The uprising in Egypt on Tuesday is of infinitely greater importance than the goon show staged by the corporate-lackey-in-chief and the great mooing herd of cud-chewers in Congress the same night. For decades, the remarkably brutal -- and rottenly stagnant -- dictatorship in Egypt has been one of linchpins of Washington's never-ending effort to "project dominance" over the Middle East. If the Cairo regime falls to a popular revolution, it will send shock waves all through the world-spanning tentacles of the American Empire.
The dictatorship has received tens of billions of dollars in American military "aid" -- most of which, of course, circulates back to the coffers of war profiteers in the States -- along with other bribes for Egypt's ruling clique to buy their obedience to Washington's wishes. Cairo responded by making itself a quiet partner in the great game of murderous deceit that America and Israel have played for years in the so-called "peace process" with the Palestinians -- a deadly sham now being exposed in great detail through the leak of diplomatic cables by al-Jazeera and the Guardian, going back several years.
(Here, in one particularly hair-raising release, Secretary of State Condi Rice suggests shipping Palestinian refugees off to South America -- a macabre echo of the Nazi's early plan to resettle Europe's Jews in Madagascar. This is how our high and mighty really think. This is the moral abyss in which they operate, behind the soaring rhetoric of their goon shows.)
A truly free Egypt would pose a serious challenge for America's Dominationists. It would also without doubt be a target for the long-established bipartisan American policy option which George W. Bush called "the path of action." This could be overt intervention, some hot proxy action from Israel, or, more likely, various covert measures (terrorism, subversion, economic warfare, etc.) aimed at destabilizing an independent Egypt. That this would plunge the region into even more instability -- and empower violent religious extremists -- is of no moment whatsoever to our illustrious goons. War, fear, chaos and terror are meat and drink to the thoroughly militarized American power structure; it thrives on them, it can't exist without them.
We are of course still far from seeing a truly independent Egypt. We may never see one. But a great wall of public fear has been taken down today; the hollow facade of the American-backed tyranny has been punched through, by a courageous upsurging of ordinary people, driven, like the protesters that took down another American-backed tyranny in Tunisia, by the common human need for bread, for employment, for freedom, for dignity, not by religious or ideological fervor. As As'ad AbuKhalil notes: "What was striking about the demonstrations in Egypt today is that they were secular led and fed. The lousy Muslim Brothers typically decided to stay home."
The ultimate outcome of the Egyptian protests is not known, of course; but something of great moment was set in motion there on Tuesday, where ordinary people put their lives on the line to stand up to the heavy, suffocating hand of a corrupt elite. Compared to this world-shaking event, how petty seemed the bleatings of Barack Obama, as he proposed nips and tucks in federal spending (including an entirely illusory "cut" in military pork), spoke meaningless tripe about a "Sputnik moment," and kowtowed to the dictates of Big Money by "putting entitlements on the table."
Poor Barack. Not that long ago, he was taking the world stage in Cairo, with a speech that offered a "new start" in relations to the regions -- empty words which have long since proved to have been just another part of the vicious deceptions currently being exposed by al Jazeera. Now Cairo is ablaze with the promise of a genuine new start, driven by the needs of ordinary people, not the greeds of the elite. More than ever, Obama looks like yesterday's man, abandoned by history as it sweeps forward, leaving him mired with the goons and the loons, fighting a rearguard action to save the pomps and privileges of a rotting empire.