To friends and colleagues on the bcc list. The American sense of democracy, human rights, transparent government and the rest of the list we all know pulls me in favor of the inevitable (now) changes coming in most of the autocratic regimes in the Middle East. But the issue of what the new regimes will be like gnaws continuously. We must not be sanguine about the outcomes. I think the risk of regional conflagration is high and rising.

This sobering summary below comes to me from a longtime friend, a skilled lawyer and prosecutor, who now spends some of his time in Jerusalem. Some may recognize him but I will preserve his anonymity for those who do know him. Note that, while Egypt remains in the top of the news, the spread of resistance and demonstration is rapidly occurring throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

D: An article appearing in today’s NYTimes by Helene Cooper and Mark Lander suggests, somewhat snidely, that it is ironic that Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, would be so wary of their neighbor wanting the same thing. Here’s a few facts that might explain why.

A poll taken by the Pew Research Center in late 2009 revealed that 95% of Egyptians, 96% of Jordanians and Palestinians and 98 % of Syrians and Lebanese hold hostile views toward both Israel and Jews. They simply do not want Israel here. What CNN is not showing but what we have seen here via Israeli journalists are many signs of Mubarak with the Star of David drawn around his face or next to him, both with diagnals across them. Any democracy, and its leaders, must answer to the people. If these are the people, what does that portend for any democratically elected government in Egypt? Whatever their internal and political differences, the one unifying factor for virtually all Egyptians is their hatred of Israel. It also explains why Israel was able to negotiate its two peace treaties with Arab dictators. They could not have done so with a democratic Egypt or Jordan. When that democratically elected government in Egypt comes to power, as it soon will, it will control a standing army of 500,000, an airforce of over 500 planes, half of them new F-16s, over 4,000 tanks, 1000 of which are new Abrams A1As,a dozen batteries of the most sophisticated anti aircraft missiles in the world and an untold number of Scud B rockets–much more accurate than those which Saddam Hussein threw at Tel Aviv in Gulf War I . All supplied by the US, of course. Who would they want to use them against? Libya? Sudan? So, yes, you might say we’re kind of wary. Wouldn’t you be? -Gerry

Category: War/Defense

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

52 Responses to “Egypt and Democracy”

  1. Matt says:

    hmm, why would the people of these countries resent Israel? it’s so hard to fathom. (sarcasm)

  2. ilsm says:

    Would a democratic Egypt become aggressive? With what? The issues are internal, economic, and deep seeded.

    Suggest an alternate read: http://www.truth-out.org/print/67425

    The reason Egypt receives US arms (about $1.5B per annum) was to make sure it complied with the 1979 Camp David accords, before then the Soviets supplied them. That implementation included security compensations for Israel, which have not been neglected. There are other security assurances beside bribing the Egyptian army.

    However, hundreds of F-16′s will be grounded weeks after the US technicians go home, same for the 3 gallon per mile Abrams’.

    As to the expensive dozen or so SAM batteries, if they worked their main threat is to friendlies.

    In the remote possibility Egypt became aggressive, who knows what tactics will evolve?

    Taiwan’s AF showed how effective US arms are with a 33% dud rate, with the US techs around.

  3. investorinpa says:

    On the flip side, everyone in Egypt will be clamoring to be put into power, which could possibly mean they are so busy arguing with themselves that they ignore Israel. I find that political parties often spend more time on their disagreements than they do on areas they agree upon.

  4. machinehead says:

    ‘A poll taken by the Pew Research Center in late 2009 revealed that 95% of Egyptians, 96% of Jordanians and Palestinians and 98 % of Syrians and Lebanese hold hostile views toward both Israel and Jews.’

    Let’s see, the Pew poll would have been taken less than a year after Israel’s turkey shoot in Gaza which killed 1,400 people. Is the disproportionate negative sentiment a surprise? Was Saddam Hussein popular in the US after he invaded Kuwait?

    By omitting all context, ‘Gerry’ implies that these folks are simply irrational haters. Looking at the flood of images and tweets coming out of Egypt, I haven’t seen a trace of such sentiments.

    Being a lawyer and prosecutor, ‘Gerry’ would understand what the word ‘tendentious’ means.

    Weak bullshit, Gerry. Mad bombers can’t revert to playing innocent victims.

