Free Markets, Free People


Egypt – Remember when the military taking over, dissolving Parliament and suspending the Constitution was a bad thing?

Just sayin’.  Because to hear some in this country, that’s the best thing that’s happened since sliced bread.  Yes, the euphoria over what is happening in Egypt that has gripped an element of the fairly naïve here in this country has been truly breathtaking to behold.

Don’t get me wrong – I’d like as much as anyone to see “democracy flower” and everyone live happily ever after as true statesmen come to the fore and deliver Egypt from the tyranny of dictators and forever ensure one man, one vote, representative government and government of, for and by the people.

I just don’t live in moon pony land.  That’s not to say it couldn’t happen, but it is to say that’s very unlikely to happen. 

Why?

Well let’s consider the facts concerning this benevolent military takeover.  It hasn’t taken over anything.  The military has been in defacto charge of the country since Nasser.

Yes, Mubarak is gone.  So what?  Who replaced him?  Omar Suleiman.  He’s a product of the military, Egypt’s intelligence chief and named in a 2007 diplomatic cable found in WikiLeaks as Mubarak’s “consigliore”.  He’s been in that position in 17 years and has been the main means of the Mubarak regime’s ability to oppress opposition.  He’s now serving on the “Armed Forces Supreme Council “.

And speaking of the Armed Forces Supreme Council, others who serve on it are Defense Minister (and Lt. General) Anan and the new Prime Minister (and Air Marshal) Shafiz – both very stalwart supporters of Hosni Mubarak.

This 18 member body has dissolved the Parliament, suspended the constitution and banned labor strikes.  And although it has promised elections in 6 months, well, that’s 6 months away, isn’t it?  We really have no idea if that Council really means to actually hold the election or will find ruling the state to be much more to their taste than turning it over to the rabble.

The military  – of all institutions – played this whole thing very well.  It was in charge but it pretended it wasn’t.  It took the side of the protesters, nominally, and removed one of its own to be replaced by 18 of its own.  What has happened is a very well done defusing of a volatile situation while in reality nothing much has changed in terms of who is in charge of government.

That’s not to say some things aren’t different – for instance, that well-known “secular” organization (according to our chief of intelligence) the Muslim Brotherhood (yup, real secular name there, skippy) is attempting to take advantage of the situation as well and has applied for status as a political party.

And it appears, despite reassurances to the contrary, that the MB is setting itself up to be another in a long line of theocratic parties that use elections (at least once) to legitimize their rule.   Read these two paragraphs carefully:

The Brotherhood’s charter calls for creation of an Islamic state in Egypt, and Mubarak’s regime depicted the Brotherhood as aiming to take over the country, launching fierce crackdowns on the group. Some Egyptians remain deeply suspicious of the secretive organization, fearing it will exploit the current turmoil to vault to power.

But others – including the secular, liberal youth activists who launched the anti-Mubarak uprising – say the Brotherhood has to be allowed freedom to compete in a democracy alongside everyone else. Support by young cadres in the Brotherhood was key to the protests’ success, providing manpower and organization, though they never came to form a majority in the wave of demonstrations.

The question is, once it has competed in “a democracy” and won, does it ever plan to compete again?  Nothing has changed in the MB’s charter.  And having watched other “Islamic states” come into existence, democracy is not one of their foundations – although it would certainly be useful in a peaceful takeover vs. having to do so through violence.   Bottom line, though, the end state is the same.   See any number of authoritarian regimes (such as Venezuela or Iran) which began with “free and open elections”.

To answer the question on the minds of some reading this, no, I don’t consider myself cynical about this, I instead see my pessimism grounded in observing the experiences of like states and the results that’ve unfortunately resulted.  I consider my take to be quite realistic.  And that’s a pity as I’d like nothing more than to see a magic flowering of democracy in Egypt. 

The irony of course is the same people who said a democracy could never be established in Iraq are now saying democracy is spontaneously establishing itself in Egypt.  Of course democracy in Iraq has been established, however tenuously, by the presence of the US military.  However, in Egypt, those now ruling the country are from the military.  I’d appreciate someone – anyone – pointing out why Egypt, without a US military presence or the presence of any other entity capable of forcing the country down the road to democracy will suddenly become a democracy? 

In fact it seems the fox is guarding the hen house in Egypt.  There’ll be a lot of busy work in the interim -  a new or at least amended constitution (who is going to pass it or debate it with Parliament dissolved?  The military council?  The people?), the organization of political parties and elections, etc.   All the while, I expect the military to quietly consolidate its power over the next 6 months while others are buzzing around doing the busy work that will keep them out of the streets.

Will the military willingly turn over its power to a president elected by the people?  If I knew that I could probably make a fortune.   Let me just say it like this – if the winner of the election is a candidate that is acceptable to the military (say some military officer from “the club’’), then probably “yes”.  Accepting such a candidate would most likely keep the military’s grip on government in place, just with a new (and somewhat more benevolent) face.

If the winner isn’t acceptable to the military (such as a theocrat from the MB – one of the reasons they play this “we’re secular” game is an attempt to head off those sorts of charges.)  I expect to hear charges of vote fraud, illegal activities and arrests to ensue, along with a declared “state of emergency” after which the military will retain control and begin the inevitable crack-down on dissent.  It will also claim to want to hold new elections at some time in the unspecified future – to keep the West off its back and the people at home.

