tv [untitled] February 23, 2011 3:30am-3:59am EST
world cup in twenty eight needs to spend as much as one hundred eighty three billion dollars to connect five of the thirteen host sideris with high speed rail links experts warn that even if there are strong demand for oil those bonds placing one billion pounds worth would be extremely tough. so for me your up to date someone else time for more business.
welcome back you're watching r t live from moscow in the headlines a tidal wave of illegal immigration promises to drown your of as uprisings in north africa and the middle east see thousands plot to tie in shores he has also threatened to lead refugees pour into the continent's. western nations are the baiting at multibillion dollar aid package for the region headed by revolts to democratic and economic. transformation many are you crippling cuts in europe and the us when the money's desperately needed elsewhere. and in other news ukraine's h.i.v. positive patients accuse the health ministry of banking on their illness as hundreds of thousands are forced to fight for their lives to blame high level corruption and mismanagement for the lack of vital drugs. next to a joint you know about his guests and crosstalk as they debate how to achieve democracy in the middle east and north africa.
we'll. bring you the latest in science and technology from the realms. we've. covered. hello and welcome to cross talk i'm peter lavelle days of rage in revolution in the arab middle east is the era of dictators coming to an end in this vital region and as the west learned it is far better to put its space into the people on the ground instead of tyrants intense. and. discuss the middle east revolutions i'm joined by david morse are in washington he's a former senior adviser to vice president dick cheney in irvine we go to mark le
vine he is a professor of modern middle eastern history culture and islamic studies at the university of california irvine and in brussels we have read brody he is counsel in spokes person for human rights watch and another member of our cross-talk team on the hunger all right if i can go to mark first in irvine i'd like to look at a trend the last ten years and then since the time of the statehood of arab countries after the second world war primarily what has gone terribly wrong and i want to look expensive equally first at the last ten years ago so called war on terror has that just been a total utter failure because you didn't need to fight terrorism all we needed to do was support democracy as we've seen over the last few weeks i think i think that's a really good characterization i think if we had been supporting democracy all those years before the last ten years we would never have had the terrorism and the war on terror and the disasters that have befall in the region and the united
states since then i was in baghdad in two thousand and four for the first anniversary of the invasion and really being in tahrir square a week ago was that it was the perfect book and the first was us trying to invade and force change on a region when. we really didn't want the kind of change we said we wanted and then finally it was the region really despite us seizing its all momentum and bringing change to itself and i think if we had supported that all along we would have never been in the mess that we've been in the last two or three decades in the region david in washington how do you reflect upon that that the the whole war on terrorism itself to be a failure because the more we see democracy rising in the arab world the more we see that the fortunes of al qaeda just go disperse sink into the sand well i mean i'd make two points about that first of all the war on terror did have a major aspect in terms of the war of ideas and the idea of bringing a greater degree of freedom to the middle east that was the whole point but you had a very specific issues of two or three countries that had agreed his leadership was
the worst human rights violators the taleban and saddam hussein and they were also supporting terrorism of all sorts so it was really not a contradiction you could do both and i think that the former administration needs to get a lot of credit for reintroducing the word democracy and freedom into the lexicon of the middle east emotional even though even though we're there for the use of force democracy through the use of force. it's not fair well what we did was when we went into iraq afterwards we had elections that was a lot more than saddam ever did for his people so yes i mean sometimes we had the same thing in western europe after world war two one can argue that our occupation of germany was an anti-democratic move after it removed the nazis even though it was a use of force so sometimes you need to use force to get rid of the worst human rights
violators in the world who which also then are also some of the most aggressive nations in the world and then afterwards you move very quickly to turn power over to the people which is precisely what we did which is why you don't see a lot going on in iraq right now as opposed to libya and other countries ok second part of it though is that i do think that your overall critique mark's overall critique is absolutely true i think for the fifty to seventy years before that we were all too often focused on stability rather than freedom and i think in the long run dictatorships are not the most stable form of government ultimately democracies are read if i go to you in brussels i mean this is like being a monday morning quarterback sorry for the americans footballing go but i mean i mean saying that you know saddam is worse than mubarak or mubarak is better than ben ali isn't that really just kind of nonsensical we all know we all knew the
backgrounds of these people and what they were doing but if they were strategic ally of the united states you just turned a blind eye. i think that's absolutely correct i mean the bush administration talked the talk but it never really walked the walk i mean the united states supported mubarak the united states supported benelli in tunisia the united states in recent years supported in many ways moammar gadhafi and i think you know one of the problems now is that the governments the people who come to power as we've seen i mean in tunisia where the french ambassador was just heckled out of. it was just heckled first for statements that he made because people remember who was on their side i mean one of the reasons actually that moammar gadhafi retains for instance the friendship of south africa is that he supported the south african freedom struggle where many people in the west did not and i think it's always better in the long run to be on the right side of history to be on the people side mark go