  5. asad says:

    Amazing the lawyer and prosecutor is put in there to give a semblance of sanity to the usual shrill Israeli voices. Instead of putting the onus on everyone else perhaps our dear lawyer should ask why despite being the only nuclear power in the area and having the only “real” democracy in the region Israel has not been able to sign a peace treaty with anyone else.

  6. louis says:

    I read this book once called the Bible, The conflagration will be epic.

  7. franklin411 says:

    In a democracy, all citizens are equal. That is simply not the case in Israel, as the Israelis themselves concede:

    “Across the political spectrum, some see the struggle as a threat to Israel’s democratic ideals. Opposition leader Tzipi Livni, of the centrist Kadima party, warned that “an evil spirit has been sweeping over the country.” Defense Minister Ehud Barak said a “wave of racism is threatening to pull Israeli society into dark and dangerous places.”

    Faced with a Cabinet move to force non-Jewish prospective citizens to declare loyalty to a “Jewish state,” government minister Dan Meridor parted with fellow members of the conservative Likud Party in opposing the motion. After the motion won Cabinet approval, he said, “This is not the Israel we know.”"

    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/middleeast/la-fg-israel-intolerance-20110123,0,4588504.story

  8. The relationship between Iraqi Protestors and Egyptian protestors has to do with the immediacy they desire. The U.S. military would have left Iraq a lot sooner if there had been more cooperation among the various religious groups that would have taken power upon the U.S. leaving, but it appears the various religious groups could not cooperate. (This also helps explain why Saddam Hussein may have had to be an evil dictator to rule).

    Now in Egypt, having gotten a huge concession from Mubarak, once again, the “nowness” aspect raises its head. Mubarak is leaving, don’t kick him out the door.

    If anyone is interested I pose a possible solution to the Egypt conflict and impasse. http://dailypuma.blogspot.com/2011/02/mubarak-should-walk-among-protestors.html

  9. machinehead says:

    ‘A poll taken by the Pew Research Center in late 2009 revealed that 95% of Egyptians, 96% of Jordanians and Palestinians and 98 % of Syrians and Lebanese hold hostile views toward both Israel and Jews.’

    Gerry is apparently sourcing this statement from a Pew Research paper dated January 8, 2009, NOT ‘late 2009.’ Its first sentence:

    ‘In the Middle East and elsewhere, Muslim reaction to the Israeli offensive in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip has been swift and angry, with protests in Amman, Beirut, Istanbul, Tehran, Jakarta, and several other capitals.’

    http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1075/before-israels-invasion-hamas-popularity-was-waning-among-its-neighbors-even-in-gaza-itself

    See what I mean about ‘context’?

    Gerry’s sentence actually conflates two different questions addressed in the Pew survey, and significantly misstates the results. Here is the actual language of the report:

    Unfavorable views of Jews were almost universal in the three Arab nations surveyed in 2008 — Lebanon (97% unfavorable), Jordan (96%), and Egypt (95%). Opinions were only somewhat less negative in Pakistan (76% unfavorable), Turkey (76%), and Indonesia (66%).

    The 2007 Pew Global Attitudes poll found that roughly nine-in-ten Jordanians (91%) and Palestinians (90%) felt that American policy favors Israel too much, and more than eight-in-ten felt this way in Lebanon, Egypt, Kuwait, and Morocco.

    While the unfavorable views of Jews among Lebanese, Jordanians and Egyptians are hardly attractive, the other two groups accused by Gerry — Palestinians and Syrians — were not included in results pertaining to this question.

    The second sentence quoted above addresses whether ‘American policy favors Israel too much,’ not ‘hostile views toward Israel’ [in Gerry's words]. So the Pew Research Institute report offers no empirical evidence for Gerry’s claim that lopsided majorities of five different nationalities hold hostile views toward Israel.

    As a skilled lawyer and prosecutor, ‘Gerry’ understands that evidence tampering is a serious crime. If he’d done this hatchet job on the facts in a professional capacity, he’d be facing disbarment.

  10. Jojo says:

    Who woulda thunk it? ;)

    There are many lucrative corruption opportunities when you don’t have to answer to anyone.
    ———–
    Mubarak family fortune could reach $70bn, say experts
    Egyptian president has cash in British and Swiss banks plus UK and US property

    guardian.co.uk
    Friday 4 February 2011
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/feb/04/hosni-mubarak-family-fortune

  11. wunsacon says:

    I understand Gerry’s wariness. But, Gerry, please, seize the moment, throw Mubarak under the bus, and support democracy.