Not a rosy picture, that’s for sure – and I could be completely wrong.  But unfortunately, I just don’t think so.

Call it wisdom – intuition, experience and observation combined to come to a conclusion.  And it isn’t necessarily a pretty one.

~McQ

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80 Responses to Egypt – Remember when the military taking over, dissolving Parliament and suspending the Constitution was a bad thing?

  • As a confirmed cockeyed optimist, there is no way to be optimistic about the outcome in Egypt…unless, of course, you are a self-deluded Collectivist “political scientist” puke.

  • “In fact it seems the fox is guarding the hen house in Egypt. ”

    Heh, the fox is guarding the fox house Bruce.

    I agree with you 100% on the Egypt situation.  Given a choice between the MB and the Army, I’ll take the Army, as you note, they ARE Mubarak, it’s more of the same.  I don’t think the whole democracy thing is going to happen for Egypt, I just don’t see Islam being consistent with democracy despite the recent pretension that Islam HAD democracy (time for Islam gave Aristotle to the west story again I guess.  We needn’t mention I guess, democracy was not Aristotle’s preferred choice….).

    At the risk of trading off peaceful Egypt under military rule, for an Islamic militaristic Egypt under Sharia rule, I prefer the former.

    • There’s nothing in the street
      Looks any different to me
      And the slogans are replaced, by-the-bye
      And the parting on the left
      Is now the parting on the right
      And the beards have all grown longer overnight

      I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution
      Take a bow for the new revolution
      Smile and grin at the change all around me
      Pick up my guitar and play
      Just like yesterday
      Then I’ll get on my knees and pray
      We don’t get fooled again
      Don’t get fooled again
      No, no!

      YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

      Meet the new boss
      Same as the old boss

  • The irony of course is the same people who said a democracy could never be established in Iraq are now saying democracy is spontaneously establishing itself in Egypt.


    The more credible arguments I remember said that democracy in Iraq could never be established by force.  Meaning that democracy had a better chance of survival if borne from within.  Of course, there were arguments that suggested that Iraq simply wasn’t ready for democracy, therefore doomed by any means.  Those arguments were widely discredited by most serious thinkers.

    We obviously cannot tell if in ten or twenty years, either Iraq or Egypt will have a viable, western style democracy or not.  But I still believe that a democracy has a better chance of long-term survivability if it comes from within, rather than a forced change.

    Don’t forget, the stated motive for going into Iraq was the possible threat of WMD.  There were secondary arguments – an icing on the cake argument if you will – that establishing democracy in the ME would be beneficial to the rest of the world, but WMD was the opening and closing argument.
     

    Of course democracy in Iraq has been established, however tenuously, by the presence of the US military.


    So one wonders if McQ thinks that democracy in Iraq has a better chance of survival, or if democracy in Egypt does.  And if McQ thinks that Iraq has the better chance, would he then make an argument for a more prominent, military presence in Egypt from the US.

    Cheers.
     

    • I suppose that the answer to the last question depends on what happens in six months.  Democracy in Iraq has a better chance of survival right now, because there is no democracy in Egypt.  If that changes in six months and a new parliament and President are elected, and the situation doesn’t seem like a sham, then I think Egypt would have the edge because the change came from within.  If I had to choose, I’d as soon see Egypt establish a stable and successful representative government.

      • Maybe a re-written sentence could be of assistance here:

        ” . . why Egypt, without true non-partison military presence or the presence of any other entity capable of forcing the country down the road to democracy will suddenly become a democracy?”

        Does that help? 

    • We obviously cannot tell if in ten or twenty years, either Iraq or Egypt will have a viable, western style democracy or not.

      Name a place where you KNOW there will be a stable, western-style democracy…including right here, Poque.

      • Okay.
        Right here.  Right f*cking here.
        In ten or twenty years, there will be a viable, western style democracy right here.  I know this as sure as I know that the sun will rise tomorrow in the east.
        Tell me, what makes you doubt that in ten or twenty years, there will not be a viable, western style democracy here?  What do you think this is?  Ancient Rome???  Do you think that Obama is going to cross the Rubicon with his armies???
        Find reality, grasp it with both hands, and do not let go!!

        And what is up with you purposely misspelling names?  You replace the “g” with a “q” in my name.  You replace the “b” with a “p” in Erb’s name.  Usually, that kind of childish behavior is abandoned after a few posts, but you keep on.  Tell us, do you think that is some kind of clever dig, or something?  Is there some kind of hidden meaning behind “poque” or “erp” that I just don’t get?

        • Well, heh, come on…Erp?  You can’t see that one?  Surely.  It’s the tail end of a swallow of beer coming back for a second look at your tonsils man!

          • I still don’t get it.

            You got an answer for “poque”?

            See, I think you’re wrong.  I don’t think that there is any rational for the play on names.  I think that the phonetics just sounds funny to the man.
            I think he just has his thumb stuck up his ass when he sounds out “erp” and he just giggles.

          • My, my, PoQue…  In your cups a bit early today?
            Yeah, I like word-play.  Sue me, or STFU.
            I am glad that you “think” our Republic is immutable and bullet-proof.  I wish I could agree.

          • Yeah, I like word-play.  Sue me, or STFU.

