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Key: Mubarak’s last supporter?

Written By: - Date published: 10:53 pm, January 31st, 2011 - 65 comments
Categories: International, john key - Tags: , ,

Like many of you, I stopped watching Breakfast after Paul Henry left* but an alert reader sent me this interview with John Key on the show yesterday. It’s the one where he makes weak excuses for not Mondayising public holidays but, before that he says something truly amazing: he thinks Mubarak should stay in power in Egypt because he recognises Israel.

Corin Dann: Have we got any concerns about getting people out?

John Key: Well, certainly in terms of New Zealanders that might travel to Egypt, our advice is: don’t go. you should certainly eliminate all non-essential travel. It’s a serious situation in Egypt. As we’ve seen, a number of people have lost their lives already. And, worryingly actually, is that Egypt has been one of the few Arab nations, that has recognised Israel, in fact the only one. And has been very peaceful with Israel. So, the concern is what that might mean for the wider position in the Middle East. So, a real worry. We think there are 282 New Zealanders in Egypt. They’re the ones registered with Foreign Affairs and, again, at this stage we’ve got no advice on whether any of them have been injured but we monitor these situations closely.

Huh? I mean leaving aside the fact that he didn’t answer the damn question and his odd use of money trader speak (‘position’), why is Key banging on about the consequences for Egypt-Israel relations? I haven’t seen that mentioned anywhere else as a concern, and why should it be, it’s far too early. Dann tries asking the question again:

Dann: You’re not looking at any evacuation of them, then?

Key: Not at this point. But we would obviously provide support if it was required.

Dann: I’ll just take you back to that issue of the support for Israel. Egpyt has been a very strong ally for the West, which makes this a very difficult situation for the likes of the US, which, I know, has not called for Mubarak to go yet [in fact, Hilary Clinton was already calling for an “orderly transition” and free and fair elections]. Where does New Zealand sit on that?

Key: The New Zealand Government wants a peaceful outcome to this. In the end, whoever governs your country is a matter for the citizens. And in the case of Mubarak he’s been there for a long time, 30-odd years. We respect the fact that he has done his very best to lead a country which has recognised Israel and, therefore, has wanted to make sure the position in Middle East has been a peaceful one. It’s not easy, it’s very complex, and there’s a lot of emotion.

Hmm. So, after having, by the by, undermined to the entire rationale behind us being in Afghanistan and the invasion of Iraq, which he supported, Key again cites Mubarak’s recognition of Israel. Extraordinarily, not only from a factual perspective but also from the realpolitick that he is likely to soon have to be dealing with the people who overthrow him, Key says that Mubarak has done “his very best”. Then, the jaw-dropper:

Dann: Are you calling for him to go?

Key: No

Is recognition of Israel all that matters to Key? Can you be a repressive dictator but as long as you are pally with Tel Aviv you’re OK in Key’s books? Key is, remember, well out of line with the the US and UK here, who know Mubarak is sunk.

Dann: I guess the concern is the Muslim Brotherhood. The potential for an Islamist movement to come in and fill that vacuum. Is that the concern?

Key: Well, the concern is that there are some nations that simply do not recognise Israel. And, taken to the extreme, in Iran Ahmadinejad has said he basically wants to see Israel wiped off the face of the Earth. So, it’s a very serious situation. Egypt’s provided stability and leadership and calmness. Obviously, the hope always being that that position would spread across the Middle East, that it would be possible to broker a two-state solution, with recognition of Palestine as well but this certainly looks like it’s taking things, potentially, in the wrong direction.

So, Key is against a popular uprising against a dictator because it might – might – result in a more Islamist political group coming to power and that might – might – have negative ramifications for the relationship with Israel? He would rather see in power the man whose Police has murdered 100 protesters in the last few days alone.

I just don’t get Key’s obsession with Israel here. Surely, it’s not his own Jewish roots. But he just doesn’t seem to give a damn about the Egyptian people themselves, only how they relate to Israel. I wonder who he has been talking with to form this view – presumably some American far right-wingers, no-one else is so reflexively pro-Israel and paranoid about Muslims.

