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Thread: Egypt's Spring Revolution (2011-2013)

  1. #161
    Council Member Surferbeetle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    Traditionally most Europeans have not thought so.
    Pete,

    Appreciate it.

    I am familiar with:

    • The concept of Deutsches Leid-Kulture. (See the online magazine Perlentaucher for an example)




    Gastarbeiter (German pronunciation: [ˈɡastˌʔaɐ̯baɪtɐ] ( listen)) is German for "guest worker" (or "guest workers" – the plural is the same as the singular). It refers to migrant workers who had moved to Germany mainly in the 1960s and 70s, seeking work as part of a formal guest worker programme (Gastarbeiterprogramm)



    In October 2010 Merkel told a meeting of younger members of her conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party at Potsdam that attempts to build a multicultural society in Germany had "utterly failed",[24] stating: "The concept that we are now living side by side and are happy about it does not work"[25] and that "we feel attached to the Christian concept of mankind, that is what defines us. Anyone who doesn't accept that is in the wrong place here."[26] She continued to say that immigrants should integrate and adopt Germany's culture and values. This has added to a growing debate within Germany[27] on the levels of immigration, its effect on Germany and the degree to which Muslim immigrants have integrated into German society.
    • The controversy surrounding Herr Thilo Sarrazin's position regarding what it means to be European


    Thilo Sarrazin (born 12 February 1945) is a former member of the Executive Board of the Deutsche Bundesbank (until 30 September 2010)[1][2] and a German politician (SPD). Sarrazin previously served as senator of finance for the State of Berlin from January 2002 until April 2009, when he was appointed to his position at Bundesbank. He has been subject to controversy for statements about German immigration policy and for claiming the Jewish people's positive contributions to society are partly due to genetics.[3][4] All this happened in relation to the publication of his book Deutschland schafft sich ab ("Germany Does Away With Itself" or "Germany Abolishes Itself").






    • David Duke's impact upon political thought in the US


    I also believe that it is important to allow for dialog (to include in the politcal realm) on these issues in order to insure that the topics are not driven underground. European and American leadership, or lack thereof, on these topics directly relates to the effects that an absence of dialog (primarily in the political realm) has had upon the middle east, in particular, Egypt.

    P.S.

    Herr Gerhard Schroder's thoughts on the EU and Turkey's place in it, as reported in an October 17th 2005 post on the German Bundesregierung's Website, are worthy of consideration:

    In a statement made during a visit to Istanbul, Chancellor Gerhard Schröder indicated that the sole objective of accession talks with Turkey is its membership in the European Union, adding that having a strong Turkey in a strong European Union would constitute a significant gain and embody the meaning of the EU motto "United in diversity".

    Speaking at an iftar dinner, a traditional meal served at the end of the day during Ramadan to break the fast, Schröder noted that "the initiation of accession talks is a major success for everyone concerned," adding that the objective of the talks, begun on October 3, is the attainment of Turkey's full membership in the European Union, and nothing other than that, evoking a strong round of applause from his audience. He said there is no longer anyone in the European Union who calls this into question and that this will not be done by the new German government either.

    Commenting after a meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Schröder said it is his assumption that the new German government will be interested in continuing to develop the excellent and very long-standing relations that exist between Germany and Turkey. He stressed that Germany is Turkey's most important trading partner and the fact that the 2.5 million people of Turkish origin who live in Germany represent a major task with regard to cultural integration, a task both countries want to be involved in. Prime Minister Erdogan thanked Germany and its Chancellor for the many years of strong support provided on the road leading up to accession talks. "Turkey never forgets friends who have supported it in difficult times", Erdogan said.
    It is also important to note that Frau Dr. Merkel does not agree with this view (further discussed in a 29 Sept 2009 article in the Telegraph entitled: Angela Merkel win ends Turkey's EU hopes)

    Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) and the Free Democrats (FDP) are both hostile to the accession of the overwhelmingly Muslim country of 71 million.

    The CDU is against the Turks joining for cultural reasons while the FDP leader, and probable new foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle has said the country's economy is too far below European standards to integrate comfortably with other members. With almost three million ethnic Turks living in Germany, many as citizens, Germany also fears there would be a flood of immigrants after Turkish accession.
    It's my opinion that the effects of the turmoil in Egypt (keeping in mind that it's only 1638 kilometers from Cairo to Riyadh), have a strong potential to impact how the EU and the US (as well as Asia) conduct business in the ME by impacting our how our political and economic institutions are constructed and how they function...

