Arab world meltdown

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Majid_S

Mountain climber
Bay Area , California
Topic Author's Original Post - Jan 27, 2011 - 01:55pm PT
Things are cooking in north Africa and I know something is coming up but I wonder who is behind it.



survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Jan 27, 2011 - 02:02pm PT
It's a secret Israeli sub that's behind it all. Just wait, Fatty will tell ya.
ahad aham

Trad climber
Jan 27, 2011 - 02:11pm PT
whats been sinister is the us (and us taxpayer) proping up of a tyrant in mubarak. friday will be huge. the youth have had enough. up to minute tweets can be found here;

http://mondoweiss.net/2011/01/revolution-in-egypt.html

the facebook revolutions have arrived;

Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jan 27, 2011 - 02:18pm PT
"The Economist" book review points out that digital revolution can work both ways:

Caught in the net

Why dictators are going digital

Jan 6th 2011 | from PRINT EDITION

The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom. By Evgeny Morozov. PublicAffairs; 408 pages; $27.95. Published in Britain by Allen Lane as “The Net Delusion: How Not to Liberate the World”; £14.99.

WHEN thousands of young Iranians took to the streets in June 2009 to protest against the apparent rigging of the presidential election, much of the coverage in the Western media focused on the protesters’ use of Twitter, a microblogging service. “This would not happen without Twitter,” declared the Wall Street Journal. Andrew Sullivan, a prominent American-based blogger, also proclaimed Twitter to be “the critical tool for organising the resistance in Iran”. The New York Times said the demonstrations pitted “thugs firing bullets” against “protesters firing tweets”.

The idea that the internet was fomenting revolution and promoting democracy in Iran was just the latest example of the widely held belief that communications technology, and the internet in particular, is inherently pro-democratic. In this gleefully iconoclastic book, Evgeny Morozov takes a stand against this “cyber-utopian” view, arguing that the internet can be just as effective at sustaining authoritarian regimes. By assuming that the internet is always pro-democratic, he says, Western policymakers are operating with a “voluntary intellectual handicap” that makes it harder rather than easier to promote democracy.

He starts with the events in Iran, which illustrate his argument in microcosm. An investigation by Al-Jazeera, an international news network based in Qatar, could confirm only 60 active Twitter accounts in Tehran. Iranian bloggers who took part in the protests have since poured cold water on the “Twitter revolution” theory. But the American government’s endorsement of the theory, together with the State Department’s request that Twitter delay some planned maintenance that would have taken the service offline for a few crucial hours at the height of the unrest, prompted the Iranian authorities to crack down on social networks of all kinds. Iranians entering the country were, for example, looked up on Facebook to see if they had links to any known dissidents, thus achieving the very opposite of what American policymakers wanted.

The root of the problem, Mr Morozov argues, is that Western policymakers see an all-too-neat parallel with the role that radio propaganda and photocopiers may have played in undermining the Soviet Union. A native of Belarus, Mr Morozov (who has occasionally written for The Economist) says this oversimplification of history has led to the erroneous conclusion that promoting internet access and “internet freedom” will have a similar effect on authoritarian regimes today.

In fact, authoritarian regimes can use the internet, as well as greater access to other kinds of media, such as television, to their advantage. Allowing East Germans to watch American soap operas on West German television, for example, seems to have acted as a form of pacification that actually reduced people’s interest in politics. Surveys found that East Germans with access to Western television were less likely to express dissatisfaction with the regime. As one East German dissident lamented, “the whole people could leave the country and move to the West as a man at 8pm, via television.”

Mr Morozov catalogues many similar examples of the internet being used with similarly pacifying consequences today, as authoritarian regimes make an implicit deal with their populations: help yourselves to pirated films, silly video clips and online pornography, but stay away from politics. “The internet”, Mr Morozov argues, “has provided so many cheap and easily available entertainment fixes to those living under authoritarianism that it has become considerably harder to get people to care about politics at all.”

Social networks offer a cheaper and easier way to identify dissidents than other, more traditional forms of surveillance. Despite talk of a “dictator’s dilemma”, censorship technology is sophisticated enough to block politically sensitive material without impeding economic activity, as China’s example shows. The internet can be used to spread propaganda very effectively, which is why Hugo Chávez is on Twitter. The web can also be effective in supporting the government line, or at least casting doubt on critics’ position (China has an army of pro-government bloggers). Indeed, under regimes where nobody believes the official media, pro-government propaganda spread via the internet is actually perceived by many to be more credible by comparison.

Authoritarian governments are assumed to be clueless about the internet, but they often understand its political uses far better than their Western counterparts do, Mr Morozov suggests. His profiles in “The Net Delusion” of the Russian government’s young internet advisers are particularly illuminating. Previous technologies, including the telegraph, aircraft, radio and television, were also expected to bolster democracy, he observes, but they failed to live up to expectations. The proliferation of channels means that Americans watch less TV news than they did in the pre-cable era. And by endorsing Twitter, Facebook and Google as pro-democratic instruments, the American government has compromised their neutrality and encouraged authoritarian regimes to regard them as agents of its foreign policy.

So what does Mr Morozov propose instead of the current approach? He calls for “cyber-realism” to replace “cyber-utopianism”, making it clear that he believes that technology can indeed be used to promote democracy, provided it is done in the right way. But he presents little in the way of specific prescriptions, other than to stress the importance of considering the social and political context in which technology is deployed, rather than focusing on the characteristics of the technology itself, as internet gurus tend to. Every authoritarian regime is different, he argues, so it is implausible that the same approach will work in each case; detailed local knowledge is vital. Yet having done such a good job of knocking down his opponents’ arguments, it is a pity he does not have more concrete proposals to offer in their place.