I would have hoped we had a Prime Minister who supported democracy and the overthrow of dictators first and foremost. It seems we don’t.

* just joking! I never watched.

65 comments on “Key: Mubarak’s last supporter?”

  1. lprent 1

    Are the misspellings deliberate in the first quote? Hopefully not, as I’ve never seen keyspaek done so well.

    He does sound like an article in the New York Times this morning looking at possible Israeli responses to a regime change. I thought that was rather confused as well.

    • Eddie 1.1

      typing with one hand while eating 🙂 I know what you mean about his speech though. Someone said today – how come Goff gets criticised for his speaking when Key sounds like he’s half-pissed the whole time?

      The NYT, eh?

      I just think it’s no good that our Prime Minister is supporting a dictator against a popular uprising.

      captcha: key

  2. ianmac 2

    Gee. This Corin Dann is asking questions that need good answers. Must watch this space as it was Corin also who asked Mr Key to clarify his claim that NZ was in a bad place debt-wise. (Govt Debt is about 20% he said.)

  3. Carol 3

    Wow! Interesting. I recall this morning on AlJazeera that there was a report about how US was in a difficult position as Mubarak going would weaken Israel’s position in the ME. Clearly Key takes his orders from israel seriously. I just checked AJ’s site & there is this article:

    http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/01/201113177145613.html

    Israel has called on the United States and Europe to curb their criticism of president Hosni Mubarak “in a bid to preserve stability in Egypt” and the wider Middle East, an Israeli newspaper reports.

    The Israeli daily Haaretz reported on Monday that the foreign ministry, in an urgent special cable, instructed its ambassadors to key countries, to “stress … the importance of Egypt’s stability”.

  4. The Voice of Reason 4

    Gillard’s just announced that the Aussies are sending a chartered plane. Shouldn’t be long before Key’s people decide a dawn landing at Whenuapai with a load of grateful diplomats and tourists would be a good look and we’ll discover we need to send one too.

    • Marty G 4.1

      he was pretty blase about it on tv3 tonight but we all know how quickly he can change his tune

      • Carol 4.1.1

        Yes, I also thought it was a bit weird that TV3 reported that Key will ask the US for help if necessary. Why the US? Is JK really so much in their pockets? Though I think at that stage, earlier tonight, the UK and Aussie governments hadn’t decided to send any planes for their nationals.

        • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1.1

          Is JK really so much in their pockets?

          Yes. Consider where he got his fortune from and where he goes to holiday.

          Though I think at that stage, earlier tonight, the UK and Aussie governments hadn’t decided to send any planes for their nationals.

          On the news it was said that UK hadn’t yet started pulling their people out. Didn’t hear anything about Australia.

  5. Hanswurst 5

    What is it with Key and achingly stupid mixed metaphors? At 5’30” we hear him talking about putting money into irrigation, Kiwibank and a range of other initiatives to “make the boat grow faster”. If ever there were a man deserving of electoral oblivion purely on the grounds of being a dick, it’s him.

  6. Jum 6

    Don’t tell me that I’ve completely missed one of JKeyll’s backers out – Israel. I should have known that because America is with Israel/JKeyll’s with Israel. America’s with Fox News/JKeyll’s with NZ Herald.

  7. bobo 7

    Bright idea of Israel pushing for international Mubarak support, that’s really gonna help his cause with the egyptian people…

    • Draco T Bastard 7.1

      Yeah, that’s what I was thinking and if the US also put more support (It’s showing itself as not too keen on regime change there but they’re no longer openly supporting Mubarak) behind him now it would be even worse.

  8. clandestino 8

    Interesting that the Muslim Brotherhood is kinda sorta semi backing ElBaradei, who is also being propelled into contention by much of the western media.
    If the Brotherhood get anywhere near power though….shit.
    As far as Key goes, he plainly hasn’t had (or failed to seek) advice from MFAT on ‘our’ position so was all over the place, playing six degrees of Kevin Bacon with Ahmadinejad before leaning on the classic polly fall-back position: Two state solution!

    Amateurs!

  9. Arto 9

    Yeah the Israeli government are totally pissed at the Egyptian revolution!

