Senator Diane Feinstein (D-Ca), chairwoman of that chamber’s Intelligence Committee, has expressed concern that the CIA is not providing the Obama administration with timely, usable information. Her remarks appeared in a wire service story this morning which noted that, despite disavowals, the President is said to have sent a highly critical letter to the director of National Intelligence, James Clapper.
“These events should not have come upon us with the surprise that they did,” Feinstein said. “There should have been much more warning.”
Too bad Feinstein didn’t show that kind of outrage when her banker friends blew up the economy.
Egypt surprised them. It shouldn’t have. When policy drives intelligence, the product will never be better than the policy, and America’s mideast policy has forever been driven by the toxic combination of economic gain and territorial ambitions. Feinstein might be less surprised if she pried her head out of her own ass and looked around.
The Obama administration, like the Bush regime before it, is dependent on Egyptian diplomatic and military support. Sure, Mubarak is a despot, but he is our despot. We bought him. But as in the case of other, former, U.S. ‘friends’ such as Saddam Hussein and Manuel Noriega, we’re happy to let him hang provided we can replace him with a more user-friendly version.
Thus, Hillary Clinton’s announcement that the U.S. and several European allies support a “transition” supervised by Mubarak’s vice president, Omar Suleiman, who is also head of the secret police and a friend to the Egyptian army.
Never mind that none of the leaders of the various groups occupying the streets of Cairo will even talk with Suleiman, and never mind what Egyptians actually want, what has driven them in extraordinary number to face down the army in Tahrir Square and survive battles with the police and mobs of hired thugs. We do not care about Egyptians, or democracy, either, quite obviously. Obama cares about these things the way Bush cared for them.
America is interested in Egyptian ‘stability,’ not Egyptian freedom. Freedom is unpredictable. Besides, ascendancy of a genuine democracy in that country would jeopardize America’s military hegemony and its chain of black site torture chambers.
The New York Times article on Clinton’s comments included this note: “...the United States and other Western powers appear to have concluded that the best path for Egypt –– and certainly the safest one, to avoid further chaos –– is a gradual transition, managed by Mr. Suleiman, a pillar of Egypt’s existing establishment, and backed by the military...”
And: “Mrs. Clinton suggested that the United States was not insisting on the immediate departure of Mr. Mubarak, and that such an abrupt shift of power may not be necessary or prudent.”
No, we don’t want to be imprudent, not at a time like this.
The United States ‘was not insisting’ but I want to know on what basis the United States had the standing to insist on anything. We have ‘...concluded that the best path for Egypt...is a gradual transition managed by’ that country’s chief enforcer, the head of Mubarak’s secret police. Who are the ‘we’ who have ‘concluded’ what another nation must do, and how did we become so arrogant and ethnocentric that we not only decide the fate of everyone on the planet but unreflectively assume that everyone accepts this?
It is both the tone and the content which is striking in these news accounts and the statements of America’s political leaders. It is the unexamined premise that America has the right not only to foreknowledge of popular events but to control over their outcome.
It’s not going to work. The middle east is being rocked by antiauthoritarian movements and America, which has played footsie with Mubarak and others like him, is in trouble.
Foreign policy for empires is always a devil’s bargain. America is in bed with Mubarak because Egypt agreed, upon payment of billions of dollars, to help Israel. We needed him for the Peace Accords, for the deal which preserved the status quo and held off the Palestinians. Israel, as a consequence, is now in trouble, too.
Maybe you’ve got an answer. I sure don’t. I’m just watching it happen, thanks in large part to the internet, the counterweight to state power, the revolutionary instrument which the Tunisian rebels and now the Egyptians have used to change their political reality.
Feinstein is going to keep being surprised. She doesn’t have any idea what’s happening in the world. Complaining about events, she said, “Was someone looking at what was going (sic) on the internet?”
Yes, Senator, they were. But mostly they do not know where to look, and they don’t know what to make of what they see. You can blame the CIA if you want to, but this house of cards was built by you and pols like you, and now it is falling down with you inside.