ONTD Political

Joe Biden says Egypt's Mubarak no dictator

8:46 pm - 01/27/2011
... and wonders what the Egyptian protesters want.

Vice President Joe Biden spoke to the PBS NewsHour tonight with the most direct US governent comments yet about the gathering Egypt protests against President Hosni Mubarak's 29-year reign.

Mr. Biden's comments are unlikely to be well-received by regime opponents, as they fit a narrative of steadfast US support for a government they want to bring down. About eight protesters and one policeman have died this week as Egypt has sought to bring down the heavy hand of the state against opponents. Since the US provides about $1.3 billion in military aid to Egypt a year, the repressive apparatus of the state is seen by many in Egypt as hand in glove with the US.

Tonight in Cairo, activists said that internet service was being systematically blocked, as was the use of instant messages on local cellphones, despite repeated calls from the US State Department for Egypt to allow social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to remain available to the nation's people. Egypt is bracing for a showdown tomorrow. Organizers have called for massive protests against the regime after noon prayers on Friday, seeking to build on the unprecedented wave of public demonstrations this week calling for an end to Mubarak's rule.

Whether the protests will be as large as democracy activists hope is an open question. Overnight in Egypt, the government was doing everything it could to head them off.

Ahead of a day that could prove decisive, NewsHour host Jim Lehrer asked Biden if the time has "come for President Mubarak of Egypt to go?" Biden answered: "No. I think the time has come for President Mubarak to begin to move in the direction that – to be more responsive to some... of the needs of the people out there."

Asked if he would characterize Mubarak as a dictator Biden responded: “Mubarak has been an ally of ours in a number of things. And he’s been very responsible on, relative to geopolitical interest in the region, the Middle East peace efforts; the actions Egypt has taken relative to normalizing relationship with – with Israel. … I would not refer to him as a dictator.”

He also appeared to make one of the famous Biden gaffes, in comments that could be interpreted as questioning the legitimacy of protesters' demands. Monitor Cairo correspondent Kristen Chick, other reporters in the country, and activists have generally characterized the main calls of demonstrators as focused on freedom, democracy, an end to police torture, and a more committed government effort to address the poverty that aflicts millions of Egyptians.

Biden urged non-violence from both protesters and the government and said: "We’re encouraging the protesters to – as they assemble, do it peacefully. And we’re encouraging the government to act responsibly and – and to try to engage in a discussion as to what the legitimate claims being made are, if they are, and try to work them out." He also said: "I think that what we should continue to do is to encourage reasonable... accommodation and discussion to try to resolve peacefully and amicably the concerns and claims made by those who have taken to the street. And those that are legitimate should be responded to because the economic well-being and the stability of Egypt rests upon that middle class buying into the future of Egypt."

Egypt's protesters, if they're paying attention to Biden at all, will certainly be wondering which of their demands thus far have been illegitimate.


ladypolitik 28th-Jan-2011 04:51 am (UTC)
What a terrible, terrible claim/remark, Joe.
notgarystu 28th-Jan-2011 05:03 am (UTC)
lmfao that pic

Leonardo DiCaprio has been squinting all over _p today.

@Joe Biden STFD, STFU
sihaya09 28th-Jan-2011 05:03 am (UTC)
rex_dart 28th-Jan-2011 05:10 am (UTC)
chaya 28th-Jan-2011 03:19 pm (UTC)
I'm waiting for one of the banners to include this leosquint tbqh
homasse 28th-Jan-2011 05:14 am (UTC)
Remember, kids! You're not a "dictator" if you're on our side! :Db
acerola21 28th-Jan-2011 05:26 am (UTC)
magus_69 28th-Jan-2011 09:44 am (UTC)
tmlforsyth 28th-Jan-2011 01:16 pm (UTC)
It was Franklin Roosevelt who declared Samoza a son of a bitch, but he's our son of a bitch, but at least FDR was being straight-forward about it. I always thought Joe was known for being plain-spoken to a fault.

