January 29th, 2011

Egypt: breaking some eggs

“Rumors are circulating everywhere. You don’t know what’s true and what’s not true.”

That statement by Sharif Abdul Bakhi (my phonetic spelling), a man living on the outskirts of Cairo who was just interviewed on CNN, seems to say it all. And he doesn’t know what’s going on even though he’s in Cairo; most of us are not (fortunately).

So far reports vary, but it seems that scores of people have died in the riots. Is this only the beginning of the violence, or will it be contained? Lenin famously said that to make an omelet you have to break some eggs. What sort of omelet is being cooked up right now?

And Israel wonders most particularly, although most of the speculation is that whatever the result, it won’t be good for that beleaguered country.

I have an extremely apprehensive view of what’s going on. It feels potentially like a runaway train. Whatever the protesters have in mind (other than doing away with Mubarek) is unclear. And whatever they have in mind may become irrelevant, because other more pernicious forces can easily co-opt the movement and take over.

And the US, and Obama? I have to say that this is one of the moments I have a small amount of sympathy for him. Yes, he may be in over his head, but wouldn’t almost anyone be? No one foresaw this; no one. That said, I would deeply prefer that more realistic and informed heads were involved. Exactly whom these people might be, and what they would actually say or do, I don’t know. I just know they’re not at the helm right now, and that makes me especially uneasy.

[ADDENDUM: John Bolton chimes in.]

67 Responses to “Egypt: breaking some eggs”

  1. Sergey Says:

    Spontaneity of protests and very young age of the most participants, lack of leaders and only marginal involvement of organized opposition indicate that protesters have no idea what to do if they prevail. But we can judge from the latest appointments by Mubarak what he wants to do: vice-presidental post was given to the chief of security service, former head of military intelligence Omar Suleiman; second in importance post of premier-minister to former Air Force ace-pilot. Both generals have very good standing with military, quite pragmatic and effective administrators and organizers.

  2. jms Says:

    John F Kennedy famously consulted with his Republican predecessor Harry Truman during the Cuban missile crisis. Nothing is stopping Barack Obama from picking up the phone and doing the same.

  3. PA Cat Says:

    his Republican predecessor Harry Truman

    I think you mean Eisenhower.

  4. jms Says:

    Oops. Brain fart.

  5. Sergey Says:

    The main problem of Obama is not that he is not competent. This is not a big deal. What is much worse, he is arrogant and incapable to find competent helpers. He surrounded himself with second-raters and complete idiots. This is the real problem with this administration.

  6. geran Says:

    (adding to Sergey, not disagreeing)

    Or does he even want to help Mubarak?

  7. Oblio Says:

    Umm, No. BHO is on the side of the media.

  8. Mr. Frank Says:

    That 3:00 am call just came in.

  9. neo-neocon Says:

    Mr. Frank: ah, but the very experienced Hillary C. is answering it!

  10. physicsguy Says:

    “No one foresaw this; no one.”

    Well, as I linked in your other thread this morning, Drudge had a report from the London Telegraph, that Obama did know.. maybe even two years ago.


    How reliable The Telegraph is, I have no idea.

  11. Tom Says:

    Bolton is 100% right on this and on every other issue he has commented on, with refreshing plain-speaking: the Baraqian statements have been “mush”. I take that to mean “As far as Egyptians are concerned.”
    Baraq’s remarks are of course only directed at his US base: demonstrations/violence against gov’t are good (Ahh, unless it’s my gummint); reminds him of his comm-organizing days.
    Feed your mush-eaters, Baraq.

  12. Tom Says:

    To my utter non-surprise, the current reuters story indicates Cairo is indistinguishable from South Central Los Angeles:


  13. Otiose.... Says:

    These developing events are very scary reminding me of how things played out with Iran and the Shah. Back then matters got very ugly for us unnecessarily in part because we had a president with an astoundingly delusional world view.

    I’m uneasy because from what I can tell Carter and Obama (and the people around them) are more alike than different. I have no confidence he has any idea as to how this should be handled.

    This book

    is about the uprising when Carter was president at Mecca. Lot’s of well written details on the day to day screw ups (ours and the Saudi’s) in that emergency. The author also gives a lot of background on the fall of Iran and how Carter’s mismanagement led almost immediately to a worsening of our overall situation in the Mideast – all these developing events and their implications were (and are) oblivious to Carter and his surviving minions.