ahead go ahead finish up go ahead just in terms of the war on terror i mean the way the war on terror was fought is actually you know created many more terrorists then then there were to begin with i mean throughout the middle east kuantan imo abu ghraib are symbols that are recruiting tools for terrorism and it's clear that in the words of donald rumsfeld they're creating them faster than we're killing them and so i think you know by embracing the people's movements that we're seeing across the middle east and north africa now i think the united states and the international community has a chance to get back on the right side but it looks like the west still has to mark i've been watching you in irvine you've been looking very very patient you want to say something at this point go ahead. well i guess i need to say two things first of all i think comparing world war two to the invasion of iraq is almost beyond
comprehension to me as a historian and even morally and ethically i mean i know that the bush administration tried to compare. saddam to hitler that's half of my family was killed in the holocaust i just it's unconscionable to make that kind of comparison to be honest and to say that the freedom agenda so quote unquote actually worked on the ground actually was pursued on the ground during the bush administration is just a false a fixation of history in reality we continued funding all the regimes including israel by the way despite the expansions of settlements and all the human rights abuses there we talked a good game but we never walked the walk as reed said and obama's done hardly any better if at all and i think you know people remember that when i was in cairo during the revolution people understood full well which side the u.s. government was on and it became increasingly difficult to be an american even an american journalist a researcher there because they were getting so angry at how the u.s. has balked at supporting real democracy we see the same thing happening in bahrain
we see the same thing happening in so many other countries god forbid the saudi people actually try to bring a measure of democracy to the country we really need is to understand that regardless of who's been president from roosevelt to today we have never supported democracy in the region we have always been willing either to use force or to support others using force if it serves our interests and that helped keep the region mired in poverty inequality and oppression and it's only now that people have finally found it within themselves to take that on and in a way that isn't using more violence or isn't using ideologies that only make the situation worse and if we're not there supporting them every step of the way they're going to remember that and it's going to be an absolute disaster for us foreign policy david if i can reflect on something that marc said to me we've you know we all look comparably the same age here marks a little bit younger but you know we've all been taught you know basically subliminally and very at the very least that you know these people can't rule themselves i think we've been all startled by that over the last two months i mean
this is the revolution pulled off in egypt is very sophisticated very mature population knew exactly what they wanted to do they didn't need any outside help. well in egypt first of all i would be a little careful we're still at the beginning of this story we're not even sure who the transitional period or even really into the transition we're really in the transition to the transition as far as iraq goes i think that was quite a vibrant democracy in the last few years yes it's messy yes they have problems forming coalitions. but you know that's democracy and they're learning and i think it's amazing how despite the tensions within the country the sectarian differences and so forth at the end of the day most iraqis understand this is a real shot itself going to dave and they really do everything to make it ok if that does not mean we can i ask you a question then then you by using your logic the u.s. should invade libya now right. well i think the well i actually
i do think the west should be much more forceful in making it clear that we've had it with more market duffy did say one point that we let off on qaddafi about a few years ago i actually fully agree with that i think it was a major strategic mistake in the previous administration to sort of elected office off the hook just because he came clean on his weapons of mass destruction the weapons of mass destruction were of course a very dangerous element a very dangerous regimes but they were not the essence of the danger that the regimes represented i think of darfur was a perfect example this was a man who really seriously never did. renounce terrorism and he was biding his time and now we see how ugly he can be with his own people so i really do think that in that case because we should have remained basically out in the woodshed in american policy as far as invading. and invading
khadafi look we didn't need to invade eastern europe to have eastern europe fall what we needed to do was to be very confident about our democratic ideals and our democratic values and to demonstrate that they also represent the strength of our society after nine hundred ninety when the soviet union fell i was following very closely all the press in the middle east and i read article after article in egypt even among palestinians who were saying that one of the reasons why israel and the united states were won so many times was because they were free and they were asking themselves why not us and if you ask i think the most important period where we dropped the ball i really do believe it's from about one thousand nine hundred ninety to about one nine hundred ninety five when we really had a chance to champion the idea of democracy especially in some of our allies like egypt it would not have been seen. as
a slam to american power it would have been seen as an extension of american values after having won the cold war and yes even the palestinians many palestinians were writing that right there but i'm going to jump in here after a short break we'll continue our discussion on revolutionary flu affecting the arab world stage with r.t. . and. hungry for the full story we've got. the biggest issues get a human voice face to face with the news makers on the. wealthy british style it's time to rise. to the.
