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Mubarak has Rice by the...

Filed under: Egypt ~ Middle East

Just days before Egypt is set to falsify "elections" on its latest constitutional reforms, which by all stretches of the imagination can be nothing more than a great leap backward, Condoleezza Rice hopped on a plane over there. The purpose? To smack President Mubarak around a bit and let him know that the United States has had enough of his despotic shenanigans, that he will not be receiving $1.3 billion in military aid next year, and that the country's people will have America's full support for their democratic aspirations. Take a look at her full comments:
"We have had a discussion. I have made my concerns known as well as my hopes for continued reform here in Egypt," Rice told a news conference after meeting with Mubarak. "The process of reform is one that is difficult. It's going to have its ups and downs. We always discuss these matters in a way that is respectful, mutually respectful. But I have made my concerns known, and we have had a good discussion," she said.
Oh wait, I guess I figured that wrong. The change of tone is mighty different compared to what she was saying in 2005. Just take a look:
Ladies and Gentlemen: In our world today, a growing number of men and women are securing their liberty.

And as these people gain the power to choose, they create democratic governments to protect their natural rights.

We should all look to a future when every government respects the will of its citizens — because the ideal of democracy is universal.

For 60 years, the United States pursued stability at the expense of democracy in the Middle East — and we achieved neither.

Now, we are taking a different course. We are supporting the democratic aspirations of all people.
And now: we are not doing anything! Why? Because we can't. In 2005, the elections in Iraq and the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon made the march of democracy seem unstoppable. Now, with persisting problems in Lebanon due to Syria's domination and sectarian strife in Iraq, Arab leaders are relating these problems to democracy itself and asking their people if they want it. The answer, of course, is no.

So regimes like that of Egypt are strengthening themselves on the knowledge that they have convinced their public that American ideas of democracy cannot apply to them. Even though they aren't happy at all with the way things are now, many think it would only get worse with democracy. This really limits how much pressure we can put on Mubarak, consequently leading to such lame statements like Condi was making this weekend.

Chalk it up to another defeat on the PR front.

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