    One good thing is I read a quote from someone inside Egypt that demonstrates many people there while anti American on many issues don’t necessarily want to end up in Iran style dictatorship by the mullahs. In other words, hopefully, people there won’t be so quick to turn over everything to the religious leaders.

    But then look at what we did – we had Carter and then elected Carter on steroids – Obama.

  14. Perfected democrat Says:

    I have no sympathy at all for Obama. In his position as POTUS, of sacred trust and fiduciary duty to America and the Constitution, he has instead functioned as an arrogant incompetent, in other words, a saboteur. He has time and again set the tone for America’s global and domestically weak posture (and now our consequent danagerous present), and in so many deliberately inappropriate instances; including (among countless others) his speech in Cairo, and his conspicuous silence (for all practical purposes) concerning recent events in Tehran; just like his policies and announcements long undermined the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan even prior to their outset, and which significantly fueled enemy resolve, and American soldier’s casualties. When America’s enemies (and friends) needed to see a resolute champion (the proverbial strong horse) of traditional American ideals, but for which Obama only gives certain qualified lip service, he and the obstinate fools in the Democratic Party power machine who empowered and enable him, in fact, bait the islamist-left coalition with just enough strategically timed silence, compromise and groveling that they can’t but feel empowered to step up their insidious and long-time brazen assault against the free world. Obama, from his birth inheritance to his personal politics, has always been the perfect fusion of the islamist-left covert “revolution”, a wildly successful trojan horse. The ruse is posing as a fence sitter, trying to have it both ways, Humpty Dumpty is yet to fall, but when he does….

  15. Occam's Beard Says:

    Spontaneity of protests and very young age of the most participants, lack of leaders and only marginal involvement of organized opposition indicate that protesters have no idea what to do if they prevail.

    True, they’re apparently still in the Menshevik phase. Only a matter of time before a ruthless, well-organized, and utterly committed cadre comes to the fore.

  16. neo-neocon Says:

    physics guy: yes, I did see that Telegraph article. IMHO, it’s most likely incorrect.

  17. Mr. Frank Says:

    Our precarious position with respect to ME oil imports has been exacerbated by our president and his party. Freezing Gulf exploration and drilling and continuing to resist drilling in ANWR , the Rockies and off the coasts is a dangerous game. We are again flirting with $4 gas which would derail the recovery. If bad guys get control of the Suez Canal, we might have our own riots.

    Wind, solar, and high speed rail are pipe dreams meant to make lefties feel good.

    It is also possible that our insane ethanol policy is driving up basic food costs in poor countries which leads to instability.

  18. turfmann Says:

    Deliberate malfeasance on the part of the Obamai meets the inevitable crisis.

    Much like a natural gas leak, left to its own devises, eventually finds a spark…

    I cannot help but be pessimistic as to the eventual outcome in Egypt – another gigantic step forward towards the Islamic Caliphate.

    Our economy is fueled by oil and absent a coherent policy on the part of our government to obtain the necessary resources on our own soil (which are hugely abundant) we subrogate our national security to the very enemies of freedom that wish to see us destroyed.

    Please tell me: who in America would be more destructive to the American ideal than Obama as our president.

  19. Perfected democrat Says:

    Well pointed out Mr. Frank, and with the twentieth century behind us now, rational, honest people should know better than to push classic left-wing, “central planning” agendas, “five-year plans”, ad-insufferum…. It looks like the twenty-first century isn’t getting off to any better start than the last century; and which early on got started with the Armenian genocide, and shortly later soviet concocted famines, followed by Maoist inspired famines after WWII, so it starting to like “here we go again”. The House of Representatives needs to impeach Obama asap, if only to make a statement to the left-wing idealogues about the state of reality.

  20. Perfected democrat Says:

    Exactly Turf, and sorry for my typos in my last comment (so it is starting to look like “here we go again”). Who in America would be more destructive to the American ideal than Obama as our president? His buddy Bill Ayers who fantasized about needing to snuff 20-25 million people who refused to go along with the progressive revolution. This is why we should not withold our visible contempt for these people everyday in every way. There is another holocaust looming in the future, and it won’t just be the Jews….

