Patterico's Pontifications

2/11/2011

Mubarak Out? (Update: a Musical Send Off)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 8:52 am



[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

After debacles like the Gabby Giffords shooting, where first she was dead, then she was alive, then a judge was dead, then alive and then dead again, I am reluctant to trust breaking news reports.  The fact it is in a foreign country where things might literally get “lost in translation” makes me even more wary.  But this seems solid:

Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak resigned as president and handed control to the military on Friday after 29 years in power, bowing to a historic 18-day wave of pro-democracy demonstrations by hundreds of thousands. “The people ousted the president,” chanted a crowd of tens of thousands outside his presidential palace in Cairo.

Several hundred thousand protesters massed in Cairo’s central Tahrir Square exploded into joy, cheering and waving Egyptian flags. Fireworks, car horns and celebratory shots in the air were heard around the city of 18 million in joy after Vice President Omar Suleiman made the announcement on national TV just after nightfall.

Mubarak had sought to cling to power, handing some of his authorities to Suleiman while keeping his title. But an explosion of protests Friday rejecting the move appeared to have pushed the military into forcing him out completely. Hundreds of thousands marched throughout the day in cities across the country as soliders stood by, besieging his palace in Cairo and Alexandria and the state TV building. A governor of a southern province was forced to flee to safety in the face of protests there.

So down he goes and hopefully the world will soon forget how incompetent Obama, Panetta and the Clapper looked through all of this.

And that means the military is in control.  Now the reality is that sometimes for a very brief time (meaning a few months) undemocratic elements come into power during a revolution, until they can hand power to a legitimate body.  That could be what happens here.  Or we could see the rise of a military dictatorship.  So what are we going to get?  A General Washington?  Or a Generalisimo?  Only time can tell.

Update: How about a little send off music?

By the way, is it just me or was it lame when they sang this in Remember the Titans?

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

116 Responses to “Mubarak Out? (Update: a Musical Send Off)”

  1. I’ve been watching the AJE live stream for about an hour now. It seems pretty clear that Mubarak is out and the army is in control, and the protesters are exhilerated.

    But you’re right: this is a first step, and the question is now, what does the army do? Their communique #1 (issued yesterday) said that all of the people’s demands would be met, but that’s incredibly vague.

    That said: having shown the strength of will and numbers to force Mubarak out, the people have the power to do the same thing to the army if they don’t at least pretend to be complying with the rest of the demands. So there’s a check on how much freedom the army has under these circumstances.

    Regardless of what happens, the people of Egypt should be congratulated: through a massive protest movement they have successfully overthrown their government. This hasn’t happened anywhere in the world since 1989, and it hasn’t ever happened in the Arab World.

    It truly is a new day.

    aphrael (9802d6)

  2. I wonder where he’ll go now? The Shah of Iran fled to Egypt (among other places – most of which treated him like a hot potato). Farah Pahlavi finally settled in the US once Carter-the-Compassionate was gone and Reagan had mercy on the family.

    With religious hit squads now willing to operate in any country at all, who do you suppose would like to have Mubarak for a next door neighbor?

    Gesundheit (cfa313)

  3. At this point, you are going to see the Muslim Brotherhood make its move (according to all the news reports, the MB is the only truely organized group at the protests).

    This is no different than Tehran, 1979. Sorry if no one else sees that. And don’t give me the crap about how Egypt is also Christian as the Copts represent only about 10% of the 85 million, and their churches are still under attack now.

    Of course, the media is jubilant over Mubarak’s exodus, just as they were jubilant when Castro entered Havana and when the Shah boarded a plane to leave Iran forever.

    Only time will show if I am right in what I think will happen to Egypt; that it will in very short time become Iran On The Nile.

    God help Israel.

    retire05 (63d9af)

  4. Now the military is in power.

    The year’s run together but wasn’t Mubarak the general replacing Sadat when he was offed by the MB?

    Big diff MB has doubled in size and gone shadow government.

    Hope sans Change.

    gary gulrud (790d43)

  5. On the contrary, i hope that the world never forgets the the folly that is obama and his multiple stooges and the farce that they promised was “smart diplomacy”. There are many foreign entitys that try to enfluence our electios, though the recent accusations against the chamber of commerce missed the mark by a mile, is the reason i say “world”.We will be living with the results of these faux pas for at least a generation.

    dunce (b89258)

  6. aphrael, do you even know who started the protests? What groups are we talking about? Why do all the media say that the MB is the only organized group in Egypt?

    Last night an Iman took to speakers in Tarfir Square claiming that Mubarak was against Islam and anyone who is against Islam should be punished. This Iman was speaking to thousands of Egyptians who did not disagree.

    It is reported that one million have protested. Tell me, do you think that if 3 million marched on the Capital, Obama should step down?

    And please, don’t be foolish enough to equate our concept of freedom with an Islamic concept of freedom. There is a reason that a majority of Egyptians support the death penalty for anyone who leaves Islam (according to Pew).

    This will not work out well for the U.S. or Israel.

    retire05 (63d9af)

  7. retire

    i hope you are wrong, but fear you are right. and we can only wait and see and hope that obama can stop it, if it starts to happen. i am not optimistic on that front.

    Dunce

    i want america to remember how stupid obama is and fire him. i hope the rest of the world forgets so he can halfway do his job until then.

    it won’t work out that way, surely, but one can hope! at least until we get a change!

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  8. Retire05: no, of course I don’t think that if 3 million people marched, Obama should step down. On the other hand, we have contested multiparty elections, don’t have an effective president-for-life, aren’t operating under a permanent state of emergency that makes it illegal for groups to gather in public and under which anti-government speech is prosecutable, and don’t have a government assisted by a brutal police force that regularly beats people to death for trivial offenses.

    The analogy doesn’t hold. We have the power to choose our government via elections. The Egyptian people have been denied that power for at least a generation – given the form of that power without any of the substance, as part of an attempt to bamboozle them.

    I hold this truth to be self-evident: that all men have a right to the freedom to choose their fate, and that all governments must be responsible to their people.

    I agree that there is a risk that the people of Egypt will choose, either actively or through inaction, to allow the establishment of an Iranian-style dictatorship. I think it’s less likely than you do; but it’s possible. And yet: far better a dictatorship of the people’s choosing than one not of their choosing. (The establishment of a liberal democracy would be better still – but it’s not for me to decide, it’s for the people of Egypt to decide).

    I’ve been listening to interviews with protesters all morning, and basically they’re saying things like: now it’s time to get rid of Mubarak’s dictatorship — implying that, at least for the ones who speak English, there’s a strong desire for a Turkish- or Indonesian- style democracy. Those people may lose, just like the democrats in Russia lost in 1917 — but I think we should celebrate the fact that, for the first time in a generation, they have the opportunity to try.

    aphrael (9802d6)

  9. Aaron: I’ve been tempted to make the snarky observation that, on this issue at least, the liberal perspective is one of hope for the future, while the conservative perspective is one of fear of the future. :)

    aphrael (9802d6)

  10. Aaron, do you remember how long it took Tehran to fall to the radicals? Six months. Do you remember how Time reported how great the overthrow of the Shah was and “democracy” would then come to Iran?

    Obama, and those who are supposed to be in charge of providing for our national security, are still there for another 23 months.

    We have an administration that refused to back a legitimate protest in Iran, but took the side of those protesting in Egypt when we don’t even know who started the protests. We see terrorist activity getting stronger with an administration that cannot even call it what it is; radical Islam.

    Obama stop the takeover of Egypt by radical Islam? Hell, he can’t even stop smoking and has his wife lie about it.

    Egypt is a nation of 85 million. But their whole nation has now been turned upside down by thousands of protestors. Geraldo Rivera (an idiot) said two million. He’s wrong. The protestors never reached a million. Reports coming from Egypt say that the majority of the nation is staying home, trying to protect their families and their properties against the protesters.

    I would remind you how everyone said how great it was when Lebannon had free elections. Hamas, a Muslim Brotherhood took control. That’s worked out well, hasn’t it.

    Americans do not understand the Islamic mindset and can only equate “freedom” with us. Islamic ideals are not even close.