            Yeah, I get it.  As a principled libertarian, I say go for it.  And I’ll bet you like sticking your thumb up your ass, too.
            Here’s to you, Rags…  “Yeah, I like sticking my thumb up my ass.  Sue me, or STFU.”

          • Poque, you seem fixated on sticking things up your ass.
            Just an observation.  Poque, poque…

        • I think I was first to call him “Erp” (I could be wrong). I do it because I consider him to be a dishonest commenter who attempts to potray himself as a moderate, when he’s really a leftist in the tank for Obama. And his posts usually lack substance, they are just transparent talking points.

        • “Is there some kind of hidden meaning behind … “erp” that I just don’t get?”

          Probably.

          • “ I don’t think that there is any rational for the play on names.  I think that the phonetics just sounds funny to the man.
            I think he just has his thumb stuck up his ass when he sounds out “erp” and he just giggles.”

            Probably not as much as you no doubt giggle at the ‘humor’ of your nom de net. Why someone would make an issue out of misspelling the oh-so-cleverly camouflaged ‘kiss my ass’ is curious.

    • “And if McQ thinks that Iraq has the better chance, would he then make an argument for a more prominent, military presence in Egypt from the US.”

      Pogue, that’s a non sequiter – that’s like wondering if I walk to school or if I carry my lunch.  WMD was NOT the only reason we stomped Iraq - they had been violating the UN post Gulf War I resolutions all along.  There were numerous other reasons listed on the big sheet of reasons for interventions.  If there was icing on the cake, it was the premise they were still creating WMDs (and working hard to make EVERYONE think they were continuing to do so – insane….)

      How would our military presence, assuming we DON’T overthrow their now military government, benefit Egypt?

      • And boy, can I ever think of dozens of reasons why our military presence would spiral it right into the septic system.

        • Call me an optimist, but I have a lot of confidence that the military COULD establish a democracy in Egypt.  It might take a lot of time, blood and treasure, but the military has had some (ahem) modest successes at this in the past.

          The trick is the handover part.  As has been discussed here, people have to be (shall we say?) ready for democracy: they have to understand that it ISN’T “one man, one vote, one time” and that is ISN’T two wolves and a sheep deciding what’s for supper.  From polling data that I’ve seen, the majority of Egyptians don’t get these ideas.  That’s where the military comes in: running the show in a gently dictatorial fashion while trying to show the benefits of good governance AND grooming people at all levels of the society to take the reins.

          Fundamentally, people have to understand that THEY are responsible for seeing to it that the trains run on time.  It’s easy just to hand it over to a strongman (freedom is slavery), but it’s ultimately better to do it yourself.

      • How is that a non-sequiter?
        McQ’s whole post is about how we should be pessimistic about Egypt because… well, there isn’t a US military presence… I assume.  Don’t trust popular uprisings unless there is an Abrams tank in the background.
        Also, you can wring out your laundry list of reasons why we went to war, but don’t kid yourself – it was WMD that sold the public.  Imagine, if Powell went in front of the U.N. with a vial of sanctions violations.  Come on, man.  You know better.

        How would our military presence, assuming we DON’T overthrow their now military government, benefit Egypt?

        Ask McQ.  He’s the one suggesting that our military presence helps Iraq’s quest for democracy.  So why not Egypt?

        • No that’s not the whole point of the post, but if that’s what you got out of it I can’t say I’m particularly surprised.

          • Well, can you dumb it down for me then… since I need so much help with the points?

            You said,
            However, in Egypt, those now ruling the country are from the military.  I’d appreciate someone – anyone – pointing out why Egypt, without a US military presence or the presence of any other entity capable of forcing the country down the road to democracy?
            Was that rhetorical… or…
             

          • No prob … Iraq had no “democratic institutions” in place either. What made it happen there was an occupying power. That doesn’t then mean I want an “occupying power” or the US military involved in Egypt. That said, it also means that there’s nothing in Egypt to make “democracy” happen. The same institution that has been running Egypt since Nasser is still running it – they’ve just changed the titular guy in charge.

            Now … that wasn’t so hard, was it?

          • Write slower Bruce .. some people need extra time because they are “special”

          • On every route, there has to be a “short bus”…

          • Well tell us, Neo.  You reckon that you get it, right?  Why don’t you answer the question McQ doesn’t realize that he asks?

            I’d appreciate someone – anyone – pointing out why Egypt, without a US military presence or the presence of any other entity capable of forcing the country down the road to democracy?

            Go for it.
            Firstly, you have to decipher the question – as it looks incomplete.  Then, tell me why my interpretation is wrong, and yours is right.  You up for it?

          • What force is capable of ensuring democracy in Egypt, Pogue? Name it. The military? You mean the same military that’s been in charge for decades. Tell me what entity there has the heft and tradition to ensure democracy is served?

            It has really been fun watching you try to make something out of this that it never was. Simple question – point to the Egyptian institution that will ensure democracy.

          • You see democracy is so seductive, just like it was in Zimbabwe.
            Countries that made it work (when it was obvious from the experts that it wouldn’t work) include Japan and Iraq (Germany had a previous experience with democracy gone bad).  What’s different, both (and Germany’s post war history) had protection while they traveled the rocky road to establishing democratic institutions.
            Zimbabwe on the other had had a crumbing British Empire eager to shed colonies (they even used their intelligence services to undermine the Rhodesian government at the bargaining table).
            Egypt (another former British colony) has taken a route similar but not nearly as bad as Zimbabwe.
            I really don’t sense much hope that Egypt will turn out any better than it was before.

