26 January 2011


Stability is an important and valuable quality in a country, except when it isn't. Stable countries promote peace, development and freedom, except when they don't.

How do we know whether they do or don't?

By believing what the US State Department tells us, that's how.

Sam PF's Journal - Good news!:
Good news from Egypt - the dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak is stable, according to Hillary Clinton. Despite the courage of tens of thousands - possibly as many as 750,000 across the country according to some reports - of ordinary Egyptians in taking to the streets to protest against the brutality, corruption and grinding poverty brought by the Mubarak regime, thank God they are doomed to failure! No threat of unpredictable democracy coming to this strategically crucial country (Arabs being, after all, unfit for democracy). No danger of the US losing one of their most important client thugs in the region. Who apparently, also according to Clinton, is eagerly looking for ways of benefiting the people he has held down and preyed upon for the past nearly 30 years.

So clearly stability is important in Egypt.

Where is it not important? Where is instability desirable and needing to be promoted?

Why, in Belarus, of course.

Notes from a Common-place Book: The World Out There (3):
One doesn't hear much about Belarus these days. What is reported is usually some variant along the theme that President Alexander Lukashenko is nasty autocrat, indeed dubbed 'Europe's last dictator,' who perversely and resolutely refuses to follow the script we have prepared for the post-Soviet republics. The current controversy centers around the recent election which saw a turnout reported in excess of 90%, with Lukashenko receiving 79% of the vote. Protesters tried to storm the Parliament. The police responded in force and hundreds were arrested. Eurocrats--excluded from monitoring the process-dismissed it as 'flawed.' The fact is that Lukashenko does not pretty-up well. And he does not care.

As one commentator puts it:

Belarus: Still No Country For Sold Men : Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture:
But Lukashenko, whose government was called the “last dictatorship in Europe” by the U.S. government, claimed that the election was free and fair and vowed to maintain order. By now he knows what he is against. He has said in the past, “In our country, there will be no pink or orange, or even banana revolution.” More recently he said some people in the West think that Belarus is ready for a color-coded revolution, but they are not getting any; “all these coloured revolutions are pure and simple banditry.”

So, now we know that there will be no banditry in Egypt (thank Mubarak), but it's such a pity that there won't be banditry in Belarus.

And the "orange shift" in Tunisia was doubtless a mistake.

Neil Clark: Why did we never know how rotten Tunisia was?:
Tunisia stands at number 143 out of 179 countries when it comes to freedom of the press. It's a place, where, according to a 2008 Amnesty International report, human rights abuses by its security forces 'continue unabated and are committed with impunity'.

Yet if you've been living in the west, and getting your news from the mainstream media, you'll have been cheerfully oblivious to all the nasty, undemocratic things that were going on in the northernmost country in Africa, a country that many of us have visited for beach holidays in Hammamet and Jerba.

And back to Belarus:

Neil Clark: Letter from Minsk: Belarus- a country unspoilt by capitalism:
A woman sits bolt upright in the middle of the night. She jumps out of bed and rushes to the bathroom to look in the medicine cabinet. Then, she runs into the kitchen and opens the refrigerator. Finally, she dashes to the window and looks out into the street. Relieved, she returns to the bedroom. Her husband asks, “What's wrong with you?” “I had a terrible nightmare,” she says. “I dreamed we could still afford to buy medicine, that the refrigerator was absolutely full, and that the streets were safe and clean. I also dreamed that you had a job, that we could afford to pay our gas and electricity bills.”
“How is that a nightmare?” asks her husband. The woman shakes her head, “I thought the communists were back in power.”

That Bulgarian joke, as told by Maria Todorova in the Guardian and now doing the rounds across eastern Europe, doesn’t work here in Minsk. This is a capital city where the streets are safe and clean, where ordinary people can still afford to buy medicine and basic foodstuffs and where the unemployment rate is less than 1 per cent. It’s the side of Belarus you won’t read much about.

And let's not confuse the issue still further by talking about Venezuela.

If you can't decide which countries need "stability" and which need "regime change", you're probably worrying unnecessarily about things that don't concern you. Just leave it all in the safe and competent hands of the US State Department. After all, they know

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