  10. Bill 10

    In the end, whoever governs your country is a matter for the citizens. And in the case of Mubarak he’s been there for a long time, 30-odd years.

    So, Mubarak has been there for 30 years on the back of the lauded democratic process so beloved by Egyptians? Or has Mubarak been there for 30 years because he’s a dictator whose regime employs torture, is liberal in his use of detention as a tool of control and has a penchant for running trials under the jurisdiction of the military or state security services?

    Hmm. Thought John would be happy that in the end the citizens of Egypt are also saying that whoever governs your country is a matter for the citizens

    By the way, anybody count how many times he banged on about Israel? A newly arrived visitor from outer space, listening to all of John’s tosh might be forgiven in thinking that Egypt was nought but an Israeli suburb…

    Meanwhile, here’s an Egyptian perspective that should help John sleep at night And people here in Egypt can draw parallels between Ben Ali and Mubarak. We don’t have only one Ben Ali in the Arab world; we have 22 Ben Alis, and they all need to go. And the chants yesterday that the people were chanting in Cairo and in the provinces were very similar to the chants that our Tunisian brothers and sisters have been chanting over the past few weeks in their uprising. We salute their struggle, and we hope that we can pay them back by overthrowing our dictator

    http://www.zcommunications.org/thousands-protest-in-egypt-in-largest-popular-challenge-to-mubarak-in-30-years-by-hossam-el-hamalawy

  11. Jenny 11

    While the world’s attention has been on the protests, On Sunday, away from the spotlight the Egyptian army has launched an unprecedented attack on the Gazan tunnelers.

    The unprecedented attacks by the Egyptian army on the tunnel lifeline into Gaza are strangling the city…….

    “The tunnels with Egypt were the lungs we used to breathe.” Gazan woman

    In Gaza, petrol pumps began to run dry today after most tunnels used to smuggle commercial goods closed. Israel allows only a limited amount of petrol into Gaza every week, and most people depend on fuel smuggled from Egypt, which is almost five times cheaper.

    At the Tarzin petrol station – one of the few with fuel left to sell – long queues of cars formed in heavy rain.

    Yousef Mardi, 22, was among those waiting: “I’ve been looking for somewhere to fill my car since yesterday. This is the only place left with diesel. There is no more petrol left anywhere.

    “Even though we are suffering, we have to support what they are doing (in Egypt). They are poor like us. We understand what they’re going through.”

    Bassam Rajab, 28, a pump-attendant at Tarzin, expected to run of fuel before the end of the day. He explained: “The problem is with the smugglers on the Egypt side. While there is so much violence there, it’s too dangerous to drive cars full of fuel to the border. If they are shot by the military, their car will explode like a bomb.”

    The fuel shortage also affects families and businesses who rely on diesel-powered generators during power cuts which last up to eight hours a day.

    Fatma Mazanan, 50, a housewife and mother of five, was stockpiling cooking oil and fuel for the family generator. “Who knows how many days of chaos there will be? Who knows how the Israeli’s will respond? Many families fear that this crisis is only just beginning. I am very worried for my family,” she said.

    Reem Al Sharif, 30, whose husband had queued for with huge crowds for generator fuel, said: “We have managed to stock up for now but we don’t have anything here in Gaza. The tunnels with Egypt were the lungs we used to breathe.

    “We’re watching what happens in Egypt very closely. For the past few days, families across Gaza have just stayed in – we’re watching the news all the time.”

    The Shifa Hospital, the biggest in Gaza, depends on generators for four hours a day, using 6,000 litres of petrol. Dr Fawzi Nablusia, director of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), said the fuel shortage was a catastrophe.

    “We are completely dependent on electricity, it’s simply not possible to ration it. Our ventilators, the oxygen supply, the monitoring devices, all of the machines must run constantly.”

    The hospital has begun to use its fuel reserves and has enough keep going for eight days. Ambulance drivers have also been forced joined three-hour long queues at petrol stations.

    “Running out of fuel is a catastrophe I can’t even entertain,” said Nablusia.

    Egypt is an important regional ally of Israel since signing a peace agreement between the two countries more than 30 years ago.