Mubarak is a liability to the US. We should just tell the protesters to have at it, but remember they have to clean up the mess when they're done.
chantalzola 28th-Jan-2011 02:26 pm (UTC)
Joe's plain spoken in the sense that he can't keep his mouth shut. Doesn't mean that anything he says is actually valid or relevant.
playthefool 28th-Jan-2011 05:20 am (UTC)
Ugh Biden. No.
escherichiacola 28th-Jan-2011 05:42 am (UTC)
This post made me sad.

That gif made me very happy.
palsmarties 28th-Jan-2011 05:26 am (UTC)
cauliflower346 28th-Jan-2011 05:27 am (UTC)
salienne 28th-Jan-2011 05:27 am (UTC)
“Mubarak has been an ally of ours in a number of things. [...] I would not refer to him as a dictator.”

Oh. Well then.
ivysaur 28th-Jan-2011 05:32 am (UTC)
wrestlingdog 28th-Jan-2011 08:49 am (UTC)
This should not have made me LOL as hard as it did.
hazel_belle 28th-Jan-2011 05:48 am (UTC)
Biden... Oh Biden. Oooookay than good sir.
carminaburana 28th-Jan-2011 05:51 am (UTC)
Fucking idiot asshole. But honestly, this is the guy who thought it would be a good idea to balkanize Iraq and campaigned on that.
milkradio 28th-Jan-2011 05:52 am (UTC)
beoweasel 28th-Jan-2011 05:54 am (UTC)
Going to play the Devil's Advocate here.

The likelihood of Mubarak being overthrown by the protests are very unlikely. The United States knows this, they know that despite the raw anger of the people, they won't be able to oust Mubarak in this fashion. So the US is going to play it safe, we're not going to get involved, but we'll use encouraging words for both protesters (Remember, he didn't say they shouldn't protest, just that they do it in a non-violent fashion) and the Government.

Does Biden really believe Mubarak is anything other than a Dictator? I seriously doubt it. Is he going to say it publicly while Mubarak is still in power? Not going to happen.

Politics, especially in the World Sphere, can be an exceptionally ugly thing.
baked_goldfish 28th-Jan-2011 06:08 am (UTC)
Politics, especially in the World Sphere, can be an exceptionally ugly thing.

That's true, but this does go beyond the vague "we're monitoring the situation"-style statements that the administration has been making lately. It's a rather one-sided response, even with the tepid remarks about the government respecting the protesters and listening to their demands.
beoweasel 28th-Jan-2011 06:12 am (UTC)
Mostly because we know that despite the size of the protest, this isn't going to dislodge him.
baked_goldfish 28th-Jan-2011 06:17 am (UTC)
No shit, but that's not the point. The point is that even on the nasty stage of world politics, straight up saying he's not a dictator wasn't actually necessary - we already had a line and we were getting along well enough by saying it. And if by some chance he does get dislodged, then we've basically just gone on record supporting the person the next government ousted.

Edited at 2011-01-28 06:19 am (UTC)
sesmo 28th-Jan-2011 07:08 am (UTC)
I agree with you. And I think Biden was actually parsing his words very carefully in saying "I wouldn't call him a dictator." Which, of course, doesn't mean that he isn't one, just that Biden & the US administration won't call him on it. No shock that one.

I do think the US administration threw at least a bone to protesters by acknowledging that they have legitimate grievances which should be addressed by the administration.

And last but not least, Mubarak is 82. He's going to be dislodged by a heart attack, not by a popular uprising.
jwaneeta Boo, Joey28th-Jan-2011 06:08 am (UTC)
baked_goldfish 28th-Jan-2011 06:22 am (UTC)
Joe, go back to stealing papers back from three year olds. That was cute. And yeah, he's always been a student of the "Play nice with dictators who can help the US" school of US foreign policy, but this does seem to go beyond even the already-subdued/tepid/jelly-like response that the US government had been giving over the past few days. It'll be something to see whether the administration walks this back or not.

