tv [untitled] August 3, 2011 7:31am-8:01am EDT
their economic struggles turns out to be unprepared to handle its own crisis. moscow warns against calls of the un to target the syrian regime urging for action to push the warring sides towards dialogue to end the violence in the country this comes amid reports that government forces have overrun the city of hama where more than one hundred people are believed to have been killed in the past few days. and those are the headlines here and to stay with us next it's always the fiery show of cross talk this time the host people of ellen is discuss the aspects and consequences of the external force feeding off democracy in the arab world do stay with us. we'll. review the latest in science and technology from the realms of.
the future. if you can. follow me and welcome to cross talk i'm peter lavelle is an outside democracy promotion an oxymoron what is america's track record in the arab world and is invoking security interest over democracy the greatest haven for tyrants. to discuss democracy promotion i'm joined by katie in paris he is a writer and filmmaker and with we go to jeff purdue he is a post-doctoral fellow at aberystwyth university and author of american foreign policy and postwar reconstruction comparing japan in iraq and in durham we cross to
bruce generals and he is a professor of public policy and political science at duke university and another member of our cross talk team yelena hunger or a gentleman crosstalk rules in effect that means you can jump in anytime you want to take i'd like to go to you first in paris over the last two weeks. were saying events that we've never seen before in the arab world i liken it to the end of the soviet union it is a world history or sturrock moment as we're doing this program events are unfolding extremely almost out of control in egypt so i ask you to take what is america's track record in promoting democracy and expression is hot area right now in north africa and i'd like to name a few places. egypt lebanon jordan where there is democracy that is not recognize hamas hizbullah so it's a mixed game it's democracy is on the march it's not recognized at least by the united states and its allies and then the united states has been
a huge impediment to democracy in the arab world since its inception since independence so what is its track record. its track record is very negative as many serious american historians admit to themselves through of the cold war period when the big enemy was communism the united states not just in the middle east but also in south america was prepared to tolerate tyrants dictators butchers of their people because it's there in cross with the end of the cold war. humanitarianism became one of the ideological pillars except in those countries where it wasn't convenient so we've seen in the middle east in particular. the dictatorship in egypt which appears to be collapsing as we speak which has been there for the last twenty five to thirty years we have seen regimes over twenty years long in the matter of b.m.
countries to morocco algeria we've seen the toleration of a completely authoritarian brutal monarchy in saudi arabia jordan itself has been reduced to the status of an israeli american protectorate and iraq has been occupied. the occupation of iraq had very little to do with democracy course it had a great deal to do with the establishment of us again really now we have a waiver for a vote sweeping the arab world you talk about it was reminiscent of the fall of the soviet union i'm not so sure because that the mass involvement in that by and large was limited it reminds me more off the wave of revolutions that took place in europe in eight hundred forty eight revolutions for democracy eighteen forty eight or to revolutions against autocracy democratic revolutions trying to find
a different way of governance and that's that is what we seem to be going to the. it's very interesting that it lasted too long and i do and you know eighteen forty eight are interesting but it was a strong reaction eight hundred forty eight jeff if i can go to you a few days ago hillary clinton the u.s. secretary of state came out and said that a country like egypt a great country she said egypt needs more democratic reform isn't that a bit rich after thirty years of paying off the egyptians in this sixty billion dollars basically without any kind of accountability i mean again you know and if i can expand upon that watching c.n.n. and b.b.c. they're just cheering this on when those governments were all at the very the pillars of supporting this very horrible regime and people that knew anything about the regime just knew how terrible it was and now we're turning around saying we're so happy what's happening it's the hypocrisy is just outrageous i wouldn't say so i
think that's when you talk about democracy promotion you need to adopt a dual spec to what you need to look at it from a political perspective perspective of values let's see norms carried by democracy and perspective of moral let's say material interests so security interests or economic interests and what i'm trying to say here is that. during the cold war even after that there is still seem to be there seems to be a paradox in supporting or let's say be friendly to non democratic regimes while at the same time promoting democracy in these the same very contraries. through various programs of democracy assistance usually implemented by american governments and non-governmental organizations i think that if you look at this from and you take into consideration that you deal with two different time scales one is the economy and the security where you need to address very immediate
