Let’s Play “Name That Arab Despotism”!

Posted: February 10th, 2011 by Militant Libertarian

by William N. Grigg

There is a large and powerful Arab state ruled by a Soviet-trained military dictator. The figure he has chosen as a successor, the head of the secret police, was also trained in the Soviet Union, and the apparatus of terror and repression he supervises was created with valuable input from the KGB. Thus it’s not surprising to learn that he is one of the most notorious torturers in a region where that occupation is common. During one torture session he supervised, that thug actually offered to cut off the arm of a prisoner in order to please representatives of his regime’s chief foreign sponsor.
Despite the fact that this country has seen its gross domestic product grow consistently for the past thirty years, the percentage of its population in poverty has grown even faster.  The entrenched socialist oligarchy devours practically all of the wealth created in the country, and is also sustained by lavish foreign subsidies.
The Dear Leader portrays himself as a humble old soldier, a self-abnegating servant of the country. It’s entirely possible that he actually believes his own propaganda; this would explain why that simple son of toil has amassed a fortune estimated in the billions. Meanwhile, at least a million residents of the capital city are permanently homeless and can be found sleeping in cemeteries.
The existing economic and political cartel in the country we’re discussing is quite similar to the one in charge of post-Soviet Russia. Shortly before relinquishing its monopoly on political power, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union apportioned its membership among several “contending” parties. At the same time, the Party deeded to itself everything of value in the country in anticipation of “privatizing” the economy. In this way, the Nomenklaturaprotected its power and perquisites against the vagaries of electoral politics.The controlled implosion of the Soviet Communist Party in 1991 was a neat trick — but the ruling elite of the Arab state we’re discussing actually did the same thing decades earlier. In 1974, its ruling Arab Socialist Union calved off two “contending” parties — one on the “right” and another on the “left” — while re-naming itself the National Democratic Party (NDP) and laying claim to the “moderate center.”
Until very recently, the NDP — which remains ensconced as the ruling party — was a member in good standing of the Socialist International, which was founded by Karl Marx.
Given the pedigree of this junta, we shouldn’t be surprised to learn that it has a long and amicable relationship with the despotic dynasty ruling North Korea. Decades ago, as head of the air force, the future Arab dictator arranged for his pilots to receive training from North Korean advisers in preparation for a war against Israel. Pyongyang also supplied the country with Soviet-produced missiles and the know-how to produce its own.
We’re not discussing Syria, Libya, Saudi Arabia, or Iran  (which isn’t an Arab country, of course). This is portrait of the Egyptian government headed by Hosni Mubarak and his hand-picked successor Omar Suleiman. That Arab socialist regime, we are insistently told by the Obama administration and various retread Cold War conservatives, is a flawed but valuable ally of the United States.
Some of those singing that refrain has been performing cadenzas of alarm over the prospect of Cairo falling into the clutches of a dreadful “Islamo-Communist” alliance bent on creating a global Caliphate. The operatic variations on that theme performed by Glenn Beck have been worthy of  a coloratura soprano.

By this reading, the uprising in Cairo is not a tribute to the irrepressible human desire for freedom. Instead, the brave defiance offered by hundreds of thousands of Egyptians was orchestrated as part of an elaborate plot to undermine the “stability” provided by Mubarak’s U.S.-subsidized torture state.
Difficult as it may be to believe, Glenn Beck’s take on this issue qualifies only for a silver medal in the silliness sweepstakes. First place goes to this unfathomably foolish essay, with shares equally apportioned to the young man who wrote it and the purported adults on the editorial staff of the journal that published it.

Exporting repression: An American-made tear gas grenade in Cairo.

Elaborating on Beck’s rococo conspiracy theory, the author insists that the uprising against Mubarak is the work of an “Islamo-Leninist” alliance that he describes as the modern successor to “the Soviet-backed Nasser.”

Actually, Nasser’s successor is the Soviet-trained Hosni Mubarak, who heads a party that grew directly out of Nasser’s Arab Socialist Union. It should also be pointed out that the Muslim Brotherhood was a CIA-supportedenemy of Nasser.
“While Hosni Mubarak may not share American hopes and conceptions of what constitutes a democratic government,” the author continues, “he has been an ally of the United States and Israel, and has attempted to institute as many free-market reforms as possible….” For this reason, “our government understands the necessity of supporting Mubarak, whom even Former Vice President Dick Cheney has identified as an ally.”

Oh, you mean Mubarak and his torturers have earned the Darth Cheney Seal of Approval? I guess that settles it, then.

For those who stubbornly remain unpersuaded, the writer deploys the heaviest artillery at his disposal:

It’s a Communist plot! Egyptian Muslims and Christians unite against tyranny.

“Our support for Mubarak is a direct application of the Kirkpatrick Doctrine, named after Reagan advisor Jeanne Kirkpatrick, who differentiated authoritarian governments (such as Mubarak’s Egypt and Pinochet’s Chile) from totalitarian regimes, such as the Soviet Union or Nazi Germany, and stressed the need to support authoritarian governments as strategic partners against hostile regimes and movements, such as Islamism and Communism.”

Referring to criticism of Glenn Beck by Weekly Standard publisher William Kristol, the author laments:  “It is a sad and shameful day when a self-identified `conservative’ betrays the Kirkpatrick Doctrine and the long-term strategic interests of the United States in favor of what most likely amounts to a desperate attempt for publicity and attention from a political movement in which he is now obsolete.”
Apparently we are to believe that the Kirkpatrick Doctrine was a divinely revealed codicil to the Decalogue, or at least a secret annex to the U.S. Constitution authorizing open-ended military and economic support for any despot who is baptized a “strategic partner” by our rulers.

Actually, that doctrine was actually spawned in the Trotskyite slums of academia in the late 1960s, before being articulated by Kirkpatrick in an essay that could be considered an Ur-text of neo-con imperialism. It is treated as holy writ by those who believe America has been anointed by History to propagate democracy at gunpoint throughout the globe. Those on the receiving end of the Empire’s ministrations understandable consider it to be demonic rather than divine.

The “Kirkpatrick Doctrine” as practiced in Cairo.

The Kirkpatrick Doctrine was the direct mirror image of the Brezhnev Doctrine, under which Moscow claimed the supposed right to prop up and defend its own satrapies wherever they were threatened by “instability.”

During the second Reagan term, Secretary of State George Schulz pronounced a corollary to the Kirkpatrick Doctrine under which Washington would actively promote anti-Soviet insurgencies in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. In other words, the U.S. would emulate another Soviet strategy by promoting “wars of national liberation.”

Among the despots supported by Washington under the Kirkpatrick Doctrine was Saddam Hussein. Among the insurgents who received American help pursuant to the Schulz Corollary were the Afghan Mujahadeen — the direct progenitors of the Afghan insurgents currently doing battle with American occupation troops. For the past decade, U.S. foreign policy has been an exercise in dealing with Kirkpatrick Doctrine-related blowback.
Defenders of the Kirkpatrick Doctrine will indignantly insist that I am guilty of “moral equivalence” by comparing it to the Brezhnev Doctrine. A good and sufficient reply is to point out that those doctrines directly intersect in Egypt, where — according to the author quoted above, and many others of his ilk — America has a moral duty and strategic imperative to support the socialist torture regime of Soviet-trained, North Korean-allied Hosni Mubarak and Omar Suleiman.
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Dum spiro, pugno!

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