Free Markets, Free People


Meanwhile in Egypt …

A “surprising” development:

For the second time in as many days, Egyptian armed force stormed the 5th century old St. Bishoy monastery in Wadi el-Natroun, 110 kilometers from Cairo. Live ammunition was fired, wounding two monks and six Coptic monastery workers. Several sources confirmed the army’s use of RPG ammunition. Four people have been arrested including three monks and a Coptic lawyer who was at the monastery investigating yesterday’s army attack.

Monk Aksios Ava Bishoy told activist Nader Shoukry of Freecopts the armed forces stormed the main entrance gate to the monastery in the morning using five tanks, armored vehicles and a bulldozer to demolish the fence built by the monastery last month to protect themselves and the monastery from the lawlessness which prevailed in Egypt during the January 25 Uprising.

"When we tried to address them, the army fired live bullets, wounding Father Feltaows in the leg and Father Barnabas in the abdomen," said Monk Ava Bishoy. "Six Coptic workers in the monastery were also injured, some with serious injuries to the chest."

The injured were rushed to the nearby Sadat Hospital, the ones in serious condition were transferred to the Anglo-Egyptian Hospital in Cairo.

Father Hemanot Ava Bishoy said the army fired live ammunition and RPGs continuously for 30 minutes, which hit part of the ancient fence inside the monastery. "The army was shocked to see the monks standing there praying ‘Lord have mercy’ without running away. This is what really upset them," he said. "As the soldiers were demolishing the gate and the fence they were chanting ‘Allahu Akbar’ and ‘Victory, Victory’."

He also added that the army prevented the monastery’s car from taking the injured to hospital.

Says the Army:

The Egyptian Armed Forces issued a statement on their Facebook page denying that any attack took place on St. Bishoy Monastery in Wady el-Natroun, "Reflecting our belief in the freedom and chastity of places of worship of all Egyptians." The statement went on to say that the army just demolished some fences built on State property and that it has no intention of demolishing the monastery itself (video of army shooting at Monastery).

Heh … yeah the spring of peace, love and moon ponies the gullible expected to come out of all of this is off to a roaring start, no?  Fence demolition, Egyptian style – done with RPGs, machine guns and tanks all while pumping sunshine up your posterior and denying what is on video.

Sounds like a "new day" in Egypt to me … you?

~McQ

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46 Responses to Meanwhile in Egypt …

  • Is this the beginning of the [it can't possibly happen in the 21st Century] consolidation of power in an Islamist state???
    Stay tuned.
    BTW, did Egypt cut off Israel’s natural gas, as demanded by those sweet Facebook-using secular yowts???
    LOVED that the Army uses Facebook for psy-ops.  Very Enlightenminty…

    • Islamophobes want to see an Islamic state take over, it gives them something to fear, they need that.  But the real story here, and in Libya, is that the Islamic extremists are virtual non-elements.  You’ll have to find something else to fear, rags.

      • Of course you have cites, and evidence for this statement of fact about Islamic fundamentalists.

        (rolls eyes).

        Scott, a unicorn just flew by my window!  I’d send you proof, but, I know you have no need of facts and proof.

      • Islamophobes want to see an Islamic state take over, it gives them something to fear, they need that.