    Under the terms of the treaty, both countries agreed to limitations on military presence along the border. However, on Sunday the Egyptian army moved into the Sinai peninsula. Asked if the move had Israel’s prior knowledge or agreement, Israeli officials declined to comment.

    capcha – “costs”

    • Sounds like a peak oil to me. This is what will happen to New Zealand once the tankers stop coming, are we ready? like hell we are. 😀
      Spam word – implications ……. there are many.
      And we told ya so.

  12. Jenny 12

    From the Guardian:

    “White House warns $1.5bn aid to Egypt could be withdrawn”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jan/29/white-house-aid-egypt

    Is this the reason for Sunday’s attack on the Bedouin tunnellers by the Egyptian military?

    “But Obama, while pressing for political reform, held back from a call for legitimate elections amid fears in the US and among its allies in other parts of the Middle East, including Israel and Jordan, of political power shifting to the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood.
    Instead, the White House appears to be looking for reform that will keep the present power structure in place. But it has added to the pressure on Mubarak by saying it is reviewing its $1.5bn (£946m) in annual aid to Egypt, most of it (to the) military.”

    The Guardian

    The bulk of this $1.5bn in aid money, as is well known, is given to the Egyptian army by the the American White House on the condition that Egypt stays allied with the state of Israel and in particular actively helps Israel imprison and blockade the Palestinians in the Gaza enclave.

    The White House’s threat to withdraw this funding was delivered on the 29th of January, The very next day an unprecedented show of strength was launched by the Egyptian military against the Bedouin tunnellers.
    With the huge protests against the Mubarak regime, you would have thought the Egyptian military had other concerns on their mind.
    Was this attack to display to the Americans and Israelis that despite the crisis, the Egypt Military high command are still keen to keep the flow of blood money coming?

  13. Pete 13

    Dann: Are you calling for him to go?

    Key: No

    That’s an appropriate response – it’s not for Key to call him to go, it’s an internal Egyptian matter.

    After thirty years of Mubarak the road to democracy cannot happen overnight. Even with a careful transition period there are many risks, for Egypt and for the region. I’d like to see Egypt become a properly functioning democracy but not at a cost of internal and regional upheaval.

    • Tigger 13.1

      Actually he should say ‘that’s not a call for me to make’.

    • Draco T Bastard 13.2

      Nowhere in the world has democracy come without internal upheaval. It’s a fairly significant change and so there will be chaos no matter what you do.

    • Blighty 13.3

      “it’s not for Key to call him to go, it’s an internal Egyptian matter.”

      Does that same logic apply to Saddam? To the Taliban? to the Indonesians in Timor? To Bainimarama? To the big H?

      Key was happy to call for an anti-Israel dictator to go (Saddam) why not a pro-Israel one?

      Democratic leaders stand up for democracy

    • Richard 13.4

      That’s an appropriate response – it’s not for Key to call him to go, it’s an internal Egyptian matter.

      Rubbish.

      Key, as a representative of the NZ government, is perfectly capable of giving and holding a position on the internal matters of other countries. That’s what Foreign Policy and having Embassies is all about.

      And by not “calling for [Mubarak] to go” he is giving implicit support for Mubarak. Which is, almost certainly, at odds with the opinion of the majority of NZ.

  14. Asher 14

    “And, worryingly actually, is that Egypt has been one of the few Arab nations, that has recognised Israel, in fact the only one.”

    It’s a minor point, but this isn’t true either. Jordan also has a peace treaty signed with Israel, and some of the Gulf states have official business ties too.

  15. orange whip? 15

    Key on the spot is a horrible thing to watch.

    Desperate to sound informed he repeats a largely irrelevant phrase – recognise Israel – over and over because that’s all he can remember from the 30 second briefing he had the night before.

    But he’s heard Americans use the phrase before and he figures it sounds quite smart. Sounds like he’s clued up on world affairs. Like Helen.

  16. orange whip? 16

    I just don’t get Key’s obsession with Israel here. Surely, it’s not his own Jewish roots. But he just doesn’t seem to give a damn about the Egyptian people themselves, only how they relate to Israel. I wonder who he has been talking with to form this view – presumably some American far right-wingers, no-one else is so reflexively pro-Israel and paranoid about Muslims.