    Steve
    Last edited by Surferbeetle; 02-07-2011 at 06:48 AM. Reason: Added PS
    Sapere Aude

  2. #162
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    I think you're substantially overstating the extent of US influence... and if the Israelis had influence of their own to use inside Egypt, they wouldn't be shrieking frantically and fruitlessly for the US to do their bidding.
    Well, on one side, it is a matter of fact that even Sarah Pailin has more to say about the future Egyptian president, than something like 80 Million of Egyptians.

    On the other side, I nowhere said the Israelis have influence inside Egypt: only that one really can't deny they practically dictate the US foreign policy in the Middle East.

    I sometimes wonder who will miss the declining American influence more, the Americans who wielded it or the critics who used it to explain everything that happened in the world. Things will be more complex without a clear bogeyman, and we may have to actually exert ourselves and try to understand the full range of forces at play.
    One of particularly interesting things about the developments in Egypt is, that if that country really introduces some kind of "democracy", the (agreed: declining) US influence is not going to be as important any more. Which is why it's not surprising that Noah Chomsky concluded It's not radical Islam that worries the US – it's independence.

    For Egypt, of course, the hard part begins when Mubarak leaves. Transitions out of dictatorship are far from easy, especially if democracy comes into the picture, which it may or may not in this case. Popular expectations will be very high and government capacity is likely to be very low, a stressful combination. We're halfway through chapter one, and it's likely to be quite the saga.
    We're in full agreement here, except that I'm not as optimistic: IMHO, this saga is still only a step behind the starting line.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs
    A revival of the Russian-Arab ties of the 67-73 period would be the greatest possible failure of European security policy (short of actual great war) imaginable.
    Let me be bold and conclude that this is next to impossible.

    The reason for this is an entire series of incredible (often unbelieveable) failures on the part of Moscow that occurred in recent years. Hope, nobody minds me going into some details, and you're going to find them "relevant" when I explain; if nothing else, most are related to "arms" and "military".

    Algeria: in 2006, Putin travelled to Algeria to sign that "huge" deal (reported worth around US$7.5 billion), envisaging a very complex agreement that included the Russians writting off most of the Algerian debt (something like US$4.5 - which the Algerians were not paying back since years), Algerian gas deliveries and "return" of some 60 MiG-21s and MiG-23s, in exchange for newly-built MiG-29SMT-2s, Su-30s and Yak-130s etc. Large parts of this deal collapsed in late 2008. See bellow why.

    Syria: the media in Moscow reported it is selling arms to Syria in 1999, in 2000, in 2001 (supposedly, they delivered MiG-29s and Su-27s), in 2006, in 2008, in 2009 (supposedly, Syrians ordered MiG-31s) etc. If you ask the spokesman of Rosoboronexport, he's even now talking about plans to "sell" 40+ Su-30s and 60 Yak-130s to Damascus as if this is already taking place. Actually, through all of these times they did not sell anything at all to Damascus. Not a single bullet.

    Where is the problem? Most of former Soviet clients have huge debts for arms delivered back in the 1960s and 1970s, which they refuse to pay. Syrian argument, just for example, is that this armament was of poor quality, that it did not guarantee even technological ballance with the Israel, and that it only caused immense losses. Algerians think similar. Facit, they are not paying.

    That's why negotiations between Damascus and Mosow (reports about Syrian debts range between US$15 and 20 billion), and between Algiers and Moscow were stalled for years, and why it took Putin's trip to Algiers to bring at least that contract to a conclusion. However, as soon as RSK MIG finally began delivering "new" MiG-29s to Algeria, back in 2007 (a few months before it was to do the same with Syria), the Algerians found out these are no newly-built planes, as agreed, but overhauled (read: overpainted) aircraft built in the early 1990s. Furthermore, the delivery of Su-30s to Algeria slipped almost two years behind the schedule. The Russians ignored Algerian demands for an explanation until the Algerians almost killed the entire deal: MiG-29s had to be taken back to Russia on Roso's expenses, and the money Algerians transferred as payment for MiG-29s was swiftly transferred from MIG's to Sukhoi's account. Arrogant as they usually are when it comes to "dumb Arabs", the Russians explained the problem in "internal Algerian disputes". The fact is that only an accelerated (though still late) delivery of first Su-30s saved this contact. Still, to make things worse, the Russians then proved unable to deliver ordered Yak-130s; before the Algerians cancelled that contract for the second time, they offered (in spring 2010) a second batch of Su-30s, resulting in a situation where Algeria is about to get 44 aircraft of that type for a price somebody else wouldn't get even 20...