        That’s about as absurd an argument as the rationalization that anti-government libertarians really want totalitarianism.  It’s an attempt to discredit others, not just by carelessly tossing about terms like “Islamophobes”, but by inventing this subconscious or super secret ulterior intent which runs exactly counter to what people would expect.
        Basically, you’re lying here.  I don’t think the people you smear with that label actually want a theocratic state.  Being cynical and expecting things to turn out badly as they have done many times before in other countries may be pessimistic, but it isn’t indicative of some desire to see such a bad thing come to fruition in Egypt.
        As for the “Islamaphobe” smear, I can’t speak for others.  But you’ve falsely accused me a number of times of being anti-Islamic, usually by dishonestly attacking a strawman.
        As an atheist, I am a strong critic of all religions and I refuse to give respect to ideas simply because many people hold them to be sacred.  I respect people and appreciate how important such things can be to them, but have no respect for the ideas themselves.  So, I would condemn the Christians who burned “heretics” or tortured or put under house arrest.  The thing is, that sort of thing was common centuries ago for Christians, so it’s not like I need to attack modern day Christians for what people did long ago.
        The Islamic world has yet to experience the Enlightenment that so transformed the West and signaled the withering away of theocratic power and the worst of religious intolerance.  That doesn’t mean that Muslims everywhere are all unenlightened and intolerant.  In the billion or so people who make up the “Muslim world” there are all sorts of different people, most of whom would be perfectly happy to live in peace with their “infidel” neighbors and put up with “decadence” if they weren’t pressured by others.  But right now, today, hundreds of millions of Muslim women are forced to cover their bodies and denied many basic freedoms which western women take for granted.  And, cruelty and intolerance happen far too frequently in some particular places.
        I’ve had a number of relationships with Muslims, some quite close, and others just casual acquaintances.  As I’ve written before, a couple had some rotten attitudes, such as saying that Hitler didn’t go far enough or expressing support and admiration for suicide bombers.  But most never acted in such a way.
        I’ve seen thousands of women dressed in the garb of slavery walking around the streets of the US, from Louisiana to California.  Though, I’m sure that there are probably many women of Muslim heritage who dress normally and I don’t realize when I pass them on the street that they are Muslim.
        My wife has an acquaintance named Abdul, who is Muslim.  He owns the store next to the one she managed.  He and his wife wear typical American clothing.  He’s young and hip, even wore long hair for awhile.  But one day he had a friend who was in his store.  My wife put out her hand to shake his hand and the guy freaked.  Abdul explained to my wife that the man was a very devout Muslim who thought that it was obscene to touch a woman.
        My daughter had a very close friend whose family was Muslim, but the women didn’t cover themselves and the girl acted just like any of the other friends of my daughter.  I actually didn’t know they were Muslim for a few years.
        So, beyond reading the news, history, and commentary, I’ve known a variety of people with very different attitudes and actions, so Muslims aren’t some monolithic group to me, nor some mysterious group in a far off land with which I have no knowledge.

        • There are Islamophobes out there — people who have an irrational fear of Islam.  I’ll trust you that you are not one of them, and apologize for insinuating you were.
          The irony is that the western enlightenment might not have happened if not for Islamic rationalists who influenced Aquinas and brought Aristotle to the West.  Without Aquinas, would Europe have found its way?  Of course, Freud made the enlightenment project that much harder, since it shows humans are driven by subconscious drives and emotions, and not pure rational self-interest.  Yet the idea of human liberation remains.   And believe it or not, for all our differences, we’re driven by the same ideal

          • And believe it or not, for all our differences, we’re driven by the same ideal.

            I don’t believe it.  I’ve seen what you’ve endorsed and defended.  I’ve seen you attack my ideals with your canned arguments, full of glaring logical fallacies.
            When you transform your ethics and become a proponent of free market individualism and demonstrate your opposition to the use of government power to interfere with the individual rights of life, liberty, and property, I’ll reassess.  But I think the chances of that happening are astronomically low.

          • If I thought free market individualism would give us the liberty you think it would, I’d support it.  I just don’t think it works; I think that those who argue that point do so out of love for the economic theory, not understanding that theories are based on vast simplifications of reality, and will not function in the real world as they do in theory.  The goal is liberty, but just having one kind of centralized power (government) stay out broad and ill defined boundaries (life, liberty and property) doesn’t work.  I think it’s a naive view, not understanding the complexities of social reality.  It is theory-driven rather than reality-driven.  I don’t find your values to be wrong as much as your understanding of how reality works.

          • I just don’t think [free market individualism] works…

            Works for whom?
            Basically, you’re arguing that allowing people who are doing no harm to anyone else to make their own decisions doesn’t meet some unspecified goal of yours.  Perhaps you’re upset about “maldistribution of wealth”, still stupidly imagining that wealth just floats down from the sky and the evil, greedy fat cats spread their nets over the nets of the poor so they catch more.  Wealth is created, not distributed.  It’s only distributed after it’s taken, i.e., the two parts of redistribution.
            But I don’t care if Scott Erb thinks that behaving in an ethical manner “works” because you can claim to think anything.  You can claim to be unconvinced.  We’ve played that game before.
            What matters is that you support unethical methods to achieve the goals that you have, that you interfere with other people who are pursuing their own goals, even though they haven’t done anything wrong to deserve such grief.