    This will go down in history as Obama’s Iran.

    retire05 (63d9af)

  11. aph

    what i particularly fear is what if they go all “taliban” on this. this might seem selfish, but remember what they did to those Buddhist statues? we lost alot of valuable history. now, imagine if they do that to giza?

    but i will hope for the best. i would be much more hopeful with iran’s people rising up because literally things couldn’t get worse. since mubarak had a few redeeming traits, that is not the case in egypt. i’m not saying he was a good man, or that we shouldn’t prefer democracy; only that there could be worse things than his dictatorship.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  12. I hope “retire” is wrong as well, of course. Sadly, I don’t think Obama can do much to change the course of Egypt, whichever way it goes.

    The United States is toxic to the people of Egypt because we have supported Mubarak for so long (and if you are looking for a party to blame here, blame them both).

    So for Obama to get “hands on” at this point would be, in my view, counter-productive and risk driving Egypt further into the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood or even more radical groups.

    Kman (d30fc3)

  13. On the other hand, democracy seems to be working just fine in Indonesia and in Turkey.

    aphrael (9802d6)

  14. Aaron: for what it’s worth, I was on the side of the Iranian protesters, too. I wish they had been more powerful, and that the regime had been less obstinate.

    aphrael (9802d6)

  15. aphrael, we celebrated the fall of the Shah and the prospect that Iranians would have a democracy where they were free to elect their choices.

    This will not work out well. Mark my words. We don’t even know who is organizing these protests due to the pathetic actions of our own intelligence community. If this is a good thing, then tell me why the Copts are so worried.

    And you cannot say that due to our system of government, that has become overbearing under Obama, should not be protested. Obama stood on the side of a small percentage of the Egyptian population and demanded Mubarak’s exodus. The same should apply to the U.S. by his standards.

    retire05 (63d9af)

  16. I have no problem with protests against Obama. We’re a country where that sort of thing is to some degree encouraged.

    I’m saying that Obama represents a legitimate government in a way that Mubarak wasn’t.

    aphrael (9802d6)

  17. “Aaron: I’ve been tempted to make the snarky observation that, on this issue at least, the liberal perspective is one of hope for the future, while the conservative perspective is one of fear of the future. :)”

    aphrael – Go for it. I’ll remind everybody how much the liberals loved the communists in Russia. Winning The Future!

    daleyrocks (479a30)

  18. aphrael, don’t you think that the POTUS should have at least known who was organizing the protests in Egypt before he backed them? Don’t you think we should be getting intel from boots on the ground and not “news outlets?”

    Mubarak was a dictator, yes, but one that thwarted the Muslim Brotherhood. Why is Medea Benjamin in Cairo along with CAIR?

    retire05 (63d9af)

  19. Obama – They’re not heavy, they’re my brothers, my Muslim Brotherhood.

    daleyrocks (479a30)

  20. I will observe that historical precedent is troubling, but then again that precedent is only one of one.

    Hopefully the Egyptian military remembers history better than some and can succeed in granting Egypt a government more democratic/responsive to the people without becoming a theocracy- which is no more of a democracy than a secular dictatorship, and worse in the example of Iran. I think many in the military/intelligence community in Egypt have first hand face-to-face relationships with colleagues in the US and Israel. Hopefully those will be a stabilizing force in the government transition. If not, they will likely be the first to go in the second wave of revolution, if one occurs.

    This part of the revolution has been remarkably peaceful, hopefully the miracle of a largely peaceful transition will continue. Will they get a Washington (not many of those)? A Napolean (wannabees are a dime a dozen, actual ones less so)? An Ayatollah (I’m sure there are several willing to volunteer)?

    I have more confidence that if anything, our administration will mess up things rather than be helpful. This is one time, like Honduras, that I wish he would keep his own advice and stay out of it. But the historical precedent is against that.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  21. Chew on these stats from Pew Research:

    85% of Egyptians think Islam is a positive influence in its politics

    49% have a favorable view of Hamas (a Muslim Brotherhood spin-off)

    95% think it is a good thing for Islam to play a large role in politics

    Most (3/4th or 75%) Egyptians support stoning for those who commit adultry, the cutting off of hands and feet for crimes like theft, and the death penalty for anyone who leaves Islam.

    What about the strong practice of female genitalia mutilation in Egypt? Will that end? The Copts suffered under Mubarak, what will happen to them now? Will they flee Egypt like the Christians fled Iran?

    With the stats from Pew, is there anyone who thinks we will see Western democracy in Egypt? No, we are witnessing the creation of another Iran that will come to prove a thorn in our side.

    retire05 (63d9af)

  22. The grand assumption here is that ” Mubarak resigned as president and handed control to the military…”

    The Egyptian military has been the power behind the throne for over 60 years. First with Nasser, then with Sadat and Mubarak. The figureheads change, and the make-up the military high command changes, but the ruling junta remains in-place and in-charge. The more things change, the more they remain the same.

    ropelight (885f38)

  23. “13.On the other hand, democracy seems to be working just fine in Indonesia and in Turkey.”

    Erdogan: “Democracy is the bus you ride until you get to the destination”.

    Our Strap-on POTUS feels the same.

    gary gulrud (790d43)

  24. Heh. As a friend said…

    “Looks like the revolution was televised…”

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  25. Hopefully the Egyptian military remembers history better than some and can succeed in granting Egypt a government more democratic/responsive to the people without becoming a theocracy- which is no more of a democracy than a secular dictatorship, and worse in the example of Iran.

    Amen.

    This part of the revolution has been remarkably peaceful, hopefully the miracle of a largely peaceful transition will continue.

    This is why, in my mind, the historic event this most resembles is the Carnation Revolution. I hope the Egyptian military acts in a way which mirrors the Portugese military.

    Revolutions are chaotic, risky events; this could go in one of several different ways.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  26. Don’t you think we should be getting intel from boots on the ground and not “news outlets?”

    Yes. That was embarassing.

    Why is Medea Benjamin in Cairo

    WTH cares? I mean, really. Medea Benjamin is an individual of no importance whatsoever (outside the importance she has to her friends and family). What she does with her time isn’t worth the energy I’ve put into typing this.

    don’t you think that the POTUS should have at least known who was organizing the protests in Egypt before he backed them?

    (1) How do we know he didn’t? I mean, the information available to the President isn’t public, right?

    (2) Even if he didn’t, I’m somewhat of the opinion that the default US position ought to be that we stand with people seeking to overthrow a dictatorship which is is oppressing them, whenever and wherever they are. I’m not sure how far I want to push that – what should the US position be in the case of a popular street revolt in Beijing? is a tough question – but as a general principle, I think it’s the right starting place.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  27. Ropelight, at 22: that is where my worries lie. This could be a feint, the military giving up a figurehead while changing nothing, to delude the masses into thinking something has changed.

    It’s far too early to tell if that’s what’s going on, but it’s a serious risk, one I think the people in the streets are underestimating.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  28. Welcome to the new world, same as the old one. Freedom at the end of a gun seems a little less than optimal, no?

    JD (ae44dd)

  29. I agree, aphrael, but America’s leaders should support democracy in ways that don’t lose the trust of other allies and their leaders. Both Ahmadinejad and Mubarak faced protests, but Obama showed more respect for the former than the latter. My guess is he did it because he believes the Egyptian military won’t fire on its citizens and the Iranian military will, but that’s no excuse for treating Ahmadinejad more respectfully than Mubarak.

    And it’s been brought up before but where was the liberals’ respect for democracy in Honduras and Iraq?

    DRJ (fdd243)

  30. Supporting democracy is not the same as supporting liberty or freedom, in and of itself.

    JD (ae44dd)

  31. 26 “(1) How do we know he didn’t? I mean, the information available to the President isn’t public, right?”

    Jerry Lewis is looking for a straight man. You’re perfect.

    gary gulrud (790d43)

  32. DRJ: speaking only for myself and not for other liberals:

    (1) in Iraq, there was no popular uprising after 1992.
    (2) Furthermore, it’s one thing to say that our rhetorical position should be one of support for democracy against dictators, and another to say that we will intervene militarily to support popular uprisings. We do not have the power to do this everywhere in the world, and we don’t have a good moral cause to pick and choose.
    (3) In 2003, at least, the argument was that invading and overthrowing the government would lead to the establishment of democracy. That’s an entirely different kind of operation than providing public and private support to revolutionaries seeking to overthrow their own government – and, I think, substantially less likely to lead to a successful outcome.