    Such "improvisations" did not save MIG RSK's participation in it, though, then - warned by the Algerian experience - the Syrians followed the pattern, checked what the Russians delivered to them, and killed their entire contract (BTW, Syrians were already offended by Russians claiming they ordered MiG-31s, which they did not). The Russians then explained this Syrian decision with "Damascus lacks money": ridiculous in the light of the fact that they had to writte off most of the Syrian debt just in order to get the order for MiG-29s signed. Furthermore, curiously enough, instead of "new" Russian MiGs, Syrians ended purchasing 33 old MiG-23MLDs from Belarus stocks...

    (For details about this affair see "Algerian Fighter Deal Threatened", in Combat Aircraft magazine, December 2007; "Syrien lenht MiGs ab", in Fliegerrevue 07/2009 and "Alte MiG-23 kommt zu neuen Ehren", in Fliegerrevue 12/2009)

    I have no doubt that the "news" about these affairs spread quite swiftly through various Arab capitals. Surely enough, countries like Sudan and Yemen continue ordering, but they know they are purchasing second-hand equipment. I find it little surprising that vast majority of Russian attempts to cooperate with Arab countries on the plan of gas and oil exploatation, or sell them entire refineries, ended in similar fashion.

    BTW, Russian attempts in other Arab countries were not more successful. Moscow offered, at various opportunities during recent years, MiG-29s, helicopters etc. to Egypt Eventually, the Egyptians concluded it's much more convenient to continue getting US arms for free (on the top of that, they bought only a few An-72s from Ukraine).

    Finally, the Russian offer, sometimes reported as "contract signed", to sell hundreds of helicopters and other hardware to Saudi Arabia, turned out as an (successful) attempt to press the USA and EU to sell new F-15s, EF-2000s and other stuff, respectivelly...
    Last edited by CrowBat; 02-07-2011 at 07:36 AM. Reason: Addition of References

  3. #163
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrowBat View Post
    Well, on one side, it is a matter of fact that even Sarah Pailin has more to say about the future Egyptian president, than something like 80 Million of Egyptians.
    How does one assess such influence at all, let alone declare it "a matter of fact"? I don't see that Sarah Palin has anything at all to say about it. Neither do most Egyptians, at least individually, though when enough of them get together they get to say something. The army is in the picture in a big way. The business elite are in the picture. The Muslim Brotherhood is in the picture. The emerging youth groups are in the picture, as is the urban middle class; both with limited organization but with the potential to make their presence felt. Within all of these groups and many others there are divisions and factions. How they will sort it out and what balance is reached remains to be seen, but any of the above have more to say than Sarah P.

    Quote Originally Posted by CrowBat View Post
    On the other side, I nowhere said the Israelis have influence inside Egypt: only that one really can't deny they practically dictate the US foreign policy in the Middle East.
    They don't seem able to persuade or force the US to support Mubarak.

    Quote Originally Posted by CrowBat View Post
    One of particularly interesting things about the developments in Egypt is, that if that country really introduces some kind of "democracy", the (agreed: declining) US influence is not going to be as important any more. Which is why it's not surprising that Noah Chomsky concluded It's not radical Islam that worries the US – it's independence.
    Noam Chomsky is a joke without a punchline; I've never seen a thing he wrote on matters political that was worth the bytes it took to distribute it. He does preach rather adeptly to a choir that seems to suspend critical thought as they approach his revelations, but if you're not a member of the choir it's generally pretty pointless. On linguistics it may be another matter; I'm told he knows something there. I'm not in a position to judge.

    A transition into democracy or some semblance thereof could have all kinds of results, but the most probable is a long and difficult period for Egypt. Cultivating democracy and getting it to function on soil long occupied by a despots is a very tricky thing indeed. The threat of a takeover by the Muslim Brothers is only one scenario, another (and as likely) one is simple paralysis, with a plethora of poorly differentiated parties and candidates unable to achieve a meaningful mandate or take any meaningful action. Likely outcome might be a military coup, with or without US support, likely with support from a populace tired of dysfunction. These scenarios tend to see popular expectation sky high and government capacity dead low, a frustrating combination.

