Sunday, January 30, 2011

Rude Awakening!

by Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

Eyes fixed on Egypt, the consensus is that we are witnessing a global awakening. Mesmerized by the crowds, mainstream media reports, and 'pundits' analysis, we have abandoned our ability to think critically -- we fail to ask the right question: Why is the mainstream media in the U.S., the propaganda apparatus of the State and interest groups, condemning the Egyptian leader -- America and Israel's most subservient ally?

Clearly, we no longer suffer from short term memory in this country -- we suffer from a total loss of memory.

We tend to forget that well over a year ago, political actors in America and allied nations had full knowledge that Egypt's Hosni Mubarak was terminally ill. Certain that his reign was coming to a close, they devised a plan to compensate the inevitable loss of Mubarak's unconditional support. A plan was put into motion to assist orchestrate an uprising which would benefit their interests. The idea was to support the uprising so that an ally could be placed in Egypt without raising suspicion. Not only would America be seen as a benevolent force acting in good faith, contrary to its hypocritical policies, but perhaps more importantly for the decision makers, Israel's interests would be served - again - at the expense of the Arab world.

Who would be the wiser for it? It seems the public has fallen for the plan.

Media 'pundits' are eager to blame the timing of the protests in Egypt on economic hardships. Citing Egypt's jobless and inordinate poverty, they would have us believe that the American 'social media', Tweeter in particular, has prompted and aided the protests. They would have us believe that in spite of the fact that the Egyptians cry over the price of wheat, they have cell phones and access to social media. We are to accept that the poor, hungry, and jobless Egyptians are revolting against their lot by 'tweeting' in English.

Their access to modern technology aside, we are told to accept that the knowledge of English among 80 million Egyptians is so strong that they can 'tweet' -- fully comfortable with tweeter abbreviations and acronyms. Else, we are to believe that Egypt is busy 'tweeting' in Arabic even if Twitter does not lend itself to Arabic any more than it does to Persian.

When Iran's opposition leader, Mir-Hossein Mousavi compared the Egypt uprising to the 2009 post-election protests in Iran, he had a point. Both had an outside source. During the 2009 protests in Iran, 'tweets' were traced back to Israel (see link). The rumors and support for the "opposition" initiated in the West though Tehran Bureau -- partnered with the American PBS. A CNN desk was created to give the protests full coverage.

America has been attempting to undermine Iran's government for over 30 years. The media has helped to demonize the regime. Why would the media treat this obedient tyrant the same way? The mainstream media, as well as the 'left' are reporting on Egypt's protests round the clock. It is important to ask why.

For decades, the American government and allies have snuffed nationalist sentiments in the region in favor of dictators. Iran's Mossadegh, a fierce secular nationalist, who was democratically elected to be prime minister of Iran, was removed by a CIA-backed coup when he nationalized Iran’s oil and the oppressive Shah put in power. This political action led to the 1979 revolution. America lost a valuable puppet in the region.

Similarly, the nationalization of the Suez Canal by Egypt's patriotic Nasser led to his demise, paving the way for the eventual installation of a puppet regime - Mubarak.

But Mubarak is dying. Fearful of losing an important ally in Egypt's Mubarak, the political elite in America have undertaken a calculated risk: siding with the Egyptians to promote 'democracy' - hoping to help put in place one of their own. How likely is it that they will prevail in Egypt where they failed in Iran? Could it be that apprehensive about the future of Egypt, more importantly, its alliance with and subordination to Israel, the Noble Laureate option is being played?

Amongst the neoliberals, a new wave of thinking emerged which endorsed the idea of promoting 'democracy' ("liberal Imperialism") in order to evolve hegemonism to imperialism. Their thinking emphasized the 'character of the political leadership'. A wave of books centered on 'democratic transitions' that focused on the character of the leader with the right ideas appeared. They planned to emphasis new successful leaders such as Vaclav Havel, Nelson Mandela, Lech Walesa in order to promote their own in places of interest.

These neoliberals believed that "transition to 'democracy' required focusing on "political strategies" and introducing "indeterminancy" and "uncertainty" into the process of political change which they believed would be ground for cautious optimism that 'democracy' could catch on. Laureates were appointed: Shirin Ebadi, El Baradei, Obama, Liu Xiaobo...

Mr. ElBaradei, the Nobel Laureate and former chief of IAEA, applauded the violation of the NNPT with his acceptance speech as he praised the Bush-India nuclear deal - an NPT violation. Ally S. Korea's NPT violations were given a pass under his supervision, as well as that of Egypt's. In violation of the spirit of the NPT, he allowed the illegal referral of Iran to the UN Security Council. Mr. ElBaradei had proven himself worthy of American trust - he could be relied on and deserved a Nobel prize. He announced his readiness to run for president of Egypt.

Although not supported by protestors (no doubt placing him under house arrest will give him a boost), ElBaradei's return to Egypt enables the American politicians to speak from both sides of their mouths -- supporting the protestors' rights while supporting their ally. How could they go wrong? The thought process in this country (and elsewhere) has been guided and controlled by mainstream media and pundits, many of them neoconservatives. Curiously, the 24-7 media and its pundits have steered clear of ElBaradei and his arrest.

Sadly, the American political elite love Einstein's science but ignore his wisdom. When Einstein alerted FDR to the possibility of a nuclear weapon by the Germans, he was listened to and the way was paved for the Manhattan Project. America developed the heinous weapons of mass murder and dropped it on hundreds of thousands of Japanese citizen in the name of peace. Regrettably, as the Middle East and Africa react to America's decades of neocolonialist policies, Einstein's definition of insanity --"doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results" -- is more apt than ever.

America (and her allies) has practiced the same damning foreign policy for several decades, each time expecting a new result. This political insanity manifests itself as the decision makers interfere in sovereignty of other countries - believing that they can continue to fool all the people all the time. Their controlled chaos may get out of hand and following the painful 'pangs' of neocolonial rule, we may witness the birth of a new world order.

Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich has a degree in Public Diplomacy from USC Annenberg for Communication and Journalism. She is an independent researcher and writer with a focus on U.S. foreign policy and the role of lobby groups in influencing US foreign policy.