US Response

While some enthusiasts for the “open society” have lamented the USA’s apparent lack of action in critiquing the former president of Tunisia, Ben Ali, what is played out – or not played out – on the world stage, is generally a very pale reflection of events taking place behind-the-scenes. The US Establishment certainly showed no sympathy for Ben Ali at the crucial moment.

The Project on Middle East Democracy, another think tank dedicated to showing how nations should govern themselves “the American way,” states of the reaction of US officialdom that Michael Posner, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, in response to a question of a reporter from Egypt’s AlMasry AlYoum newspaper,

…discussed the violence in Egypt and Tunisia and how the U.S. could effectively deal with governments who claim outside criticism as “interference.”… The U.S., he said, operates a multi-track policy with countries like Egypt and Tunisia in order to both deal effectively with their governments and support elements of civil society in those countries. [Elliott] Abrams responded that the U.S. should instead have a one-track policy with countries like Egypt and Tunisia where there are definitive consequences for leaders who ignore calls for reform and to respect human rights. By pursuing current policies, these governments know that they are “getting away with it” and will continue to stall reform efforts and repress dissent.[25]

Elliott Abrams, quoted above, will be recalled as one of the neo-con globalists in the George W Bush Administration as national security adviser for Middle East affairs, who was gung-ho about “regime change” with the use of American bombs and troops, when the manipulation of street mobs didn’t work. Now Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow of Middle East Studies, as one would expect, Abrams is an enthusiast for the idealistic happenings in Tunisia,[26] with the prospect of another US-client state emerging from the idealistic actions of “useful idiots.” Meanwhile, as the hapless Ben Ali was about to fall, Hillary Clinton was saying to the Middle East that Washington would “not take sides,” but then promptly lectured Arab states as to what America expected of them, The Christian Science Monitor observing that Ben Ali was gone the next day. “Not taking sides” was immediately followed by Clinton, another of the CFR planners, stating that President Obama hailed the “courage and dignity of the Tunisian people,” and said the United States joined the rest of the world in “bearing witness to this brave and determined struggle…” The report makes it clear that Clinton was “warning” (sic) Middle Eastern leaders to heed the revolt in Tunisia, otherwise they could expect the same. “Clinton’s words on Thursday echoed the often even-tougher views of US officials behind the scenes…”

“Those who cling to the status quo may be able to hold back the full impact of their countries’ problems for a little while, but not forever,” Clinton said. Those words turned out to be prophetic for Tunisia’s Ben Ali, but they were interpreted by a number of regional specialists as particularly applicable to Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak – a staunch friend of the US but an octogenarian who has ruled for almost 30 years.[27]

It seems a paradox that those who disparage the US invasions of states such as Serbia and Iraq to impose “regime change” by force of arms, are nonetheless enthused by “regime change” in the interests of American global hegemony when it is undertaken by youths and professionals manipulated to achieve the same result via “spontaneous protest”‘ (sic). The “color revolutions” are about as bogus as their predecessors of the “New Left.” Of course, whether such regime change is desirable depends on one’s perspective. In the long-term, dialectically it could be that in the name of “democracy”, like the French revolutionary slogan of “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity,” and the Bolshevik slogan of “All Power to the Soviets,” and the other one about “All Animals Are Equal…”, this is another step in the path towards a greater tyranny than those that are being overthrown.


[1] Open Society Institute, The Burma Network, SE Asia Initiative.

[2] For example: “A Successful Jasmine Revolution, but what next for Tunisia?”, New Statesman, January 15, 2011.

[3] Robert Cowley, “A Year in Hell,” America and Russia: A Century and a Half of Dramatic Encounters, ed. Oliver Jensen (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1962), pp. 92- 121.Schiff, senior partner of Kuhn Loeb and Co., funded George Kennan to revolutionize 50,000 Russian POWs in Japan during the Russo-Japanese War, and provided further support for the 1917 Revolution.

[4] M McKinnon, “Georgia revolt carried mark of Soros”, Globe & Mail, November 26, 2003,

[5] Soros’ Internet Access & Training Program (IATP) was established as a front for “creating future leaders” in Belarus, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. In Serbia, Otpor was funded. The prize was Trepca in Kosovo, a vast reserve of gold, silver, lead, zinc and cadmium.

In a New Statesman article Neil Clark stated that Soros had a “crucial role” in the collapse of the Soviet bloc. As far back as 1979 Soros gave millions to Solidarity in Poland, Charter 77 in Czechoslovakia, and in 1984 set up his OSI in Hungary where he “pumped millions of dollars into opposition movements.”  “Ostensibly aimed at building a ‘civil society’, these initiatives were designed to weaken the existing political structures and pave the way for Eastern Europe’s eventual colonisation by global capital.” Neil Clark, “Soros toppled governments in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary,” New Statesman, 2 June 2003.

[6] M MacKinnon, op.cit.

[7] Carl Gershman, “Building a Worldwide Movement for Democracy: The Role of Non-Governmental Organizations”, U.S. Foreign Policy Agenda, Vol. 8, No. 1, August 2003. NED:

[8] National Endowment for Democracy, 2009 Grants:

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid.

[11] National Endowment for Democracy, 2006 Grants:

[12] National Endowment for Democracy, 2007 Grants:

[13]National Endowment for Democracy, 2008:

[14] Christopher Alexander, “Tunisia’s Protest Wave: Where it comes form and what it means,” January 3, 2011, Council on Foreign Relations, Foreign Policy,

[15] Tunisia’s only independent radio station fights back,” International Media Support,

[16] Oswald Spengler, The Decline of The West, 1918, 1926. (London : George Allen & Unwin , 1971), Vol. 2, p. 402.

[17] “Gloria Steinem and the CIA: C.I.A. Subsidized Festival Trips: Hundreds of Students Were Sent to World Gatherings,” The New York Times, 21 February 1967.

[18] Mark Riebling, “Tinker, Tailor, Stoner, Spy, Was Timothy Leary a CIA Agent? Was JFK the ‘Manchurian Candidate’? Was the Sixties Revolution Really a Government Plot?,” Osprey, 1994,

[19] Sol Stern: “A Short Account of International Student Politics and the Cold War with Particular Reference to the NSA, CIA, etc,” Ramparts, March 1967, pp. 29-38.

Also: Philip Agee Jr., “CIA Infiltration of Student Groups: The National Student Association Scandal”, Campus Watch, Fall 1991, pp. 12-13,

[20] Mike Marqusee, “1968 The mysterious chemistry of social change”, Red Pepper, 6 April 2008,

[21] David Lowe, ‘Idea to Reality: NED at 25: Reauthorization’, National Endowment for Democracy:

[22] For an official, but informative history of the CFR see: Peter Grose, Continuing The Inquiry: The Council on Foreign Relations from 1921 to 1996 (CFR, 1996),

[23] “Committees of the Board 1998-1999”, CFR, (Accessed 8 March 2010).

[24] “Staff,”NED, (Accessed 7 March 2010). Only a few of the staff profiles are provided by NED.

[25] “POMED Notes: Freedom in the World 2011: The Authoritarian Challenge to Democracy,”

[26] Elliot Abrams, “Is Tunisia Next?”, CFR, January 7, 2011.

[27] “Events in Tunisia bear out Hillary Clinton’s warning to Arab world,” Christian Science Monitor, January 14, 2011,