    What it will or will not mean to the US remains to be seen; I for one have little interest in ideologically driven prophecy.

    I don't see Russian (or Chinese) influence or presence as a threat.

    I think most of us knew all along that today's crop of Middle eastern despots wouldn't last forever. How and when the transition would begin nobody knew. How fast it will proceed from nation to nation, nobody knows. What individual course each nation will take remains unknown. It will be sloppy at times and downright ugly at times. I don't personally see these developments as a "threat" in any overall sense. Along the way there will be threats, opportunities, complications and mistakes. There always are. The boat has started rocking, it had to sometime. We'll see where it ends up and manage as we go. There are lots of worse ways it could have started.

    On the bright side, Syria and/or Libya could be next in line, not such a bad thing at all... and I'm sure some folks in Iran are watching closely.

    Many of us don't fear independence at all, no matter what the Chomskies may pretend, and I'm not convinced that "The US" generically is all that terrified of it either.
    Last edited by Dayuhan; 02-07-2011 at 08:29 AM.

  4. #164
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    @Surferbeetle: "Leitkultur". "Leid" has a very different meaning...

    ------

    I explained the 'Turkey is not European' thing elsewhere in the forum already.

  5. #165
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Meet Mubarak's American fan club
    The pundits and politicians who are siding with the brutal dictator over Egypt's people

    By Justin Elliott
    (salon.com)

  6. #166
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    It comes down to the question of if it is more important to cling to governments that are known despots, but that will generally support US interests when it suits them even though such relationships empower organizations such as AQ, the Muslim Brotherhood, etc and are arguably the primary causative factor of the increasing terrorist violence against the West;

    or

    Is it more important to risk the possible rise of governments that may be less supportive of Western interests, but that draw their legitimacy from a governed populace that no longer feels the need for organizations such a AQ or the Muslim Brotherhood (in their current form, anyhow); and that no longer feels that they must act out by conducting acts of terrorism against the West to achieve self-determination and greater civil liberties?

    What happened in Iran in '79 is tragic, but it is due far more to our emplacing the Shah and working to keep him in power until the whole thing collapsed, than it is the fault of the Mullahs. They were just the ones organized and avilable to step into the vacuum. One tremendous upside of the ouster of US influence there, however, is that Iranian populaces no longer blame the US for their current government and therefore do not feel compelled to conduct acts of terrorism against the US, and are in fact largely pro-American. The same is not true in these Sunni Arab countries where the US is still perceived as the power that sustains these Despots in ways that enable there growing personal wealth and disdain for their own people.

    Powerful Jewish, Arab, and corporate lobbies are at work to sustain the status quo. Also right wing pundits who live to criticize anything President Obama or the Democrats do even when it puts them at odds with their own platforms (Tea Partiers love to wave the Constitution in the face of opponents, as if to proclaim that no one else backs the principles contained there in; and then go on record on the criticality of sustaining in power a handful of governments that are some of the least supportive of those same principles.)

    It is inevitable that the current state of governance across the Middle East will change, as the current construct is unsustainable. To attempt to prop up the dominoes would be huge mistake. To call for the dominoes to fall is a huge mistake as well. Success lies in a middle ground that recognizes the end of impunity and embraces greater populace input and evolution of governance across the region.
    Robert C. Jones
    Intellectus Supra Scientia
    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

  7. #167
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    Thumbs up Governance is a learned attribute!

    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    Noam Chomsky is a joke without a punchline; I've never seen a thing he wrote on matters political that was worth the bytes it took to distribute it. He does preach rather adeptly to a choir that seems to suspend critical thought as they approach his revelations, but if you're not a member of the choir it's generally pretty pointless. On linguistics it may be another matter; I'm told he knows something there. I'm not in a position to judge.