  21. Perfected democrat Says:

    “… and it won’t just be the Jews…”; let me clarify that as “Israelis”, because the majority of American Jews have been complicit in the allowing the Democratic Party to slide way too far left, and they now need to wake up and provide important leadership in bringing the Democratic Party back to toward some semblance of the center; for the record, I’m Jewish, so no whining about these comments….

  22. Tom Says:

    I have been streaming al-Jazeera. My 1st time. It is pretty clear Cairo is an ugly mess of rapacious looting. With Talibanish overtones like partially trashing the national museum’s antiquities; not looting, trashing.

    BTW, just before the blow-up, Egyptian unemployment was officially 9.7%, cf. our 9.4% and Spain’s 20%. Disbelieve Egypt, triple it for doubt, and you get 29%. Is Egypt just a muslim Greece? Will Spain become a Catholic Egypt? Will the world gradually flatten and tilt so all the pieces start sliding off the board?

    Perfected Dem: I share your view, but very much doubt the Left can be shifted unless the Ayers’ solution is applied to them.

  23. Parker Says:

    This revolt appears to be fueled by pent up rage based upon decades of frustration with the Egyptian ruling class. As Sergey noted, most of the participants are young men. Young men in Egypt and most of the Arab world have little prospect for a prosperous life unless they are the sons of the ruling class or have some sort of connection to the ruling class. At this time there are no apparent leaders nor an apparent ideology motivating the protesters. (That could change very rapidly.) Its just rage, frustration, and testosterone burning cars and throwing stones.

    It seems to me that there is only one question: what does the Egyptian military (from the highest general to the lowest foot soldier) believe to be in their best interests. The military will determine whether or not this revolt leads to a significant change in the Egyptian political system or if it ends in a blood bath. I lean towards the blood bath scenario.

    As far as the Obama administration’s response to date is concerned, I think they are in a panic. Basically, its amateur hour + not ready for prime time + deer in the headlight mode. These are not the kind of people you want in charge when TSHTF.

  24. LAG Says:

    “Yes, he may be in over his head, but wouldn’t almost anyone be?”

    The answer to your question is: “That’s the wrong question.”

    The right question is: “Will he rise to the occasion as previous presidents have done?” For example, it’s hard to fault Jimmy Carter (much) for the overthrown of a US ally in Iran. The fault lies in his response to later circumstances.

    That said, the American people deserve leaders who can capture the initiative and do their best to keep it. O doesn’t get this–he’s completely reactive which puts him at the mercy of his opponents, though he wouldn’t characterize them that way.

  25. Parker Says:

    Mr. Frank:

    Our “insane ethanol policy” does contribute to rising food costs. Still it is only a part of the story. Grain is the key commodity of global commerce. Its not as “sexy” as oil or metals, but directly or indirectly humans are dependent upon grains for survival. A large majority of the world population spends somewhere between 50 to 90% of their income on food. As food prices rise these people get desperate and desperate, hungry people are dangerous.

    The 2010 harvest was negatively impacted by the drought in Russia and reduced harvests in Argentina, Australia, much of equatorial Africa, Brazil, China, Indonesia, and the USA. I closely follow the grain market and what I see is that corn, wheat, and soybean futures remain bullish at this time. We should anticipate a 20% (or more) rise in grain futures by June/July.

    Remember this: much of the world is only 30 days away from starvation.

  26. Perfected democrat Says:

    O’s problem is not that he is reactive, it is that he is a dedicated lefty and an islamist sympathizer. His misrepresentation of the realities associated with the so-called palestinians is just one glaring example. Who was the very first foreign leader he chose to make a priority of phoning following his inauguration? Abbas, Arafat’s lady in waiting, the bankroller of the German Olympics Israeli massacre, talk about perverted priorities; since then it has been downhill all the way with these jerks. Our only consolation is that fundamental American institutions are too big and entrenched for them to take down in a space of several years. They (the Obama Democrats) can only do a certain amount of damage, everyone in the world is paying dearly now too.

  27. Mr. Frank Says:


    I’m on board. That’s why I own stock in DBA and MOO. One effect of ethanol policy is to increase corn planting which reduces things like soybeans. When Mississippi farmers are planting corn, you know the market has been distorted.