            I think that those who argue that point do so out of love for the economic theory…

            I doubt that you do.  If you actually try to understand the motivations of individualists, instead of inventing some cheap strawman, you probably lack the imagination to put yourself in our shoes.  You’re so tied to your theories of “powerful actors” and quantum mechanics creating some spiritual connectedness that you can’t get your mind around the concept of simply allowing people to live their own lives on their own terms, so long as they’re not hurting others.  It’s like a Mongolian herdsman trying to understand a schematic for a Blackberry.
            Before we even argue results, we must first establish a moral foundation.  If your “solution” includes unethical means, then I reject it, regardless of whatever results you promise.
            Von Mises’ Human Action is a wonderful explanation for the practical advantages of the free market.  You ought to read it.

            …not understanding that theories are based on vast simplifications of reality, and will not function in the real world as they do in theory.

            All theories?  Ever seen the mathematical basis for string theory?  Think that’s a vast [over]simplification?
            Again, you indict whole categories of things: ideologies (ideas) and theories (explanations).  Except, once again, you fail to differentiate between the good (e.g., theory of general relativity) and the bad (e.g., phrenology).
            I’m sure you make special exception for all your babble about “powerful actors” and psychological complexities, etc..  Your “theories” aren’t based on vast [over]simplifications, I suppose.
            But free market individualism isn’t just another theoretical system of how to rule people and organize society.  There are plenty of those and history has shown the faults of them all.  The free market is an anti-system.  It’s refraining from ruling others and dictating how to organize society.
            You can whine and complain that there are poor people and that the mean old rich people send their kids to private schools and that’s not fair.  But that happens under every system, even those in which such things are expressly not supposed to happen.  What you get with the systems of ruling people, of controlling people by force to fit some organizational scheme by the anointed ones, is everything you would expect from fallible human beings.  Power is abused, favorites are picked, innocents are chewed up in the cogs of the machine.

            The goal is liberty, but just having one kind of centralized power (government) stay out broad and ill defined boundaries (life, liberty and property) doesn’t work.

            Once again: doesn’t work for whom?
            Are you really so dense that life, liberty, and property are vague concepts to you?  Life: you don’t understand what it means to kill someone, to take away their life?  Really?  That’s vague?  Liberty: you don’t understand what it means to allow people the freedom to do their own thing, as long as they aren’t hurting others?  Property: yeah, well, there’s not much point in expecting a socialist to answer that one honestly.
            It’s not that only one power (government) needs to stop infringing on the rights of people.  Everyone needs to stop infringing on the rights of others, whether a common street punk, a mafia thug, or some Bond villain mercenary battalion.  It’s dishonest of you to pretend that the only objection is to government, that wealthy people are exempted from respecting the rights of others.  (No, that’s what you get from political connections.)

            I think it’s a naive view, not understanding the complexities of social reality.

            How naive is it to look at one example after another of people abusing government power and decide, well, if we just try one more time, or get just the right people in office, that will fix everything?  It’s the old adage about doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
            For all your jabbering about “the complexities of social reality” you’ve lost sight of the forest for the trees.  You refuse to admit that the worst abuses of power come from the power of government and try to concoct vague scenarios of “powerful actors” who don’t exploit government power to gain advantage, but simply use wealth.  You don’t give examples, don’t provide data to show abuse of power.  All you do is point to “maldistribution of wealth”.
            So, where the hell is your superior analysis with all the complexities of social reality when it comes to cutting to the truth?  It’s all about finding the angle for pushing your socialist agenda, not about reality.

            I don’t find your values to be wrong as much as your understanding of how reality works.

            I definitely find your values to be wrong, as well as your misrepresentation of reality.  You exaggerate the power of wealth alone and close your eyes shut tight when it’s pointed out that wealthy people use government power.
            You’re not dealing with reality when you strike your pose and pass out your canned arguments to defend socialism.

  • “Enlightenminty”.  *spit take*
    Reminds me of truthiness.
    Scott understands the power of words like enlightenment, freedom, libertarian, science, etc., which is why he’s always trying to use them to falsely describe the opposite in his behavior or in that which he endorses.  Dare I make the obvious comparison to Goebbels?  OK.