    A transition into democracy or some semblance thereof could have all kinds of results, but the most probable is a long and difficult period for Egypt. Cultivating democracy and getting it to function on soil long occupied by a despots is a very tricky thing indeed. The threat of a takeover by the Muslim Brothers is only one scenario, another (and as likely) one is simple paralysis, with a plethora of poorly differentiated parties and candidates unable to achieve a meaningful mandate or take any meaningful action. Likely outcome might be a military coup, with or without US support, likely with support from a populace tired of dysfunction. These scenarios tend to see popular expectation sky high and government capacity dead low, a frustrating combination.
    I agree with Dayuhan - it is silly to claim that the US wants to retain Mubarak. We have to work with folks we don't like sometimes - and as I've said before it is better to have some sort of relationship. Trying to prevent war in the Middle East by giving Egypt or Saudi arms packages isn't the same thing as supporting dictators. And if we had openly dumped Mubarak immediately it would have a significant impact on all of our alliances - even with democracies, for how can our word be trusted if we change our mind at the first sign of trouble? President Bush in particular tried to make democracy a priority in the region. You can scoff if you like, but the man made it the US policy. We've been warning all of these folks publicly and in private to democratize while they can - not our fault they don't listen. And allowing Iran to dominate the region or Israel and Egypt to go to war would not have helped. Suggesting that it would ignores reality.

    The big point is the one on governance. It took the US 11 years from declaring independence to figure out its (somewhat) final form of government. For the first few years of that governance was extremely weak and numerous abuses of different groups occurred, to include a lot of score settling between Tories and the patriots... not all of which was politically motivated. A lot of folks didn't want to be involved.* 74 years later a full-up war occurred due to disagreements over flaws in the basic system of governance. It was only in the last 40 years that the equality we supposedly represent was finally available to all, and still in imperfect form at that. We forget our own struggles at our peril.

    The problem in Egypt (or any other country emerging from totalitarianism) is that the very elements of society that would form the basis for governance have been repressed or exiled for years, and have no legitimacy. Building the institutions to provide a democratic government takes time... which is why I agree with Dayuhan that Egypt will be messy and probably experience some serious speed bumps. Anyone who thinks that things will be rosy is ignoring our own history here in the US.

    That said, I have to say that I still think that folks basically want to be free. If they are constantly worrying about not dying, then they will be less likely to express this desire. But once their economic situation reaches a point where their basic needs (ie their right to "Life") are not constantly threatened and they can "pursue happiness", they will tend to want to enjoy liberty as well. We should also not confuse ourselves into thinking that this will result in their country becoming our ally. At the same time, one would hope that it will result in their not desiring to go to war with us (or their neighbors) and instead focus on improving their economic position in the world. The international system set up by the Allies after WWII has lifted more people out of poverty than anyone could have predicted, and prevented another great power war. Additionally, more countries than ever experience political change as a result of peaceful means and not violence or civil war. All of these are good things- while the US isn't perfect, can anyone name another system of governance/superpower that would have spent as many lives and as much money as we have to set up such global goods?

    V/R,

    Cliff


    * For a good discussion of this, see Shy, John. “The American Revolution: The Military Conflict Considered as a Revolutionary War.” In Essays on the American Revolution. Edited by Stephen G. Kurtz and James H. Hutson, 121–156. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1973.

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    About the US role, I think the US administration includes people who are genuinely unhappy with being openly and totally associated with torturers and murderers. At the same time, their is a huge bureaucracy that has its own momentum regarding “stability” (in this case, its mostly Israel that is the issue, othewise the US has few worries about Egypt..the Suez canal is not a life and death issue for America). I dont think the US has a unified and clear policy in these matters. They can get surprised by events and they can over-react or under-react. They are not God. They are just people, mostly mediocre bureaucrats trying to cover their ass.
    Given the power of the Israeli lobby (decreasing now, but still very very powerful) the US is not going to stop interfering in the Middle East (oil is an even bigger issue, but that is focused on the Gulf, SA, Iraq). But eventually the US may be replaced by China in some places, which has fewer problems with open thuggishness and torture. While other places will manage to grow up and run their own governments instead of being ruled by some thugs supported by USA or China. Egypt may be lucky enough to get to that point, but not in a straight line. Its probably going to be a rough ride. Egypt’s economy is not in great shape and population is rather large. Its going to be tough for secular democrats in such a setting. Sure, India has done it, but the historical background is very different..