    I’ve noted elsewhere that I find it odd that conservatives who supported the overthrow-Iraq-to-create-a-beacon-of-democracy-in-the-Arab-world theory aren’t jubilant today.

    (4) For Honduras, I wasn’t following closely. However, that seemed to me to be a case where the army intervened to eject a democratically elected president because they were afraid that he would subvert the constitution by subjecting something to a vote. He had not yet subverted the constitution, he had not made himself a dictator; it was, at best, a preventative measure designed to avoid a future dictatorship.

    The trouble with that – with all preventative politics, really – is that the actuality of the thing they were seeking to prevent remains debatable. Which means, at the very least, that it’s not as clear as Iran in 2009 or Egypt today.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  33. aphrael, so you don’t care that Medea Benjamin, and her little CodePink groupies, are in Cairo. Do you also not care that Benjamin, a bundler for Obama, returned from Egypt last year and was allowed to deliever a letter to Obama from (tah-dah) the Muslim Brotherhood? Benjamin, a Marxist communist who favors Castro, said that CodePink were teaching Egyptians how to “organize”.

    Do you care that Bernadette Dorhn and William Ayers were involved in the flotilla fiasco? Do you care that CAIR has been in Egypt for months? Do you think that none of these groups have any influence on the Egyptian street?

    And if Obama knew who was behind these protests, he should have let the American people know. It is our right to know who is trying to overthrow a government that has been pro-U.S. and supportive of the Israeli peace treaty with Egypt.

    But like so many, you seem to only see what is in front of your face and not ask who is pushing this. If you think that a nation that supports killing people for leaving Islam is going to adopt a western styled democracy, you need to do a little more research in not only Islam, but how the Muslim Brotherhood works. Start with Lebanon.

    retire05 (63d9af)

  34. How does their Constitution deal with a military takeover?

    JD (ae44dd)

  35. JD: Egypt’s? I don’t know. Nor do I much care; their constitution was established by a dictator to provide a legalistic mechanism to stay in power. It’s about as relevant a question as asking, in 1990, how the Soviet Constitution deals with attempts by sub-imperial republics to take control of the central state’s power.

    Retire05: I think you’re giving CodePink, CAIR, and the like far too much credit. I think they’re minor activist groups whose dreams far exceed their effectiveness and their power.

    And, again, I point to Indonesia: it’s just as Muslim as Egypt is, and has adopted a more-or-less functioning liberal democracy. It’s less liberal than the European democracies, to be sure; and Islam still plays an important role in their political and cultural life. But, even so, it’s got democratic elections in which power is turned over peacefully, and in which the government is broadly responsive to the people.

    I see no reason to that this is impossible in Egypt. I also see no reason to assume that it’s going to happen in Egypt. The jury is still out, both ways.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  36. Panetta gets his ‘intelligence’ from CNN for Congressional testimony.

    Clapper thinks MB is ‘largely secular’.

    U of Chicago commissions Barry for a treatise on con law and he gives ’em a second autobiography, late.

    You’d think there are no more winos on Rush Street we could stick under the desk.

    gary gulrud (790d43)

  37. So we support some dictators, and some Constitutions?

    JD (ae44dd)

  38. If this is a good thing, then tell me why the Copts are so worried.

    The Copts would be in a bad situation even if a Turkish style democracy results from all this. This is where a Bill of Rights comes in handy, and of course, Egypt has none

    With the stats from Pew, is there anyone who thinks we will see Western democracy in Egypt? No, we are witnessing the creation of another Iran that will come to prove a thorn in our side.

    A democratically elected executive and legislature that enforces shariah is quite compatible with what’s going on now. Assuming whatever comes into place will inevitably be as radically Islamic as Hamas or the Iranian mullahs is a step that is so far unwarranted by the evidence. It may come to that, but it’s far from sure what will take place.

    My own suspicion is that Ropelight is correct: that today’s events merely mean the military regime is shuffling around personnel to appease the populace, and that we are no closer to an Egyptian democracy than we were a month ago.

    kishnevi (6c49d9)

  39. JD, as I’ve said elsewhere, I’d prefer that we did not support any dictators. :)

    But yes, we support some constitutions and not others. A constitution created by a dictator for the purpose of keeping himself in power isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on – it’s of no actual force against the dictator, it exists only to constrain those who are opposed to him.

    I think the example I already gave is instructive, and I wish you’d engage with it. We didn’t care about the Soviet-era constitutions of the Warsaw Pact states when their governments collapsed in 1989, because we thought they were fundamentally illegitimate to begin with.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  40. aphrael,

    Idealism is exciting but now it’s time for the hard work of stabilizing and rebuilding Egypt’s government. This article agrees with your approach. Nevertheless, it surprises me to see how willing you are to throw out a Constitution — I assume without even knowing what it says. Is that the best way to help Egyptians embrace the rule of law?

    DRJ (fdd243)

  41. “we are no closer to an Egyptian democracy than we were a month ago.”

    Precisely.

    gary gulrud (790d43)

  42. Do you care that Bernadette Dorhn and William Ayers were involved in the flotilla fiasco? Do you care that CAIR has been in Egypt for months? Do you think that none of these groups have any influence on the Egyptian street?

    I am pretty sure that if you mentioned Dorhn, Ayers, CAIR or Benjamin to the average Cairene, you’d get a stare in the face and the Arabic equivalent of “Who the h– are they?” I never heard of this Benjamin person before the name popped up in this thread, for that matter. Now extrapolate that to the average Egyptian.

    kishnevi (6c49d9)

  43. Aphrael – my concern is over the ones that Barcky and the left actively choose to support. As DRJ noted above, The Left was just fine with Castro, Zelaya, Hussein, Chavez, etal.

    Good point on the Constitution, given the circumstances. I had rad elsewhere that the military dos not have the authority under their Constitution to do what they are doing. It just seemed curious to me, instructive to a degree.

    I agree very much with kishnevi that they are no closer to a democracy today than they were last month.

    JD (ae44dd)

  44. Idealism is exciting but now it’s time for the hard work of stabilizing and rebuilding Egypt’s government

    Yes-ish. I think that now is the time for celebrating, and about eight hours from now, which is to say, tomorrow morning Egypt time, is the time for the hard work of rebuilding. :)

    I wouldn’t pretend there’s an easy road ahead; I think it’s fair to say that this is the end of the first battle, not the end of the war. Some revolutions go magically smoothly (Czechoslovakia, Portugal); some are rough but end up well (Indonesia, the Philippines); some turn into utter disasters (Iran, Russia, France). Anyone who claims to know where this one will end up is, I think, deluding themselves – either through senseless optimism or through rank fear.

    I wish the Egyptian people well as they travel down this road and hope that the US will be there to assist them as they desire us to.

    Is that the best way to help Egyptians embrace the rule of law?

    Possibly not – but I think the underlying problem is that the law, as it stands, has no legitimacy; it was imposed on the people against their will by a regime which was imposed on the people against their will.

    Under those circumstances, restarting from scratch doesn’t seem unreasonable.

    One of the fundamental problems with following the constitutional procedure is that the military government – through mubarak – has repeatedly promised to drop the state of emergency and allow free elections, and then broken those promises. Why should anyone in Egypt trust them to not do the same now?

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  45. The chief argument for keeping the Mubarak written constitution in place for the moment is that it’s the only set of rules that can even hope to be accepted by all parties, because it’s the set of rules currently in existence. An army should not change maps in the middle of marching: they should change it when they get to a resting point, so they can be sure of where they are and be sure that copies of the new map can get to everyone involved.

    What we want is a government acceptable to the Egyptian people which will then come up with a truly democratic constitution.

    kishnevi (fb9343)

  46. kishnevi,

    Egyptians may not know those activists but that doesn’t mean they will be immune from the principles and techniques the activists bring with them. In addition, it’s a small world so it is really surprising to think they can develop contacts, or may have already made contacts, in Egypt?