          • “Firstly, you have to decipher the question – as it looks incomplete.”

            That may be because you evidently didn’t read the rest of it.

            “…” will suddenly become a democracy? 

        • He answered for himself, but no, that’s not the take away I had when I read it.

          These guys aren’t going to form a democracy, it has nothing to do with our presence, or absence militarily.  Whether they do or not and we’ll have little say in the matter, it’s just not bloody likely.   They’re going to come out of it with what they started with.  I see it two ways, either the military and a pretend democracy, or the Muslim Brotherhood.  I don’t think there IS a third option, well, if there is, it may be worse than the previous two.

          They just don’t have the mental structural underpinnings yet.  Nothing to do with brains, it has to do with how they view things, and Islam just doesn’t foster democracy at this time.

        • And there’s a difference between being a pessimist, and experiencing life and realistically evaluating probable outcomes of situations you’ve experienced or witnessed before.

          If I get caught by a rain storm without my umbrella, and I say I’m going to get wet, it doesn’t mean I’m being a pessimist.

          But I’m telling you things I know damn well you know.

        • We uh, didn’t just sort of show up with some cavalry in Iraq and say “hi! just thought we’d drop by for a look”.
          We chucked out their government, like we did in Japan at the end of 1945.  We became the arbiter of how they would go forward.  Where is our justification for that in Egypt?  Surely not just because ‘we don’t like your attitude’.   As you said, we drew up a laundry list of reasons to justify our trip to Iraq, we have none such on a minutely credible level for Egypt.

          Totally different circumstances.   I took his US military presence reference as a rhetorical device to show WHY they’d be forced to do something other than they are probably going to do, and nothing more.

          • Yep. There was a long list of reasons we went into Iraq. We had an excellent list of legal reasons, along with more substantial reasons that probably wouldn’t have provided a legal pretext.

        • McQ’s whole post is about how we should be pessimistic about Egypt because… well, there isn’t a US military presence… I assume.  Don’t trust popular uprisings unless there is an Abrams tank in the background.

          The Surge kept Iraq from spinning out of control.

          There are two power groups in Egypt: the military (new boss same as the old boss) and MB (new boss much worse). For popular uprisings to work out well, the underlying culture must be right. Lebanon might have worked out better if there were some Abrams tanks over there . . .

          Also, you can wring out your laundry list of reasons why we went to war, but don’t kid yourself – it was WMD that sold the public.  Imagine, if Powell went in front of the U.N. with a vial of sanctions violations.  Come on, man.  You know better.

          I agree that it was the WMD that was important to the public. I think the Administration was more interested in long term goals involving democracy. Personally I thought Powell’s argument was weak, he presented no smoking gun on WMDs. The eventual “Bush lied people died” mantra was likewise weak . . .

    • Considering the outcome, I question the public was pushing for Democracy. 

      From what I can only be sure, they were pushing for a change of leadership because they don’t like their current conditions.  That’s a far cry from a push for Democracy. 

      A lot of the world, including some here, still believes in abdicating all to a leader.  ‘Its just a matter of the right leader and everything will be peachy’.  And many dictators sweep into power on such sentiment only to cement their position through terror and removing the possiblity they could be swept out as easily.  (compare and contrast Mubarak’s treatment of protestor to Iran who is looking to execute the opposition leadership now)

      If we’re suppose to believe all is fine with the Egyptians because the Military has taken over and suspended the constitution, then I have to believe they’ve only been shopping for a new dictator, errr… leader. 

    • Uh, what “democracy in Egypt?”

    • The more credible arguments I remember said that democracy in Iraq could never be established by force.  Meaning that democracy had a better chance of survival if borne from within. 

      Let’s see . . . Iran, Gaza (Hamas), Lebanon, Iraq . . . which is doing better.

      Don’t forget, the stated motive for going into Iraq was the possible threat of WMD.  There were secondary arguments – an icing on the cake argument if you will – that establishing democracy in the ME would be beneficial to the rest of the world, but WMD was the opening and closing argument.

      Actually I thought at the time that establishing Democracy in Iraq was the key goal. I think Bush was pointing at that when he was asked by some reporter while he was walking somewhere and Bush’s response was to hold up a book on the subject.

      WMD played a big part in the debate, because Saddam used gas on several occasions and had programs to develop WMD (one halted by IDF F-16s). Further, he was in violation of related UN sanctions.

      WMD was only one part. There were many reasons we went into Iraq. One was the idea that Iraq was more secular and hence more ready for Western style democracy–this was somewhat mistaken since even under Saddam Iraq was moving towards Islam (women in Iraq were facing increasing religious retrictions late in Saddam’s rule).

      So one wonders if McQ thinks that democracy in Iraq has a better chance of survival, or if democracy in Egypt does.  And if McQ thinks that Iraq has the better chance, would he then make an argument for a more prominent, military presence in Egypt from the US.