  28. Michael Says:

    I think it was Turfmqnn, above, who said that we are dealing with malfeasance in the White House. I think that it is easier for us codgers who remember the sixties and early seventies, who heard the Bill Ayers types, who sometimes actually were the Bill Ayers types, except that we grew up, to see that this is all playing out like their fantasy of forty years ago. We must never get swallowed up in the illusion of incompetence. That’s just camouflage.

    I understand that politicians have to maintain the pretense, as do most of the commentators, e.g. Charles Krauthammer. One of the propagandists was interviewing someone last weekend, was it John Boehner? He kept insisting the the Republican answer the question'”Do you believe that Barry has the best interests of America in mind?” To say otherwise is to be crazy like Beck or Bachmann, or stupid like Palin. We anonymous bloggers and commentators can say what we like, because no one takes us seriously anyway, thank G-d.

  29. LAG Says:

    Perfected dem:

    “His misrepresentation of the realities…” ensures that he will be reactive. If your misrepresent, you can never be assured that your solutions will have any relation to the problem. Reality eventually bites everyone in the butt if you live long enough, so misrepresentation only ensures that the road out is just that much steeper when the day comes.

  30. Perfected democrat Says:

    In that context I don’t disagree LAG… Well coined perspective Michael… and I’m out of here for the evening, go to the gym, get ready for the war in the streets here…

  31. rickl Says:

    I linked this Market Ticker post on the earlier thread, but it bears repeating:

    How To Destabilize A Region

    Riots like these will spread around the world and eventually end up here, thanks to skyrocketing food and energy prices.

  32. Beverly Says:

    Wretchard says:

    “. . . events in Egypt are likely to prove as damaging to Riyadh as to Washington. Teheran will have won a great diplomatic victory over the kingdom if Mubarak is thrown out on his ear. Iran backed the demonstrators; the Saudi king backed Mubarak. This follows on the heels of the Saudi defeat in Lebanon. Washington had been counting on Saudi Arabia to hold off the Hezbollah, and the kingdom lost. With the Hezbollah in power, the flag of Iran may soon symbolically fly over Beirut and Cairo.

    “Worse, the Sunni coalition which Washington counted on to contain Iran is now a broken reed. The horse President Obama hoped to ride to the battle is now broken down and being hauled to the glue factory. With a Shi’ite dominated government in Iraq, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and a Muslim Brotherhood that may keep Egypt in neutral or tacitly accept Teheran’s leadership, how could things possibly get worse?

    “They can if Saudi Arabia starts to go. And what response can the U.S. offer? With U.S. combat power in landlocked Afghanistan and with the last U.S. combat forces having left Iraq in August 2010, the U.S. will have little on the ground but the State Department. “By October 2011, the US State Department will assume responsibility for training the Iraqi police and this task will largely be carried out by private contractors.” The bulk of American hard power will be locked up in secondary Southwest Asian theater, dependent on Pakistan to even reach the sea with their heavy equipment.

    “The Obama administration made fundamental strategic mistakes, whose consequences are now unfolding. As I wrote in the Ten Ships, a post which referenced the Japanese Carrier fleet which made up the strategic center of gravity of the enemy during the Pacific War, the center of gravity in the present crisis was always the Middle East. President Obama, by going after the criminals who “attacked America on 9/11″ from their staging base was doing the equivalent of bombing the nameless patch of ocean 200 miles North of Oahu from which Nagumo launched his raid. But he was not going after the enemy center of gravity itself.”

  33. Parker Says:

    Its always the worst of time and the best of times. Humans have lived on the edge of disaster for 100,000s of years. Every so often we fall off and terror and darkness rule for a decade or a few centuries. When things look dark I try to put my circumstances into perspective and see the light source that creates the shadows that trouble my spirit.

    I think its important to try to understand to the maximum extent possible what is “going on”. However, there are so many unknowns these days. Despite the marvelous, instantaneous communications of our digital age, we are so easily confounded by events. To paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld, there are things you know you don’t know and then there are things you don’t know you don’t know.