    DRJ (fdd243)

  47. Kishnevi – I think there’s a danger that the military is just trying to appease the populace without making a real change.

    I don’t know if it will work this time or not.

    One of the things which happens in police states is that everyone hides what they really think and believe, because admitting it might draw the attention of the state. Over time, you learn to think that maybe you’re the only one who feels that the state is illegitimate, etc.

    And then, when the mass protest occurs, you realize that everyone thinks the same thing … and at that point, unless the state is willing to force everyone back into the closet at gunpoint, the power of the state falters.

    This has happened repeatedly in the modern era: Portugal, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, the Philippines, Iran.

    The Egyptian military has shown it’s not willing to force everyone back into the closet at gunpoint.

    That leaves it in a dicey situation. Yeah, the protesters are gonna go home tomorrow. But they’re gonna go home remembering that they forced Mubarak out, and knowing that they aren’t alone … and it’s going to be hard – not impossible, but hard – for the military to carry on like nothing happened.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  48. mmm, i think we are overdue for a little sockpuppetry…. working on the thread…

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  49. aphael, so you place on import on those groups that have been working tirelessly in Egypt for the last couple of years. Fine. I suspect you are unaware of the OneNation rally or would be the kind of person who, in the 1960’s, would have said “Weather what?”

    Let me ask you this? Watching the scenes in Cairo now, how many women do you see? And of the few (damn few) women there, how many have their heads covered?

    Guess you didn’t know that that commie bastard, Richard Trumpka, also was supporting the Egyptian protests. Or do you even know who Trumpka is?

    For someone who seems to want to give the illusion of being so informed, you seem painfully ill informed.

    Know thine enemy, aphrael.

    And no, Egypt is no closer to democracy than it was a month ago, but it is closer to a theocracy like Iran. El Baradai is not done and he has strong ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

    retire05 (63d9af)

  50. would be the kind of person who, in the 1960′s, would have said “Weather what?”

    Likewise, I think the Weather Underground were a bunch of activists whose goals exceeded their grasp, and were of no real importance. :)

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  51. Iran fell 32 years ago today.

    Prophetic?

    retire05 (63d9af)

  52. I think retire05 is right to point out this isn’t just an interesting intellectual exercise. There’s a good chance Egypt will end up looking more like Iran than Iraq. In addition, America can ill afford to lose our military investment in Egypt or access to the Suez Canal, and ultimately this could mean war for Israel.

    DRJ (fdd243)

  53. aphrael, you are proving to be clueless. It was groups like the WeatherUnderground and SDS and forced our withdrawal from Vietnam and caused us to lose a war we could have won had the political will been there.

    How can you discuss the situtation in Egypy with someone who doesn’t even know the players? The simple answer is you can’t.

    retire05 (63d9af)

  54. Here is a question for those who are blind to the risks:

    what nations in the Middle East are seeing protesters in their streets? Is it the Libyanian, the Syrians? No, it is EVERY nation that has a workable relationship with the U.S.; Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia.

    Think on that one for a while.

    retire05 (63d9af)

  55. Retire05: they may have shared some of the responsibility for the withdrawal from Vietnam, but their avowed goal was the overthrow of the US government and the establishment of a communist dictatorship. It didn’t happen. There was never any real risk that it would happen. It was a goal that was so far outside the lines of what was reasonable to expect could happen in the US that it was farcical.

    I would say that it was more true that opposition to the war in Vietnam, which they shared, made them stronger than they would have been absent the war. That is to say: it’s not that their strength forced us to withdraw, it’s that people who wanted us to withdraw helped make them strong … as demonstrated by the fact that, once we withdrew, they collapsed even though their goals had not been met.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  56. There’ve also been protests in Algeria and Yemen, which don’t really have working relationships with the US. There were protests in Libya which died down after the government promised to spend more money meeting housing demands.

    The Tunisian protests began with self-immolation, and there have been scattered self-immolations across the rest of the Arab world, including in Syria and Morocco; these failed to catch on.

    One difference I think is that Egypt’s army wasn’t willing to shoot at the protesters. Syria’s army wouldn’t be so reluctant.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  57. aphrael, you seem to be missing the point. Did those groups (WU and SDS) have an impact on public policy? Damn straight they did. But you also seem to be judging Egypt with American standards and values. You fail to take into consideration the very concept of Islam which is an antithesis to western democracy.

    Do you think all those radicals from the ’60’s-’70’s just went away? Do you think they did not continue their endeavor to bring about their agenda? Read the Communist Manifesto and tell me how much of it you think has been acheived since 1960.

    I am trying to provide you with facts. There is a far leftist movement in Egypt. Ignore it all you want. Get back to me in a year.

    retire05 (63d9af)

  58. Also, I don’t think anyone is blind to the risks. Certainly I’ve acknowledged them several times. Where you and I differ are (a) I see them as risks, you see them as certainties; (b) I think that the decision to take the risks is the Egyptian people’s to make, and that the Egyptian people seizing the power to make decisions for themselves is per se a good thing, while you don’t seem to.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  59. I think that the decision to take the risks is the Egyptian people’s to make, and that the Egyptian people seizing the power to make decisions for themselves is per se a good thing

    Odd, the same thing was said about Cuban and Iran.

    retire05 (63d9af)

  60. what nations in the Middle East are seeing protesters in their streets? Is it the Libyanian, the Syrians? No, it is EVERY nation that has a workable relationship with the U.S.; Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia.

    There are different shades of dictatorship and autocracy. Libya and Syria are at one end, Jordan at the other end, Egypt and Saudi Arabia somewhere in the middle. Perhaps the fact that we don’t have a good relationship with Libya and Syria, and that there are no visible protests in those two states, are both due to the fact that they are on the more extreme end. At the very least, the fact that they are on the extreme end is the direct reason why there are so few protests in those countries; and the fact that Jordan is on the moderate end is the direct reason there are protests there.

    You’re vastly oversimplifying the matter: if your taxonomy was correct, then how do you account for Iran, where there were vast protests in a country that is definitely not in a good relationship with the USA

    Comment by DRJ — 2/11/2011 @ 11:32 am

    valid point, but I think you’re still overestimating the influence of these American activists (albeit not so badly overestimating it as retire05 does). I seriously doubt the Muslim Brotherhood needs a bunch of community organizers from Chicago to tell them how to get things done. In fact, the MB could probably teach them a thing or two.

    kishnevi (fb9343)

  61. (1) Of course there’s a far left movement in Egypt. There’s also an islamic fascist movement in Egypt. These aren’t generally the same people. You seem to have switched fears in mid-stream: are you worried about Islamic fundamentalists, or Communists? They can’t both come to power.

    (2) The WU may have had an impact on public policy. But that doesn’t change the fact that their goals exceeded their grasp … and I think that overall their impact on public policy was minor. Did people oppose the Vietnam War because the WU told them to, or did people (temporarily) ally with the WU because they opposed the Vietnam War? I think the number of people who opposed the War becauase WU told them to is very, very, very small.

    (3) I’ve read the communist manifesto. I don’t see the connection.

    The manifesto calls for, in the short-term, the following:

    1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
    2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
    3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance.
    4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
    5. Centralisation of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.
    6. Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.
    7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
    8. Equal liability of all to work. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
    9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of all the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the populace over the country.
    10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, &c, &c.

