because, like Juan Cole and most Americans, it was uncomfortable with the amount of Islamists the people of Egypt voted for.

Until last week, the constituent assembly worked to write a new constitution for Egypt under the threat that this body's efforts to write an Egyptian constitution could be, in a sweep, nullified by the remaining remnants of the Mubarak government in Egypt's judicial branch. Egypt's constitutional court is a throwback to the era when Egypt was ruled by Hosni Mubarak on behalf of the United States. When Barack Obama had more influence over Egypt's policy than the people of Egypt.

Israel was probably fortunate that there was no Egyptian legislature during its recent attacks on Gaza. If future attacks happen when an elected legislature is in place, the result will likely be, by parliamentary declaration, the free movement of people and goods into and out of Gaza through Egypt, in other words, the end of the blockade where Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu are conspiring to limit the access Palestinian men, women and children have to food, to calories, to punish them for voting for a political party that does not recognize Israel.

We don't publicly know what role the US embassy played in orchestrating the dissolution of Egypt's parliament. We do know that the US foreign policy community approved of it and defied any semblance of democratic ideals to justify it. Hillary Clinton and the US state department expressed no disapproval but hoped to see Egypt continue on the path to democracy despite the parliament the Egyptian people voted for being dissolved, their votes being thrown away en mass.

Since that time, in a critical counter-move Egypt's president Mohamed Morsi accepted the sudden resignation of interim stooge dictator Mohamed Tantawi, took legislative prerogatives away from the Army and put new leaders into key positions in the armed forces. I wondered at the time why he resigned and I still wonder. It crosses my mind that it is plausible that Morsi has information that would make it impossible for Tantawi to fight to maintain power - information such as details about corruption in his relationship with the United States - and Tantawi resigned with honor rather than try to fight to stay on.

One way or another, if the United States is unable to convince Egypt's military to recapture political power or the military is unable to do so, a constitution will be produced by spring 2013, Egypt's people will vote to approve it in a referendum and the era of US control of Egyptian policy will come to a final end.

The United States is still a filthy nation, a country that would impose hunger and malnutrition on the children of Gaza forever if it could. A nation that funds and promotes civil wars that kill tens of thousands of people in countries in the region that otherwise might theoretically threaten Israel. A nation that still and without an inkling of remorse continues to hold Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, UAE and others under the yoke of colonialism on Israel's behalf today. A country that claims to hold democracy as its founding value but whose supposed liberals out of pure bigotry believe that completely throwing out entire Egyptian elections because the wrong party won is close enough to democracy for Arabs and Muslims.

But the United States' may not succeed in preventing the people of Egypt from regaining control of Egyptian policy. Mohamed Morsi, in decreeing that the constitutional assembly appointed by the elected representatives of the Egyptian people cannot be dissolved by the remnants of Egypt's previous pro-US dictatorship, is saying that the political groups that have won Egyptian elections (all three elections so far, and also every round of each of them, eight rounds in total), not the party that has won elections in the United States, will decide the policies of Egypt.

If Egypt can become free, that will be a great thing. Of course by now the US embassy is furiously working behind the scenes to prevent Egypt from producing political institutions outside of US control. Juan Cole and the US public foreign policy community are, I expect, cheerleading and justifying that effort.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Brad Delong hates communism, isn't clear on why

I'm still not posting much these days.  Not that anything is wrong, but recently I've found myself too angry at U.S. policy in the Middle East for it to be healthy for me to concentrate on it.

In the meantime, I've been leaving minor comments on other blogs, and I'm still putting here comments that blog owners decide they don't want their readers to see.

Here's one from Brad DeLong's blog.  DeLong republished a book review from years ago where he criticizes Eric Hobsbawm for not sharing his hatred of communism and writing a book that reflects Hobsbawm's admiration of communism's ideals rather than DeLong's animus.

I admit I don't have a good understanding of Brad DeLong's animosity against communism.

I'd define communism, or the common thread of DeLong's examples of communism, as redistributionist non-democracy.

DeLong makes the empirical observation that redistributionist non-democracies have led to bad outcomes.

The question still remains, what part of the bad outcomes results from flaws of redistributionism, what part results from non-democracy and what part results from the capitalist world's executing a conflict with them?

DeLong seems, but not explicitly, to assign all of the blame for the bad outcomes on redistributionism.

He doesn't assign the all of the blame explicitly because it would be silly to claim that none, none of the problems in Cuba or even North Korea are caused by the US' and its allies' efforts against those countries.

Also the US has paid to overthrow democracies, and has plenty of money to continue to do so.  DeLong seems to leave out of his story that at least part of the non-democratic tendencies of redistributionist governments has been a defensive reaction to the US and the capitalist world's tactic of funding and elevating opposition forces to destabilize their countries.

DeLong clearly thinks "communism" is evil.  But he isn't clear what part of it.  From DeLong we see that communist governments just so happen to have led to bad outcomes, but DeLong does not show that these bad outcomes are ultimately caused by a philosophical defect rather than circumstance.

In fact, what exactly is the philosophical defect, if there is one?

Beyond that, as an American, DeLong greatly benefits from the place the United States has in the hierarchy of nations.  There is something self-interested, and maybe sinister, about his claim that countries that challenge the hierarchy of nations he benefits from are engaging in unmitigated evil.