(Update at bottom of post, after jump.)
From English Al Jazeera: Empire looks at the dramatic changes taking place in the Arab world and their strategic implications.
As the breath of freedom sweeps across the Middle East, interviewer Marwan Bashara hosts a panel discussion with Seymour Hersh, author and professor Rashid Khaladi, and former under-Secretary of State Thomas Pickering to consider whether or not this movement might retire the ironic term, Pax Americana. . . .
The first part of the video offers some non-American perspective of the time after the US opposed the British and French for control of the Suez canal in 1956, the period in which colonialism was replaced by Western support for dictators and autocrats. “The strategic interests in the Middle East are oil, Israel, and some sort of stability where the oil is not interrupted.” The voiceover speaks of how invisible Arab people have been to the dominant players who stole control of the region as they trumpeted the fears of wild Islamic brutality, and told the world that Arabs were not suited for democracy. Now they are making themselves visible, and it is rocking the world, changing the region forever. The program asks:
“With all its allies crumbling one after another, what will the US do to maintain its influence in the region? And what can be expected of Israel, the country’s closest ally in the region?
Will the spread of democracy lead to a peaceful end to decades of autocratic rule in the Middle East or will the fear of Islamist extremism galvinise Washington’s resolve to reinforce Pax Americana?”
The panel discusses the damaging myth of Arab Exceptionalism, and Sy Hersh tells the story of the US, Israel and Egypt bombing out Hamas in Gaza in 2008. Hersh and Kalid are quite adamant that Suleiman will not be an answer to the current crisis, and that the administration and Israel must start adjusting to a New Egypt. Pickering throws out some red herrings that get the discussion off-track a bit, but it’s twenty-five minutes worth watching.
The panelists remind Bashara that “Pax Americana” might be better called “Pox Americana.”
Update: Filed under the Don’t Make Me Do It heading, Omar Suleiman spoke to state media:
Suleiman warned on Tuesday that his government “can’t put up with continued protests” for a long time, saying the crisis must be ended as soon as possible.
Suleiman said there will be “no ending of the regime” and no immediate departure for Mubarak, the state news agency MENA reported from a meeting between the vice-president and independent newspapers.
Suleiman reportedly told the editors of the newspapers that the regime wants dialogue and doesn’t “want to deal with Egyptian society with police tools.”
At one point in the roundtable meeting, Suleiman warned that the alternative to dialogue “is that a coup happens, which would mean uncalculated and hasty steps, including lots of irrationalities. We don’t want to reach that point, to protect Egypt.”
With this warning from Suleiman that he is about to crack down on potestors, will Obama and Clinton change tacks? Ban Ki Moon and Joe Biden have bravely called for increased dialogue between Suleiman and the protestors.
Meanwhile, labor unions have begun strikes for increased wages and better treatment from employers.