    (1) hasn’t happened and shows no sign of happening.
    (2) happened in the 1930s.
    (3) hasn’t happened and shows no sign of happening. the estate tax, which was adopted in 1905, still exists, but taxing something is far from abolishing it.
    (4) hasn’t happened and shows no sign of happening.
    (5) is ambiguous. yeah, we have a national bank with state capital, and have had since 1913; but it doesn’t have an exclusive monopoly, and there’s no centralisation of credit.
    (6) the means of communication have become strikingly decentralized over the last fifteen years.
    (7) arguably the GM and Chrysler bailouts were partially the “extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State”, but there doesn’t seem to be a plan to expand on this, and there does seem to be a plan to divest the government of both.
    (8) hasn’t happened and doesn’t seem likely to happen
    (9) i’m not quite sure what it means, so it’s hard for me to say if it’s happened or not – but abolition of the distinction between town and country isn’t happening, never happened anywhere in the socialist world outside of China and Cambodia, and doesn’t seem likely to work in any event
    (10) free education for all children in public schools and abolition of child labour occurred throughout the industrialized world before the great depression. education doesn’t seem to be combined with industrial production.

    so: except for the GM/Chrysler bailouts, those features of the communist short-term plan which have been implemented in the west were all implemented well before the 1960s. meaning that it’s somewhat … bizarre … to claim that the socialist radicals of the 1960s have somehow implemented the communist plan in the last forty years. they haven’t.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  62. Retire05: yes, and it was also said about Portugal, Indonesia, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Romania, and others. Some revolutions end well. Some revolutions end badly. We don’t know yet how this revolution will end.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  63. There is a far leftist movement in Egypt
    If you mean the Muslim Brotherhood, no one is ignoring them; we all see them as a very real danger.

    kishnevi (fb9343)

  64. Kishnevi, I would add this Wikipedia page, which suggests that there have been at least some level of protests throughout the Arab world, and which indicates that in Libya, the protests were substantial.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  65. You fail to take into consideration the very concept of Islam which is an antithesis to western democracy.

    Odd. Indonesia is Islamic and is now a democracy. Turkey is Islamic and is a democracy of sorts (and, to the degree it isn’t, it’s because the army keeps intervening in the state to protect its secular religion). Iraq is Islamic and, while it’s unstable and tentative and very, very vulnerable, seems to be more or less democratic now.

    There’s absolutely no reason why Islam, per se, must be more opposed to democracy than any other religion. Time was that our ancestors thought that catholicism was incompatible with democracy; times have changed, because the societies in question have changed.

    Maybe that change is happening in Egypt, and in the Arab world more broadly, today. Maybe it isn’t.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  66. This is interesting. It’s not clear what it means, but it suggests that none of us actually knows what is happening on the ground.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  67. #1) has not happened, yet

    #2) we already have. Could get worse with this administration if the Democrats take things back.

    #3)35% is not peanuts. The Democrats wanted 50%. Why not impose 100%?

    #4) This one will never happen. Who would buck LaRaza?

    #5)The Fed. The bailout of banks that are now beholding to the Federal Government. New restrictions that have been put on banks in order to borrow from the Fed. CRA. Demographic lending.

    #6) The proposal to regulate the internet? Net nutrality? Other moves to limit speech in the media by requiring both sides be equally represented?

    #7) The transfer of power from stock holders to the government, which in turn, hands power to the unions?

    #8) Obama will require to to get out of your comfort zone.

    #9) Partially done. Urban sprawl.

    #10) Done.

    Why do you ignore the persecution of Christians in Turkey and Iraq? Is it because to acknowledge it would be counter productive to your argument?
    The society in question (the Islamic society) adheres to the same dogma they did in the 7th century. Again, you want to apply western standards to a Middle Eastern mindset. Yet, you refuse to address the fact that 75% of Egyptians believe in a death sentence for those who leave Islam and think stoning is acceptable punishment for adultry.

    retire05 (63d9af)

  68. #4) This one will never happen. Who would buck LaRaza?

    You’ve got it in reverse. Marx was talking about confiscating the property of people who left the country, not people who move into it. He had in mind the emigres of the French Revolution, who left France to escape the revolutionary regime and the Terror.

    But even if you’re completely correct about all the implementation of those points–and I agree with Aphrael’s estimatation, not yours–Aphrael’s point still stands: most of it was in place long before the Weather Underground and the SDS appeared, and such as did happen after them would have happened if they had never existed.

    kishnevi (b40a74)

  69. _______________________________________

    Of course, the media is jubilant over Mubarak’s exodus, just as they were jubilant when Castro entered Havana and when the Shah boarded a plane to leave Iran forever.

    A variety of liberals in the industrialized world were notorious for rationalizing away the fanaticism and ruthlessness of Communism during the era of the Soviet Union, the Iron Curtain, and, today, Cuba. One could assume that was due in part to the supposed do-gooder, egalitarian BS peddled by tyrants like Stalin or Castro. But how does one explain all the liberals who get wishy-washy, touchy-feely about Islamism, which, if anything, adheres closer to a rightist, not leftist, social philosophy?

    And how does one explain the variety of conservatives — not liberals — throughout the Western World who view Islamo-fascism as a major problem and looming threat?

    Conclusion: The left is consistently idiotic and ass backwards, regardless of the scenario, regardless of the particulars, regardless of the players, regardless of ANYTHING. They have so little common sense in that thick skull of theirs, they should be classified as handicapped.

    Mark (411533)

  70. aphrael:

    It’s not clear what it means, but it suggests that none of us actually knows what is happening on the ground.

    We can agree on that, although I think your link illustrates what’s becoming increasingly clear — there is a schism between the civilian and military leadership in Egypt.

    Can we also agree the demonstrators represent a fraction of Egypt’s population? Thus, even if it’s true they are predominantly or even overwhelmingly pro-democracy, that doesn’t tell us much about what the other Egyptians will support or who will wield power in Egypt in the future.

    You are cautiously optimistic; Others are pessimistic. None of us know what the future will bring, but I think the odds are most Egyptians will vote for Islamic-focused rather than secular candidates. Why? Because Egyptians are overwhelmingly Muslim and even people who want change only want so much of it.

    DRJ (fdd243)

  71. Obama should say — today, and bluntly — “Lest there be a miscalculation from uncertainty about America’s position, Egypt should know that the day the Muslim Brotherhood becomes part of Egypt’s government is the day American foreign aid ends.”

    But he won’t.

    Beldar (f62fd1)

  72. Well-put, Beldar, although I still hope someone who has Obama’s ear will convince him to do that. I’m also afraid Egypt will choose an Obama-like leader (like ElBaradei) who knows how to say what each audience wants to hear. Thus, he — and we all know it will be a “he”, don’t we? — will promise secular leadership to Americans and Muslim leadership to Egyptians.

    DRJ (fdd243)

  73. Maybe we can get Jimmy Carter to certify some elections in Egypt with the other Elders. Put his wrinkled no good butt to work. He’s great at the election gig. Didn’t he certify some of Hugo Chavez’s rigged results, or am I imagining things? Venezuela’s got democracy – Who-eeeee!!!!!!

    daleyrocks (479a30)

  74. DRJ, if Obama had the juevos to say it in the first place, then there would be an implied corollary to the effect of “We ain’t gonna be fooled by any flimflam on this.”

    Oh well, sorry to go off on such a crazy, wild, and improbable hypothetical (a category that includes all statements which begin, “If Obama had the juevos ….”).

    Beldar (f62fd1)

  75. But don’t you think Robert Gates might support that response, Beldar? Obama seems to listen to him now and then.

    daley — Carter certified Chavez’s election in 2004, when even the EU refused to get involved. Michael Barone said Carter and the American media “got it wrong”.

    DRJ (fdd243)

  76. DRJ: That’s a good point, and I join you in so hoping. It’s arguably more Gates’ brief than Hillary’s, since so much of the foreign aid is military-related.

    I agree that it appears that Obama has listened to Gates on some things where Obama’s preferences probably started off in a different direction (thinking mainly of Afghanistan here). Indeed, it seems odd to me that Gates hasn’t become a major target of the Angry Left (the way McNamarra and Rumsfield became vilified).

    But I don’t know how much Gates volunteers advice, and how much instead he just answers when asked (and otherwise does what he’s told). My hunch is that he tends toward the latter, and that’s why he’s still SecDef in the third year of Obama’s administration. Whatever, I think I’m pleased that he’s got whatever influence upon Obama as he may have. They have a serious shortage of grownups, and I think Gates is one.

    Beldar (f62fd1)

  77. And how does one explain the variety of conservatives — not liberals — throughout the Western World who view Islamo-fascism as a major problem and looming threat?

    Looming threat to whom? The United States? The Soviet Union at the height of its power couldn’t come close to dominating the the United States–and you’re afraid that the jihadis, much less organized, much less militarily powerful, and far less economically powerful, can do that?

