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Archive for January 30th, 2011

Well, there goes my trip to the pyramids. So now we are all living in De Nile.

As protests rage across Egypt, the United States has found itself in a bizarre position of having to defend a 30-year dictatorship in the person of Hosni Mubarak. As people like Hillary Clinton walk to the mic to come up with a plan, she knows careful phrasing here is key, as the U.S. State Department and Barack Obama have to strike the right note of balance with a longtime ally and supporter of Israel and yet somehow embrace an uprising that seems to be thoroughly democratic in nature, not Islamist or any other horrible “ist.” The inspiration of this uprising is not Allah but Mark Zuckerberg. So much is the power of Facebook in the revolt that it has been banned. It should also give us all pause that a few well-directed phone calls by the government there shut down Egypt’s Internet entirely. Who knew?

The United States has the opportunity here to look like a beacon of freedom or a total hypocritical world power that serves its own interests first, protecting a corrupt ruler of a country that regularly imprisons political opposition. If you have paid no attention to history, I would ask you to remember that the United States has a truly horrible track record at this kind of thing. We often protect the horrible dictator for so long and embrace the revolutionaries so late that they come to hate the U.S. as much as their detested ruler. If you have ever gotten confused about the reasons that people around the world march in the streets shouting “Down with America” in Iran, in Nicaragua, in Pakistan and many other places, then you have to look no further than Egypt to understand–and to know that it might happen again if we fuck this up.

My guess is that President Obama and Hillary Clinton are smart enough to know this and that there are already secret talks going on with high level opposition leaders to make friends. If you do it too late, then you have people like the Sandinistas come in, guys who actually called United States “the enemy of humanity,” in their national anthem.

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