concerns issues if you want to and the only one is more in the longer run where you tend to what you want to do is to try to see values and norms marketing values and norms in this case and you hope that these will be shared by the serious society and eventually the political society of this not democratic regime and little by little you know you could argue and i think that what we've witnessed his little by little gets democracy assistance program started by fruits and whatever was did we see that he did all that we see that at all in tunisia i mean i can on a fear radical level i'm going to say what you're talking about but my goodness i mean you know it was not too long ago that ben ali was you know he was a guest in the white house and he's called a great friend of the united states ok i mean really i mean it's still a bit rich if i can use that term again right here bruce if i can go to you i mean all of america's friends i mean these are can i just say something all right go ahead i want to go to something very quickly go ahead if bin ali bin ali was still
such a big friend of the united states all from you know with the western world generally speaking you probably if it was all about supporting. authoritarian regimes in the name of security interests or economic interests then you wouldn't be in dubai you would be in washington and on the parties ok well to say that well that seems to be the ultimate safe haven for well. probably other dictators going there as well bruce if i can go to you i mean you can you have a dual policy like that i think in theory it sounds very nice but if you look at weeki leaks and you look at these other sources of information i mean the united states was going to be just stay with the people you know if they stay with the devil you know what kay and that's exactly what they did with tunisia and then they turn around and their entire democracy project blows up on them in lebanon though it's again against the will of the people there clearly i don't care what people think about hezbollah it is a popular. political party in the country it's up for the people to decide and not
again hillary clinton dictating what kind of democracy should people should have because everything the united states has done in that region last forty years is just create extremism. yeah you look i think you're identifying some good points i'm not sure if i agree with the way that you're portraying i mean there's no question you know that the united states hasn't lived up to this great espousal of always being for democracy you know the reality for any country whether it's today or historically you know has had a balance off the principles you stand for the security interests that you have in the light you know and what we've been seeing i think is as as as your previous guest was saying was part of what's happening in egypt and to sort of support it was happening in tunisia was in fact fed you know by this development of civil society by n.g.o.s and not just america in many indigenous many european as well that helped to develop the networks you know at the same time you're right that the united states was sort of still keeping our support with as it was often said you know they may be in s.o.b but there are so b.
and the problem is there's this old expression you know those who make reform impossible make revolution inevitable you know and a certain extent you see that playing out. this wasn't predicted by experts everybody knew egypt was unstable but there's not an expert out there journalist academic intelligence person whatever who said that things were going to really blow up in tunisia and egypt now and i think that we really have to see where they go people are demanding i think three things they're demanding greater freedom both for their individual lives and for ability to affect their government they're protesting its massive corruption the mubarak regime to vent ali regime and they want to knock opportunity this is mostly you know young males out there who want to offer tunis in their lives their reality is that you know you mentioned hizbullah as well has a lot of popular support in certain segments of lebanon there's no question about it but you know the notion that somehow they're going to represent all the people
they're not going to impose themselves and i'm not quite confident about that either in the same is true you know from us what you originally won its election on of the. basis speaking to the corruption of the palestinian authority you know the injustices the economic problems that were there but then when they began to rule they ruled with an iron fist of their own oppressive their own people so what we criticize what the united states is doing we shouldn't sort of make out is some you know glorifying force a lot of these other groups they've got their flaws as well ok ted if i go to you i mean still at the same time i mean what is the reputation of the united states as we go through this transition here i mean do the people in the region looked at the americans as being done thomas jefferson you know i mean the great supporters of of democracy after supporting their dictators for so many dick decades. well not in the arab oil and certainly not in south america where you also had
a wave of democracy over the last ten to fifteen years which has brought new governments and new social movements and to power changing the relationship of forces there quite decisively if i can just sort of come back to one point it's not a question of whether we like has apolo whether we like or agree with every doctrine called hamas or i.q. lies and that's not the point the point is permitting the people in that region to decide what happens when hamas won the elections in palestine sanctions were imposed on it it's money was stopped and the west refused to recognize a democratic election because they were hoping to push the p.l.o. through and we now know why with the publication of the palestinian papers that the pact p.l.o. leadership which was in the pocket of the united states and now we know also of these railings to such a disgusting extent that it's horrified people in the arab world and so they actively promoted and tried to defend
a corrupt palestinian leadership against hamas even though hamas had one ben they tried to destroy hamas as they did hezbollah by encouraging very sorry to enter a room and think i wish you were going to go to a short break after a short break we'll continue our discussion on exporting democracy stay with her. story. you can. still listen to him was in the could return flights from all over the world to have a few centimeters to sell cars at. this time or to go to the on the region. where the girls worse. gets people like to. her an ancient tribe likes to save its