      I can’t speak for McQ, but Iraq appears to have a good chance (with many remaining risks) while Egypt appears to have little chance. Iraq’s democracy really required The Surge, after all, if things go well there the US military presence was required for success (at this point in time).
      Involving our military in Egypt is a whole different situation. In Iraq, we were taking down a dictator who opposed us, who was still in a state of war with us, who had invaded his neighbors and used WMD. And who had attempted assasinations, violated UN resolutions (the thing the UN is good for, it seems), etc. Iraq wasn’t likely to get worse than it was with Saddam. The situation in Egypt is very different, the only similarity was leadership by dictator.

  • I agree and it will be interesting to see if the military will indeed turn over control when the time comes.  If there is anything “good” that comes from this, could it possibly be that Iranians are now looking at the same social disturbances to obtain their goals in Iran.  Somehow I doubt the end result will be the same.

    • The military is very unlikely to turn over rreal, i.e., ultimate, power. They will hold elections for a government that approved parties can compete to take part in. But the military will continue to stand above that. The question to be determined is how much influence will they allow Islamists in the form of the Muslim Brotherhood? Will they let the Brotherhood have its own party, for instance?

      Most probably, to appease the considerable Islamist sentiment among Egyptians, the military will allow a “Camel’s nose under the tent” participation by the Brotherhood. That would evolve, over a few years, toward the Turkish model, where an Islamist party finally got control of the government (in 2002) and appears to have successfully suppressed the Turkish military’s role as the guarantor of a secular government.

    • The Iranians know JUST how to deal with a true popular uprising.  Obama will, as before, sit on his hands and talk.  I wish we had a leader who believed in democracy, but experience shows we do NOT.

  • Just a quick review, so you dense righties can get your head on straight:

    1. Iraq was the biggest foreign policy disaster in American history, maybe in all of history. I decree it. My opinion as a specialist in foreign policy is the final word on this.

    2. Sadr won over Maliki and Iraq will collapse into anarchy any day now, and the Iranians will take over and be the beneficiaries. Yep, religion trumps everything in Iraq, and those Arab Shiites are just panting to turn over control of their lives to their Persian masters. And the Sunnis don’t count.

    3. No good can ever, ever come from American military involvement anywhere, any time, if it’s after 1950. We can’t help anyone establish a democracy. We just can’t. Japan doesn’t count. I decree it. Germany doesn’t count either. I decree that too. It’s different, I tell you, in ways that I don’t have to explain. Any kind of military action is just icky, and you Neanderthal righties simply lack the modern sensitivity of a beta male like me to understand that.

    So for goodness sake, don’t bring up how we were already at war with Saddam over Kuwait, and he violated the cease fire, and was killing thousands of people a month, and seemed to be working on WMD. We pragmatic moderate leftists with godlike powers of debate have already hand-waved all that aside, and I don’t know why you keep bringing it up. Bush lied, people died. QED.

    4. Egypt is going to turn out great. It’s a popular uprising, and not anything at all like a military coup, and the fact that the military is controlling things now is just a temporary coincidence. It’s all obvious, and I don’t understand why you thick righties can’t see it. Obama with his Christlike visage will make sure it all turns out well. He’s just so, so dreamy, and there will be peace and freedom and harmony and kids flying kites in Egypt. You’ll see.

    And it will spread all over the Middle East, in a glorious wave in which those Islamic extremists will renounce their extreme positions, modernize Islam, make peace with Israel, and stop all their talk about imposing Sharia on their societies. They understand that their society is stagnant and anachronistic, and that it must change because of the demographics. Stop laughing, I said! That’s serious analysis! Demographics and anachronistic are big words, and I don’t have to explain how having a lot of young people will force modernization of Islam, it just will!

    Why, those extremists will end up teaching interfaith classes in which Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, atheists, and pagans all agree to get along wonderfully with each other but are still willing to learn and appreciate how Islam is really the source of democracy and knowledge. Stop laughing! You sound like Urkel! Don’t you know how Thomas Aquinas got everything he ever knew from Islam?!? And they were more tolerant than Christians a thousand years ago! If you disagree, you’re just being a negative, anti-Muslim bigot.

    I’ve previously explained on my blog that 99% of Muslims are peaceful and moderate. Please stop laughing! And stop asking me to back up that number! It’s not either pulled out my backside and covered in fecal matter. I read it somewhere! From an authoritative source that I don’t either have to give a link for, because of those godlike powers I’ve told you about.

    5. Western civilization is sinful and awful. We had slavery in the past! We used to deny women the right to vote! So shut up about genital mutilation and chattel slavery and stoning for adultery! It’s all lies and exaggerations! Have you actually seen any of those mutilated genitals? Of course not! So you can’t use them authoritatively! I can just handwave all that away!

    6. The left certainly doesn’t want to rule society, and I don’t know why you dense righties keep saying it does. Just because we are the natural elite who should write all the rules you grunt engineer types live by doesn’t mean we want to rule you! Well, sometimes we have to boss you around a bit, just to get you heading in the right direction. It’s kind of like herding sheep. But we don’t want to rule you! We want you to actively cooperate with us, sitting down and coming to reasonable, pragmatic, moderate solutions in which you agree to do pretty much everything we ask, but we agree to slow down the implementation to give you more time to get used to it. Hey, that’s been working great in the US since FDR! Except for a few years when that odious Reagan, who was the source of all our current troubles, was in office.

