In Feb. 5 IssueBy John Thompson, Columnist
If the what-seems-to-be inevitable overthrow of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt does not give you pause, then as the saying goes; you haven't been paying attention.
Every two bit commentator out there has been painting possible scenarios for you over the past week of what will happen in Egypt should Mubarak lose control. I figure my analysis is worth at least two bits so here it is:
Many times in my columns I've said that we cannot invade these countries and bomb these people with impunity for a decade and not expect that at some point we will not pay the price. What has happened in Tunisia, Yemen and now Egypt should make you wonder what will be coming next.
If you've watched the news at all then you've heard, and you've begun to understand that we have propped up an oppressive dictator for the past 30 years in Egypt; to the tune of $60 billion dollars in foreign aid. Is this money used to feed the people, the majority of which live on $2.00 a day? No. Is it used to provide health care or build the infrastructure? No. In most part it is given to them with the strict understanding that the majority of it be used to then purchase weapons and weapon systems from U.S. weapons manufacturers. If we cut out that "foreign aid" part of the transaction, what you have is the tax money of the people of the U.S. being paid to the Military Industrial Complex in order to arm countries whose only allegiance to us is through the corrupt leadership, and not the people.
Many in America are finding out these things and they're quite surprised. Many of these same surprised people are the ones who tell people like me who try to tell them these things that we should move to another country, or that we hate America, or why can't we say anything about all the good things America does in the world; like give foreign aid to countries…. oh, wait a minute….
Well this won't be an I-told-you-so and it won't be a defense of my position over the years. I want to discuss the ramifications of the current situation. But first I want to say: to those who pay Glenn Beck no nevermind, I'm telling you that you need to at least take his abilities seriously. Between making insane pronouncements he is beginning to say things that are actually true. With the Egypt thing he's saying how America has been hypocritical in not living up to its expressed ideals abroad; often favoring dictators over the democratic move of going with the popular sentiment of the people.
Where Beck is dangerous is that he says this is because of Progressive Liberals. This is very important. The very things that true liberals and truly honest people of all stripes have been saying for years will now be foisted upon us by people like Beck. And the unfortunate thing is, the people who have lived an ideology of warmongering while claiming victimhood, those that have treated the rest of the world with impudence and disdain, now these people will say it was in fact the "progressive liberals" who did all that.
It sounds like impossibility, but hey, I'm still trying to wrap my head around the hijacking of the memory and ideology of Martin Luther King, Jr. as being a conservative by right wing think tanks.
But this column isn't about Beck. It's about what is happening in the Middle East and the possible consequences. Sorry America, but you cannot bomb people for years on end in a video game-like drone and not expect that the sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, nephews and nieces will not, at least in part, exact retribution.
It's not about knowing exactly what is happening; because we cannot. It is untelling the hidden hands working now behind the scenes. The U.S., Israel, and Iran are a few that have to be working overtime trying to insure an outcome favorable to their country… not country, power.
Saudi Arabia lies right there in the middle of Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen. And the brutal dictators there, also very good allies to the U.S., are much harsher on their people; maybe even harsh enough that that country will not have an uprising. If they do, well you can say hello to $10 a gallon gas; at least.
So how are we seeing all this being played out? Well I can tell you one thing: if you actually want great coverage of what is going on you'll have to go to Al Jazeera English to find out, and to do that you have to go on the computer because cable providers will not carry it in the U.S. Of course not, you may say; Al Jazeera is the enemy news station. Well Canada gets the news station. Then they actually favor honesty in their reporting, while we remain in an increasingly isolated world of make believe, more determined to define and defend a narrative we create than to acknowledge a reality.
I was glad to see that 60 percent of viewing of Al Jazeera online is coming from the U.S. over the past few days. It's wall to wall coverage without the jingoism, xenophobia and general lack of engagement of the mainstream media. Not that it doesn't have its own bias, it does; but not nearly as much as our media and the coverage is deeper. I don't think I've seen a report on their Lindsay Lohan equivalent.
Of course we haven't been bombing Egypt, Tunisia or Yemen, or whatever next Muslim country falls next, but people are tribal. All people are tribal. You might dislike Tennessee but let them be bombarded and occupied by Canada and your reaction won't be "who cares, it's Tennessee" it will be that they're Americans.
Well the Muslim world has been watching us over the past decade. More than watching, fomenting over near daily reports of further killing of "their" people. So here's my point: you are seeing the pundits totally confused as to how to react and who to back because they're coming to realize that a popular democracy growing in the Middle East might become a huge haven for "terrorist" ideology, indoctrination and training.
And we may receive what we've dealt out for the past decade. And invoking 9/11 doesn't cut it, because of the myriad arguments that have already been made. We did not, nor do we differentiate the terrorists of that day from the larger Muslim population.
I'm afraid the same distinction will also not be made here eventually.