  9. #169
    Council Member Pete's Avatar
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    Can anyone tell me when the Middle East has not been the source of constant trouble? All my life I've been hearing about its wars and the failure of peace talks to resolve the issues that caused them. On those rare occasions when I go to church I even hear about old imperial and political troubles there 2000 years ago, as recorded in 1662 in the Book of Common Prayer:

    Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
    Was crucified, dead, and buried:
    He descended into hell;
    The third day he rose again from the dead;
    He ascended into heaven
    I sincerely hope that the people of Egypt eventually get a government that is to their liking, but I also hope they don't return to being at war or almost-war with Israel again. Realpolitik certainly has its shortcomings, but U.S. policy towards Sadat and Murabak had its origin in a good-faith effort by the U.S. to bring an end to the continuous cycle of wars over there.
    Last edited by Pete; 02-07-2011 at 10:17 PM.

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    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    So what? All non-arctic regions seem to be sources of constant troubles.

    Isn't that an interesting coincidence with the distribution of human populations?

  11. #171
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    For a change ITV News (UK commercial channel) have carried two reports on the protests in Alexandria; one on the protests, with an emphasis on the city being a Muslim Brotherhood stronghold, with a group of women and the second reportedly of the police firing from the rooftop of a police station on passing protesters. Sadly an uninvolved young girl is shot dead in her home.

    Sorry no working link available.

    The BBC Radio this morning reported the police were back on the streets in Cairo, although not the CSF (riot police) and we know the undercover police remained active - out of view.

    It is curious that as the media reinforcements arrived the focus became a small area of Cairo, plus forays into middle class areas where vigilantes stood guard.
    davidbfpo

  12. #172
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    So what? All non-arctic regions seem to be sources of constant troubles.

    Isn't that an interesting coincidence with the distribution of human populations?
    Waaaaiit a second! According to the COIN gurus "ungoverned spaces" are the big problem areas, and that is pretttty much limited to Antartica. (Though for some reason AQ does not seem too interested in this 'prime' insurgnecy sanctuary) So it looks like constant trouble everywhere!
    Robert C. Jones
    Intellectus Supra Scientia
    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

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    Post Globalization is the cause?

    An interesting Thomas P.M. Barnett article over at World Politics Review on Egypt. He lays out some good considerations for the likely winners and losers on Egypt, and why he thinks the US should let Mubarak stay till September.

    I'm inclined to agree with him on the youth bulge and economic issues. I'm not sure if waiting till September will work, though I agree that that would probably make the outcome better for all concerned. Big question is how you would enforce any such deal... Like I said before, they need time to build governance.

    V/R,

    Cliff

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    Council Member Pete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    So what?
    "Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens," that's what.

  15. #175
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cliff View Post
    An interesting Thomas P.M. Barnett article over at World Politics Review on Egypt. He lays out some good considerations for the likely winners and losers on Egypt, and why he thinks the US should let Mubarak stay till September.
    I'm not sure that's a choice the US gets to make. There are some good arguments for it, but also some against, and ultimately I suspect that any election help with Mubarak in power will be seen by Egyptians as hopelessly compromised... likely with good reason.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    Is it more important to risk the possible rise of governments that may be less supportive of Western interests, but that draw their legitimacy from a governed populace that no longer feels the need for organizations such a AQ or the Muslim Brotherhood (in their current form, anyhow)
    I see no evidence that any populace has ever felt the need for AQ as a lever against their own government. AQ has only been really successful when they embrace the "expel the heathen from the land of the faithful" narrative. If there aren't any heathen to expel their influence declines very quickly.

    The idea that allies are states that support western or US interests needs to be revisited and questioned. Allies, reasonably, are states with whom we have shared interests. The Saudis, Kuwaitis, Qataris, and Emiratis are not supporting US interests when they ally with us; they are supporting their own interests. Their relationship with the US has brought them far greater security than they might otherwise have known (I doubt you'd find a single member of any of those populaces who would have welcomed invasion by Saddam) and very considerable prosperity. Whatever negative things can be said of Sadat and Mubarak (lots) they at least recognized that war with Israel was not in Egypt's interests, and concluded (fairly astutely) that if the Americans were willing to pay them to refrain from getting their asses kicked it wasn't a half bad deal.

    Realistically, alliance can only be enduring if it's based on common interests. Of course even then it may not endure: interests and perceived interests change. Alliance based on one party imposing its interests on the other are, however, too unstable and too prone to backlash to be worth the temporary advantage they produce.

    For today's relations with Egypt, what that means to me is that we need to let the process take its course and look for common interests with whatever government emerges. I suspect we'll find a few.

