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stability    Democracy, human rights, humanitarian intervention all fall at the wayside when it comes to the West supporting “stability” in the Middle East.  We wonder why the residents are so pissed off at us and cheer when bad things happen to the West.  I’m guessing it has a little something to do with the fact that while promoting “human rights and democracy” worldwide we simultaneously support vicious authoritarian regimes that cater to our interests while grinding their populace to dust.

Go figure.

Noam Chomsky summarizes the process quite nicely on article excerpted from Alter.net.  Here are some of the highlights:

“So that wasn’t very pretty, but what about the other countries? Well, the countries that are most significant to the United States and the West, generally, are the oil dictatorships and they remain very stable. There were efforts to try and join the Arab Spring, but they were crushed, very harshly, with not a word from the Western powers. Sometimes it was quite violent, as in eastern Saudi Arabia and in Bahrain, which were Shiite areas, mostly, but it resulted in at most a tap on the wrist by the western powers. They clearly wanted the oil dictatorships to remain. That’s the center of their power.

In Tunisia, which had mostly French influence, the French supported the dictatorship until the very end. In fact, they were still supporting it after demonstrations were sweeping the country. Finally, at the last second, they conceded that their favorite dictator had to go. In Egypt, where the United States and Britain were the main influences, it was the same. Obama supported the dictator Mubarak until virtually the last minute – until the army turned against him. It became impossible to support him anymore so they urged him to leave and make a transition to a similar system.

All of that is quite routine. That’s the standard operating procedure for dealing with a situation where your favorite dictator is getting into trouble. There is case after case like that. What you do in that case is support the dictator to the very end, regardless of how vicious and bloody he is. Then when it becomes impossible, say because the army or the business classes have turned against him, then ease him out somewhere (sometimes with half the government’s treasury in his pocket), declare your love for democracy, and try to restore the old system. That’s pretty much what’s happening in Egypt.

Chomsky called it.  How long before we can get back to “business as usual?”

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