    They are an immediate threat to the stretch of the world that runs from Morocco to Pakistan, but even there they can only do so much; and more importantly, there is only so much we can do, as witnessed by our inability to get a workable American-friendly regime up and running in either Iraq or Afghanistan. What conservatives don’t seem to recognize is that, ironically, the fall of the Soviet Union brought with it the end of the US’s status as a superpower, reducing to it being merely one of the more important players among a large group of players. The situation is not helped, of course, by the fact that we are going to be a bankrupt country before too long.

    Comment by Beldar — 2/11/2011 @ 4:24 pm

    In principle that’s a good idea, but I think in the end one that would have little effect, or even backfire. If we withdraw our money (something the MB might want us to do, for their own purposes) we would be a convenient excuse for whatever is wrong with Egypt’s economy (like the embargo does for Castro), and almost certainly the Chinese, the Russians and the Iranians would be glad to fill the space we leave behind–and of course the Saudis, who ought to be labeled jihadis if we were honest about them, would probably be glad to help a fellow Islamist out.

    If there is a foreign antagonist who is a looming problem, maybe even a threat, I’d point to China, although probably only in the long term.

    kishnevi (827a72)

  78. It’s a serious subject but the WSJ’s James Taranto has a great headline that made me laugh: Walk like an Egyptian.

    DRJ (fdd243)

  79. Time reports the Obama Administration is working on aid packages at this very moment, presumably because spending taxpayer money is something they know how to do:

    So the U.S. is preparing a new package of assistance to Egyptian opposition groups, designed to help with constitutional reform, democratic development and election organizing, State Department officials tell TIME. The package is still being formulated, and the officials decline to say how much it would be worth or to which groups it would be directed.

    White House officials declined to say whether any of the new money would be directed to the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s most prominent Islamist party.

    Here’s the most interesting part to me:

    The Obama Administration cut democracy-and-governance aid to Egyptian opposition groups in its first two years in office, from $45 million in George W. Bush’s last budget to $25 million for the 2010 and 2011 fiscal years. The Obama Administration also stopped providing aid to groups that had not registered with the Egyptian government, drawing criticism from human-rights organizations.

    I’m not sure if this would have excluded the Muslim Brotherhood or not, since it had registered but was banned as a political party. In any event, if money is the measuring stick, it’s hard to see how the Obama Administration helped develop democracy in Egypt.

    DRJ (fdd243)

  80. kishnevi – Iran is just a tiny country.

    daleyrocks (479a30)

  81. DRJ – our links quite nicely complement each other, and quite accurately show how hypocritical Barcky and his sycophants are.

    JD (d4bbf1)

  82. Iran is just a tiny country.
    with big ambitions.

    Whereas China is a really big country with really big ambitions.

    I’d worry more about China, if I was you.

    kishnevi (827a72)

  83. kishnevi – Just mocking your comment @78, which mirrors Obama on the campaign trail in 2008. Iran, Cuba and Venezuela are tiny countries compared to Russia and pose no serious threats. Fine with me if you want to think that way. Others don’t share your view.

    daleyrocks (479a30)

  84. kishnevi (#78 — 2/11/2011 @ 5:54 pm): Foreign aid money doesn’t get spent by the American government unless it’s appropriated by Congress (through a bill passed in identical form by both Houses), and that isn’t going to happen if the Muslim Brotherhood is represented in the Egyptian government.

    Barack Obama cannot manufacture billions in foreign aid out of thin air.

    The American teat has been flowing to Egypt at an amazing rate for an amazingly long time. There is a very short list of other countries which could pretend to assume that burden for long. The Saudis wouldn’t; they are antithetical to the Muslim Brotherhood, at least as a matter of government policy. (I’ll grant you that money nevertheless leaks from Saudi Arabian sources to radical Islamists in an alarming profusion, but it’s not measured in tens of billions of dollars every year.) Iran has oil resources but is far from cash-flush. Nobody else could afford to do that just as a gambit; for most, and perhaps all of them save China and Russia, that’s more than they spend on their entire defense budgets; and Reagan’s Lesson still holds, which is that America can win any defense spending contest.

    But the point of making the statement now — of drawing this line in the sand so boldly and publicly — is to simply make clear what is already a political reality in the United States. That reality is, in a GOP-led house that’s already in overdrive to find budget items that can be cut, there’s not one thin dime of American money that will go to an Egyptian government that includes the Muslim Brotherhood. It’s a true and inexorable statement of what certain consequences will be — and it’s true completely without regard to whether it does or does not amount to wise policy over the long term.

    Folks forget that it was no foregone conclusion that Iran, after the Shah, was going to become an Islamic dictatorship. Much less was it inevitable that Iran would become the sort of radical and unrestrained enemy who’d seize the American embassy (through the transparent sham of “student activists,” one of whom is now president of Iran, Mr. After-Dinner-Jacket).

    Carter dropped the ball in Iran. He was utterly constipated by political correctness (“oh my gosh, we have to be careful because we were so naughty when we put the Shah into power”). There were indeed moderate elements in Iran that were anti-Shah but emphatically not reflexively anti-American, but Carter basically hung them out to dry. And there were certainly Iranians who would have been less eager to see the mullahs take over post-Shah if they’d had an accurate perception of the consequences.

    Beldar (f62fd1)

  85. (I know this is a radical concept in diplomacy. It’s called “Telling the Truth.”)

    Beldar (f62fd1)

  86. Daley-
    So you seriously believe that Iran is a bigger threat to us than the Soviet Union was? That the jihadis could really dominate the United States?

    I should have added the the Soviet Union got far more help from the American Left, than the jihadis have gotten so far. And the Soviets still never came near to gaining the upper hand over us (well, except maybe in California :) )

    Would you at least agree with me that China is a serious long term threat, no matter what you think of the jihadis?

    kishnevi (827a72)

  87. No, that’s true, Gen Huyser was sent in late ’78, to prevent the kind of transfer of power, that occurred between Mubarak and the Army, Khomeini
    had been isolated in Najaf and Karbala, from 1963-1978. it was only when he migrated to Paris, that he had a free hand to propagate his sermons on cassette. Then again the Shah had created such a personalirt dominant regime, that there were practically no figures who could feed the void, Baktiar and Bani Sadr among them.

    augusto pinochet (c8ccf1)

  88. ____________________________________________

    Looming threat to whom? The United States?
    Comment by kishnevi — 2/11/2011 @ 5:54 pm

    If the Middle East, which is Ground Central for Islamo-fascism, lacked plentiful oil resources — which we in the West are dependent on — I’d be less worried. If Israel were as crummy and self-destructive as its neighbors are, I’d be less worried. If Islamic societies were not incubators of a pro-terrorist mindset (and, of course, the adherents who embrace such a mindset) and a peculiar “Goddamn America” theology, I’d be less worried.

    One would have to be a fool to see information like what was found at DRJ’s link and conclude the upcoming future for the Western World is going to be full of sunshine and happy faces.

    Foxnews.com: In Pew polling conducted last year, almost half (48 percent) say that Islam plays a large role in politics in Egypt, and an overwhelming majority – 85 percent – say Islam’s influence in politics is positive. Only 2 percent say its influence is negative. Not surprisingly, almost two-thirds of Egyptians told Zogby that Egyptian life would improve when clerics play a more central role in the political life of the country.

    Egyptians also support the central elements of Shariah Law. For example, 84 percent say that apostates, or those who forsake Islam, should face the death penalty and 77 percent say thieves should have their hands cut off. A majority (54 percent) says men and women should be segregated in the workplace.

    Further, the Egyptian people clearly support a political agenda that can only be described as radical. More than 7 in 10 said they were positive toward Iran getting nuclear weapons in a July 2010 Zogby Poll and close to 80 percent favor abrogating the Camp David accords with Israel.

    The Pew poll similarly found that the Egyptian people were unfavorable to the U.S. by an 82 percent to 17 percent margin.

    Mark (411533)

  89. Beldar–thanks for the response. I’ll only note that I differ from you on how sympathetic a Saudi government would be to an Egyptian Islamist government–although that sympathy would be held in check by not wanting the Egyptians to become the wielders of the banner of Islam. And I’m not so sure about the GOP holding the line against arguments that we have to give money to maintain our influence over the army and the non Islamic portions of Egyptian society.

