Egypt may be changing our world

Egypt. Wow. I just plugged in – been doing yard work most of today. I just brought up Al Jazeera English for the live feed and have my teevee on as well – (the crowd shots are identical right now).

We don’t get moments like this often. The entire world is watching as the oldest nation on the planet charts its future. It’s fraught with danger but there is no stopping it now. If Mubarak doesn’t firmly resign, I fear greatly for the next days. And even if – as expected – he does, there is always plenty to fear from instability, from jockeying for power – not to mention the enormity of the economic hit the country took and must now recover from.

I wish them a bright future. I wish us all a bright future. If Egypt succeeds, we’ll live in a different world.

19 responses to “Egypt may be changing our world

  1. Egypt can’t succeed; at least the insurrectionists can’t.

    Revolts don’t solve economic troubles and the economy is supposedly the main complaint that led to the revolt, far more than the corruption which is a normal and expected part of life over there and has been for far longer than the insurrectionists have been alive.

    Either Mubarek will stay on – best-case scenario but only if he can quell the revolt – or he’ll leave or be ousted.

    If the latter, it’s likely that the military junta will become the “caretaker” government until the next elections – which they’ll govern to ensure a stability-driven President is “elected.”

    This won’t change the world much at all, since it will be quite similar to what’s already there.

    The only way this changes the world is if the mob gets there way. If that happens then Egypt dissolves into chaos and the Islamists will either fully takeover or build “strongholds” and use them as staging areas for their attacks.

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    • Well, we know the short term answer anyway – Mubarak has refused and the crowds are already angry. It’ll probably be an ugly night. So will it burn itself out or run its course? Who knows.

      I’m listening to one of the better NBC reporters (Ron Allen I think) and he’s in the square and sounds nervous.

      I still think that whatever happens in Egypt changes everything – it’s the power of the Arab world.

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      • Egypt the power of the Arab world? I think you need to rethink that; they’re largely not Arab and largely not well-liked by their Arab neighbors.

        In any event, you’re right in saying it will be an ugly night. In the morning though, Mubarek will still be there or there’ll be a military leader in his place after he’s been escorted to place of exile.

        …And the crowds will mill about, burn and loot for awhile, and fade away until the next time they convince convince themselves that they can do something. Poor, deluded fools.

        Mr. Scott, below, has the right of it when it comes to Egypt’s economy. I know; I used to live and work there.

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        • jonolan – when I said ‘power’ I used the wrong word; I meant the ‘heart’ of the Arab world because of the scope of history and the size of the country. Not Arabs? Really? Well of course they are of the African continent, but do they not speak Arabic?

          How interesting that you lived there – are they unpopular with other Arabs because of the treaty with Israel or for cultural reasons?

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  2. Ms. Holland,

    Daniel Henninger wrote a piece today in the WSJ about the economy of Egypt. He said that no matter how the political situation plays out, good or bad, Egypt has economic structures that will not allow it to produce enough jobs for it’s largely young population .

    He contrasted Egypt with Turkey. Both Muslim countries . However Turkey is doing far better economically than Egypt . The primary factor is that Turkey has only 13% of it’s workers employed by the State, while Egypt has 35%. The capitalism that is in Egypt is crony capitalism .

    If you try to run a private business in Egypt and you are not in the group that the government favors, you will fail . If you dare to compete against the cronies, you will fail . When you have young men who have no hope of making enough money to support their families, you have trouble . You have thew Muslim Brotherhood .

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    • I agree entirely (uh oh! we’re agreeing) – in that regard Egypt is much more like Iraq pre-war than Turkey. I also understand their infrastructure has been completely neglected since Sadat was killed. Today Chris Matthews was talking about how things work in that part of the world and used the old word ‘baksheeh’ which we don’t often hear anymore – I remember hearing it all the time when I was a kid and Nassar and the Army overthrew King Farouk (the fat one).

      The Muslim Brotherhood will absolutely take a role in whatever the outcome is. Not much we can do about that but they are not the ayatollahs of Iran. And in any case, it’ll be a reality that we’ll have to deal with when we see the shape of it. By no means do I beleive that they’ll turn Egypt into Iran.

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    • They speak Egyptian-Arabic, also called Cairene, which is different from the more standard dialects and includes many more borrow words from Coptic, and Western languages than is normative for Arabic strains.

      Ethnically and culturally they’ve been Islamized but not fully Arabized.

      As to their intermittant problems with the Arabs – It’s older than the Egypt-Israel treaty. Egypt balked the nascent Arab League’s plans to exterminate the Jews in Israel in “a war of extermination and a momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades” (Abdul Azzam) and then further balked the Arab Leauge’s multi-national land grab in the 1948 Arab–Israeli War.

      Then Egypt, fearing the Hashemites would control all of Palestine, prevented the Arab League from tossing the Palestinians, now useless to them, under the bus and forced / coerced them into recognizing a Palestinian “government in exile.”

      Sadat’s treaty with Israel did get them, one of it’s founders, kicked out of the Arab League for a while though. 😉

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      • Whoops! Wrong thread. Sorry.

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      • It’s been said that wars and political disruptions are the only way Americans learn geography or history. A bit harsh, but truer than we’d like I’m sure.

        I hope we in this country can learn enough about Egypt’s history and aspirations so we can see past the MB threat.

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        • There’s no point in seeing past it; it’s the only part of this fiasco that has any real bearing upon Americans and the only rightful basis for our having an opinion on the matter, much less do anything to support any faction in any way.

          The rest of it is really none of our business.

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          • Perhaps so. But I’ll indulge my individual right to reaction – I don’t have strong opinions on this – I’m observing, marking what I observe and always hoping for the success of the aspirations of any people.

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  3. Jonolan,

    I only know what I happen to come across in my reading . That you have lived in Egypt, I believe makes you the authority on this board . You have the podium .

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  4. Well, looks like ol’ Mubarak has finally kicked the can of power and has quit.

    A military commitee is in place, hopefully only temporarily.

    In any case, the people have spoken. Sic-Semper-Fricken-Tyrannus!

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    • Indeed! I had to look it up (cleverly leaving out the ‘Fricken’ which is perfectly good Latin, but hampered the translating. So I add it back in my English version “thus always to frackin’ tyrants”.

      I bet the military TOLD him he had to go. and offered him a ride to Shehr im Sheik or whatever that place on the beach is called.

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      • Doubtful, Moe. The military council now ruling Egypt is the same men, all appointed by Mubarek, who’ve been effectively running what passes for a federal government in Egypt for many years.

        The question will be who the military allows the people to “elect” as the next president and under what terms he will be allowed to take power.

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        • Heard an interesting bit yesterday on PBS – a panelist was noting that while we all know that hte Egyptian military has been training in the US for years, the older officers – the generals and top aides – were all trained by the Soviet military back in the day and modeled themselves accordingly. He suggested the upcoming officer corp won’t adhere so rigidly to the ‘old ways’.

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          • That’s pretty accurate, but those American-trained junior and mid-level officers won’t be running the show; the Old Guard will.

            That’s actually good for the US because they’ll fight to maintain stability and as much of the status quo as possible, which means the Islamists of Muslim Brotherhood will find it difficult to gain any open power.

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          • The fact that the Egyptian people have so much trust in their military will certainly help to keep things stable. I understand that it’s compulsary service so every family has or has had a military connection. That alone keeps them somewhat honest. (notwithstanding all those beach villas you told me about the fortunes the generals have amassed).

            I hear Pakistan is indicting Musharraf??!! Don’t even know what that means.

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  5. Pingback: Half a world in revolt | Whatever Works

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