culture. where cranes are protected in the first ten dollars an official nature reserve. to the original. bush a close up on the party. welcome back to crossfire computable to remind you we're talking about the so-called democracy industry. but first let's see what democracy means to russians democracy for all democratic values are spreading all over the world some countries dubbed them wall and terry and others are simply imposed by the outside forces the public opinion agency all about us and also russians what democracy means to them so do not percent see it as
a comic prosperity thirty percent as freedom of speech order and stability thirty seven percent many regard democracy as truth lawfulness and direct elections so the latest events in tunisia make us wonder if west so-called democracy industry does really promote or its own interests back to pete. right jeff and i to go to you one of the things that happened when one of the reasons why ben ali was such a big friend of the americans in the west in general and any and we can look at what's going on in egypt and other countries in the region is because they are stanch allies on the war against terror ok and that's always top of mind here and in the the nonsense that spewed out about here's terror and that's terror and you know just terrifying publics in western media and it does it all of the time and there these people are you know they may not be you know thomas jeffersons but you
know they they're still going to be on our side isn't this really being shown is a complete exaggeration now because these tyrants created. a fundamentalist group of people that may be inclined to terrorism and things like that i mean a lot. of supporting our own ideals and values have actually created the so-called threats against us. walking we're talking about two different historical structures as well the immediacy of the cold war or let's say. what the united states needed to do during the cold war was to contain the u.s.s.r. in the u.s.s.r. in the region and hence you know started to cut all some less than friendly regime or not well certainly not democratic regimes in the case of natalee and what's going on in egypt like nothing that we should look at this from a more modern perspective if you keep talking about the past and whole body was and saw i mean we never did i'm not talking about today i'm going about george bush's
on war on terror and it seems like obama is the accepted it is well no i'm talking about what's going on today not the cold war. ok so well in this case i would say that there is a clear progression in the obama administration about democracy promotion and the discourse is not linked anymore to the war on terror of course you still have references to what is called the democracy peace theory and the fact that democracies don't go to war with each other. no would it mean that these emerging democracies in the middle east would be friendly to the united states offing he in this case history might not play in favor of the united states and what we might see is the image and self of some different more those of democracy which will not be the liberal democratic model which we know in the west with an emphasis of on elections sensually and creating procedures and structures favoring elections between competing elites favoring individual freedoms what i'm trying to say here
is that democracies very contested as a concept there is more than one type of democracy and that in order to sort of guess the outcome of democracy. it is essential to look at the realities affecting them the democrat is in the nation so where democracy is taking roots and look at you know the realities there and how democracy can adapt if you want to and we have competing more those we talk a lot about islamic law islam democracy. so would that mean that we live in well i mean or i mean jeff i mean you're right i mean this again it's very academic but i mean under eight years of bush and then under two years of obama we still see american understanding of democracy and i got to go to bruce here on this one to protect american national interests ok it's a cover it's a cover for sure it's a cover to protect american interests that's why you know it can it's galling that hillary clinton will come out and say we need more democracy in egypt why couldn't
she say that when she became secretary of state why couldn't a secretary of state said that twenty five or thirty years ago. if you can see the difference between obama and bush you know they're not really looking close i'm not going. to react to that they're not now washington to the region ok i think they raised more or less the same other not one hundred eighty degrees but but but there are significant differences but i come back to a point that tariq ali made because it's an important point you know during the cold war one of the huge mistakes that the united states made as we did is we kind of worked with or against this so the so-called third world was we lumped everything together as communism and marx that is marxism and we didn't see the way that nationalism and local factors and culture and all those things entered and so in brazil i've been back and forth quite a few times i mean for you know for the president of brazil who came into office feared as a great last for this to have emerged with eighty percent popularity in his own country when he leaves office you know most leaders around the world would die for