    Farrar is. Ironic that National used him to make imaginary connections between NZ leaders and foreign dictators, eh?

  17. Carol 17

    Another headache for the US and its allies is that the Egyptian government controls the Suez Canal. According to Al Jazeera NewsHour this morning, the US relies on access to the Suez Canal for the movement of its troops. Also apparently 10% of the world’s oil passes through the Suez.

  18. It’s fairly straightforward: Key’s a conservative. To conservatives, Israel’s the only country in the Middle East that counts for shit – the others are of interest only in their relationship to Israel. So bunging a few billion a year at a ruthless dictator who’ll back Israel against the Palestinians is all good, and you wouldn’t want said ruthless dictator replaced with someone who might put voters first.

    You can see Key’s view expressed more forthrightly here and here, and in the comments thread here.

    • Sanctuary 18.1

      I would go further and suggest Key’s world view makes him more a Hawaii based American than a New Zealander, and that is nowhere more evident that his view of foreign policy.

  19. Pascal's bookie 19

    Marc Lynch is, as usual, pretty solid.

    It’s crucial to understand that the United States is not the key driver of the Egyptian protest movement. They do not need or want American leadership — and they most certainly are not interested in “vindicating” Bush’s freedom agenda or the Iraq war, an idea which almost all would find somewhere between laughable, bewildering, and deeply offensive. Suspicion of American intentions runs deep, as does folk wisdom about decades of U.S. collaboration with Mubarak. They are not really parsing Hilary Clinton’s adjectives. Their protest has a dynamic and energy of its own, and while they certainly want Obama to take their side forcefully and unequivocally they don’t need it.

    What they do need, if they think about it, is for Obama to help broker an endgame from the top down — to impose restraints on the Egyptian military’s use of violence to repress protests, to force it to get the internet and mobile phones back online, to convince the military and others within the regime’s inner circle to ease Mubarak out of power, and to try to ensure that whatever replaces Mubarak commits to a rapid and smooth transition to civilian, democratic rule. And that’s what the administration is doing. The administration’s public statements and private actions have to be understood as not only offering moral and rhetorical support to the protestors, or as throwing bones to the Washington echo chamber, but as working pragmatically to deliver a positive ending to a still extremely tense and fluid situation.

    I completely understand why activists and those who desperately want the protestors to succeed would be frustrated — anything short of Obama gripping the podium and shouting “Down With Mubarak!” probably would have disappointed them. But that wasn’t going to happen, and shouldn’t have. If Obama had abandoned a major ally of the United States such as Hosni Mubarak without even making a phone call, it would have been irresponsible and would have sent a very dangerous message to every other U.S. ally. That doesn’t mean, as some would have it, that Obama has to stick with Mubarak over the long term — or even the weekend — but he simply had to make a show of trying to give a long-term ally one last chance to change

    http://lynch.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/01/29/obamas_handling_egypt_pretty_well

    The US has a much more, erm, complicated position. Nations act in their own best interest. eE have very little interest in the region, and so are fortunate in some respects. Also, and too, interest and morality coincide here.

    It’s up to the Egyptian people what happens, Mubarak should respect that; we should respect that. There should be elections soon to determine what the will of the Egyptian people is, and in the mean time Egyptians protesting should not be met force. their legitimate complaints need to be addressed as soon as possible.

    None of that is too hard to say.

    • KJT 19.1

      The US is in a very difficult position. If they withdraw support for Mubarak many other people ruled by totalitarian, repressive right wing dictatorships supported by the USA may get the idea they can get their country back.
      Governments in countries like Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and many others might, horrors, become democratic and, more horrors, look after their own people at the expense of US corporations.

      As a US puppet ruler it puts Key in a difficult position also.

      NZ Governments might stop listening to Standard and Poors.

  20. satty 20

    Talking about Peak Oil and Egypt:

    Egypt had their oil production peak in the mid-90s and the country changed from net oil exporter to importer in 2007.

    The county is in the meantime also the largest wheat importer globally, which is probably caused by the population increase of 20% since 2000.