  16. #176
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cliff View Post
    I'm inclined to agree with him on the youth bulge and economic issues.
    Interestingly, the economic growth rate of Egypt seems to have been higher than the population growth rate during Mubarak's reign.
    The economy does not seem to be the problem in terms of GDP. He just failed spectacularly at income (and job) distribution.

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    The wretched Palin has announced how pissed off she is over the failure of America to announce who the next leader of Egypt will be:

    http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com...ering-machine/

    I usually agree with Chomsky, and he is certainly right in his specific examples of radical Islam being supported by the US. Saudi Arabia is the Wahhabi focus on the non-Arctic world. Chomsky's argument about how we don't want non-US-clients in the mideast is obviously correct.

    I see John Bolton is running for President. BUWAAHAAWAA.

  18. #178
    Council Member Pete's Avatar
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    Problems in the Middle East? You've got to be kidding! Perhaps this is the wrong place for this message, seeing how it mainly has to do with Infantry tactics and techniques.

    Here's a war story. The oldest regiment in the British Army is the Royal Scots, which during the late 1600s was encamped in France next to the French Regiment de Picardy. One night the soldiers got to drinking together and a Frenchman of the Picardy Regiment bragged that it was an older unit than the Scots because it was descended from the old Roman Legion that had guarded Christ's tomb. Not to be outdone, a Scotsman said if his regiment had been there its guards would not have fallen asleep at their posts, and second off the prisoner would not have escaped! Since then the Royal Scots have been known as "Pontius Pilate's Bodyguards."

  19. #179
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 91bravojoe View Post
    The wretched Palin has announced how pissed off she is over the failure of America to announce who the next leader of Egypt will be:

    http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com...ering-machine/

    I usually agree with Chomsky, and he is certainly right in his specific examples of radical Islam being supported by the US. Saudi Arabia is the Wahhabi focus on the non-Arctic world. Chomsky's argument about how we don't want non-US-clients in the mideast is obviously correct.

    I see John Bolton is running for President. BUWAAHAAWAA.
    Sarah Palin may not want non US clients in the ME, but she is not the nation, fortunately. An embarrassment to the nation, yes, but that's a different thing. I think there's a fairly widespread recognition of the difference between allies and clients in today's US, and I suspect that we'd be quite willing and quite able to deal with a non-client Egypt. In many ways it would be a relief.

    Of course I also think Chomsky spouts ideologically driven nonsense with little or no substance behind it, so take that as you will.

  20. #180
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    How does one assess such influence at all, let alone declare it "a matter of fact"?
    Look, like majority of the public, I do not know such figures like Palin personally. Correspondingly, I can only depend on her "talking" - to the media. I can't say whether the things she says are her own ideas or not, but it's obvious that a certain segment of the US population is listening to what she says. Thus, even though she has no relevant official executive powers, when she's complaining about Obama entering cooperation with the MBs (see her relevant statement from few days ago, already posted in this thread), there is little doubt she's exercising pressure upon the admin in the DC. And then there is no doubt that she's "better-heard" than the Egyptian public.

    Noam Chomsky is a joke without a punchline; I've never seen a thing he wrote on matters political that was worth the bytes it took to distribute it.
    Can you prove his..."preaching" (?)..."thesis" (?) that the USA are at least ignoring, if not openly supporting a regime in Saudi Arabia that supports extremist Islamists (financially), as "wrong"?

    Anyway, OK: since you don't like Chomsky, here a statement from somebody else with, essentially, the same opinion, though different side of the political tribune. The following is from BBC's "blog" about related events yesterday:

    US Republican Congressman Ron Paul says on his blog: "We see now the folly of our interventionist foreign policy: not only has that stability fallen to pieces with the current unrest, but the years of propping up the corrupt regime in Egypt has led the people to increase their resentment of both America and Israel! We are both worse off for decades of intervention into Egypt's internal affairs. I wish I could say that we have learned our lesson and will no longer attempt to purchase - or rent - friends in the Middle East, but I am afraid that is being too optimistic."
    Is Paul also "preaching rather adeptly to a choir that seems to suspend critical thought as they approach his revelations"?

    Many of us don't fear independence at all, no matter what the Chomskies may pretend, and I'm not convinced that "The US" generically is all that terrified of it either.
    How would you then characterise Israeli reactions reported in the last few days, and how would you describe their effects upon the US decisionmaking?

    Call it a guess, if you like, but I somehow doubt you're going to use the word "irrelevant".

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