    • You’re telling the big lie there, Elliiot.  Can you support your ad hominem?  I thought not.  Seriously, Elliot, I have to teach courses on political philosophy, I not only know what these mean, but I also know that you do not show much understanding of the terms in your posts.

      • “Can you support your ad hominem?”

        LOL – It is no surprize you are ignored when you challenge someone here - you are only being treated the way you treat others.

      • I’ve disputed your attempts to use such terms dozens of times.  Others have done likewise in recent days.
        Take for example the term “left-libertarian” which you use.  It’s an oxymoron, an attempt by “leftist” collectivists to trick the useful idiots into seeing positive aspects of socialism which simply aren’t true.  Yes, I realize that there are people like Chomsky who misused the term long before you picked up on that little sleight of hand, but his use is just as false as yours.
        And, if you’re teaching courses on political philosophy, then why the fluck are you so ignorant on so many topics, like self ownership, collectivism vs. individualism, etc.?  Your recent assertions that socialism grew out of the Enlightenment is just stark-raving mad.
        So if you’re “teaching this stuff” then you’re cheating those students.

        • Capitalist libertarian is just as much an oxymoron.  Left libertarian is used in political science quite a bit, and is a subject of study.  There are many disputes in political philosophy, your perspective is differently a marginal one.  That doesn’t mean you’re wrong, but to try to dismiss left libertarian thought with a wave of the hand and a appeal to your own authority isn’t very convincing.

          • Well, “capitalism” has the connotation of government-big business collaboration, as you see today.
            I prefer the term “free market libertarian” which is basically redundant.  One of the core principles of libertarianism is self ownership, from which a free market is an inevitable logical conclusion.
            And, I don’t give a flip what you say is “convincing” to you.  You can play the game all day long of saying “I’m not convinced” and I’ve seen that endless times.  One tries to convince rational people.  Some people will never be convinced.  And, some dishonest people will pretend not to be convinced.

          • …your perspective is differently a marginal one.

            That would be amazing news to the bulk of the self-described libertarian philosophers, authors, and journalists who favor a free market and oppose socialism.  Why do you pretend that libertarianism is some vague cloud of people and that free market proponents are some “marginal” fringe group?
            You’re becoming a self parody with all of these absurd falsehoods.  You’re completely transparent.

          • Libertarianism is on the margins as a political ideology.  Outside the US it is especially rare, within the US it’s very limited (and often takes the form of pro-business policies that don’t embody a true libertarian distrust of business-government connections).  Perhaps you spend most of your time reading blogs and sources that share your view that you’ve developed the impression it’s far more widespread and popular than it is.  Also almost everyone left and right favor a free market with some regulation and government programs.  The differences between Republicans and Democrats, or most people’s political views these days, are minimal.  Even the most draconian of Republican budget cuts favored by only a few on the extremes would still leave government much bigger than just a few decades ago.  Only the most extreme democrats want to nationalize industries and massive increase social welfare.
            Do you honestly not realize that your view is on the margins?

          • When you said my “perspective is…a marginal one”, I took from the context that you meant that my perspective among libertarians was uncommon, i.e., that the unicorn-like “left libertarians” were more common.  If that’s not what you mean, then I’ll be the first to admit that the vast majority of the population has fallen victim to one form of propaganda or another and doesn’t see things as clearly as I do.

  • As our resident dipwad would observe –

    “I’m Hopeful!.  We need to stop thinking in 20th century terms of tanks and RPGS blowing down gates, we need to embrace the new age!  The Army was just trying to help, they had a report the monks lost the key to the Shlage lock they installed a couple of weeks ago. 

    You know how it is, when you have a hammer at your disposal, everything kinda looks like a nail!

    You’re just living in fear of Muslims, or you’d have realized that’s all this was.”

  • You know, when bad news kept coming out of Iraq, many of you here reacted with such optimism.
    After months, even years, of  terrible news suggesting that things weren’t going our way, you kept the beat positive.  Give it time, you said.  Surges, money, action, and what-have-you would sure surely win the day.
    Trust us, you said.  It will all work out.

    Now, in Egypt, and only after a few weeks, all is lost.  And only the gullible should ever believe that a shining, pro-western democracy would emerge.

    I knew that such skepticism was up there, on the shelf, ready to be dusted off and presented.
    Good news is that now you can present it without having to hide that guady, no WMD havin’ monstrosity in the closet.