  21. vto 21

    Key says “And in the case of Mubarak he’s been there for a long time, 30-odd years. We respect the fact that he has done his very best to lead a country …”

    As always, such a lightweight. His reasoning and understanding of situations is about on a par with high school, if lucky.

    • ianmac 21.1

      USA set out to bring Democracy to Iraq and Afghanistan. The huge expense of these wars was justified because we all need Democracy at any cost.
      But wait. Not in Egypt because their leader supports Israel. So it is wrong to have a cruel dictator in Iraq but OK in Egypt. How can Key and USA be so hypocritical?

  22. There are 282 registered NZers, but probably more than 700 tourists. It\’s mainly expats that register. Obviously Key\’s been focusing on the Israeli Ambassador\’s memo more than his briefing from MFAT. Also if Fiji supports Israel, can Bananarama come to the rugger

  23. Anthony C 23

    I can see where Key is coming from if the consequences of democracy could potentially see the loss of democracy. No wonder most of the western leaders are in a bind.

    Not to mention the consequences of an even more paranoid Israel…

    • Blighty 23.1

      democracies don’t fight each other. If this results in Egypt becoming a democracy, there is no danger of it going to war with Israel (much less any chance of it winning and destroying the Israeli democracy)

      • Anthony C 23.1.1

        It’s more democracy inside Egypt, it’s seen as a valid tool to be used for gaining power but won’t last long as it runs contrary to Islamist beliefs. (if they gain power)

        As for ElBaradei he’s a western ‘best case scenario’ that the media is clinging to, we’ve already seen how the western-seal-of-approval ‘import a leader’ works in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

        edit> I’m not playing down the motivations of the protestors as I believe many do want democracy, sadly as always there are groups that seek to gain power and would usurp the protests for their own ends.

        • Blighty 23.1.1.1

          El Baradei is no Karzi. The US thinks he hid evdience of the Iranian nuke program when he was head of the IAEA. And it appears the Muslm Brotherhood is supporting him. I’m not sure they really want to govern, at least not yet.

  24. tsmithfield 24

    Hmmm. The tenor of this article seems to diverge considerably from other articles I have seen on this site regarding NZs involvment in Iraq and Afganistan that also has to do with the removal of oppressive regimes. Should I take away from this that the left is all for foot-stomping and hand-wringing but is against any practical involvement to enable the transition from dictatorship to democracy?

    [lprent: That is a pointless argument unless you point to a change of view in an author (which you haven’t done). This is a multi-author blog with different authors frequently taking different stances.

    I could equally well say that because you’re sort of over towards the right during commenting that there is a major discrepancy amongst the right wingers because you don’t come from the same fact free stance as as big bruv, don’t brownnose as much as fisiani, etc.. For some reason I suspect that you’d probably reject the idea that I should treat you as being the same as them. But you seem to think that the authors here should all be the same.

    Read the about. ]

    • Blighty 24.1

      Just because good people want Mubarak gone doesn’t mean we’re calling for an invasion of Egypt, just as no-one on the Left supported keeping Saddam and the Taliban in power but most of us objected to the use of force because it was going to be disasterious for the people of Iraq and Afghanistan.

      Key’s got to explain why he wanted to shed Kiwi blood invading Iraq but supports Mubarak staying in power. Is it just the pro vs anti-Israel thing?

      • tsmithfield 24.1.1

        He may well be thinking in terms from an international perspective, where the regime in Egypt has contributed to regional stability, which is a good thing from that perspective.

        Also, it might well be difficult for Key to be supportive of regime change when it is not clear what the change will be to. What replaces the regime may end up being worse for the people than what was in existence in the first place. Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe is a good example of what can happen when one regime is replaced with another. So for Key it may be a case of “the devil you know rather than the devil you don’t.”

        • Blighty 24.1.1.1

          “Also, it might well be difficult for Key to be supportive of regime change when it is not clear what the change will be to”

          Yet, the US is calling for free and fair elections.

          “He may well be thinking in terms from an international perspective, where the regime in Egypt has contributed to regional stability, which is a good thing from that perspective.”

          Actually, the realpolitick of this is clearly that you don’t go around supporting a dictator when you’re soon going to have to be dealing with the people who have overthrown him. The US and everyone else gets that.

