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Passions in Poetry

I Don't Get It

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Denise
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0 posted 01-30-2011 10:22 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

Where was the 'U.S. statement of support' of the citizens of Iran during their peaceful demonstrations against the Islamic regime. Now that there are violent demonstrations by the citizens of Egypt, fueled and instigated by the Muslim Brotherhood to install an Islamic/Sharia government, against a secular regime, the U.S. Administration is all for that.

quote:

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the U.S. expects that the protests in Egypt will lead to free and fair elections as part of an "orderly" transition to "real democracy."

"I want the Egyptian people to have a chance to chart a new future," she said. "It's not a question of who retains power ... It's how are we going to respond to the legitimate needs and grievances expressed by the Egyptian people."

(from Yahoo News - link too long to share here)

It's too bad they didn't believe the citizens of Iran deserved an "orderly" transition to "real democracy." Giving them the moral support of the U.S. in their stand against the Islamic Theocracy in Iran would have possibly given them that "chance".

Giving that moral support to the violent rioters in Egypt, who wish to replace Mubarek with a coalition including the Muslim Brotherhood, will bring them nothing but another Islamic Theocracy and along with that Sharia. Sharia and democracy are mutually exclusive. So why is the U.S. making a public statement of support of the rioters under these circumstances? They must be aware of the agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood. How does this serve U.S. security interists? I don't get it, I just don't get it. The least they could have done was not issue such a statement.
moonbeam
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1 posted 02-01-2011 10:37 AM       View Profile for moonbeam   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for moonbeam

I really think your perpetual agenda is getting in the way of your judgement Denise.  
Denise
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2 posted 02-01-2011 05:03 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

What is my 'perpetual agenda', Rob? And what could you possibly know of my judgment?

What is your take on all of this through the prism of your worldview?
Bob K
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3 posted 02-01-2011 05:12 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



Dear Denise,

          I don't remember if we made much of a statement about the Iranian demonstrations.  I seem to recall we did make one, though.

     I can speak for myself.  I was in favor of the demonstrators, and thought that it would not be a good idea to do a lot of overt support on a national basis.  I did go to a demonstration in Santa Monica in favor of the demonstrators there at the time.  

     I thought that a show of support on the part of the government would have been seen as an excuse by the government of Iran to act in an even more repressive fashion than it did.  I also think that it would have gotten more internal Iranian support in doing so than it did.  Perhaps I was wrong, I simply don't know, but I feel that things went decently and that the government there operates under an increasing cloud of internal displeasure.

     As for Egypt, I believe you know how I feel about torture and human rights abuses.  We have been using Egypt to torture folks for us for a long time, and they have been running their government on the back of a secret police that's been famous for its repressive nature for almost 30 years.  The Muslim Brotherhood are not swell folks by any stretch of the imagination, but they are not, as far as I understand it, the folks behind this uprising.  We have not set limits on the current administration there, whose actions have done most of the recruiting for the Muslim Brotherhood by their own repressive actions.  I think that our government is trying to make the best of a bad situation by trying to go with the reformists now, hoping that the Brotherhood can be kept in check.  Maybe they can be.  I certainly hope so.  It seems the best diplomatic strategy to me at least, to move with the force rather than to oppose it directly.

     I think we'd have been in a better position if we'd have tried to shuttle Mubarack aside a long time ago, though.  It might have kept many of our other middle east problems under better control as well.  Those are my thoughts on the matter.  

     How about yours?

Sincerely, Bob K
Balladeer
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4 posted 02-01-2011 11:24 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

I fond it interesting drawing a comparison between Egypt and China in certain aspects. I don't recall us warning the Chinese government to leave their protesters alone, question their abysmal human rights violations or say anything when internet control was used. Indeed, we invited them to dinner while their Nobel Peace prize winner is imprisoned. Our warnings seem to be very selective.
Bob K
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5 posted 02-02-2011 01:17 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     I believe you're right, Mike.

     One reason may be that it's been U.S. policy long as I can remember to try to use economic engagment as a way of influencing foreign governments.  We may not always love the results, but the results are often better than military results might have been.  Our policy with China has certainly brought the Chinese into a more Capitalist mode of thought and action and has served to stop any number of possible wars between us.

     On the other hand, we have been affected by that same process.  I think that the original thinking was that we probably wouldn't be, given the inherent superiority of the Capitalist system.  In our thinking at the time at least.  In looking at some of the results, flight of Capital for one, we may have been a bit short sighted as well as correct in large part.  It's an interesting situation, isn't it?