    7. I’ve been reading about Fromm and I’m very close to the Frankfurt School in my thinking. Just like Obama thinks like me. All the best people do, of course. And the Frankfurt school was ardently anti-Communist. STOP LAUGHING! They were! I decree it!! You all are anti-enlightenment and anti-rational, you avoid real discussion and rational interaction, you engage in emotion-driven insults and attacks. You are fundamentally anti-enlightenment. By the holy power of post modernism, I hereby redefine all the words I’ve just used, and decree that you are anti-enlightenment. You have no recourse. You must accept my godlike powers. Suck on it.

    8. You guys should stop talking about Alinsky. He’s nobody. I decree that too, and I’m not either an ignorant tool who is so indoctrinated by leftist thought that I don’t even know the real history of it. The fact that he was mentor to Hillary Clinton and founded the whole idea of community organizers that was Obama’s career is completely beside the point. So just stop talking about him, unless you want me to handwave him away again.

  • In Honduras, they didn’t even have the military come in .. the Parliament  just defrocked the el Presidente for attempting illegal activity .. and the Obama Administration put on a full court press.  Now, not only is the President gone but the military is in charge and we are supposed to be overjoyed.
    F…ing BS

    • Instructive, too, to note which side the Obami came down on.  And, in close proximity, the Iranian uprising AND Chavez.
      I think those establish a trend very nicely…

      • Notice when he came down?  After Mubarak was gone.  That’s really sticking it out there.  Basically too late to curry favor with the protesters but just in time to cya himself with the help of a complicit media.

        • The 60 Minutes interview with Wael Ghonim, the Google exec show was jailed for a few days, was interesting. He gave Obama no credit, and in fact wished that the US would stay out.

          Smith: President Obama came out several times during the revolution, had things to say. Did it help? Did it hurt?
          Ghonim: You know, it was good that he supports the revolution. That’s a good stand. But we don’t really need him. And I don’t think that….I wrote a tweet. I wrote, ‘Dear Western governments. You have been supporting the regime that was oppressing us for 30 years. Please don’t get involved now. We don’t need you.

        • jpm, I was referring to the Honduran incident.  We agree that Obama hovered over the net in Egypt…first here a little, then there a little….  Kind of like Tinker Bell…

    • Yeah, I’d forgotten about Honduras.  I was reaching back a few more years when the military took over PAHK-EE-STAHN and we treated their new leader like an syphillitic pedophile.

      I don’t think that anybody has a yen for establishing military dictatorships of any duration, or indeed of any involvement of a nation’s military in its domestic affairs. However, sometimes, a military takeover is the best outcome.  While I’m glad that The Dear Golfer seems to grasp this (or, more likely, he’s just trying to take credit for the fact that blood hasn’t washed the streets of Cairo), the joy in Leftyville over this military takeover is a little hard to swallow.

    • That’s a nice contrast Neo. Honduras and Egypt — incompetence in foreign policy on full display.

    • Neo, when you lack a consistent set of principles, you basically have to make it up as you go along.

      • Obama still leaves me puzzled. Maybe somebody can give me some explanation to square the line …

        even as Mr. Obama was demanding that change in Egypt begin right away

        .. with …

        So let me be clear: no system of government can or should be imposed upon one nation by any other. — Barack Obama Cairo June 2009

        Tell me he “grew in the office” or some other nonsense that will keep me from believing that he will say anything to make himself look good.

        • Well, I think that was a bowlderdized quote.  What he ACTUALLY said was:

          So let me be clear: no system of government can or should be imposed upon one nation by George Bush.

          Mr. Obama was demanding that change in Egypt begin right away…

          I’m just curious why him “demanding” something from Egypt isn’t an example of the “American arrogance” he decried so much during the campaign and so studiously avoided when the Iranians were trying to revolt agains the mullahs.

  • The median age in the Arab world is about 23.  They are getting real news about the corruption and oppression of dictators from al jazeera. They are more connected by social media than ever.  They have not been seduced by Islamic extremists, they are increasingly secular.  They are the ones pushing change.  If the military really does create a new constitution (regime change) and holds elections later this year, they will be doing the peoples’ bidding.
    And while many love to put for the Muslim Brotherhood as a boogey man, that’s usually fear mongering.  Their charter is a bit extreme, but their membership is varied — and has to answer to the same population that Mubarak had to deal with.  The 20th Century is gone, and old thinking — especially the chicken littles who see Muslims as some evil force — is obsolete.  Moreover, the US has less power to control or shape events there than ever before.  I really think a lot of you have yet to comprehend just how fundamentally world politics is changing at this moment in time.  Yes, there will be spots of conflict, bloodshed, terror, and crisis.  No transition is without them.  But one thing always makes transitions even more difficult: when people steeped in the old way of thinking can’t let go of the past, and try to impose past patterns on a rapidly changing world.   That always fails.
    Oh, and some of us argued Iraq would ultimately change from within, that Saddam’s style simply couldn’t last well into the 21st century.  Using killing and destruction to try to force and shape a change from the outside only hurt Iraq and probably is the focal point in which US no longer was feared or seen as the dominant world power.  Those days are also gone, and the Iraq debacle hastened it.  Iraq will ultimately change (and Kurdistan is farther along that path),but the Iraq war made that process more difficult.   Such change is always better when driven by internal forces.  Watch Iran, that regime may be the next to go.