    These are indeed strange and dangerous days. Far more dangerous than the tension filled days of the cold war and the threat of mutually assured destruction. America, the linchpin of stability for the last 70 years, is becoming unhinged. IMO, the Obama administration is (intentionally or through amateurish bungling) undermining the country fiscally and morally. Far from being the non-partisan uniter of his campaign rhetoric, he seems to purposefully create a divisive atmosphere.

    What I am certain of is this: if we go down the rest of the world goes down. China or any other country or collection of countries you wish to name is not capable of assuming the stabilizing role that America has shouldered since 1940.

    The Second Coming (first stanza)

    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon can not hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre can not hold
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood dimmed tide is loosed and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    — William Butler Yeats

  34. rickl Says:

    Excellent, Beverly and Parker.

    I’ve said all along that I think Obama is deliberately weakening and bringing down America. It’s been the dream of the Left for decades.

    Either they are damn fools who don’t realize what they’ve unleashed, or else they know that plunging the whole world into chaos will bring about One World Government. Either way, they will destroy millions if not billions of lives in the process.

  35. Michael Says:

    Hey, Perfected, I swam my half mile after that last comment. Whatever good a sixty year old can do, I’ll be fit to do it! :0)

  36. Hong Says:

    These Islamist takeovers seem to occur when the President is a spineless liberal. First Carter, now ‘the Mossiah’. Coincidence?

  37. Parker Says:

    Others have noted that Obama’s foreign policies are the second coming of Jimmy Carter. I agree with this assessment. IMO, the black hawk down fiasco in Mogadishu, the embassy bombings in Tanzania and Kenya, the first WTC bombing, the bombing of the Cole, and 9/11/01 may not have occurred had Carter smacked down the Ayatollah Khomeni when the embassy personnel were taken hostage.

    Jimmy’s handling of the situation was a grave national disgrace. Clinton’s weak, pathetic responses to the attacks of the jihadists during the 90s contributed to the image that we were a paper tiger. Obama in his own bungling manner is showing the Islamic fascists the same image of a befuddled giant incapable of responding forcefully to provocations. Their silly nomenclature (Islamic terrorism is now a “man made disaster”) is a symptom of their lack of seriousness.

  38. Promethea Says:

    Why do these traitorous idiots think Americans would ever submit to “one world government”? If anything, the U.S. could break up, and then Americans would become tribalists who take matters into their own hands.

    I hope all readers of Neoneocon also routinely read Belmont Club. That’s my place for reading the words of the “Jacksonian” element of our country.

    Muslim fanatics should actually be afraid of what angry Americans might do to the Arab world. Let’s say that the Muslim Brotherhood takes over Egypt. Then what ? ? ?

    Egypt can’t support itself. If it closed the Suez Canal, then what? The country of Egypt could be destroyed in a day. Ditto Saudi Arabia. Iran could take a little longer, maybe.

    Yes, the U.S. government is currently run by traitors, but that doesn’t mean the American people, united or divided, are disarmed.

    I realize this post is turning into an unfinished plot for a novel. But think it through. We don’t need to be filled with doom and gloom. All of our current and potential enemies are weak. They only exist because we’re not determined to kill them.

  39. Denise Says:

    Parker, that was an excellent post. There truly is nothing to replace the Pax Americana.

    Unless something changes we will see more fruitcakes and thugs like Chavez et al rise and spread poison and violence throughout the world. And I fear that the Egyptian situation will lead to the seizure of power by the best organized and most ruthless elements in politics there.

    Interesting times indeed.

  40. Peter Says:

    Well, at least Israel has plenty of nukes. That’s something anyway.

    I’ve laid in a good supply of both popcorn and ammunition. What was that Chinese curse? May you live in interesting times?

  41. Gary Rosen Says:

    “… the U.S. will have little on the ground but the State Department.”

    G-d help us all.

  42. Bob From Virginia Says:

    I wonder how Obama will make the Egyptian crisis all about him?

    I wonder the MSM media will make Obama the hero of the crisis?

    I wonder the MSM will blame the whole thing on Sarah Palin?

  43. expat Says:

    Did any of you notice the reports of another Obama foreign policy initiative? He is trying to negotiate an agreement to restrict anti-satellite weapons–with Europe. Rest assured folks, the Dutch won’t interfere with Netflix with Barry in the WH. Egypt, on the other hand, is above his paygrade.