markets why not. find out what's really happening to the global economy is a report on our team. and if you. want to. welcome back to cross talk i'm peter lavelle to remind you we're talking about regime changes in the arab world. but first let's see what russians think about this march further their revolution of who is now an epidemic spreading to morning on countries in the middle east off to tunisia and egypt the first testers up walking the streets of tripoli libya
demanding the elsewhere. mamata got that the public opinion agency a lot of said also russians what is behind its revolutionary outbreak fifty percent of the respondents believe their reason is low living standards and government economic policy and that a third to six percent see a post triangle among different political groups responsible for the revolutionary outrage in egypt mubarak ruled the country for thirty years leave me forty two could there be a one placed in the area for the entire region he took ok read and i to go over to you in brussels considering. it's go to the human rights issue here is week we hear things coming out of the obama administration some of the things about hillary clinton has said it state department. what kind when they say they want to help the people in the arab world towards their democratic aspirations the usual rhetoric
here i mean do you think what you think most people in the region to say thanks but no thanks your rhetoric never matched what you ever did for us for generations of arabs there and in the in the end we have a very young population still i mean wouldn't be the best thing right now is the united states to say look you know we're going to stand back and we're not going to support your dictators we get actually some of that money back to you that we gave them that they stole from you i mean would that be a be a better approach just kind of hands off for the time being. yeah i think by and large i mean obviously when you have a critical situation like libya where you know the regime is killing its own people then i think there is an important role for the international community to take the right side but again maybe not led you know only by the united states but i think the causes of these revolutions are indigenous and the answers are indigenous and the united states has not won friends in the region with its invasion of iraq it
hasn't won friends by supporting dictators it hasn't won friends by. undermining democracy where the wrong people one is in as in as in gaza as in as in . algeria when the when the islamic front won you know i think our our role the role of the west should be to support civil society to support those people who are fighting for their freedom but to do it and a supportive way in a backup way david what do you think about then i mean moving forward here you know we the so-called war on terror was always looking for al qaeda in the terrorists and all that and they collected the democratic. process in the region if we just step back and let the people of the region determine what they need then we solve all of those problems don't we and maybe we'll actually make some friends. well first of all i take issue with the assumption that we put democracy on the back
burner again i think that that was the novel thing of the previous administration was that democracy actually did begin to play a much more important and it's have. made invaded iraq. i mean well i mean interactions that can land on the ground are the fact. mark go ahead jump in go ahead yes it was and mark go ahead mark i mean i just want to say when i say it was actually there was definitely a democracy rhetoric but there was not a democracy policy and that's a huge difference and i was in iran taking issue with the you know iraqi had any illusions that the u.s. wanted to bring real democracy they whatever democracy there exists in iraq exists because the iraqis fought tooth and claw against the u.s. occupation authorities and pulled out to some extent a functioning democratic system it was not because of the support of the u.s. and certainly everywhere else in egypt in israel and palestine and in libya anywhere else in lebanon that i've been throughout this whole period when the bush
administration was in power i could not find one person who actually believed this in the war that the administration said not that it believed a single word that clinton said i there or bush before that or obama today so i'm not singling out the bush administration but you know the idea that at one point we actually had we walk the talk of democracy is just ludicrous but i would say i think read however having been on the ground with some of the people from from organizations like human rights watch they do play a very very important role this was absolutely an indigenous revolution but it was one where finally the international community got it right you had international n.g.o.s playing a supportive role doing what was asked of them instead of coming in and saying well let's do this and that and why don't you do this and you know that conduit from the very local to the very global almost daily was what helped. keep momentum and i think home and i think what you are starting to go ahead david look i think your focus i think your focus on the international community is very curious isn't this
the same international community that has a human rights structures in the u.n. to put libya in charge of them just a few years ago i mean it seems to me the international community goes off the rails quite often as well and sanctions regimes like zimbabwe and. like libya and so forth so i don't think to your face in the international community is right the other thing is i take issue again i mean well that's a. very ill and the ins in iraq i'm going to see ahmed stayed in power i think you know the real tragedy for me standing intact here square was thinking about was thinking about iraq that if only we had left iraq alone and not tried to invade them iraq would absolutely be part of this democracy wave today there would have been three quarters of a million dead iraqis largely because of us if not directly at our hands and it wouldn't become a breeding ground for al qaeda so after the invasion so i imagine if we do some counterintuitive history imagine if we hadn't invaded iraq right now saddam would
