Vice President Biden, issuing the Obama administration’s most definitive statement to date on the turmoil in Egypt, said President Hosni Mubarak should not step down and downplayed the protests spreading across the Mideast as generally unconnected.
He described the unrest as…
I cannot stand this man. Every time I see him speaking or I read a quote from him I’m more disgusted. Get fucked Biden
Predictions that a Tunisia-like uprising will soon topple Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak are premature - the Egyptian regime, with its well-paid military, is likely to be more unified and more ruthless than its Tunisian counterparts were. But whether an Egyptian revolt succeeds or fails, we can be sure that one will be attempted. The first test of opposition strength will come today, when thousands are expected to participate in what organizers are calling “day of revolution.”
This raises a thorny question for the U.S.: If tens of thousands take to the streets - and stay on the streets - what will it do? The U.S. is the primary benefactor of the Egyptian regime, which, in turn, has reliably supported American regional priorities. After Iraq, Afghanistan, and Israel, Egypt is the largest recipient of U.S. assistance, including $1.3 billion in annual military aid. In other words, if the army ever decides to shoot into a crowd of unarmed protestors, it will be shooting with hardware provided by the United States. As Steven Cook of the Council on Foreign Relations points out, the Egyptian military is “not there to project power, but to protect the regime.”
Shadi Hamid suspects that, in the event of a Tunisia-inspired revolt in Egypt, the U.S. may be on the wrong side of history.
This bugged me last night, and it’s worth talking about today: One of the first big applause lines of the speech came when Barack Obama said, “For all the hits we’ve taken these last few years, for all the naysayers predicting our decline, America still has the largest, most prosperous economy in the world.” But as Matt Yglesias notes, soon, we won’t.China will. And that’s okay.
A decent future includes China’s GDP passing ours. They have many, many more people than we do. It’s bad for both us and them if the country stays poor. A world in which China becomes rich enough to buy from us and educated enough to invent things that improve our lives is a better world than one in which they merely become competitive enough to take low-wage jobs from us — and that’s to say nothing of the welfare of the Chinese themselves.
But perhaps it’s better to think of it in terms of Britain rather than China. Was the economic rise of the United States, in the end, bad for Britain? Or France? I don’t think so. We’ve invented a host of products, medicines and technologies that have made their lives immeasurably better, not to mention measurably longer. We’re a huge and important trading partner for all of those countries. They’re no longer even arguably No. 1, it’s true. But they’re better off for it.
In the best global economy we can imagine, the countries with the largest GDP are the countries with the most people. That’s not America. And that’s okay. We want America to have the most innovative and dynamic economy in the world, and we want living in America to be better than living anywhere else. But we don’t want everywhere else to remain poor. We can’t want that.
“Get a video camera and put it in your living room or den at home. Hit Record. Sit down in front of the camera and rant for 15 minutes. You can do that, I’m sure. Then without any production at all, upload it to YouTube and send the link around on Twitter. The first time you do it, it will be the most watched video of the day. Far more people will see it than used to see you on MSNBC, or O’Reilly or Beck or any of them. Depending on how fresh and interesting it is, and how real it is, and how compelling you really are (I know that’s a lot of “depends”) there won’t be much of a dropoff on Day 2 and 3 and so on. Now you’ve got your own network. And no one can shut you down. And you’ll have a lot more people watching you.”—Dear Keith Olbermann (via azspot)
It’s exciting to now send people real money on a monthly basis, which removes some unpredictability from the production process and buys shows time to grow. We’re trying to make life easier for producers. That’s all there is to it.