Best, Bob Kaven
Denise
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6 posted 02-02-2011 01:27 AM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

My thoughts are that to the extent that we have to be invoved in the affairs of other nations we should not be supporting dictators anywhere in the world even if they are the 'devil that we know' because they serve some of our interests in the region. We should work behind the scenes to help oust dictators wherever they are found and do all that we can to support leaders who respect human rights. We may not always succeed, but that should be our aim.

I believe that our monetary support should be withdrawn, even if gradually, so as to avoid an increase in the suffering of the citizens, from any government that does not adhere to a policy of basic human rights, and not increase it again until they comply.

I believe that it woud be a mistake to allow another Islamic Theorcracy to take power in that area and we should not be issuing statements of support of a revolution when those behind the revolution intend to do just that. We should only issue statements of support if the forces behind a revolution have the promotion of basic human rights of the people as their goal.
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7 posted 02-02-2011 04:44 AM       View Profile for moonbeam   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for moonbeam

"Our warnings seem to be very selective."

It would be rather strange, Mike, if they weren't.  You possibly wouldn't warn your mother's murderer if a man eating tiger was creeping up behind him.  But you would probably warm Sarah Palin if she was about to get pounced on by a polar bear.

"when those behind the revolution intend to do just that"

Like I say Denise, you must be living in a parallel universe without the benefit of our mainstream media.
Denise
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8 posted 02-02-2011 06:46 AM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

I try to keep informed, Rob, so I don't rely primarily on our msm. I think that those who do are in danger of being disconnected from reality. But then again, you don't need more than a passing knowledge of the Muslim Brotherhood to know of their involvement in this and their agenda.

But you didn't answer my questions: what is my perpetual agenda, what do you know of my judgment, and what is your take on all of this through the prism of your worldview?  
Essorant
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9 posted 02-02-2011 01:43 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

They may not want our kind of government, but they want a much better government than one that ignores the voices of people and treats people neglectfully and cruelly, and that is worth every bit of the protest and supporting it.  It doesn't matter if one or one million of them are part of the Muslim Brotherhood.  They deserve a better life.  

Denise
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10 posted 02-02-2011 03:35 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

I hope they get it, Ess. I'm not aware though of any societies under Sharia that are compatible with basic human rights and with ensuring that the people aren't treated cruelly and neglectfully.
moonbeam
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11 posted 02-02-2011 05:37 PM       View Profile for moonbeam   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for moonbeam

Denise, what I meant was that if you start from the premise that Obama is always wrong, and then go on to try to support that position with "evidence" in every given situation, you are not likely to be taken very seriously.
moonbeam
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12 posted 02-02-2011 05:50 PM       View Profile for moonbeam   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for moonbeam

The point is Denise that your first post in this thread was wayyy wide of the mark.  You might legitimately have criticised Obama for being too slow to abandon Mubarak - instead of which, because of an apparent obsession with Muslim extremism, you focussed on the very opposite of the truth.

Try this for a more balanced view of what is really going on:
http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2011/0202/Why-Obama-s-position-on-Egypt-s-Mubarak-was-too-little-too-late
Denise
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13 posted 02-02-2011 07:09 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

If it is legitimate to call for Mubarek's removal, why is it not equally legitimate to have called for Ahmadinejad's and the Ayatolla's removal?

If we can issue a statement of support for the Egyptians, why couldn't we have issued a statement of support for the Iranian people 2 years ago. Are they not treated as badly as the Egyptians?

If the Iranian people (who protested peacefully, and not violently as in Egypt) longed for a better government, wasn't their desire worth our support? All they heard was that the U.S. and the President of the U.S. can't be perceived as "meddling" in the affairs of another country.

But now it's okay to meddle.

That was my point, Rob.
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14 posted 02-02-2011 07:39 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Muslim Brotherhood: ‘Prepare Egyptians for war with Israel'
By YAAKOV LAPPIN
02/01/2011 02:00


A leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt told the Arabic-language Iranian news network Al-Alam on Monday that he would like to see the Egyptian people prepare for war against Israel, according to the Hebrew-language business newspaper Calcalist.