    • http://pajamasmedia.com/michaeltotten/2011/02/09/the-muslim-brotherhood%e2%80%99s-genocidal-spiritual-leader/
      Here, for example, is Qaradawi speaking about the Holocaust to the audience of his popular Al Jazeera television show on January 30, 2009:

      Throughout history, Allah has imposed upon the [Jews] people who would punish them for their corruption. The last punishment was carried out by Hitler. By means of all the things he did to them—even though they exaggerated this issue—he managed to put them in their place. This was divine punishment for them. Allah willing, the next time will be at the hand of the believers.

      Erp, you’re an idiot.  On SOOOOO many levels and subjects.

      • They are getting real news about the corruption and oppression of dictators from al jazeera.

        Erp, you’re an idiot.  On SOOOOO many levels and subjects

        The guy has embroidered KICK ME on the backs of his shirts.
        Al Jazeera is based in Qatar, but doesn’t report on “corruption and oppression” of the Qatar regime.  I would argue that, like any news organization, it has its biases, but that would be an insult to the propagandists at the NY Times, wretched as they are, to lump them in with a channel that broadcasts commentary lauding the holocaust.

        • Then again, they still have Walter Duranty’s Pulitzer, for all the articles he wrote covering up the Ukranian terror famine (every bit as deadly as the holocaust).

    • …chicken littles who see Muslims as some evil force…

      You keep repeating that strawman.  One can criticize specific Muslims, particular aspects of Islamic culture (like the widespread oppression of women), and the religion itself without stooping to the bigotry you seem to want your opponents to have.
      Speaking for myself, it’s not Muslims I see as evil.  For starters, I see all religion as a net negative.  In 2011, the impact of Islam is far more oppressive, destructive, and downright evil than any other major religion—hands down.  That is not to say that Islamic faith causes most Muslims to do bad things.
      Most people who are born into Muslim families don’t choose to be Muslim.  They are forced to be, particularly in countries where apostates are imprisoned and even murdered.  Most of them don’t want to do harm to others and would probably rather live in countries where leaders and journalists aren’t always going on an on about Jews and infidels.

      They have not been seduced by Islamic extremists, they are increasingly secular.

      Give evidence that secularism is increasing among people in Islamic countries.  Anything.  And, no, you don’t get to whine that someone on Fox News said prejudicial things about Muslims which was inaccurate.  Give evidence for your assertions.
      Islamic extremism is a growing phenomenon.  Suicide bombers and other militants aren’t older people.  They are the young people who were brainwashed in madrasahs.  New madrassahs are being built all the time to keep up with demand, even here in the good ol’ USA.  (I happened to know a guy who helped start a “Muslim school” for children in the town where we lived.  He left some materials for the school in a box in someone else’s office and we discovered that they were filled with propaganda attacking Israel, the US, and the UK.  This was before 9/11.  He stated that he would die for Islam, that he would sacrifice his children for Islam—this was when suicide bombings in Israel were constantly on the news—and that he though that Hitler hadn’t gone far enough.  But he only let the mask slip a few times to say such things in front of a couple people.  To most, he was viewed as a “moderate Muslim”.  I’ve known other Muslims who never gave me any reason to suspect them of harboring hateful ideological views.  Sure, they could have been different behind mosque doors, but I gave them the benefit of the doubt.)
      Face it, you are woefully misinformed about what’s going on and just making things up, cherry picking a few positive things to put a big fake smiley face on a very complicated and troubling situation.
      No, it isn’t accurate to point to a billion people and paint them all with the same brush.  Nor is it factual to pretend that things are improving, when hundreds of millions of women are forced to wear slave garb and denied basic freedoms.  When most women in these countries aren’t treated so harshly, when female genital mutilation is a very rare occurrence, then come talk to me about secular improvements.
      Until then, you’re just whistling past the graveyard.

    • You know Scott, if talk about the 23 year old secular demographic enough, it will….continue to have no effect.

      Or, perhaps it will have exactly the same effect here, that it has over there.  The net is identical.

      On another note -  were you celebrating the aggrivated sexual assault of the American female journalist in Cairo?  I think that showed great restraint on the part of the celebratory youth and secular gathering as they didn’t assault her and kill her outright, a marvelous accomplshment, surely the hall mark of men who respect women, and are ready for their entry into the world of 21st century democracy, no? 

      This is the level they’re at, an isolated incident, lined up with the iisolated ncidents of other western journalists being attacked, kidnapped and abused.  Yes, clearly, these people are ready to join YOU at your dinner table in peace, harmony, love and brotherhood.  If they’re just like us, you’re a bigger bastard than I ever imagined, I can promise you they are not just like ME, and I’d wager they are not just like anyone else who posts on this site, including YOU.

    • “Watch Iran, that regime may be the next to go.”

      You are a dreamer – I suggest YOU watch Iraq, it will teach you a lesson in how to ignore, and then if necessary, suppress a crowd.

      You are truly one of the most horrendous judges of human nature I’ve ever seen.   Do you think people change their views because of the date?  20th Century thinking, is it dramatically different than how you think today, way up here in the 21st century?  Do attitudes in your house change with the stroke of the hour?  Can we expect the Arabs to embrace the Israeli’s because it suddenly becomes 2015, and their tired old thinking has used up it’s time?
      Here’s some thinking for you, the Shiites have been at odds with the Sunni’s since before the Battle of Karbala in 680 – and you think it matters that we rolled the calendar forward another 10 years into a new century?  That that makes things dramatically different?