    But those are things in the future, and we can hope, like Aphrael does, that things will work out not quite so favorably to the MB.

    kishnevi (827a72)

  90. Comment by Mark — 2/11/2011 @ 7:05 pm
    That’s a serious problem for Israel–and being Jewish, I’m not blase about that.

    But that’s not necessarily a problem for the US. To hate someone and to have the ability to act upon that hate are two different things. The Islamists have the hate–but their ability to act upon it is distinctly limited.

    kishnevi (827a72)

  91. ______________________________________

    Would you at least agree with me that China is a serious long term threat

    That society is saddled with an odd mix of leftism and nationalism, combined with a peculiar healthy dose of amorality. IOW, it’s sort of analogous to the nonsensical liberal bias found in various intellectual circles of America and Europe (Hello, San Francisco!! Hello, France!). So common sense and the ability to identify who or what is truly good and truly bad are in limited supply.

    However, the weird embrace of Islamo-fanatic theology is not a part of the profile of China, so that is one idiosyncrasy that makes it different from the Middle East.

    Mark (411533)

  92. Let’s put it in a clearer way, kish, the Soviets didn’t kill 3.000 Americans on a otherwise beatifulday in the fall. Neither did they really have intent to immolate themselves. Now as we know there’s a feedback loop in the way that Saudi’zakat’ charities let the Brotherhood grow, while other figures like Mohammed Qutb, Syed’s brother would come to influence the likes of Osama Bin Laden, Sheikh Abdel Rahman was the first way
    of exports of ‘direct action, and Zawahiri, formed
    the top of AQ’s ruling committee

    augusto pinochet (c8ccf1)

  93. Hmmm, our terms are ships passing in the night, kishnevi. I agree that there could well be an Islamist government in Egypt that would attract the Saudis’ financial support. I agree that we might well continue American foreign aid, with House Republicans mostly going along, to an Islamist government.

    The Islamist Brotherhood’s particular version of an Islamist government is going to look a whole lot more like Hezbollah than like Turkey.

    Let’s work really hard at resisting the fallacy that the Islamic Brotherhood is identical to, or even representative of, all of Egypt’s Muslims. ‘Cause it just ain’t, although it would like to be. And they can’t help but see this as a once-in-decades opportunity.

    Beldar (f62fd1)

  94. (“They” in the last sentence references the Muslim Brotherhood, not all of Egypt’s Muslims.)

    Beldar (f62fd1)

  95. ______________________________________

    The Islamists have the hate–but their ability to act upon it is distinctly limited.

    I recall prior to 9-11, I myself was naive enough to believe that we in America (unlike those in, say, Europe) were somehow protected by our “specialness,” by our being surrounded by the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans and the nature of our culture and government. And I’m not being facetious or sarcastic when I say that. That’s why I look back with embarrassment and go “duh!” and “d’oh!!”

    Mark (411533)

  96. their avowed goal was the overthrow of the US government and the establishment of a communist dictatorship. It didn’t happen, yet.
    FTFY

    aphrael, once upon a time I would have dismissed all serious suggestion of real socialist/communist involvement in the Vietnam protests, but I don’t anymore. Once I would have dismissed the possibility of a serious socialist or communist uprising in the US, I don’t anymore. The Weather Underground may have been hopelessly unrealistic about what they would be able to accomplish advocating violent revolution in the 60’s, but they were willing to kill and die for it. Five years ago I would have thought that anybody with ties to avowed radical/domestic terrorists like Bill Ayers would not get anywhere in a serious election- now we have such a person in the White House. While in the Whitehouse he has greatly expanded the category of government official nicknamed the “czar”, a person appointed by the president, confirmed by no one, accountable only to the president. Some of these folks have identified themselves as “Revolutionary Communists”; at least one Obama appointee in the FCC praises the changes in the press in Venezuela under a dictator. It seems crazy that someone would write a book laying out a plan for radicals to infiltrate and take over the mainstream political process in the US, that academics would openly publish and popularize the idea of purposefully advocating for an increased social welfare state so it could be overwhelmed and lead to political instability and revolution. It seems so crazy that it is easy to ignore when it is in our face. Ignoring a threat is what makes it dangerous.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  97. “So you seriously believe that Iran is a bigger threat to us than the Soviet Union was?”

    kishnevi – I did not say that now did I? I am mocking the idea that we should not worry about them because they are not as big threats as Russia. That is just crazy talk!

    There are plenty of reasons for us to be worried about them. I seriously hope they don’t require explaining. I am less worried about a Chinese invasion or missile attack, personally.

    daleyrocks (479a30)

  98. We do think alike, JD. I finally realized you had already linked the same info as in my link.

    DRJ (fdd243)

  99. kishnevi – I now see you qualified you threat profile for China to long-term. What does long-term mean and does that mean you believe others pose greater near term threats?

    daleyrocks (479a30)

  100. MD,

    Your comment is very good but makes me feel old because I can’t believe I’ve lived to see this happen.

    DRJ (fdd243)

  101. kishnevi – I believe Iran placing long range missiles in Venezuela is a threat. I believe Hezbollah operating in Venezuela is a threat. I believe Venezuela threatens U.S. interests throughout South and Central America. I believe Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism is both a direct and indirect threat to U.S. interests and allies around the world. They have been killing U.S. soldiers in Iraq, essentially an act of war against this country, which continues the war they started with us by taking over our embassy in 1979. I think Cuba’s time has passed.

    daleyrocks (479a30)

  102. DRJ- There are things that make me feel old, but this kind of stuff is more like being in a dream. Like a movie or TV show, one watches a dream. One may want to scream, “Don’t be an idiot and open the door!!!”, but even if you do scream, no one hears. Dreams are a little different in that you feel part of the action even while you can do nothing, like the perception of slow motion as you see a terrible accident happening but you can’t do anything about it in time.

    I recall prior to 9-11, I myself was naive enough to believe that we in America (unlike those in, say, Europe) were somehow protected by our “specialness,” by our being surrounded by the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans and the nature of our culture and government. And I’m not being facetious or sarcastic when I say that. That’s why I look back with embarrassment and go “duh!” and “d’oh!!”Comment by Mark

    No reason to beat up on your self too much Mark, perhaps a majority of people in the US still haven’t figured it out, even as this discussion shows.

    When battles were won and lost in large part because of the size of armies, having “moats” the size of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans made us almost beyond attack, let alone at risk of defeat. The size of the fighting force is no longer the key issue, the technology brought to bear is; that, and fighters willing to fight and die rather than worrying about peforming a mission and returning home. What can 19 men do against a country of 300,000,000? Quite a lot, when using the right weapons, especially when those weapons are fashioned on the spot out of the unexpected.

    This is what the invasion of Iraq was about. Do you trust an ocean and a larger military to keep you safe from a dedicated enemy? If you are talking about defeat in war and subjugation, you probably can. If you are talking about attacks with massive casualties, probably not in 2001+.

    Educated, reasonable, smart people think of the Vietnam War primarily as a war we lost because we never should have been in it in the first place, the worst thing that happened there was the atrocities by American forces, and it was all a better place after we left. Certainly many things about it are open to discussion, but the idea that the worst thing that happened to the Vietnamese was at the hands of US troops should not be among them, neither the idea that it was a better place after we left, nor the idea that we “lost” for any reason other than we failed to honor our own treaty obligations to the South Vietnamese.

    Commom wisdom says the housing market and financial crash of 2008 hurt John McCain’s chance to win the election. That wisdon assumes that the majority of the American public have no idea the role played by Dem politicians, including a young attorney named Barach Obama, in pressuring businesses to make decisions antithetical to sound business practices. Had people known they should have given Obama no chance to be president.

    We have a nation that no longer knows what is factually true, let alone what is morally true. Such a nation cannot stand strong for long.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  103. My hipshot recollection of the amount of U.S. aid to Egypt in my comments above was probably way high. I defer, without further verification, to this WSJ editorial, which puts it at more like $1.5B/year for military aid.