    You know that, long-term, Israel’s survival cannot depend on ruthless dictators suppressing the locals — because that’s just more time running the pressure cookers. (That’s not your long-term plan, is it? Then, sometime, you have to take risks.)

    I agree with ilsm and other posters that a democratic Egypt is unlikely to pose a “threat” (=”capability plus intent”). Ironically, if we weren’t arming dictators with arsenals like this to begin with, then Israel wouldn’t have to worry as much right now. Be that as it may, whatever we sold Egypt is likely no match for current US and Israeli technology.

    In any event, the US must continue supporting Israel, to ensure its safety. But, the manner in which we do that should not include supporting dictators. Besides the immorality of it all (including the killing of dissidents that accompanies it), the money we spend on this approach has been bankrupting us. That doesn’t make us safer either. If the US economy collapses as a consequence of us supporting every loyal dictator around the world, who’s going to guarantee Israel’s safety?

    Whenever leaders take us to war, they tell us there will be risk and there will be casualties. Even if you/we plan for the worst, can’t we take some risks for peace, too? We know what’s “right” here. I hope we take a risk supporting democracy in Egypt.

  12. Andy T says:

    Good thing the Israelis have a kick-ass military and spend more on the military, as a % of GDP, than any nation in the Middle East.

  13. MelJ says:

    And what’s the percentage of Israelis who hold hostile views toward
    Palestinians and other Arabs, etc? Gerry, do you think if Israel
    starts obeying international law and stops building illegal settlements,
    invading/blockading countries, and surreptitious killing people
    they don’t like, people of the world might be less hostile to them?

  14. beaufou says:

    Even if religious nutcases seize power they won’t control the army, Mubarak doesn’t even control it.

  15. wally says:

    I didn’t know that the US sold Scud B rockets. Really?

  16. People may care for some background on the Topic..

    http://www.booktv.org/Program/11935/The+Balfour+Declaration+The+Origins+of+the+ArabIsraeli+Conflict.aspx

    this, OT, though related..

    http://www.c-span.org/Events/Government-Secrecy-and-the-Public39s-quotNeed-To-Knowquot/10737419313/

    could be found to be worthwhile, as well.
    ~~

    and, here http://search.yippy.com/search?input-form=clusty-simple&v%3Asources=webplus&v%3Aproject=clusty&query=anti-Zionist+Jews one should, quickly, learn that not all “anti-Zionists” are “anti-Semites”(which, in itself, is a most curious term..)

    Sem·ite (smt)
    n.
    1. A member of a group of Semitic-speaking peoples of the Near East and northern Africa, including the Arabs, Arameans, Babylonians, Carthaginians, Ethiopians, Hebrews, and Phoenicians.
    2. A Jew.
    3. Bible A descendant of Shem.
    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Semite

  17. TDL says:

    Whatever Egyptian government comes into power over the next several months will be more concerned with domestic matters for years to come. Furthermore, just because you don’t like somebody doesn’t mean you want to pick a fight with them; you can simply ignore them.

    Regards,
    TDL

  18. super_trooper says:

    Barry, I feel that this post doesn’t meet the spirit of your blog. I was under the impression that your blog stressed informed and factual thinking rather than emotional bias.
    “Whatever their internal and political differences, the one unifying factor for virtually all Egyptians is their hatred of Israel. It also explains why Israel was able to negotiate its two peace treaties with Arab dictators. They could not have done so with a democratic Egypt or Jordan. ”

    (i) The author shows no indication being knowledgeble about Egypts society, history or culture. Please provide any proof for the statements. From the images I have seen from Egypt there were no Islamist slogans, burning American or Israeli flags, or death to Israel comments. I have seen people from all classes of Egypt come together to change their country away from a dictatorship.

    (ii) The notion that a democratically elected government in Egypt would use military power against Israel is ironic as Israel is the only democratic country that has used its military against other countries in the region. Unlike Israeli and US thinking, a military does not have to be used for war. Switzerland has a strong military, is it every used? The prospect of having the Nobel prize winner Mohamed Elbaradei as the next president is indeed scary.

    Please read
    http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Op-EdContributors/Article.aspx?id=206960

    I would recommend that the author informs him/herself. One could start by reading Juan Cole’s daily blog http://www.juancole.com

  19. seneca says:

    Pew Research Center, survey published Dec 2010:

    At least three-quarters of Muslims in Egypt and Pakistan say they would favor making each of the following the law in their countries:

    -Stoning people who commit adultery.

