Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Understanding the Eye of the Needle, Continued
Here's a fine analysis of a particular feature of the Obama Administration's current effort to deal with the crisis in Egypt.
There are still clear distinctions between a Democratic Administration and a Republican one, when it comes to dealing with events afar which are at the very least beyond our control, and at worst, frightening and dangerous in their implications to the very entangled and complex network of power relationships which we have woven and encouraged since--pick a date?--1947 or so. The previous administration clearly believed that the United States was capable of decisive, direct military action which would in reasonably short order bring the world "to order." Acting on that belief, the previous administration embarked on two wars. Now, in 2011, both wars have lasted longer than our involvement in World War II, and whether either have actually accomplished the basic if vague goal of bringing these states, Iraq and Afganistan, "to order," is as yet unknown. (On the other hand, I think we knew within a year or two that both Germany and Japan had been fundamentally altered as states and were no longer threats to either the US or the world generally.)
So, in this example, Mrs. Clinton has sent as an enabling envoy a lobbyist who is actually still in the employ of the Mubarak Administration in Egypt, and as well, seems to view Mr. Sulieman, who has long term and cozy relationships with the CIA, as a suitable replacement for Mr. Mubarak.
And I offer this example as an obvious indication that while the Obama Administration is not laboring under the illusions of the old Shock and Awe people, this Administration still wears rose-colored glasses, and does not seem to grasp the liberating possibilities contained in the Egyptian situation at present. Or possibly they believe, being cautious and sensible, that the risks of deeper change in Egypt are just too great for the general cat's cradle of diplomatic relationships in the Middle East which currently obtain. There is no doubt that the strings are taut to the breaking point, and sing with the slightest touch. One wonders if in the end the fundamentals of nuclear deterrence psychology will be the deciding factor in the flow of history in the Middle East--as in fact they were in the flow of history with regard to the United States and the Soviet Union. The clock has been wound tight; its awful ticking fills the darkened corridors of midnight.
Update: My conservative critic resorts to prejudice and stereotype far too typical of the current right-wing "analysis" of the Middle East events.
Anyway, muslims are incompetent at almost every thing, which in many ways is good news for the rest of the world. However, if they are going to succeed at becoming democratic, they will need guidance from experienced people.
Mr. Mubarak has left. This is a fact. That his departure was caused by a direct expression of millions of Egyptian citizens is beyond argument. There are other facts to note. One is that Iranian government leaders are apparently quite concerned that this Egyptian model will be noted by its own citizenry. (One would think Iran would be rejoicing if the fear-based rantings of Mr. Beck are in fact connected to Middle Eastern realities.) Yes, it's true that the Egyptian Army holds many cards, and plays its hand. One would imagine that our government will certainly be discussing things with the Egyptian Army. Other players, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, labor unions, university and business leaders, even the significant Christian component of the Egyptian culture, will also be at the table should such a conversation bring positive results. A real, good-faith conversation amongst all the power-bases in Egypt will be the best foundation for further democratic developments. What America should do is encourage this conversation. Period. I hope that is what we are doing. From what can be seen from the living room couch, this is what we are doing. The arrogant and racist attitude of the American right can be of no benefit to either us or the Middle East. And let it be noted that the last significant Middle East diplomatic achievement which the US had a hand in was the original Eqyptian/Israeli Accord brokered by Democratic President Jimmy Carter. Then came Reagan. Q.E.D.
(I considered simply deleting the comment, but thought that noting its arrogant tone was worth the space, as it exhibits in a nutshell what's wrong with right wing punditry sui genris. Mr. Hannity runs along these same rails daily with his diatribes against the muslim faith. It used to be that unadulterated bigotry and hate-mongering would not be tolerated on our publicly-owned air waves. Now Mr. Ailes has brought Lord Haw Haw to every podunk in the land.)
For a more realistic view of Mr. Reagan, here's a nice piece I just discovered this morning thanks to Doghouse: