Free Markets, Free People

Egypt woos US foes

Egypt continues to make more and more moves indicating that it desires to distance itself from the US and that more instability in the region will probably result from its diplomatic moves.

After decades of no relations with certain countries in the region, with the full approval of the US (and one would assume the lack of such relations would be in the best interest of the US and peace in the region), Egypt has now decided to change that course.  They tie to moves to regaining their regional prestige:

Iran and Egypt’s new government signaled Monday they were moving quickly to thaw decades of frosty relations, worrying the U.S., Israel and Saudi Arabia that the overtures could upset the Mideast’s fragile balance of power.

Iran said it appointed an ambassador to Egypt for the first time since the two sides froze diplomatic relations more than three decades ago, the website of the Iranian government’s official English-language channel, Press TV, reported late Monday.

Also Monday, officials at Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that new foreign minister Nabil Elaraby is considering a visit to the Gaza Strip—an area controlled by Hamas, a militant Palestinian Islamist group backed by Tehran and until now shunned by Cairo.

It would be pretty hard not to see where this could lead. 

Additionally, Egypt is reaching out to Syria:

Egypt’s outreach has also extended to Syria, a close ally of Iran. In early March, Egypt’s new intelligence chief, Murad Muwafi, chose Syria for his first foreign trip.

The result of our “hey, Hosni, get out of town” policy?

Amr Moussa, the former Secretary General of the Arab league, owes his front-runner status in Egyptian presidential elections later this year to his forceful statements against Israel when he was Egypt’s foreign minister during the 1990s. Islamist groups in particular have been empowered by Egypt’s abrupt shift to democracy, and analysts expect that Egypt’s next government will have to answer to growing calls that it break with U.S. foreign-policy objectives.

Some Islamist political voices within Egypt have already begun their own sort of diplomacy. Magdi Hussein, the chairman of the Islamist Al Amal (Labor) Party, met with Iranian foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi earlier this week in Tehran. Both sides encouraged a quickening of the diplomatic thaw between the two countries.

Egypt appears to be following a foreign relations pattern set by Turkey in the past decade—a strong American ally whose foreign policy has nevertheless decoupled from American interests. Regardless of its final position on Iran, the country is likely to be significantly less beholden to U.S. interests, American officials said, if only because Egypt was such a reliable ally under Mr. Mubarak.

"It’s hard to imagine a change that would improve on what we had" with the previous Egyptian regime, one U.S. official said.

If there’s a “Doomsday clock” for Middle East war, it is quickly moving toward 1 minute to midnight.

Meanwhile in Libya, the “days, not weeks” war enters its 2nd month with no resolution in sight.



16 Responses to Egypt woos US foes

  • What war in Libya?  You hear much about that on the news anymore?  Since Lord Barack can’t have his glorious quick victory, there’s not much reason to even mention it these days

    • Well, in all fairness, no Americans are getting killed (thank heavens).  As far as MiniTru is concerned, no US deaths = no interest.

      • Where’s the Lancet to do a study of how many Libyans are dying thanks to Baracky’s afterthought?

      • “Well, in all fairness, no Americans are getting killed ”

        Yet. At the risk of being boring I will reiterate that the longer this mess continues the more misery and destruction will occur and the long-term results will be less than favourable to us. 
        Of course seeing this requires an attention span of longer duration and more knowledge than anyone in this administration possesses. Add foreign policy brilliance, or even competence,  to eloquence on the list of faux presidential attributes. 

      • Not many news stories about Afghanistan where we are dying still.

  • Egypt’s abrupt shift to democracy

    Color me cynical, but I don’t think Egypt has “abruptly shifted to democracy” any more than Russia did in 1917 or Cuba did in 1958 or Venezuela did in 1999.  One man, one vote, one time is NOT democracy.

    “It’s hard to imagine a change that would improve on what we had” with the previous Egyptian regime, one U.S. official said.

    I am reminded of the tired old saw that “democracies don’t make war on each other”.  People, mostly on the left, got the loopy idea that, thanks to riots demonstrations sparked by Twitter and a single speech by Captain Bullsh*t in Cairo a couple of years ago, Egypt was suddenly going to be an honest-to-goodness secular democracy, and this would be just grand not only for the long-suffering people of Egypt but also for the entire region.  Yessir, there’s no international problem that a dose of good ol’ democracy won’t solve.  Unless people don’t vote the right way, that is.

    I suppose that it’s possible that the Egyptian people will reject both military rule and islamist rule and get some sort of secular democracy, but the odds of that are looking increasingly slim.

    • “I suppose that it’s possible that the Egyptian people will reject both military rule and islamist rule and get some sort of secular democracy, but the odds of that are looking increasingly slim.”
      And herein is the fundamental difference between our cultures that is caused by their religious philosophy – the idea of church and state being separated in Islam is literally anathema.
      Recall the measure of genuine concern and alarm that electing a Roman Catholic President here in the US in 1960 would have us suddenly hewing to the dictates of an ‘infallible’ Pope and reflect how that demonstrates the mind set we have as a nation in insisting that ecclesiastical matters must not overrule our civil system.
      Islam IS a civil system, it’s not something practicing Muslims necessarily fear or are apprehensive about.
      As McQ has pointed out several times, it’s the one thing they all, high or low, have in common, it’s a binding force, an organization that always exists, present in their lives and highlighted in Egypt 5 times a day.  And in their environment the ruthless adherents can frequently triumph merely by following their ecclesiastical philosophies to the absolute letter of the “law”, knowing it has the force of God behind it.  Hard to argue with God, and since they have traditionally squashed any other version of God in their regions, they don’t have to accommodate varying flavors of God’s will.