    Cheers.

    • Let’s see if we can see a difference between Iraq and Egypt…oh yes, the US armed forces were in Iraq and running the show.
      Here we have Egyptian armed forces attacked a monastery…
      I do agree that probably QandO might be a little too pessimistic, but then again, who is going to “surge” into Egypt to keep it secular or whatever? I don’t know.

      • So the avenue to abandon skepticism is to involve the US military?
        So we should send in the troops?  If not, then why not?  Why aren’t we calling for military action?
        After all, here we have a population demonstrating that they wish for a regime change.  Why not help them out?

        • We abandon pointless and baseless pessimism, because we aren’t Code Pink, and they have no excuse for being so.

        • No, I mean that because we actually had serious power to play that we could be more optimistic.
          Bush did fund pro-democracy groups in Egypt. Obama stopped that. I don’t think that would matter much either way
          p.s. Egypt is a far larger population than Iraq…not sure we could intervene like we did there even if we wanted…perhaps the Europeans will step up.
           

    • I actually knew what our military could do, Pogue. The Egyptian military on the other hand … well, they’ve been running the show for what, 50 years?

    • WTF is the point of all this blather, Poque???

      • An attempt to find a symmetry in his negative projections onto the Iraq situation by claiming the right is having negative projections on Egypt.

        Unfortunately the idea that maybe its not symmetry but an inversion where he is having ‘hopie glowie’ projections onto Egypt’s likely outcome escapes him.

      • Was there a point?  Straight forward voice of the left.  You got your link to Iraq, WMD, anti US sentiment, yada yada yawn.

  • Left right or center, did I miss the great wmd find? Didn’t think so.

    • I’m not sure what that has to do with Egypt?

      • I didn’t open the door. It is something that should be acknowledged, though. Justification based on “inaccurate intelligence” doesn’t wash, regardless of political affiliation, simply put. Disagree with the war in Iraq and you are painted with a pretty nasty brush.
        As far as Egypt goes, when about 50 percent or more of the people support a group (Muslim Brotherhood) that helps when the government has not, it is only a matter of time.
        Also, someone who uses the term Islamophobe simply hasn’t spent enough time in an Islamic “republic.”

        • Sounds like you haven’t read the AUMF. As I recall, there were around 20 reasons we went into Iraq, WMD’s being only one of them. It’s also clear that the “inaccurate intelligence” was believed by most of the countries in the West and Middle East. Any number of ME countries queried about such programs responded with similar intelligence. The French, Brits, Germans et. al, had the same intelligence. Even Hillary Clinton said that she was familiar with the intelligence because her husband had seen it when he was president and she confirmed said intelligence. The fact that it was wrong is obviously clear now, but again it wasn’t the only reason we went into Iraq.

          As for Egypt, the point that has been made here innumerable times is secular democracy is unlikely to be the final outcome because of the two most powerful factions involved – Military and MB. One wants to hold the power it has had for 50 years and the other wants it.

          Finally, you don’t have to have spent time in an Islamic “republic” to figure out what the usual outcome to these sorts of situations. The history of the region paints a pretty obvious outcome. The use of “Islamaphobe” is similar to the use of “racist”. It’s an attempt to shut down debate by demonizing the other side and thereby being able to handwave their arguments aside.

          • What was used to sell the war to the public was the inevitable use of WMD’s. Repeatedly it was pushed in our mouths. Even at that time some of us also knew better, because we had attended the first gulf war. We recalled the utter destruction of the Iraqi force, and the inability to make war, much less weapons after a decade of trade embargoes, constant UN inspections, and no fly zones. Now all of a sudden they had the ability to destroy the world. If you bought the “intelligence”, that’s on you. Hilary Clinton??? Bill felt no need to respond? Please.
            I understand the Egyptian point. In time the military will be infiltrated and taken over by the MB. A handful of generals may hold it for a minute, but the people are fired up. Who they support will take power, and as soon as they realize they have been snowed, the last protest will look like a march by Dr. King.
            As far as Islamaphobe, I think history has well painted why such person needs to exist. I guess I am one. My issue is that it is perceived as a religion, not a form of government. We keep hoping they will do a democratic system, with religion in the background, be it Islam. Westerners don’t want to get it through their heads that it is a form of government first, with religion second, and one doesn’t divide the two. It is an empiric system, and we had better wake up, and take a look at every civilized continent, because it hits everywhere.