    Meanwhile, the tone I am getting from Germany (not the major politicians, who I haven’t heard much from on this) is sympathy for Egyptians who want their rights. There doesn’t seem to be much concern about a Muslim Brotherhood takeover. As usual, Germans want to take the high moral ground without worrying about consequences. Those can always be blamed on the Amis. El Baradei is always mentioned with the modifier Nobel Peace Prize winner, the light that eliminates all shades of gray.

    Did I mention that there are also moves to restrict the sale of sodium thiopental to the US because it is used in lethal injections? Such are the concerns here.

  44. Perfected democrat Says:

    “We must never get swallowed up in the illusion of incompetence. That’s just camouflage.”

    Truth, justice, the stake in the heart; mom, apple pie.

    A half-mile mile swim, at sixty? Fri nite there was a PBS 11th Hour rerun with Jack La Lanne. He sang an inspiring accupella from early 20th century mid-America; if you didn’t see it, said the number one priority was exercise, and second, diet; it was very nice. My best friend worked for Jack in a gym in New York, loved him.

    “Yes, the U.S. government is currently run by traitors, but that doesn’t mean the American people, united or divided, are disarmed.”

    “I realize this post is turning into an unfinished plot for a novel. But think it through. We don’t need to be filled with doom and gloom. All of our current and potential enemies are weak. They only exist because we’re not determined to kill them.”

    Better yet, Pro, your first billion dollar Hollywood movie… wildly popular now as the nation adjusts back to the center in time for the elections; O is right in synch when the MSM is complicit. The plot thickens. Wonder what it would take for O to be able to turn this internet off….

  45. SteveH Says:

    ““The Obama administration made fundamental strategic mistakes, whose consequences are now unfolding.””

    50% of the Americans are damn determined to keep their heads in the sand until bread and canned goods are a luxury. We are so screwed if something doesn’t change. I don’t think we can handle two more years of this, much less six.

  46. Brad Says:


    You don’t quite understand something. We don’t have a choice, ALL the trends in our society are down. ALL of them, from family formation, to average income per worker, to percent of energy/goods produced in the US, etc.

    And you can partly thank idiots who supported “free” trade for at least some of this, as well as Bernake, the Dems and Repubs in congress, etc.

    Here you go:

    You might want to check the posts from 26 Jan to 29 January out. There are only 4 of them and they are rather short.

    We’ve got major issues in this country the elites have put off trying to deal with for far too long. Depending on things in Egypt, things here might get very interesting, very soon.

  47. Brad Says:

    I want to say that John Bolton had some intelligent comments. I’ve been all over the net on this and the general consensus is that the Muslim Brotherhood isn’t in control of these protests. Of course this could be wrong, but I don’t think they are. Only if I was convinced that they were guaranteed to seize power after the government fell would I do any direct intervention, and even that would be “behind the scenes”, so to speak.

  48. Mike Fay Says:

    Time for the President to start making a serious effort making payments on that Nobel Peace Prize.

  49. apachetears Says:

    What was that old Chinese saying once repeated during the Tianmin square revolt?
    Oh Yes, “Hang the canary still in it’s cage in a tree and believing it is free it will sing a sweet song even though it is still caged” the Egyptian people are being allowed to believe they are free and able to affect their future but they are still caged yet do not see this.

  50. MT of Hollywood Says:

    here is a good analysis of the results of all-hail to multi-culturalism: http://www.tnr.com/article/world/82435/egypt-riots-american-liberals-cairo

  51. Parker Says:

    This morning it still appears that the revolt in Egypt is leaderless and has no firm ideology. However, if the current ruling class fails to redirect or squash the anarchy in the streets within the next few days that will change. It is inevitable that some organized group will fill the leadership vacuum and hijack the energy, rage, and desire for change that is fueling the protests.

    The obvious candidates are the military or an Islamist group such as the Muslim Brotherhood. Perhaps the military will come to some sort of power sharing agreement with a group like the Muslim Brotherhood. I can’t see anything positive coming out of this revolt. There is little or no reason to believe a ‘new’ Egypt that is free and democratic (by our definition) will merge.

    I don’t know what our government will do if Islamic extremists seize power in Egypt and I’m not sure there is much it can do given the circumstances. As others have noted Obama will be reactive, not proactive. He wants this crisis to disappear so he can get back to designing the new green economy and ‘investing’ in the future during this imaginary Sputnik moment.