    -Whippings and cutting off of hands for crimes like theft and robbery.

    -The death penalty for those who leave the Muslim religion.

    The funny thing here is that these Muslims don’t consider themselves extremists. They regard themselves as moderates and worry that extremists might end up in control. Only 20 percent of Egyptians, for instance, view Al Qaeda favorably.

    Pew Research Center: “Most Embrace a Roll for Islam in Politics”
    http://pewglobal.org/2010/12/02/muslims-around-the-world-divided-on-hamas-and-hezbollah/

  20. wannabe says:

    96% Female Genital Mutilation rate in eqypt:

    Claim:
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MB02Ak01.html

    Source:
    http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/egypt_statistics.html

    Is that really educated and moderate?

    Democracy in Eqypt will almost certainly result in another Islamist regime.

  21. cyaker says:

    Barry interesting how short our memories are not one commentator mentioned your repost of Jahn Mauldin’s post of the Stratfor analysis which is right in keeping with Gerry’s piece.

    http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2011/02/intelligence-guidance-the-situation-in-egypt/

  22. JusTryinTaMakeIt says:

    For what it’s worth ….

    The other day on Anderson Cooper’s show, on one of the tapes they kept showing of the demonstrators there was a guy with a swastika drawn on his cheek. I left a comment on AC’s blog to the effect: “Did anyone catch the demonstrator with the swastika on his cheek?” My comment was apparently censored by CNN and was never published on the blog. I guess it wasn’t consistent with their storyline of how reasonable all the demonstrators were.

  23. wunsacon says:

    >> In a democracy, all citizens are equal. That is simply not the case in Israel, as the Israelis
    >> themselves concede.
    >> …
    >> Defense Minister Ehud Barak said a “wave of racism is threatening to pull Israeli
    >> society into dark and dangerous places.”

    Yes, but, on the other hand…

    Should we expect American Indian reservations to welcome an influx of Caucasians and give them voting rights?

    Jews have been persecuted for 2,000+ years. I can understand some of them wanting to ensure there’s a safe place members of their race/religion can retreat to if another country decides to persecute more of them again. And Israel won’t be that safe place if it allows too many non-Jews to immigrate and ultimately cast the majority vote.

    I guess I can tolerate a little (“defensive”) racism in a tiny part of the world, when it’s practiced by an oft-targeted minority trying to ensure its survival.

  24. JT23456 says:

    Why don’t you guys get a perspective on this whole mess. My wife and I “toured” the Middle East in 1973 just weeks before the 73 war. I am appalled at how little has changed there in 38 years – that’s 2 generations. Except for Turkey, the rest of this craphole, Israel included, is mired in the status quo – and the US funds this toilet bowl. The whole place is a perpetual swamp – cut it loose. Stop all foreign aid to this entire area. The Israeli’s are going to be surrounded with ugly-minded people – good – serves them right.

  25. gloppie says:

    D.O.D will just flip a switch and all that nice US built weaponry will become junk instantly.
    Otherwise, I’m still waiting for the big show coming nevertheless. Bring on the locusts and the sackcloth allright. Dow 3600!

  26. mace50 says:

    My view is optimistic and positive for a democratic change in Egypt and other middle east countries considering revolution. I see a similar comparison there as here with the Tea party altho there were absolutely no hints of our way or violence. My take is the Egyptians took a page out of the Tea Party play book. The difference being the huge difference in poverty in Egypt vs the Tea Party revolution. We push the world toward Democracy but feign it when it doesn’t serve our best interests. How many dictators will we support for so called stability vs human rights and the dignity of individuals and then throw them under the bus.The wealth disparity continues to increase here and is much more desperate in the Middle East as well as Far East and Eastern Europe.

    The greed of the political elite in most countries ( including the USA) is the problem and continues to fester and promote anger and divisiveness. It is rumored that the Mubarak family has amassed over 70 bil in assets with homes business and property all over the world. To get a license to do business in Egypt it is reported that the Mubaraks and the military leaders there get 20%. Had he used the resources we gave him to educate and feed his population and increase their standard of living vs buying tanks and jets, things may have been very different. The same with all the other dictators and kings who will have to share more of their accumulated wealth or will also go the way of Mubarak, the Shaw, Noriega amd many others we once supported and then threw them under the bus.