Muhammad Ghannem reportedly told Al- Alam that the Suez Canal should be closed immediately, and that the flow of gas from Egypt to Israel should cease “in order to bring about the downfall of the Mubarak regime.” He added that “the people should be prepared for war against Israel,” saying the world should understand that “the Egyptian people are prepared for anything to get rid of this regime.”

Ghannem praised Egyptian soldiers deployed by President Hosni Mubarak to Egyptian cities, saying they “would not kill their brothers.” He added that Washington was forced to abandon plans to help Mubarak stay in power after “seeing millions head for the streets.”

http://www.jpost.com/Headlines/Article.aspx?id=206130

It doesn't matter if one or one million of them are part of the Muslim Brotherhood.  They deserve a better life.   Quite a statement, Ess. You are stating then that the muslim brotherhood would give them a better life? I'm not saying they wouldn't because I don't know that much about them but opinions like the one above are something to be concerned about, I would think.
Bob K
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15 posted 02-02-2011 09:41 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     It is an interesting article from The JP, as was the CSM article.  I'd be interested in hearing what conclusions you draw from them.

From Ess:
"It doesn't matter if one or one million of them are part of the Muslim Brotherhood.  They deserve a better life. "  

From Mike:
"Quite a statement, Ess. You are stating then that the muslim brotherhood would give them a better life? I'm not saying they wouldn't because I don't know that much about them but opinions like the one above are something to be concerned about, I would think."


     I would think so as well.

     For israel, the question seems important.  On the other hand, does Mubarak going out mean that an Islamic Theocracy is in?  I haven't seem evidence either way that I find convincing.  It appears on the unlikely side right now, though, to me.

     For Egypt, I would think their major concern was throwing off what feels like an oppressive police state would be the first order of priority.  Rachel Maddow reported that Egypt is holding a million political prisoners right now.  That seems high to me, but certainly possible; they have a horrible human rights record, and they're doing very badly for unemployment (4o%, same source) and the cost of food appears to be going up.  They're also having trouble keeping order.

     For the rest of the middle east.  

     For The United States and our foreign policy.

     For the United States and it's domestic politics.

     In short, Mike, you've said a mouthful.  Each of these threads may lead in different directions.  Some of them, potentially, in contradictory directions, such as the U.S. foreign and domestic agendas.  I don't know and it's really hard to tell right now.

     I would tend to agree with Ess in large part, though.  The Egyptians deserve a better life.  Part of the reason why the Muslim Brotherhood has the strength it does, I believe, is that it's been in opposition to Mubarak through much of his administration.  We, being a nation state, couldn't afford to do so.  We needed stability in the region.  We should have, I also believe, approached things differently and tried to pressure a more democratic rule there.  We'd be in a better position now.

     We have difficulty when we set up or support dictators.  The had trouble with the Shah, we had trouble with Saddam, we're having trouble with Mubarak.  It's not a happy path, and it's not a democratic path.  We are pushed around by our economic interests here rather than our democratic interests, and the price we have paid and continue to pay is high.

     I wish I had a cheap and easy solution to offer, but I really don't; only thoughts and pieces, here and there.

All my best, Bob Kaven
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16 posted 02-02-2011 10:33 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Yes, Egyptians deserve a better life, as do all citizens under oppressive leaders. The question is would they have that with the muslim brotherhood. Russians under Lenin deserved a better life. They got Stalin. Al Queda promises their followers a better life, either here or in the afterlife after they have blown themselves up. One needs to make sure the cure is better than the illness.

As far as the U.S. and dictators, I agree wholeheartedly. I still remember, as a child, seeing Fidel Castro on the Ed Sullivan show.
Huan Yi
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17 posted 02-03-2011 12:48 AM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi



"Russians under Lenin deserved a better life"

It's more accurate to say: Russians deserved a better life; they got Lenin
and Stalin.


.

Bob K
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18 posted 02-03-2011 04:27 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     We deserved a better life, we got Washington, right?

     These guys could get Lenin and Stalin; they could get Washington; they could get more Mubarak.  It's not like you aren't citing real worries, guys.  I'm worried about it, too.

     But draw it out a little more.  The results could go either way or some way none of us can predict.  Do we disagree on this?  I suspect not.  

     Too much positive feedback. in the technical sense of system control theory, and the system goes haywire out of control.  Too much negative feedback and everything freezes solid until the system, which has internal pressures on it from economics and population, explodes from being clamped down too tightly and not really having guidance around critical issues.  This current situation might illustrate to some small degree what happens when negative feedback is used almost exclusively.