    I think he will revert to form and blame Bush. He will shrug his shoulders and claim he tried to reverse course in Egypt but he was unable to do so because the previous administration made such a mess of Mideast foreign policy.

  52. ElMondoHummus Says:

    Neo, remember what we discussed in a thread a few years back about revolutions eating their own? Well, I wonder what’s going to happen here. There’s a disquieting trend we’ve all seen before underneath the news. We have some Westernized, relatively liberalized (in terms of actual liberty as opposed to suppression… not in terms of “liberalized” in the US political sense of being Big Statist) people like El Baradei being part of a movement in a country where nearly half the population views Hamas favorably, and a significant portion view Hizballah and Al Qaida positively (30 and 20 percent; source: Michael Totten’s blog). And we have this in a country where the Muslim Brotherhood holds much public respect and societal power despite their official banning.

    And not incidentally, in a country that lays claim to being the birthplace of both that Muslim Brotherhood, it’s founder (Hassan al-Banna), and one of it’s most influential “guiding lights” (Sayyid Qutb).

    You see where I’m going here? There’s a face of legitimate complaint led by acceptable figures (like El Baradei, as well as other westernized, relatively liberalized opposition leaders) with radicals hovering in the wings. Their’s a sympathetic face of public disgust with autocracy covering an anarcy of looting and non-constructive (indeed, anti-constructive) activities. And we saw that happen before: Iran.

    The question we’re not getting answers to is: What are the radical Islamicists doing? The Muslim Brotherhood is claiming that they’re not attempting to insinuate themselves into the leadership of these protestors. They’re saavy enough to understand that giving the protest movement a radical face is a sure way to get the west actively involved. But at the same time, knowing history, you have to understand that those radical islamicists are not simply standing on the sidelines either.

    So, going back to “eating their own”: The overarching historical question is, will the people in the movement, like the non-radicalized students, the Anglophilic fraction of the students and protestors (and make no mistake, there are western-friendly elements there, it’s just that there are just as many western-hostile elements too) and anyone else who’s goal is simply to protest an admittedly oppressive Mubarak government survive and manage to liberalize their society in the face of such organized and experience radicalists waiting in the wings? Or will we see a repeat of Iran? And unfortunately, of Lebanon (not the past, but what’s happening now (see Michael Totten’s blog for details))?

    The unfortunate thing is, there are no examples of increasing liberalization (again, as in “freedom”, not as in Democrat-statist-policy-implementation) movements succeeding in the Middle East. From North Africa to Persia, and circling the Arab world in-between, there are simply no real examples.

    I fear that, in a few years, we’ll have a whole new generation of rebels who will be eaten alive by the very movement they started. History, unfortunately, demonstrates that that is the most likely outcome. But here’s to hoping I’m wrong, and that the Islamicists do not succeed in whatever power-play they undoubtedly will execute in the near future. They’ve caused enough damage to this world.

  53. ElMondoHummus Says:

    Aha. Found your old thread (you used the term “devouring”):


  54. kolnai Says:

    Just saw at Hotair and the Hill that ElBaredei is now Brotherhood-approved, and has been making some pretty hair-raising statements about the not-so-good old boys (“The Brotherhood is not a violent group. They are not extremists.”, etc.).

    One thing is for sure – that man will be a disaster as head of state, if he manages, that is, to outlast the usual Kerensky-period for would-be “liberal” reformers. Not that he wouldn’t be co-opted anyway.

    The UN conveyor belt is awesome. Join the bureaucrats, yelp about oppression, help Iran get some nukes, get the Nobel Peace price, become a “liberal” revolutionary. All of which describes the career of a man who did one thing, and one thing only: aid the Islamists in expanding the realm.

    Orwell didn’t know the half of it.

  55. ElMondoHummus Says:

    Oh, joy. Yeah, that Hotair blog post had it right: “The MB has decided on its cat’s paw”.

    It’s so glaringly obvious what direction this is going in. And just how bad would having a radicalized Egypt be? The best hope would be for a back-and-forth stalemating between radical islamicists and their opposition, a-la Lebanon. And when that’s the best hope, you know the situation is really hell in a handbasket.