With chapter titles and headings such as “Why the KGB wants you to join Facebook” and “Why Kierkegaard Hates Slacktivism” it is clear that Mr Morozov is enjoying himself (indeed, there may be a few more bad jokes than is strictly necessary). But the resulting book is not just unfailingly readable: it is also a provocative, enlightening and welcome riposte to the cyber-utopian worldview.

from PRINT EDITION | Books and Arts

John Moosie

climber
Beautiful California
Jan 27, 2011 - 02:30pm PT
I haven't been following this. Sometimes it seems like the middle east is always having some problem or another. Probably because I lump them in all together when in reality they are a bunch of different tribes/countries.

Can someone give a synopsis of current things?
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Jan 27, 2011 - 02:33pm PT
Leslie Gelb:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2011-01-27/obamas-support-for-egypt-protesters-risks-a-key-ally/
Hawkeye

climber
State of Mine
Jan 27, 2011 - 02:41pm PT
What an idiot....

Take a break, Fool....

you get more idiotic every day.

fatty may at times act follish and even idiotic........at times....

but AC you are always a A$$HOLE! we know why and you receive our sympathy. we know that you carry the burden of knowing that your mama didnt want you she thought you were a piece of sh#t...
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Jan 27, 2011 - 02:45pm PT
I suspect this all makes for a lot of nervous clerics in Iran.
John Moosie

climber
Beautiful California
Jan 27, 2011 - 02:46pm PT
Ack.... could we leave off the name calling. I really would like some insights on this situation. We have a rare opportunity to hear from folks who live there or have family there. So ease up please.

I usually disagree with Jeff, but its good to hear what some folks think. It helps create a picture of all the things that are influencing these situations.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Jan 27, 2011 - 02:49pm PT
In this case I have to agree with Fattrad - the governments in Egypt and, until recently, Turkey have in large part been sitting fairly hard on the more fundamentalist-inclined elements in their respective societies. In the case of Turkey, 'democratic' processes have led to less-secular, more fundamentalist control over their government setting up tension with a secular military.
Anastasia

climber
hanging from a crimp and crying for my mama.
Jan 27, 2011 - 02:49pm PT
If Egypt goes, there goes the whole peninsula... Plus, Israel will lose it's favorite ally in the region, etc. This isn't going to be pretty.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Jan 27, 2011 - 02:51pm PT
That is correct and it should be noted that most of the 'philosophical' and twisted religious basis and foment for MidEast turmoil can be laid, as fattrad noted, at the feet of radical Egyptian clerics.
ahad aham

Trad climber
Jan 27, 2011 - 02:53pm PT
Mubarak regime (not Egptian people)is a brought and paid ally of Israel controlling a border with the open air prison that is gaza. Paid for by billions of US taxpayer dollars.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Jan 27, 2011 - 02:56pm PT
Israel and Palestine probably don't make the top five or even top ten of real issues confronting the countries of the middle east, including Egypt, Tunisia and Turkey. (Neither Turkey nor Iran is Arabic.) The real issues are things like ineffective/incompetent/corrupt governments (although not Republican or neo-con), overpopulation and demographics (young populations & unemployment), history, excess resources wasted on the military, regional rivalries, water, environmental degradation, and so on.

Fundamentalist right-wingers may be gaining some influence, but only as one of the few plausible alternatives. Apart from pockets, most know that the fundamentalists aren't credible governments.
John Moosie

climber
Beautiful California
Jan 27, 2011 - 03:35pm PT
The real issues are things like ineffective/incompetent/corrupt governments (although not Republican or neo-con), overpopulation and demographics (young populations & unemployment), history, excess resources wasted on the military, regional rivalries, water, environmental degradation, and so on.

Kind of sounds like America.
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Jan 27, 2011 - 03:46pm PT
The Iranians are trying to head things off at the pass.

http://www.aawsat.com/english/news.asp?section=1&id=23921
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Jan 27, 2011 - 03:47pm PT
Read me
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Jan 27, 2011 - 03:53pm PT
I prefer to think of this as people trying to regain their right to self-determination. As many others have said, they aren't agitating to be more pro-U.S. or pro-Western, but I think we've been too tolerant of dictators there because of a Chauvinism that Muslims are, well, "different."

We need to let them be real sovereign nations, but assist those who support democracy. People will never love us as long as we're the superpower, but I don't think we'll find propping up dictators there to be in our long-term best interest.

John
Brokedownclimber

Trad climber
Douglas, WY
Jan 27, 2011 - 04:07pm PT
"Beware of foreign entanglements." So why don't we Listen UP? George Washington said that 215 years ago, and he was a wise man. Of course George "said" it but the words were written for him by James Madison.

The middle East is a gigantic CAN OF FUKKING WORMS. I preach we keep our noses out, and our hands off...

I have always been big on self-determination. Why does the USA always manage to interfere on behalf of corrupt dictators, regardless of the "administration" here at home?
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Jan 27, 2011 - 04:19pm PT
Okay so until now I have lived in blissful ignorance regarding Egypt's politics other than the general fact that they are our ally.

Folks here keep referring to Mubarak as a dictator. But the State Dept site I linked to upthread describes him as a powerful elected executive serving 6 year terms.

This Carnegie Endowment page covers the election process there and also has some in depth coverage of the current events there. It is really worth a look.
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