    It is disgusting that we preach democracy and then we have an administration that has to comment 24/7 on what the Egyptians should do. We are such hypocrites. We should be supportive of a real move to democracy and keep our mouth shut as the more we say what they should do the more they will hate the US.

    To be honest, the liberal class in America is dying. They no longer stand up for their previous causes, the uplifting of the poor and the support of the middle class. They to here have sold out to the corporate oligarchy to enrich them selves and the military industrial complex. The Reagan administration began the end of Glass Stegal and the corpratization of our government and the theft of our riches by the JPM’s and GS’s of the world. Then Clinton sold us out by signing the first Nafta bill which brought the end to our manufacturing pre eminence and the sell out of the middle class to out sourcing. The corporate elite have given all our technology to the asians to enrich theirselves to the rest of our detriment.

    Should we be wary of a change that falls the way of the radical Muslims and against our only real ally Israel, you bet. But I am not sure we can control that now and the more we try and dictate the outcome, the more we will be hated for our intervention and the disparity in wealth and opportunity.

    I am surprised that our youth have not revolted as have the Egyptians. No jobs, huge college debts and no vision of a future.

    I pray that the Middle East moves further toward more democracy, the rule of law ( that we seem to be losing ever day), to opportunity, the rights and the dignity of the individual.

  27. Clem Stone says:

    “As a skilled lawyer and prosecutor, ‘Gerry’ understands that evidence tampering is a serious crime. If he’d done this hatchet job on the facts in a professional capacity, he’d be facing disbarment.”

    Really? I always thought that was why people hired lawyers, (and politicians).

  28. Floyd says:

    I do understand why Israelis are worried. Anybody rationale would be.
    Egypt is a strong neighbor, and the prevalent sentiment is concerning (understatement). It is as simple as that.
    Now add to that the broader context of the MidEast and the widespread animosity of Arab countries and their citizens to Israel.

    Observing the videos coming from Egypt it does not take long to notice anti-Israeli sentiment. This is a fact.
    Further, the MSM does fail to report the Muslim Brotherhood participation (which is outspokenly hostile towards Israel).
    This is not to say we can foretell escalation, but the concern what a major change brings is natural.

  29. Patrick Neid says:

    Anyone who says Israel has no right to feel threatened by events in Egypt is delusional. When your existence is at stake you are nervous about all things/changes–good or bad. While the chances of Egypt attacking Israel are small it is not out of the question that the possibility of an active Muslim Brotherhood could cause severe economic problems–the gas pipeline for starters–and the increased probability of arms smuggling to Hamas in Gaza. All the various groups have the same mission statement–Israeli extinction.

    Be that as it may, Mubarak is history and Israel now has an added burden. I’m hoping that the Egyptian bloggers I have read over the years are right–that the Brotherhood, while the largest organized opposition group, are of minor consequence in Egyptian politics. We shall see. Islamic politics aside the protests on the ground are amazing and one can only hope they spread throughout the entire Middle East where tyranny is the rule.

    With our continued support Israel will survive.

    I can’t say enough about this guy over the years. Read his last two entries at the least.

  30. barbacoa666 says:

    The problem is, Israel has missed an opportunity to achieve peace with at least the Palestinian Authority. And their last foray into Gaza, and new settlements are an unmitigated PR disaster. I think the political shift in the Muslim world (you have too throw in Turkey) show a seething anger at Israel, and their perceived benefactor (the US).

    All-in-all, going forward looks rough going. I wouldn’t be surprised to see rapidly rising oil prices, and the US forced to leave the ME and Afghanistan. On the other hand, rising energy prices will drive up the price of food, which isn’t a good thing for net food importing countries.

  31. JimRino says:

    louis,
    I hope your “bible” as you call it, was the King James version.

    Otherwise, it’s not the Legitimate Bible, according to Fox “News”.
    Everyone knows KING JAMES created the masterpiece that Cannot be Improved, with No Alteration of any kind. No so called “scientist” with a better translation of Aramaic should DARE modify One Word, of your Grandfathers REAL Bible.

  32. JimRino says:

    louis,
    Please Ignore the parts where Jesus Feeds the Poor.