    • “I suppose that it’s possible that the Egyptian people will reject both military rule and islamist rule and get some sort of secular democracy,”

      Unlikely, even if they are allowed to choose. Democracy evolves, it doesn’t erupt. Two steps forward and one step back, and all that.

      • timactualDemocracy evolves, it doesn’t erupt.

        Excellent point, and this is where I take exception to the idea that Islam is so antiethical to democracy that Islamic countries cannot possibly become democratic.  Jews and Christians also believe in an omnipotent God who has passed down laws for the regulation of society, yet Christians and Jews have learned to have democracy. 

        I suggest that the real problem is that parts of the world where Islam is the primary religion also have a very solid history of despotism: the idea that government should be responsible to the people instead of a tribal chief / king / strongman just hasn’t caught on there yet.  Some despots there use Islam as a convenient “opium of the masses” just as other despots have used “revolution of the proletariate” or “divine rule of the emperor” or “Sieg Heil”.

        • I would agree, I think it’s possible for them to achieve Democracy.  After all the Church of Rome was scarcely a political wall flower for hundreds of years.  Unfortunately we’ve got the 100’s of years of fighting about it behind us, at a time when the damage could be contained to a much smaller area, using weapons that had a much shorter reach (hard to launch crossbow bolts from the Vatican states and hit London) in most cases between 6 inches to 2 foot away from the wielder.
          The net result is, if Islam changes it will have to do so in a modern world, where the EU might decide NATO needs to intervene and bomb the crap out of someone’s heavy weapons…you get the idea.  They won’t be left in a vacuum to have their “Islamic spring” and reform Islam.  I think the net will be we’re stuck with a system that won’t be democratic for at least another 100 years.  I’d LOVE to be 150% WRONG about that.

        • “Jews and Christians also believe in an omnipotent God who has passed down laws for the regulation of society”
           False. The God of the Jews and Christians passed down laws that apply only to members of their church (though they were adopted by governments). Islam was founded as both a political state and a religion, and decrees that it’s laws apply to everyone. Jews have a long history of beleiving that their commandment don’t apply to gentiles. Christ said ‘Give unto Ceaser what is Ceaser’s’, Mohammed said ‘I reject all claims relating to life and property and all imaginary honors of the past, and declare them to be baseless’.

  • Sorry I have not been around to tell you guys what’s really happening dialog with you fine righties and your interesting perspectives (even though you are also sterile, inbred, ignorant, and partisan). I’ve been studying the mysteries and spirituality of quantum physics, and contemplating all the ways it reinforces my beliefs in our coming leftist utopia. Thank goodness one doesn’t need much math for that. When I get to the stuff about Dilbert Spaces, I feel a sudden need to get back to the spiritual side of quantum physics, which is where the real meaning and importance reside.

    Anyway, I’m not sure what to think about Egypt and Libya. They looked like the anti-tea-party, and that wasn’t either just a cheap zinger at you guys to troll for some attention, so stop saying that. It was serious, rich, creamy analysis. Not just off the cuff opinion, which it totally different.

    Now, my own analysis is more subtle and nuanced and stuff. On one hand, there is this anachronistic system they have, which must change due to demographics and stagnancy and stuff. On the other hand, those noble brown savages with their quaint religion probably have a direct connection to deep, spiritual things that we in the West have to study quantum physics without math to achieve. 😉

    So I’ve concluded that, based on my principles, I must support taking down dictators. Whereas you guys don’t have any principles, and are all worried about what will happen after the dictators are gone, or what the long term cost will be, and similar boring stuff. And just don’t start about how I was adamantly against taking down the dictator Saddam Hussein. That was totally different, in ways I don’t have time to discuss right now. Really. Totally different, and not just because it was that awful Bush in control instead of Lightworker Obama with the christlike visage who thinks like me. There are lots of other reasons. I decree it.

    I’m about to leave for my trip to Europe, so I’ll be too busy to lecture offer my perspective to you. Yes, I’m a world traveller with a broad perspective, and not just a third-rate, low paid, professor at a moose cow college who is desperately trying to deny his own mediocrity. Nope, I’m smart and capable, and darn it, people like me. And I don’t either predict everything wrong, such as violence in Iraq, the outcome of the 2010 elections, how Sadr won over Maliki, the anti-tea-party stuff, how John Kerry is a stainless knight and all 50 people who said otherwise are vicious, partisan liars, Obama cutting spending, [*** OUT OF MEMORY AT 2EF8:3892. LIST USED FOR OUTPUT TOO LONG. PROGRAM RESTART INITIATED***]

    • “When I get to the stuff about Dilbert Spaces, I feel a sudden need to get back…”

      Yeah, I hate those cubicles too. Too claustrophobic.

    • You had me at anachronistic…
      Hmmm….wonder where the non-parody Erp went…???

      • “wonder where the non-parody Erp went”

        There is no such animal.

      • He’s off living a spiritual life in Maine, waiting for the right moment to return anew and ‘learn us’ some more.