    WWIII will not be between the West and Communist nations. It will be between Westernized, liberalized nations and oppressed, radicalized Islamicist ones. I don’t know if it’ll happen within my lifetime or not, but that’s what the sides will be. And it won’t be the West that instigates or fires the first shot either. We all know it won’t.

    As a side note: What does it tell you when radicalized Islamicization manages to replace Communism as the face of oppression in the world? The Communists were bad enough, bad enough in spades. Their ruin was epic in scale; look at what happened in Cambodia as one example. And radical Islamicists are not as educated as the Communists were, nor do they have the same level of scruples.

    Man. There are times I hate to peer into the future.

  56. Doug Says:

    John Bolton’s comments provided clarity. It will be interesting to see how O puts this new crisis to use.

  57. jeg Says:

    Many have suggested that the Obama administration will be Jimmy Carters second term. Let’s see, Iran fell to protesters during the Carter administration, and unleashed decades of terrorism. Now Egypt may fall during the Obama administration. I fear what could be unleashed by that, and have no confidence that our leadership is capable of appropriate response.

  58. Tom Says:

    El-baradei is doing and will do as he’s told by MB; he didn’t just fly in on the wings of hope.Like the lady riding the tiger, once on, can’t get off.

    The big ? boils down to the military. If the military goes with MB, nothing much will happen in the short term. Baraq will not reduce our $2B/yr bribe to them either, no matter what. I expect Suez Canal transit fees will go up.

    Some in Israel are undoubtedly again beating their heads against the Wailing Wall: “We had the Sinai, and we gave it back??”

  59. rickl Says:

    jeg Says:
    January 30th, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    Many have suggested that the Obama administration will be Jimmy Carters second term.

    My guess is that we will soon find ourselves longing for the days of Carter.

    Carter was (arguably) a patriotic American, albeit foolish and misguided. We have no such illusions about Obama.

  60. expat Says:

    The gullible Europeans will fall for whatever El Baradei throws at them, so we can’t expect much in terms of partners in resisting MB takeover even if BO should decide to support more secular forces or at least help them have a voice.

    One thing that is different in this round of the clash of civilizations is modern communications. In some ways, we may eventually experience an Islamic equivalence of the Tea Party, not in demonstrations or rallies, but in awareness of other points of view. Just as the internet awakened many Americans to the one-sidedness of MSM reporting, perhaps young Muslims (and not just those of the upper and professional classes) will start to question the wisdom received from their betters. Perhaps they will be just as fed up with the condescension as Americans are.

  61. Sergey Says:

    Caroline Glick take:

  62. expat Says:

    Claudia Rosett talks about El Baradei:


  63. ziontruth Says:


    “Some in Israel are undoubtedly again beating their heads against the Wailing Wall: ‘We had the Sinai, and we gave it back??’ ”

    Yes. Though, speaking for myself, I’m not wailing, I’m angry. Angry that we paid in hard cash (land, and oil-rich at that) for decades of bubbling hatred (cartoons in the Egyptian newspapers that would make Julius Streicher proud) that’s now shedding all formal pretense; AND we’re going to be blamed for Mubarak’s dictatorship (go here for a characteristic sample from the usual Leftist suspects).

    For the sake of our hostess, I’m being very restrained in expressing what I’m really thinking right now.

  64. Ymarsakar Says:

    It’s a waste to see the efforts and product from the investment in Iraq and Afghanistan end up in the trash elsewhere.

  65. Parker Says:

    Plenty of great posts on this thread and interesting links. Thanks for expressing ideas and opinions that help me think through the ramifications of this crisis and new info to help me separate the wheat from the chaff.

    The Caroline Glick piece in the Jerusalem Post was of particular interest to me. The Israelis are the ones who are on the front line if Egypt (and other arab states) go to the jihad loons.

  66. gs Says:

    No one foresaw this; no one.

    Yes and no, Neo.

    That this particular shoe would drop, of course I didn’t foresee. That some shoe or other would drop was well overdue.

    And it feels highly unlikely that this shoe will be the only one.

  67. Sergey Says:

    The next shoes to fall would be civil unrests in Central Asia republics: Kazakhstan, Usbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgizstan. Oh, this already happened. God help us all!

About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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