Edited at 2011-01-28 07:11 am (UTC)
goblinthebamf 28th-Jan-2011 06:39 am (UTC)
this is my disappointed face. :(
iweep4u 28th-Jan-2011 06:58 am (UTC)
I am disappoint.
jugglingeggs 28th-Jan-2011 07:05 am (UTC)
Well if you say so.
applegnat 28th-Jan-2011 07:06 am (UTC)
Wow, shame on you.
hey_mayonegg 28th-Jan-2011 07:06 am (UTC)
This was a poor move, Joe.
brandontaco 28th-Jan-2011 07:25 am (UTC)
Joe Biden I usually like you but srsly wtf
sesmo 28th-Jan-2011 09:53 am (UTC)
The US is (rightfully) terrified that Egypt will be taken over by the Muslim Brotherhood (the primary opposition party in Egypt), or another Islamist regime. I can see the risk, especially given the demographic bubble (Arab nations have a huge baby boomer-size demographic bulge between the ages of 15 and 25), the lack of jobs, and the general hopelessness.

Everyone knows that Mubarak will be out in the next few years, the man is 82. The big question is what will come after that. Unfortunately, Egypt doesn't have a history of democracy. But maybe the new generation, with all that foreign media, will make it work. I hope so.
fruhlings 28th-Jan-2011 11:19 am (UTC)
:| Not cool.
spankmypirate 28th-Jan-2011 11:49 am (UTC)
bludstone 28th-Jan-2011 01:22 pm (UTC)
Joe has been like this forever. My favorite one is still something like "no invention in the past 200 years has been without government intervention."

Except for the combustion engine, joe.

What a dick move. This is typical politician crap, and I dont trust folks who play this game.
ididthatonce 28th-Jan-2011 02:01 pm (UTC)
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
chantalzola 28th-Jan-2011 02:25 pm (UTC)
Whoever this Joe guy is, he's an ass.

castalianspring 28th-Jan-2011 02:35 pm (UTC)
Oh, John Ringo Joe Biden, no!
othellia 28th-Jan-2011 06:02 pm (UTC)
I actually saw one of his books in a thrift store I was at with a friend, and thee first words out of my mouth were, "Oh John Ringo, no!" And my friend had no clue what I was talking about.
thecityofdis 28th-Jan-2011 03:18 pm (UTC)
I'm disappointed, but not completely surprised considering he advocated the partition of Iraq.

Oh, Joey B. Why you do this to me.
chaya 28th-Jan-2011 03:20 pm (UTC)
tiger0range In light of Egypts actions:28th-Jan-2011 06:03 pm (UTC)
I am kind of spamming all threads with this. I don't know if this is against the rules, but I think it is a good idea that needs as many eyes on it as possible.

Okay, I am going to put this idea out there for anyone who might actually have the backing/expertise to pull it off in this community:

I think recent events show more than ever that we need to form a non-profit organization devoted to making and distributing 802.11s mesh networking dongles with preloaded twitter/social networking type applications.

Let me explain: We see governments move to cut internet access everytime a mass movement like this occurs. It is possible because the backbone of the internet is still a centralized and controllable entity. Mesh networking, on the other hand, depends on device to device transmission. It might not be enough bandwidth to allow a Netflix transmission, but it is more than enough for text, low bandwidth sound, and even high resolution pictures. It can be made very hard to jam. It can be made to pass unabtrusively through civilian and non-civilian bandwidths without interfering or being interfered with. While anybody could grab and read what is being transmitted, it would be mobile enough to afford the sender limited protection.

An USB dongle can be mass produced for a few cents to a couple of dollars. Pass it to enough people and they can organize without having to depend on unreliable network backbones.
holdyourdevil 28th-Jan-2011 06:21 pm (UTC)
Lolololol, Joe Biden and the rest of the US government? STFD and STFU.
trf_chan 28th-Jan-2011 07:01 pm (UTC)
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