1 Feb 2011

Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen

I visited and traveled in these countries in 1996 and 1997. Since then, I have paid attention to the ongoing corruption, cronyism and government failure that has made many citizens miserable, many politicians rich and many soldiers and bureaucrats fat, lazy, evil and incompetent (articles on Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen).

What kept them in power so long? Friends like the US government.

I wrote this on Sep 12, 2001:

The Muslims get screwed quite often (with support from Christian/Western Governments)... Before we go off and start shooting (or nuking) all the "rag heads" (as Howard Stern's listeners want), perhaps we should consider where the perpetrators are coming from in terms of their anger at what "America" has done to them. It's too bad that US citizens are not called upon to make the decisions that the government makes for them, because, if we knew more of what was happening (there is a clear lack of coverage and bias in most of the US press/television - against Muslims), it is likely that the USA wouldn't be responsible for as many messes as it is.
For example, the Egyptian government used "MADE IN USA" tear gas canisters against Egyptians:

Someone left a funny comment about these rebellions that I thought appropriate: "Wow. Looks like these guys can liberate themselves without our help. So much for GW Bush's grand plan to save them."

Watch this 2 minute video. Listen to the guy at 0:45 and tell me that we are not all the same:

Bottom Line: The US and other liberal democracies need to stop military, financial and political aid to illiberal countries. The Iraqi, Saudi, Afghan and other oppressed peoples can take care of themselves, but not if their freedom fighters are assassinated by CIA operatives, shot by riot police using "made in the USA" bullets, or imprisoned by regimes whose torture the US ignores. Don't worry, China, Russia, Iran and other exporters of political tyranny would never win. People like freedom and they will fight to get it.

Addendum: A friend emailed this response: "1989 all over again?" and it made me reconsider the parallels: If the Berlin wall was held up by Soviets, maybe the Wailing Wall is held up by Americans. Interesting thought... and what an amazing thing it would be for people to throw out so many authoritarian rulers in the region!


The Pasadena Pundit said...

Wow,you sound one step away from saying Sarah Palin caused it.

The volatility of wheat prices and the fact that Egypt has become an importer of oil and thus has little financial surplus to apply to grain subsidies -- all this is caused by AMERIIKA? Sounds like they need an infusion of Americanism - drilling for more natural gas and expanding farmland near the Nile River for more home grown food products.

The only short term hope that Egypt's poor have is a possible airlift of grain from................you guessed it - America. There isn't a country of which I am aware in the Mid East that can help Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan or Syria or even is willing to do so given they are mostly trying to hold back chaos in their own countries.

Muslim radicalism is not likely to be embraced by poor Egyptians because they have no food or subsidies to provide.

George Bush's Democracy? That's no help either because if there is an election then it is likely the Muslim Brotherhood would win. What do they have to offer? In Iraq democracy has resulted in the radical Iranian Shiias controlling the legislature by vote, undoing what American soldiers have done.

Would it be a good thing to hand over Egyptian F-16's and M-16's to the Muslim Brotherhood and destabilize the region?

Put in terms of your worldview, you don't want to make the Tea Party into a militia. Then why would you want to give militant Muslims F-16's?

Please re-think your position. More concretely, if you know anything about the ag water situation in Egypt and how that country could expand farming, then share it to help Egyptians become self-sufficient so they don't need food imports from the "Great Satan U.S."

The Pasadena Pundit said...

If we withdraw military aid from Egypt then that country will have less money to spend on wheat subsidies. Politics is full of paradoxes and sometimes the only way to do good is to get your hands dirty.

David Zetland said...

@PP -- we disagree. Military subsidies make it easier to subsidize wheat? Not! Wheat self sufficiency as a goal? Not! Reject the Brotherhood because they are Muslim? Not!

F-16s have not made Egypt or the US look good. They are merely toys paid for by US tax payers, for the benefit of the MI-Complex.

You sound like the folks at State who got us into this mess (and Iraq and AfPak and Colombia ad nauseum).

Sarah Palin? Don't waste my time.

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