    Beldar (f62fd1)

  104. MD,

    It’s comforting to know that people in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and West Texas can agree on these things.

    In part, I blame the way we educate our kids. We no longer educate them regarding history and the positive contributions of Western Judeo-Christian values to economics and culture. At times, we even teach them this is a negative influence. Thus, no matter what they see in real life or on the news, it’s difficult for them to overcome that inherent bias, cynicism, and indoctrination.

    If there’s one thing I give people like William Ayers credit for, it’s that he understood the need to co-opt the educational process. He and others like him realized it would take time, and it will take time to correct. But I honestly think it’s the only real answer.

    DRJ (fdd243)

  105. kishnevi – I now see you qualified you threat profile for China to long-term. What does long-term mean and does that mean you believe others pose greater near term threats?

    Long term means, in this case, a number of years out, possibly twenty or more, possibly as little as ten.

    But to give you my perspective of what I think our priorities should be, let me put it this way

    Probability that we will get into a conflict with China, or be in a situation where China attacks us militarily or economically, or is responsible for the deaths of US citizens, in the next few years–so low as to be almost zero

    Probability that jihadis will kill US citizens on US soil in the next few years–so high as to be almost 100 percent

    Probability that the Chinese will attempt to dominate us, or enter into armed conflict with us, or force us because of economic weakness to accede to them as a superior power sometime before 2036 (meaning in the next 25 years, which should meet anyone’s definition of long term other than Chou En-lai)–so high as to be almost 100 percent

    Probability that the Chinese will succeed in such an attempt–not possible to calculate at this time, but certainly well above zero

    Probability that the Jihadis will attempt to dominate us politically, etc., sometime before 2036–low, but not zero

    Probability that the Jihadis will succeed in such an attempt–zero

    In other words, I worry about a Chinese mandarin ordering us around, and I don’t worry about a Muslim cleric ordering us around. The jihadis can inflict damage, but they can not conquer us. The Chinese very conceivably could.

    As for Venezuela–Chavez has a big bark but not an especially big bite. Beyond being a tool for Hezbollah and Iran, there’s little he can do on his own to actually make trouble for us, other than cause problems in Colombia. The possibility of Mexico imploding is a bigger threat to the US than anything he can do.

    kishnevi (07cf78)

  106. ____________________________________________

    We have a nation that no longer knows what is factually true, let alone what is morally true.

    The statement below is what I associate with quite a few societies throughout the world. So if it also truly applies to the US, than we’re not alone. However, the particulars of a “multitude of fools” may be different between a France/Greece and Mexico/Venezuela. I see America ending up as an amalgam of the two groupings, with California — as one major portion of the US — certainly mirroring many of the characteristics of the latter combo of nations.

    freerepublic.com: “The danger to America is not Barack Obama but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the Presidency. It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president.”

    “The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails America . Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince.

    The Republic can survive a Barack Obama, who is, after all, merely a fool. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools such as those who made him their president.”

    I recall reading about the history of ancient Egypt and its long period of decline. There was a moment lasting around 200 years (a blink of the eye in the context of over 2 thousand years of that society’s timeline) when Egypt seemed to have regained its momentum and ascendancy. But that period was otherwise surrounded by a downward trajectory. So knowing when a society has finally jumped the shark depends on how and when an observer is assessing things.

    That’s why I’m not sure, in the short or long run, if Obama as president of the US at this moment in its history will end up a fitting and prophetic symbol.

    Mark (411533)

  107. “The jihadis can inflict damage, but they can not conquer us.”

    kishnevi – I am not worried about being conquered. I am worried about damage both to ourselves and our allies, here and abroad. If you keep moving the goalposts now to economic domination, why not include India? I think China needs us as much as we need China. That may change.

    daleyrocks (479a30)

  108. why not include India? I think China needs us as much as we need China. That may change.

    I’m not worried about India because India doesn’t have a history of trying to boss other countries around,and it doesn’t seem to be actively trying to improve its ability to dominate other countries in the way China seems to.

    China needs us–yes, that’s one way to put it. I’m concerned about the (possible) future day when we need China and China doesn’t need us.

    And I think, overall, that whatever damage the jihadis do to us would only be temporary. The damage the Chinese could do to us would be permanent.

    I don’t disagree with your assessment of short term (=near future) threats and dangers. I simply feel that other threats, principally China, will turn out to be worse in the long term.

    kishnevi (07cf78)

  109. I’m not sure if one should take a step back or look with a magnifying glass for the results of the trouble in Egypt.
    What is clear is that Mubarak has resigned and the military is in control.
    But is that a good thing or a bad thing ? Who knows ? … and is it really any different ?

    We now know that Mubarak has terminal cancer, so something closely approximating this would have happened before long anyway, so … what ?

    The last time something like this happened in Honduras, the Obama Administration condemned it … but now, Egypt is in the “Hope and Change” rapture which we know will quickly be replaced with something much less.

    If this is being “right” .. being “wrong” must not be much different.

    Bill Maher (03e5c2)

  110. Boehner is taking a very reasonable approach to evaluating the administration’s handling of the Egyptian crisis. McCain is also showing a lot of realism.

    Angeleno (bc7c15)

  111. 13. Futher reading for a lightweight poseur on Turkey and the restoration of the caliphate.

    http://ricochet.com/main-feed/What-the-Turkish-Military-is-Thinking

    Ataturk’s reforms are dead.

    gary gulrud (790d43)

  112. 106. Blind squirrel alert:

    “Probability that we will get into a conflict with China, or be in a situation where China attacks us militarily or economically, or is responsible for the deaths of US citizens, in the next few years–so low as to be almost zero”

    Our CPI includes food prices at 8% and a deflating housing investment component. China’s food prices are 33% of their CPI and the component is up 60%.

    The Fed will follow current purchases of US debt with QE3 further stimulating emerging markets. Rice was $10.80 a bushel, now $16, headed for $20-24 prior to QE3.

    Ag Department forecast China’s corn purchases at 1 million tons for 2011. They just announced they will buy 9 million. Why? Current US TBills paying 4.75% over 30 yrs, 3.8% over 10.

    Zero chance of trouble? Compared with aphrael you may be a genius but that’s small comfort.

    gary gulrud (790d43)

  113. Foreign Aid to Egypt (and to Israel):

    It sticks in my mind that a certain level of foreign assistance to these two nations was part of the Camp David Accords.
    It also seems that Camp David was a treaty to which we were a part, and ratified by the Senate.
    Therefore, any reduction of aid below what is called for in the CDA would be an abrogation of that treaty.
    If any of you have other information, please wade in.

    AD-RtR/OS! (3e01c9)

  114. Comment by gary gulrud — 2/13/2011 @ 1:28 pm

    The world is at a serious crossroads:
    It can continue to support “green policy” and pursue the spectre of Global Warming, and see a continueing increase in the cost of foodstuffs as more and more grain (especially corn) is diverted to non-food uses; or,
    It can pull its collective head out of its a$$, send the Ethanol program to the economic dung-heap, and start doing what economics deems neccessary and not what the Enviro-Whackos (wet)dream about.

    Absent the greenieness that the world is undergoing, and the concommitant increase in the costs of foodstuffs EVERYWHERE (including right here in the U-S-of-A), Mubarak and Ali might still be in power.
    Plus, the last time the price of oil went over $100/bbl, and gas exceeded $4/gl, a great political cry rolled over the land for change…
    has anyone looked at the price-graphs for those two items lately?

    AD-RtR/OS! (3e01c9)

  115. Comment by AD-RtR/OS! — 2/13/2011 @ 1:45PM

    Concur.

    Demographics are inescapable, the very issue EU hoped to avoid with multiculti initiative.

    Net flow out of mutual fund equities last year $100 billion as boomers prepare for retirement. Once free money departs(hard to give a year, Ben has already indicated end of QE2 mid-year is not the drop dead date) S&P will head for 500 over years of bearish ups and downs.

    Yes, SS privatization could offset some of the losses but the source of cash for existing IOU’s? Why the Fed, and thereby M2 money supply.

    Hyperinflation or default? You pick.

    gary gulrud (790d43)


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