I’ve been a little nervous about just how crappy the Egyptian revolt is likely to turn out. I’ve been sorta encouraged–although I dunno if that’s the right word–by the optimistic view taken by Donald Douglas over at American Power.
But folks need to get a grip. Nostalgia for Mubarak is exceedingly misplaced. Yeah, he’s our guy and all that. But he’s been a disaster for Egypt’s development, and in an age of increasingly rapid global communications, the regime’s failures are exponentially multiplied by the day. Victor Davis Hanson points out that the roots of radicalism in Egypt have more to do with Mubarak’s rule than anything found in Israel or the United States, “What’s the Matter with Egypt?”
VDH-What’s next? “Finger-in-the-wind” diplomacy may work for a while, but it requires deftness that follows conditions on the street in a nanosecond to avoid appearing purely cynical (a skill beyond Hillary, Biden, and Obama). I think in this bad/worse choice scenario we might as well support supposedly democratic reformers, with the expectation that they could either fail in removing Mubarak or be nudged out by those far worse than Mubarak. Contrary to popular opinion, I think Bush was right to support elections in Gaza “one time” (only of course). The Gazans got what they wanted, we are done with them, and they have to live with the results, happy in their thuggish misery, with a prosperous Israel and better-off West Bank to remind them of their stupidity. All bad, but an honest bad and preferable to the lie that there were thousands of Jeffersonians in Gaza thwarted by the U.S.
There is much to agree with regarding Douglas’ and Hanson’s assertions.
First, it’s important to note a few things. I think most people in the West want the Egyptian uprising to end in a democratic government that respects free speech, the rule of law, property rights, religious pluralism, free elections and all the other happy horse shit that goes along with a functional sane nation.
One problem: What happens when the populace of a country–you know, the folks that actually live there–wants something completely anathema to democracy?
A majority of Muslims around the world welcome a significant role for Islam in their countries’ political life, according to a new poll from the Pew Research Center, but have mixed feelings toward militant religious groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah.
According to the survey, majorities in Pakistan, Egypt, Jordan and Nigeria would favor changing current laws to allow stoning as a punishment for adultery, hand amputation for theft and death for those who convert from Islam to another religion.
Big ups to Bunkerville for finding the survey in question.
In the meantime go ahead and click the link. Unpack the data and take it for a drive around the block once or twice. Is there anything in there that suggests a place like Egypt is prepared for a democracy that won’t immediately get swallowed up the Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas? A democratic Egypt would almost surely result in a Muslim Brotherhood victory. The MB would promptly end all elections, install a sharia-based thugocracy and commence with the ooey-gooey Islamofascism.
So, barring a miracle, a real Egyptian democracy is probably out of the question.
On the other hand, a continuation of the secular military government might not be so great either. We’ve paid Egypt about $50 billion since 1979 to play nice in the sandbox with Israel and the rest of her neighbors. What exactly has the United States government bought for that hefty price tag? The Egyptian regime either can’t or won’t neuter the Muslim Brotherhood, which has ties to Hamas, al-Qaeda and the very terrorist-friendly Iranian theocracy. For fifty billion dollars, Egypt should’ve stomped the MB into a pile of fertilizer while simultaneously singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” in perfect eight-part harmony on a continuous loop since the Carter era.
What we’ve gotten for our money is a frenemy. A stab us in the back, anti-Semitism supporting, wink-and-a-nod to terrorists frenemy. I don’t know about you, but I think we probably could’ve gotten that for a whole lot less cheddar and a whole lot less trouble.
Having Egypt go rogue would remove a lot of the ambiguity to her relationship to America, Israel and the West. Instead of the current situation, which amounts to Egypt giving us a handshake with their right hand with stabbing us with their left, it would be abundantly clear that the Egyptian government just hated us, full stop. That’s not great, but it does make it easier when and if we have to kick their ass back into the Old Kingdom.
The only snag to a Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt is the Suez Canal being used as a club to beat the West into submission. To be sure, that’s a mighty big problem. It’s an issue that would have to be addressed with either incredibly deft diplomacy or military intervention. As Hanson has noted, the Obama Admenstruation has proven itself incapable of smart foreign relations. Nothing in St. Barry’s paper-thin resume suggests he’s willing to use the US armed forces in that manner.
So yeah, the Suez is a tough nut. But it isn’t the most difficult problem America has ever had to deal with. The Cold War presented far greater challenges across a far longer timeframe and on a far larger geopolitical playing field. Better still, I don’t think a President Palin will have any qualms about laying the smack-down on any Muslim Brotherhood jag-offs that might take over the Egyptian state.
I don’t know. Maybe this is a glib read on the Egyptian revolt. I think perhaps I’m trying to put a decent spin on an otherwise craptastic situation.