     I think you guys are issuing realistic cautions, but are not supplying the needed elements of positive feedback with the negative feedback to get the thing moving and to avoid Lenin and Stalin and to encourage Washington and Jefferson.

     Half a solution is not something that seems in my mind a workable solution, though it includes reasonable and important elements for a solution.

     I think.  What about youse guys?

BK

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19 posted 02-03-2011 08:07 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

The results could go either way or some way none of us can predict.

True enough, Bob, and I don't think we are predicting. We are simply giving possibilities and voicing caution. If anyone has any positive feedback to share on what could happen with a muslim brotherhood-run government in Egypt, I'd be open to hear it.

“Right now the Arab Republic of Egypt does not impose Islamic law in its fullness,” Rob Spencer, the head of Jihad Watch told FOX News. “The Muslim Brotherhood wants to change that.”

Among the brotherhood's graduates: Al Qaeda's number two leader, the Egyptian doctor Ayman al-Zawahiri who was imprisoned for three years on weapons charges following President Anwar Sadat's assassination in 1981, Hamas, the terror network behind suicide bombings and rocket attacks in Israel, and the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine, whose goal is the destruction of Israel.
http://www.hannity.com/article/just-what-is-the-muslim-brotherhood/12576
Uncas
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20 posted 02-03-2011 03:55 PM       View Profile for Uncas   Email Uncas   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Uncas

I think Bob got it about right in his early post:

If the US had spoken out in support of the Iranian protests the Iranian Government would have used that support as an additional excuse to persecute the protestors even more - any support would , in effect, have been counter-productive. Calling for a "move towards democracy" in the case of Egypt, while not exactly unbridled support for the protestors, may be more productive as far as the US is concerned. In Iran the protest was a forlorn hope, in Egypt the protests are undoubtedly going to succeed.

quote:
Now that there are violent demonstrations by the citizens of Egypt, fueled and instigated by the Muslim Brotherhood


The Muslim Brotherhood?

While the Muslim Brotherhood are definitely in favour of the protests, and would relish any chance to profit from democratic elections, they didn't instigate the protests. The protestors are a grass roots eclectic mix of Egyptians from all areas of society that have been coalescing since 2004 using the internet to air their views and organise themselves into a formidable movement.

Check out  the 6th April Youth Movement, Kefaya and the National Association for Change.
You'll find that FaceBook had more to do with the protests than th eMuslim Brotherhood.

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21 posted 02-03-2011 04:24 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

The protestors are a grass roots eclectic mix of Egyptians from all areas of society that have been coalescing since 2004 using the internet to air their views and organise themselves into a formidable movement.

Substitute Americans for Egyptians and you have the Tea Party.


Uncas
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22 posted 02-03-2011 04:41 PM       View Profile for Uncas   Email Uncas   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Uncas


quote:
Substitute Americans for Egyptians and you have the Tea Party


Apart from the fact that the Egyptian protestors include people from a wide spectrum of political and religious views, yes, there are many similarities.

.
Denise
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23 posted 02-03-2011 07:55 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

If U.S. support during the Iranian protests would have made things worse for the protesters, why wouldn't the same hold true in Egypt? Is Mubarek less brutal and more reasonable than Ahmadinejad and the Ayatolla? Why would the U.S. consider it productive to give their support in this situation? How does this serve U.S. national security interests by the ouster of a known ally and the installation of an as yet unknown entity with probable Islamist influence?
Uncas
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24 posted 02-03-2011 08:18 PM       View Profile for Uncas   Email Uncas   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Uncas


quote:
If U.S. support during the Iranian protests would have made things worse for the protesters, why wouldn't the same hold true in Egypt?


Simple, the Egyptians are going to succeed. The US timed their response to coincide with that fact becoming clear, they don't actually care about democracy in Egypt, given a choice they'd much prefer to keep the status quo but once the outcome became clear their hand was forced. Even then their response was non-committal - a peaceful transition to democracy - isn't exactly a rallying cry for the protestors.


quote:
Why would the U.S. consider it productive to give their support in this situation? How does this serve U.S. national security interests by the ouster of a known ally and the installation of an as yet unknown entity with probable Islamist influence?


Because the known ally is going to get ousted. Whoever takes over isn't likely to look on the US with much favour if the US condemned the protesters and backed the dictator they fought so hard to get rid of.

The US is playing the odds.
 
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