          • No it wasn’t – it was what the media chose to focus on because it was the most sensational.

  • Sheesh, give them a chance.  What do you expect, suddenly springing forth of democracy over night, with no disgruntled protesters and the military not doing anything to maintain order.  Egypt is going through a positive transition – Mubarak is gone, but the military is making sure it’s orderly.  It’s almost like you’re hoping it fails.   Egypt’s prospects are much better than Iraq’s at this point because they are doing it themselves.  Iraq remains divided, undemocratic, subject to intense Iranian influence, and there was another terror act today against oil supplies.  What’s funny is that Egypt a few weeks after Mubarak fell is being held to a standard that no country could maintain, while in Iraq YEARS after the US invaded they still haven’t gotten their act together.   Egypt will have an election later this year, there will be an orderly transition to democracy, just watch.  Some protesters will be impatient, and there will be protests, sometimes violent.  But given the situation, that’s to be expected.  Egypt will not fall into the mess of civil war, death, destruction, violence and division that gripped Iraq; quite the contrary.   It’s funny to watch some of you almost rooting for democracy to fail.  The real news here is how weak al qaeda and Islamic extremism is — the Islamophobes are being proven wrong (not that anyone who understood the region had any doubt, to be sure).

    • What do you expect, suddenly springing forth of democracy over night, with no disgruntled protesters and the military not doing anything to maintain order.

      You’re the one predicting that democracy is going to spring forth over time.  You argue that all the young people won’t allow any more governments which rule by force.
      But under Mubarak, were the military shooting up Christian monasteries?
      This is why I say you’re putting a big fake cardboard smiley face over the situation.  You’re overly optimistic—ridiculously so.  You need to quit focusing on Al Jazeera or particular narrow news sources.  Get a broader variety of news and opinions.  But, more importantly, have enough patience to watch how things are actually playing out instead of playing your game of making predictions which fit your ideological mold.

      Egypt is going through a positive transition – Mubarak is gone, but the military is making sure it’s orderly.

      Getting rid of Mubarak is only a positive transition if the eventual result is better.  You don’t know that.  It’s too early to tell.

      It’s funny to watch some of you almost rooting for democracy to fail.

      I don’t see that at all.  I see people mocking you for your unjustified optimism.  I see people who are concerned, having seen transitions happen in this and similar parts of the world which actually turn out to be worse, even if they initially look positive.  Like, for example, the Afghans expelling the Soviets.  Yay, but oops, here come the Taliban.  Not so good.
      Quit playing propaganda games and spend more time paying attention than tossing your prediction darts over your shoulder.

      • Elliot, you’re imagining things.  In my own blog on February 12th I wrote:
        “It’s hard to over state the importance and drama of the Egyptian revolution; it may be for the Arab world what the French revolution was for the West.
        Therein lies the problem.   The French revolution, also greeted with relief and hope by enlightenment thinkers, didn’t turn out so well.   The rule of an autocratic Monarch gave way to chaos and ultimately Napoleon Bonaparte, who would craft a French nationalism that would allow France to conquer Europe for a time.   But Egypt isn’t France.   Egypt isn’t Iran.   Egypt isn’t Berlin of 1989 either.   The path forward is unclear and difficult.
        For the Arab world to truly progress a few things need to happen.  First, real democratic reform must take place, and the people must work to assure they aren’t hijacked by well organized extremist groups.   This will require the military perhaps moving faster and with less caution then they’d prefer, and the people will have to have more patience and trust in the military than they’d like.   The military in Egypt is a key player in this; as in Turkey, the Egyptian military could make democracy it’s goal, while at the same time preventing it from collapse.”
        (end of quote).  In other words, I’ve never been an unguarded optimist on this, that blog post was entitled, by the way “And Now the Hard Part.”  There is a vast and necessary changing hitting the Arab world.  It does not look like Islamic extremism is the beneficiary, which is good.  But if history is a guide, the transition will not be quick or easy, and we may have decades of instability and episodes of blacksliding before they get it right.  Unguarded optimism?  Not from me!