be probably sitting next to ben ali or mubarak and we and we would be and the iraqi people would be thanking us instead of looking at us as a as a country that invaded them are killed hundreds of thousands of people or help help in their death and then you know sat back and are trying to claim credit for whatever measure of democracy is there david if i can go to you can a well look i mean look let's leave you out this week for hours i think but david and i'm going to ask you kind of a cynical question here i mean when when when we hear from the west that they want to be involved in democracy building in these countries a lot of people will say again is that because the west wants to determine outcomes they want to pick in choosing who will be in power oh muslim brotherhood don't talk to them this party you can talk to them do you see where i'm going i mean because of past history there is a lot of skepticism well i mean look we did talk to we are talking
to the muslim brotherhood we we are not ruling them out i personally think we shouldn't but but the administration did do that i think that ultimately if we're going to have human rights democracy we're going to have to be very consistent about. let's go ahead we want to make sure you wouldn't that would include israel though right it would have to include israel that's that's the word we haven't really said today which is you can't have democracy for everyone except in israel palestine if we're going to hold egypt to a democratic principles we can't then say oh but israel you can expand settlements and we'll be toe resolutions or you can keep on killing i don't know why you say. why or why are settlements why are settlements a failure of democracy i mean the settlements were written into the mandate in one nine hundred twenty as part of what is only revile ations one of the reasons why the international community and i don't think i want to actually we'll you know
mark you're very good at talking but you're not good at listening so let me let me finish this you know the settlements never were declared by the united states the legal because frankly they're not illegal they are quite legal under the league of nations mandate. which was that assumed by the u.n. united nations structures so that's why the united states has never legally been able to say they are illegal gentlemen and gentlemen i'm really i'd like to keep this program focused on democracy in the in the arab world this is interesting is this discussion is we've done it on cross talk many many times and read you've been very very patient go ahead. well you know i think you know we look what is amazing as i look at all these revolutions is we have countries which are very different you know tunisia egypt bahrain yemen libya is you know i was in libya last year i would not have suspected that this was going to happen. you know but in each of the countries with very different socio economic standards you see this thirst for
democracy i mean there are many common factors you mentioned some of them and each of these countries have had rulers who have been there too long most of the countries there are crown prince's who are detested. you have used with a little little perspective you have educated middle classes without a lot of money. and almost all of these countries you have a total lack of fundamental freedoms. but you know some countries are richer with libya's a very rich country actually some countries are poor egypt but the one thing that they're all fighting for is the say they're all fighting for democracy now if we're going back to the other point if the if the if if the west of the united states had been supporting democracy all the time i don't think they would have to be fighting for that democracy but in any case that's what we're seeing we're seeing a democratic revolution we don't know how it's going to turn out we've had resolution revolutions but no resolutions we don't know how egypt's going to turn
out we don't know how tunisia is going to turn out we certainly don't know how libya is going to turn libya. you know there is no khadafi has managed over for decades to eradicate all of it or to prevent any opposition any press any organization so that's going to turnout is going to be very interesting but we shouldn't be afraid of that and we should be afraid because how they might feel about it i mean we should be embracing democracy in each of these countries david. i actually think yeah i think reed actually i think you hit it right on what we're really dealing with is if you take the sum total of the arab world and really the muslim middle east a little more extended including iran right now you're talking about the basement of freedom right now that every single one of these countries ranks way down on the freedom ranking every single one of these countries essentially has disconnected the welfare of the nation from the wealth of the state the state itself pursues its
own grand objectives whether the personal enrichment of the leaders or whether their weapons programs like in iran or like libya did. and that includes nations like saudi arabia and egypt and and tunisia as well but it also includes much more so even are i just i'm afraid you know what i'm going to have to do i could run completely out of time here many thanks to my guest today in washington irvine and in brussels and thanks to our viewers for watching us you darkie see you next time remember crosstalk.