  33. BusSchDean says:

    We either walk the talk and accept the challenge of an uncertain future (like so many that have come to pass) or we try to control the future as we have in Egypt for 30 years, and by extension control the Egyptian people. It is right to wonder what challenges wait behind the door — chance favors a prepared mind — it is wrong to stand fear up in front of the door to sustain hypocrisy.

  34. contrabandista13 says:

    A “MUST READ” by Noam Chomsky

    The Guardian, February 4, 2011

    http://www.chomsky.info/articles/20110204.htm

    “…. A common refrain among pundits is that fear of radical Islam requires (reluctant) opposition to democracy on pragmatic grounds. While not without some merit, the formulation is misleading. The general threat has always been independence. The US and its allies have regularly supported radical Islamists, sometimes to prevent the threat of secular nationalism…..”

    “…. A familiar example is Saudi Arabia, the ideological centre of radical Islam (and of Islamic terror). Another in a long list is Zia ul-Haq, the most brutal of Pakistan’s dictators and President Reagan’s favorite, who carried out a programme of radical Islamisation (with Saudi funding)…..”

    Best regards,

    Econolicious

  35. rip says:

    Here’s the dirty little anxiety attack: Saudi Arabia is next. And they earned it.

    Can recall being in Century City at a very nice (un-named hotel). A Saudi family was there. Feeling safe. They had the entire top floor. But they were such hypocrites. And they made the mistake of going public in the hotel lobby. In today’s world you are lucky if you can go to the bathroom without a cell cam capturing your big moment.

    It’s just the beginning.

    Commodities. Food prices. Wait and watch.

    It’s going to get even more ugly.

  36. LoriInNC says:

    Given the stats that Gerry provides on how Egyptians view the Jewish people, my concern is that Egyptian-style “democracy” will not bode well for Israel. Der Spiegel:

    “SPIEGEL: Are you now saying that a government that included participation by the Muslim Brotherhood would continue on with Mubarak’s policies toward Israel?

    ElBaradei: No. Something the Israelis also need to grasp is that it’s impossible to make peace with a single man. At the moment, they have a peace treaty with Mubarak, but not one with the Egyptian people. The Israelis should understand that it is in their long-term interest to have a democratic Egypt as a neighbor, and that it is prudent to acknowledge the legitimate interests of the Palestinians and to grant them their own state.”

  37. VennData says:

    If Egypt can form institutions, so that when the inevitable right-wing religious leaders get power, like the GOP has done numerous times in US history – they only blather on about flag-burning …never really do anything about Roe V. Wade … never force prayer in the schools … stop spending, running up the debt etc, then Egypt will do fine.

    If the right wing religious leaders actually try to implement policies, like the GOP allowing any an all investment banks to be “Free” from gov’t bans on their leverage etc… ease licensing process for Gulf oil drilling… etc.. etc… then problems can occur.

    It’s that simple.

  38. TDL says:

    VennData,
    It is absolutely absurd to compare some evangelicals in the GOP (especially b/c the GOP has multiple of factions within it) with the likes of a potential Muslim Brotherhood government.

    This thread shows how limited perspective on the rest of the world we Americans have. The Egyptians are revolting because of Egyptian issues, not because of Israel or the U.S. To the extent that the Egyptians will have opinions on us or the Israelis in the future it will come from the fact that we supported a corrupt dictator (negative) & that westerners, generally, pump a lot of money into Egypt via tourism. The future Egypt will be more complex than the simplistic assumptions this thread has been making.

    Regards,
    TDL

  39. robert d says:

    BR and readers:

    If you had a secondary purpose in writing this blog, and it was to
    see if anti-Semitism was rampant in the educated upper class in the USA (your readers),
    clearly you have the answer above in the comments.
    How sad that the revolution of 80 million poor souls in Egypt turns
    into an anti-Israel diatribe by your readers. What the heck does Israel
    have to do with the pharoanic-Mubarak, the bribe-ilicious military and
    the corporate bozos of Egypt—-oh, and of Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia,
    the Lebanese hellhole, Iraq, etc.
    George Bush had one thing right. And a lot wrong. He knew that
    the Arab world was crying out for democracy but bombing Iraq and
    Afghanistan back to the Stone Age was not the solution.
    One Tunisian man setting himself on fire became the martyr which will
    forever change the Arab world and our world, too.

