Thursday, January 27, 2011

Dictator, Strongman, Friend

Too many people are ruled by brutal governments. Tunisia's fallen government was backed-up by the USA, and Washington may have orchestrated their deposed president's sanctuary in Saudi Arabia.

When US Secretary of State Colin Powell visited Tunisia in 2003, he declared: "Our bilateral relationship is very, very strong. We are great admirers of Tunisia and the progress that has been achieved under President Ben Ali's leadership."

US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld visited in 2006, and warmly praised Tunisia's government: "They have demonstrated, if one looks at this successful country...the ability to create an environment that's hospitable to investment, to enterprise, and to opportunity for their people."

But too many Tunisian people in fact hated & feared their government.

Now Egypt's government is under threat. And for 30 years the USA has invested heavily in the Mubarak family - which has ruled Egypt since 1981 under a "State of Emergency."

Secretary of State Clinton's statement today is thus much too little, far too late: "We believe strongly that the Egyptian government has an important opportunity at this moment in time to implement political, economic and social reforms to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people." Unrest in Egypt will not be easily stemmed. No doubt our silent operatives offer violent help to government. These are critical moments.