          “So for Key it may be a case of “the devil you know rather than the devil you don’t.””

          Or it’s a case of ‘I support a murderous dictator because he supports Israel because the government that might replace him might include an Islamist group and that might have ramifications for the relationship with Israel, which might or might not actually mean anything in the real world’

          ts. do you support the overthrow of a violent dictator by a popular uprising?

          • tsmithfield 24.1.1.1.1

            “ts. do you support the overthrow of a violent dictator by a popular uprising?”

            If it means establishment of a fair, democratic government then yes.

            If it means a power vacuum that leads to civil war or establishment of an even worse regime, then no.

            • Blighty 24.1.1.1.1.1

              well, you don’t know what the future will hold. Except, you know that the international community will give encouragement, technical support, and monitoring for free and fair elections.

              So, do you want Mubarak to stay in power ‘in case’ his successors are somehow worse? Or do you want a murderous dictator to be overthrown by a popular uprising?

              • tsmithfield

                I actually hold some hope for a positive resolution. The military seem unwilling to take action against the people, and seem to think the people have justification for their concerns. Also, it seems there are moves from the government to make changes. From what I have read, this seems to be a “soft” coup, which is probably the best and least disruptive way for it to happen.

                Therefore, I am probably supportive of the move, so long as it results in something better than the status quo.

                • Blighty

                  wow. don’t ever let me ask you a hard question.

                  and, meanwhile, John Key thinks Mubarak should stay in charge with this weird focus on Israel.

                  • tsmithfield

                    Don’t expect simple answers to complex problems.

                    So far as JK is concerned, I suspect he has a wide range of interlinking diplomatic relationships to take into account when he makes a comment.

                    • Bill

                      What the fuck is complex about Egyptians wanting to rid themselves of a dictator?

                    • tsmithfield

                      I am not sure that Key has special love for Mubarak. However, I suspect his concern, and those of many other international leaders, and the financial markets, is that Mubarak gets replaced with some sort of rabid Islamic dictatorship, similar to Iran. I think everyone would be happy for Mubarak to be replaced if they could be sure that a moderate, democratic government ensued.

                    • Bill

                      Does the same concern for the establishmet of a ‘moderate and democratic government’ extend, in your mind to the Zionist state of Israel?

                      Or is that a different and acceptable instance of a rabidly religious government ’cause they ain’t pesky Muslims?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      So far as JK is concerned, I suspect he has a wide range of interlinking diplomatic relationships to take into account when he makes a comment.

                      Wow – really? Not much evidence of this in any of his dealings with foreign powers thus far e.g. trying to get photo-ops with Obama.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      However, I suspect his concern, and those of many other international leaders, and the financial markets, is that Mubarak gets replaced with some sort of rabid Islamic dictatorship, similar to Iran. I think everyone would be happy for Mubarak to be replaced if they could be sure that a moderate, democratic government ensued.

                      Call me crazy, but I think the best way to express that would be to , y’know, call for a democratic outcome. Instead, Key suggested that people power might be the ‘wrong direction’ for Egypt.

                      That doesn’t play into the hands of the moderates, it drives them towards radicalism. I makes western talk about democracy look to be so much bullshit, for the good reason that such talk is just bullshit unless we give democratic principles primacy.

                      That’s why,
                      The shah, always, falls.

                      And when he falls, blowback.

                      the longer he takes to fall, the more we stand by him, the less we support the people, the greater the blowback.

                      Isn’t it just easier, and better, to just stand by our principles?

                  • tsmithfield

                    “Does the same concern for the establishmet of a ‘moderate and democratic government’ extend, in your mind to the Zionist state of Israel?”

                    I don’t think you’ve thought your logic through here.

                    Israel is bad so its ok for Egypt to be bad? Haven’t you heard that two wrongs don’t make a right.

  25. Zaphod Beeblebrox 25

    You can’t expect money changers like JK to understand concepts like democracy, individual determination, freedom of expression.

    Since when did International money markets ever care about those things?

    What he meant to say was- maintainence of the status quo is good for international markets.