  40. wally says:

    The problem is that autocratic regimes stifle organized opposition and leave people dumb and disorganized. When the fall from power finally happens, the only groups that can organize quickly are religious groups.
    These autocratic leaders leave a fertile ground for religious dictatorships to put their foot on the necks of the same populace they themselves have been holding down.
    There is no tradition of politics, of elections, of dealing with multiple opinions, of balancing choices, of governmental responsibility… nothing at all to fill the gap except the zealots from the fringes.

    It isn’t that any neighbor should fear democracy; it is that any neighbor should fear what comes of the next set of autocrats.

  41. bobmitchell says:

    Spoken like a true neo-conservative.

    How many times do you go into a bar with a guy who picks a fight with the entire bar, then expects his friends to back him up?

    Another note, and one Mr. D may be able to help us with- How do you get the foreign policy of the US to represent the interest of the majority of the people of the US? He’s so certain that it will happen in Egypt….

  42. Andy T says:

    For some reason, this comment section ended up being different than what I would have imagined….

  43. geoffw says:

    There is an interesting, relevant discussion on the Riz Khan show. The guests are Tariq Ramadan and Slavoj Zizek and they are discussing Egypt:

    http://english.aljazeera.net/video/

  44. wunsacon says:

    robert d, what do you mean when you say “anti-Semitism” and what did anyone say to meet your definition?

  45. wunsacon says:

    TDL,

    >> This thread shows how limited perspective on the rest of the world we Americans have. The Egyptians are revolting because of Egyptian issues, not because of Israel or the U.S.

    Cheney’s support of Mubarak, extraordinary rendition to Egypt, a dictatorship, US aid, Mubarak’s rumored fortune, a bad economy…. Are you saying these Egyptian issues have nothing to do with the US?

    Egyptians want control over their own country. They know who’s been backing the dictator running their country. And the more anyone from the US (or any other country) says they back Mubarak (or his 2nd-in-command), the more the Egyptian people (and anyone with a brain) will be even more convinced that foreigners have been running Egypt.

  46. Robert M says:

    Republican democracy as we know from the history of our own country takes a long time to implement. We used to have Senators appointed, we fought a civil war over the issue of slavery, we grabbed large parts of the country from other sovereign country while a democracy. Hopefully the Egyptians will do better.
    That said it is likely that both countries and their populations will have to decide what their interests are and can they do it without each other. We will in terms of long term US interests be better off letting them decide on their own

  47. DMR says:

    Barry, is there an equivalent in Israel to the tea party? Your friend would fit in just fine.

  48. wunsacon says:

    DMR, FWIW, I don’t think Gerry ends up in “Tea Party” territory for voicing his “wariness” over this situation. This *is* a big deal. It isn’t a Fox “News”-sensationalized scandal about building a mosque.

  49. Bob A says:

    Times are changin…
    Deal with it

  50. Floyd says:

    Egypt as most other Arab countries/entities has little complain about external parties for their internal state of affairs.
    The two exceptions are Lebanon, which is practically a vassal state of Syria with major Iranian influence, and the PA which is forced to deal with Israel.
    In anything, the major mistakes were done by the Ottomans, the Brits and the French in 1800s and 1900s. While is crucial to the understanding how we got here, it has little to do with the US and Israel.

    While the US has interfered somewhat in the affairs of Arab countries it would be an absurd exaggeration to blame it for the prevalent trends and major dynamics, especially not the extent of human rights and freedom. Indeed the US has supported Mubarak, which is has been quite pragmatic! But, it would be ridiculous to accuse the US for the nature of the regime in Egypt.
    Israel has less influence, even in the PA. A case in point is Gaza, which on first opportunity to establish a democracy voted the Hamas. Hamas didn’t waste time, however, and violently suppresses any hint of dissent (remember they murdered their PLO opposition?).

    Finally, before jumping to conclusions, make sure you judge Israel with the same yardstick you apply to other countries.
    Make sure the yardstick is consistent, meaningful, and applicable. Remember, that countries are measured through generational and broad lenses!
    When comparing Israel’s actions, think how other countries act in similar situations. Comparing besieged Israel to peaceful Denmark is like comparing oranges to fish. Still, as material for thought, even Denmark has its issues, how comes it still controls Greenland – the Inuit land?

  51. Oligarch says:

    The demonstrators in Egypt have shattered a lot of the stereotypes of rabidly bigoted mobs that Mubarak & Co. have actively sought to promote as a justification for their rule.

    I’d suggest an alternate read: http://www.worldpolicy.org/blog/2011/01/31/myth-arab-street