that sort of popularity and he demonstrated live the demonstrated. that he was probers illian interests and he was prepared to work for them not always agree with the united states and elsewhere and the challenge we face i think in the arab and islamic world is very similar ok there are elements in my view you know. jihad of sixty missed groups that frankly don't have the interests of the people you know the best measure of people all on their minds but with a nice a sneeze to do do is to figure out how to have relations with different forms of political islam i think in both tunisia and egypt ultimately you know whether it's the muslim brotherhood in egypt or some of the political islam parties that have been trying to stamp out by the dictator tunisia they're going to emerge as part of the mix and we really need to figure out ways you know to work with them because neither tunisia or egypt are these uprisings at this point at least anti-american this is not iran one nine hundred seventy eight seventy nine it may well go in that direction if the u.s. does some of the things you're saying that that it's doing but right now i think
the obama administration you know is trying it's a very tricky balance and you can find you know contradictions. it's fine but they're trying you know as they have since the president came into office when he went to cairo and he gave a speech it's been an awful lot of stuff going on there that doesn't make the headlines but there's been working with civil society groups and other groups in egypt and elsewhere to try to develop you know their ability to to be part of the political processes and i say we get the balance right but to say that it's all you know just about you know standing with all dictators i think right now this administration is trying to change it and change it in a way that leads to things that are really in the interest of the people because the united states can't control everything that happens in these countries in one direction or any other entity lot of foreign aid but they can influence because of their power and leaders take i think you had your hand you had your head down i was wondering if you if you were bored by a conversation or you were exasperated no no i'm not boy have i bet you know those
well those see differences well those see differences i basically see an essential continue to be between the bush and obama administrations both domestically and in terms of foreign policy i don't think all that much is changed except for the mood music and the recreate in terms of what is concretely being done in different parts of the world in afghanistan which we have mentioned obama is actually escalate to the war they have been more grown attacks on pakistan during the obama than in the entire eight years of the previous administration so wants to preserve a balance and not to be taken in. by the rhetoric which is being thrown around i think essential e what is going on in the middle east today in sixteen lean potent if more bought a full suit will be a heavy blow for the united states regardless of who takes over because egypt was
absolutely central to u.s. policy in the region. in order to keep the israelis happy we have discussed israel this state for some reason is our own porton the united states it backs it through thick and thin and often american interests get in tangled with what they see as israeli security interests in the region and that is one reason why that region and many many of its intellectuals and civil society groups have been extremely unhappy that palestine is the one colonial issue from the last century that remains resolved now in terms of political islam there is flarm has all the colors of the rainbow you can find every current within the small mic world the united states is perfectly happy working with these mummies in turkey who are staunch supporters of nato and have been a central pillar of nato i don't think the muslim brotherhood in either egypt or
tunisia will be all that different but what will be different if the demonstrators succeed in toppling mubarak is that egypt will for the first time in years be able egyptians will be able to decide on who they want to elect in that instance stream lee important and the choice there is much much more different than the choice you have in europe center left center right democrats republicans in the u.s. very little divides them in each of the gulf between the dictatorship and the people challenging it is huge so it's a very exciting prospect and of course it might well affect u.s. relations with egypt if for instance just on one issue they decide to open the border with gaza they're not going to let our cars are to be trampled exactly you know jeff i mean i i didn't want to go too deep aaron israel because first or your program on that this week already but i mean again i mean in the course of two
weeks we have this these events playing out in egypt we have. ends with lebanon i mean the entire security arrangement in the united states pursued over the last four decades in the greater middle east is in shambles now if in fact a study has said really at the center of american foreign policy interests in the region israel's security it may now be the least secure it's been in a very long time and it's because democracy is the idea and and people took it upon themselves i agree with what we heard earlier it's not anti-american yet we'll see where it goes but when we do hear what the people have to say we could have a very very volatile and we always say volatile of the greater middle east if these changes are actually come to fruition or something that we would call democracy you know the question is that it's not necessarily the case that the united states and i say should not be putting all our eggs in the mubarak basket there's no question about that and it's not necessarily the case that a new regime would be anti-american ok it really depends how this plays out what
the forces are at work and the like but i think that this notion that there's just continuity is kind of if people need i say sometimes they're only reading the right hand pages of a book and a lot of what i'm hearing is just reading the left hand pages ok well you know the reality is that the reality is that you know this administration that the bush administration basically gave the israelis a lot of blank checks ok but i'm going to churches have some problems is ok. but it's really ok we have to stop on this point gentlemen ok many thanks to my guest today in paris and in wales and in durham and thanks to our viewers for watching us here r.t. see you next time and remember cross talk to us.