      I mean, do you say this stuff to sound cool, or what?

      • I reckon you meant “Iran”, which really knows how to run a police-state.  They don’t bother with the “ignore” step, and just go straight to the secret trial and suppression stage.
        I have huge admiration for Gandhi as a man of insight and guts.  Had his flirtation with the Japanese worked out, he would have gotten millions of Indians killed.  He thought that civil disobedience and passive resistance would with anybody.  He was DEAD WRONG.
        Erp is the same kind of thinker, absent the insight, guts, intelligence, and originality.  Which leaves pretty much DEAD WRONG as the bathtub ring.

        • Yeah, the people of Nanking could tell you how that sort of thing would work with the old tyme Japanese.

          Erb hasn’t read the personals “brutal dictator interested in keeping power”.  Just because the Iranian mullah council hasn’t recently seen the need to use machine guns on the crowded streets of Tehran doesn’t mean they never would.

          As Napoleon demonstrated to the Royalist mob “a whiff of grapeshot” can often perform wonders.

      • As Rags observed, yes, I meant IRAN, not IRAQ.

    • <i>The median age in the Arab world is about 23.</i>

      Erb: That’s been true for the past two decades. So what? How can this be a linch pin you throw out every time you make this argument?

      <i>Oh, and some of us argued Iraq would ultimately change from within, that Saddam’s style simply couldn’t last well into the 21st century. Using killing and destruction to try to force and shape a change from the outside only hurt Iraq and probably is the focal point in which US no longer was feared or seen as the dominant world power.  </i>

      Hussein had two young psychopathic sons to take over for him. Maybe you’re sanguine about the abuses and deaths that would continue to accrue from Saddam-style rule, but the Iraqi still consider the war worth it, What say you to that?

      Or, is your vaunted opinion, as a professor of International Relations, that should determine of how many more decades the Iraqi would have to live under Saddam’s hellish rule? You know better I’m sure.

    • Wow. Such a collection of sh**. Where to start?

      “The median age in the Arab world is about 23….They are the ones pushing change.”

      Next you will be saying ‘Don’t trust anyone over 30′, and that the Age of Aquarius is here. Talk about old thinking. 

      “Their charter is a bit extreme, but their membership is varied”

      I love this line. I will be grinning all day. 

  • “And while many love to put for the Muslim Brotherhood as a boogey man, that’s usually fear mongering.”

    I remember Carter saying much the same thing about the Ayatollah.  How did that work out, Erb?

    The true trend is just the opposite of what your portray – take a good hard look at Turkey.  If what you say were true the Turkey, trying desperately to enter the European Union for economic reasons, should be the reaching for the pinnacle of Muslim Democracy but they aren’t!  They are in fact on the fast track to regressing into a more muslim fundamentalist state.  And whereas theremay be unrest in the region, the real powers that rule there will crush whatever true revolution that may be brewing.  To paraphrase the Godfather, “Every ten years or so we have to hit the mattresses.  It’s just the settling of some old scores and thinning out the weak.”

  • Erb is providing QandO with a live tissue sample of the relationship between the Left and Islamists.

    • I think he’s on an emotional high, watching streaming feeds of Al Jazeera for hours on end, until he’s starting to doubt reality outside their propaganda.  He’s so malleable, owing to his desire for much of what they say to be true, that he lets the mask slip here, displaying his gullible side for all to see.
      It’s Peristroika all over again, when “leftists” in the US were gushing about Gorbachev.  Meanwhile, Putin was posing as a tourist in front of Ronald Reagan (famous photo), determined to keep the status quo no matter what if he ever got the reins.

      • An emotional hight? That would imply an actual range of emotions. There’s nothing here that suggests more than the usual pumping of the party line. He was on that “youth revolt” thing a couple of days before Obama hit it. His affect is as shallow as ever.

    • I don’t know about the left, but it is certainly the deranged.

  • This bit from Erb…

    “And while many love to put for the Muslim Brotherhood as a boogey man, that’s usually fear mongering.  Their charter is a bit extreme, but their membership is varied — and has to answer to the same population that Mubarak had to deal with.  The 20th Century is gone, and old thinking — especially the chicken littles who see Muslims as some evil force — is obsolete.”

    …is reminiscent of an explanation of why all loyal communists must purge themselves of thinking about Herr Hitler as a “boogey man” after Stalin had entered into an arrangement with him.

    “That Mein Kampf is a bit extreme, but the Nazi party membership is varied — and blah blah…”

    And the 9/11 attacks came to just “a couple of tall buildings were knocked down.” (That was Scott’s rear-view mirror assessment a couple of years after the attacks.)

  • 65 comments.  Scrolled straight to the bottom without looking. Did Erb say something retarded and supercilious?

  • “ The 20th Century is gone, and old thinking — especially the chicken littles who see Muslims as some evil force — is obsolete”

    Heh. In Erp world flipping the page of a calendar actually causes the world to change, just like a scene from an old movie. Sorry, but someone forgot to mail me my new 21st century users guide and rule book.

  • Those nice, modern trendy young folks raped Laura Logan the other day.  I wonder if Erp followed that “excitedly” on al jazwhatthephuc.