Today’s lesson in US foreign policy (back dictators and say it’s democracy)

Washington Stakeout interviews John McCain and Newt Gingrich on US reaction to the fall of Mubarak.

If there’s any need to understand why the US is increasingly loathed across the world, note the words of these supposedly wild old men.


I asked: “Do we owe the Egyptian people an apology for having backed a tyrant for 30 years?”

McCain: “Hindside is 20/20. ”¦ There’s many ways this government has been helpful to us,” specifically siting Israeli politics toward the Palestinians, like the siege of Gaza that the Mubarak regime coordinated with Israel.

McCain added: “I can’t apologize for what happened in Indonesia, for what happened in the Philippines, for what happened Romania.”

This was a rather remarkable comment. In part because it highlights that McCain recognizes that this backing dictators is a pattern in U.S. policy, that he refuses to apologize for, virtually guaranteeing its continuation.

It also mirrors recent comments by Noam Chomsky: “The United States, so far, is essentially following the usual playbook. I mean, there have been many times when some favored dictator has lost control or is in danger of losing control. There’s a kind of a standard routine—Marcos [Philippines], Duvalier [Haiti], Ceausescu [Romania], strongly supported by the United States and Britain, Suharto [Indonesia]: keep supporting them as long as possible; then, when it becomes unsustainable—typically, say, if the army shifts sides—switch 180 degrees, claim to have been on the side of the people all along, erase the past, and then make whatever moves are possible to restore the old system under new names. That succeeds or fails depending on the circumstances. ”¦”


Should the U.S. apologize the the Egyptian people for materially backing a tyrant for 30 years? Gingrich: “I don’t think the U.S. has much to apologize for, I think we’ve been a force, basically for good in most of the planet.”

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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