  26. Bill 26

    Below is an excerpt from a David Porter commentary on popular upheavels in Algeria and Tunisia. Highly relevant to the situation in Egypt and offering a potential insight into US calls for ‘smooth transitions’ of power etc….

    It is one thing, however courageous and important, to force the exile of a dictator, his immediate family and even his closest political entourage. It is another to actually remove from power the entrenched forces of authoritarian, privileged rule in the military, the bureaucracy and the elite political class. (Tanks returned to the streets after Ben Ali left the country and the post-Ali regime sought to preserve the most powerful ministries for Ben Ali allies.).

    http://www.zcommunications.org/algeria-and-tunisia-separate-paths-of-insurgency-by-david-porter

  27. Naomi 27

    I would very much like the people of Egypt to get the democracy they deserve after 30 years of suffering a dictatorship, but what the writer of this article fails to recognise is that what the people of Egypt are aspiring to looks very much like ISRAEL – a fully functioning democracy that punches well above its weight in terms of scientific innovation, productivity and compassion for humanity! We should all aspire to be like Israel, I am so bored by the Radical Left’s tiresome obsession with trying to villify Israel, instead of focusing on the real villains and threat to world peace – the Muslim Brotherhood and the fanatical Islamic leaders of Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran who have publicly stated that no peace agreement will ever suffice – they want to wipe Israel off the map and kill every last Jew. They will never be satisfied until all of the Middle East, Southern Europe and Africa has adopted Sharia law and all women are walking around in a little black tent.

    • Marty G 27.1

      No-one’s trying to vilify Israel, we’re just confused about why our PM sees a democratic revolution in Egypt as a bad thing because he has delusions that a democratic Egypt would be a threat to Israel.

      • travellerev 27.1.1

        Naomi,

        Please don’t give me the Israel is a fully functioning Democracy and soooo compassionate.

        And don’t even think about blaming the Palestinians for their own plight.

        While I’m sure that the majority of Israelis are good and descent human beings who want peace and compassion their leaders do not.

        And don’t go the “you’re an anti Semite” way either. In fact there are many practising Jews who want to eliminate the state of Israel because to them it is an abomination created by humans and an insult to Jehovah who is the only one entitled to lead the people of Jewish faith back to the promised land. In fact many religious Jews argue that being a Jew is not a racial but a religious thing and there is no such thing as a secular Jew. A person identifying as a Jew because somewhere along the line the matriarchal side was practising is to them just another Goy and not partial to any entitlement as far as the land stolen from the Palestinians is.

        In fact here is a link to a very interesting Jewish documentary investigating the inherent anti-Semite tendencies of Zionism and Theodor Herzl in particular.

        Many of these practising Jews had to leave Jerusalem where they had lived for generations as a result of the crimes committed by the first Zionists and the terror they evoked with their bombings and mass murders and consider themselves refugees living in New York and London. They actively take the side of the Palestinians whom they consider the rightful owners of the lands they lived on for generations and are welcomed in brotherhood by the Palestinians.

        And just to correct you on another issue Ahmadinajad did not refer to Israel as a country but to the governing elite and their international money masters.

        In fact he has a more than cordial relationship with International Jewish groups and he is known to donate to the Jewish hospital in Tehran.

        Here is another one for ya:

        Jews have traditionally been living amongst Muslims for hundreds of years and have never seen the fierce persecution they encountered in Europe and while their position in Arab countries has at times been precarious they continue to live in many Arab countries including Iran where they have representatives in government (Something Israel is trying to deny its Arab citizens). In fact to Muslims the Torah and the Bible are holy books along side the Koran and they also recognise Jesus as a true messenger of God.

        Here is a photo of Ahmadinajad holding both the Koran and the Bible while he explains this fact to the UN assembly (the one John Key so very rudely walked out off).

        Oh, and did you know that 65% of all people studying in Iran were females?

        And here is a link to a facebook site of Egyptian women fighting along their men folk for freedom and Democracy one of whom was quoted as saying I don’t care whether the persons leading us are Muslim, Christian or Jewish, just so long as they have the vision of leading us to a better future.

        Just take your blinders of and start educating yourself about the Zionist propaganda and what it does to all the people in the middle east including the Jews themselves.

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