      • He’s not really concerned Eliot, it’s, if  you’ll pardon the misuse of the expression in associating it with his usual ‘analysis’ – a gedankenexperiment.

        He really doesn’t give a rat’s ass what happens to these people unless it fulfills one of his blue sky and rainbows predictions, and in that sense, he only REALLY cares because then he can say “see!  Just as I predicted!”

        Ya know, he doesn’t understand that most of us wish he was right with his tra-la-la happy endings.  I’d take the risk of having to watch him puff himself up (further?  is that possible?) if the outcome was something approaching a rational, even pseudo democratic, secular regime along the Suez or in Libya or Tunisia.
        That would be more than an endurable trade to me. 

    • “military not doing anything to maintain order.”
      So you include attacking Christian monastery’s as “maintaining order.”
      Interesting.

  • (apparently this comment didn’t get posted, so I’ll try again)
    Elliot, you’re imagining things.  In my own blog on February 12th I wrote:
    “It’s hard to over state the importance and drama of the Egyptian revolution; it may be for the Arab world what the French revolution was for the West.
    Therein lies the problem.   The French revolution, also greeted with relief and hope by enlightenment thinkers, didn’t turn out so well.   The rule of an autocratic Monarch gave way to chaos and ultimately Napoleon Bonaparte, who would craft a French nationalism that would allow France to conquer Europe for a time.   But Egypt isn’t France.  Egypt isn’tEgypt isn’t Iran.  Egypt isn’t Berlin of 1989 either.   The path forward is unclear and difficult.

    For the Arab world to truly progress a few things need to happen.  First, real democratic reform must take place, and the people must work to assure they aren’t hijacked by well organized extremist groups.   This will require the military perhaps moving faster and with less caution then they’d prefer, and the people will have to have more patience and trust in the military than they’d like.   The military in Egypt is a key player in this; as in Turkey, the Egyptian military could make democracy it’s goal, while at the same time preventing it from collapse.”

    (end of quote).  In other words, I’ve never been an unguarded optimist on this, that blog post was entitled, by the way “And Now the Hard Part.”  There is a vast and necessary changing hitting the Arab world.  It does not look like Islamic extremism is the beneficiary, which is good.  But if history is a guide, the transition will not be quick or easy, and we may have decades of instability and episodes of blacksliding before they get it right.  Unguarded optimism?  Not from me!

    • …as in Turkey, the Egyptian military could make democracy it’s goal, while at the same time preventing it from collapse.

      Martin McPhillips has made comments about the trend towards theocracy in Turkey over the past few years since the religious political factions gained control in elections.  I haven’t kept up closely with that news, but if it is true, then your citing of Turkey as an example of countries moving in a positive direction would be poorly chosen and likely to counter your own argument.

      I’ve never been an unguarded optimist on this…

      On Egypt, you’ve been attacking anyone who is pessimistic, going on and on about the youth not letting governments get away with abuses, etc..  If you’re guarding yourself, I’m not seeing it here.

      It does not look like Islamic extremism is the beneficiary, which is good.

      It’s far too early to tell.  Since the Iranian revolution, theocratic transitions don’t spring forth overnight and often are the result of years of slow, deliberate work to undermine the ruling government and to turn popular sentiment in their favor, until they see an opportunity and take it.
      I hope that Islamists don’t gain power as they have done in Iran, Afghanistan, Palestinian authority, Libya, etc..  You can include Saudi Arabia in that, but in a slightly different way.

      • I didn’t see comments on Turkey, but I think the news there is that Islamicist groups are actually moving away from the most extreme and fundamental positions.  Moreover, the military in Turkey is still very much guarding Ataturk’s legacy.  Consider Iran:  From 1979 to 2004 the clerics loosened control, the country was still modernizing, and only the Iraq war helped the conservatives win elections.  Now the youth are starting to recoil against the conservatives, who again are unable to really push a more radical form of Islam in practice (Tehran is known as a party town — you can find drugs, alcohol and everything un-Islamic there if you want, and the regime doesn’t dare crack down).  Iran’s moving away from extremism, the youth there will either get the government to make massive reforms (which is possible since they have democratic structures) or overthrow it.

        Again, if you read my post I’m not predicting some smooth easy transformation.  That wasn’t the case in Europe, and won’t likely be the case here.

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