Monday, February 21, 2011

CIA and the White House are Sad Keanu

All of those years of planning and work. All of those quiet payoffs, back room deals, bodies stealthily disposed of. So many made rich on the backs of so many poor.

As the Middle East continues its surreal shake up, the White House, while keeping up the 'Smiling Face of Democracy' in press releases and appearances, is actually down at the bar on the corner, with the CIA, crying into their beer.

So much has been thrown into the air and we have no idea where it's going to land. Certainly there are potential upsides for the citizens of these countries, although I think they will probably go through some nasty growing pains first. As I write this there are rumors of Libyan planes firing on their own civilians. People are fighting for their lives and for their ideals and for a tiny bit of hope.

While we, as a country, may cheer them on, we may not like the results. Will a free and democratic Libya, the majority of whom are very poor, want to be as generous with their oil as they did under Ghaddaffi? Will they, along with some recently liberated neighbors decide that they have the power and will to pull the oil teet from America's always thirsty mouth?

If that day rolls around, if the time comes when Americans suddenly find themselves in a world where the half of the Middle East that we aren't at war with isn't in bed with us any longer, what will happen? Will America tolerate $8 a gallon gasoline?

I don't know. I don't know what's going to happen. But I'm thrilled to find out.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Obama Has Blown It Again

So, I'm a bit cranky today. A bit of a hangover after celebrating a friend's birthday. I'm getting too old for weekday partying.

However, like most people, I have an opinion about the Egypt situation, which fortunately was formed before I went drinking last night.

Regardless of how the Egypt situation plays out in the long run, America lost a golden opportunity. By playing 'fence' politics, Obama has made sure that once again, we're on the side of self-interest. Only this time, it's not going to pay off.

If Mubarak somehow retains power and keeps his position, the Egyptian people will be seriously pissed. His government is already inextricably tied to the U.S. and the people of the Middle East won't forget that.

On the flip side, if he's ousted, the U.S. has done themselves no favors by essentially sitting on the sidelines. Most of the goodwill and influence we had in the region through Mubarak will be lost. The new government might be democratic, but it won't matter if they feel they can't trust America.

And really, why should they? We profess to promote democracies around the world but what we really promote are leaders we can control. It doesn't really matter what packaging they throw on their regime, so long as the White House can manipulate them.

But the times, they are a-changin'. In the 21st century, I don't believe those tactics will fly any longer. In the age of smart phone globalism, passivity is no longer something that can hide in the shadows. As the U.S. tucks it's tail between it's legs and bows its head, every Egyptian citizen is taking notice.