Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Posts Tagged ‘Mubarak

Is it War Yet?

with 6 comments

I apologize for not being able to blog recently, there’s lots going on in the world, but alas, my Internet service as failed me miserably. We may very well be seeing the beginning of a world revolution on the streets of Cairo, and the only source of “news” I have most days is my television. Kinda like losing your glasses at the start of a sightseeing tour, I can make out dim shapes but that’s about it. On the other hand, hearing all the utter crap being spewed by the various “experts” in the mainstream media is heartening. I can do better than that, and I bet I do judging from the thoughtful educated comments I get.

So, since I don’t have time for in depth posts, here’s some wild speculation about how this is all going to turn out. OK, maybe it’s not that wild, I do actually know something about history and the region, but as I am sure I’ve said before, predicting the future is a fool’s game. If two months ago someone had suggested that millions of Egyptians would be taking to the streets in an attempt to oust Mubarak, I, and virtually every one else on the planet, would have said “not bloody likely.” Speculation about the future is always wild … but it can be lots of fun.

Well, option one is the West gets behind the democracy movement in Egypt and elsewhere, and does everything it can to support the nascent democratic governments that spring up. I mean, without the west’s support, most of the world’ dictators would be toast. Simultaneously the west would also have to launch a massive program to cut their dependence on foreign oil, since the free countries that would emerge in the Middle East would insist that the pofits from oil be re-invested in their countries, not the west. There would be some hardship and disruption at first no doubt, but in the long run it would be a good thing. Terrorism would decline over time as the grievances that have driven so many to terror would be addressed. And as education and wealth increased in former dictatorships, the market for western goods and services would blossom. Prosperity is not a zero sum game, there more prosperity there is in the world, the more prosperity that would create. Yeah, we would have to pay more for gas, but the increased trade and development in the world would only be good for the US and western economy in the long run.

Sadly, the chances of that happening are about zero. The west’s governments are about protecting the wealth of big corporations and the ultra-rich … no matter what the costs to everyone else, including their own populations. So there’s no chance the west will encourage true democracy and self-determination to spread throughout the world. It would really cut into oil and arms industry profits, enough said. It’s possible the west will finesse the establishment of faux democracies in Egypt and elsewhere, that’s certainly what they are going to try and do. A seamless transition into compliant western boot-licking “democracies” would be their wish. I’m pretty sure the cat is way to far out of the bag for that to fly though. The people of the world are more sophisticated, educated, and informed than ever in history, the era when they will be happy with lip service democracy and promises appears to be drawing to a close.

No, I fear something much uglier is in the offing. War. Big war. A big war with multiple purposes. To seize direct control of energy assets that are “threatened” by all this “instability,” including oil fields, pipelines, ports, the Suez canal, etc. And of course to install compliant quisling regimes in said countries. At the same time I fear that this will be used as an excuse to “transfer” millions of people out of Europe, the USA, and Israel’s occupied territories. This of course wold be ethnic cleansing by any other name, since the people so transferred would be Muslim in the case of Europe and Palestine, and Latino in the USA. And when it’s all over, no more “problems” with minorities or unemployment in the west, our oil supplies assured, and the Palestinian issue “solved” once and for all.

That at least would be the plan. The reality, God only knows. Which means, no one knows. The larger a war is, the less predictable its results. That’s never stopped anyone from starting big wars before, especially when they think they have “no choice.” And sadly when it comes to the ultra rich, anything is better than forgoing their power and profits. So in short, I think the west will do everything in it’s power to subvert or end this nascent movement for democracy and freedom in Egypt and elsewhere. And if it gets to the point where countries are truly declaring independence (and seizing assets such as oil fields and the Suez Canal,) we will see outright invasion and intervention along the lines of Iraq and Afghanistan. They’ll do it right this time of course, Afghanistan and Iraq were failures becasue we didn’t try hard enough. Snort.

Hang onto your hats people, this is going to get a lot scarier before it gets any better.

(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law, and I’m pretty sure it’s public domain to boot. It’s American Stuart tanks operating in North Africa in World War Two. Here’s hoping we don’t see American tanks in North Africa anytime soon.)





Written by unitedcats

February 7, 2011 at 4:35 pm

Posted in History, Politics, Propaganda, War, World

Tagged with , ,

We Are All Egyptians Now

with 8 comments

Well, the uprising continues in Egypt. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it’s very possible we are entering a watershed period in world history where all sorts of things are going to unravel in the next few years. There’s so much going on that it’s hard to even focus on what’s important. Still, that’s never stopped me from blogging before. I’m also a little out of sorts because I have some friends in Egypt. One of them is a doctor and if I know him at all, he’s out in the streets at no thought to his own safety providing first aid to the wounded. Historical events unfolding kinda take on another dimension when people one knows are in the thick of them.

So, in no particular order, my thoughts about some aspects of this situation. First, some background. There’s two basic things fuelling the protests across the Middle East. One is wealth distribution; the other is western, primarily American, foreign policy in the region. Wealth is easier to understand. Basically the inequalities in the world have been growing in recent decades, both internationally and internally. The world’s poor nations have been getting poorer, and huge numbers of young people are unemployed with grim prospects n the region. I mean, this unrest was triggered by a fellow in Tunisia with a college degree killing himself because he couldn’t even get a permit to sell fruit in the street! And the people in the street know damn well their corrupt western supported governments, mostly dictatorships of some sort or another, are a huge part of the reason that poverty and unemployment are rampant. A subset of this problem is the populations in these countries have been growing quickly and are very young in general. (Nothing like unemployment and poverty to make birth rates spike, I mean, what else is there to do? This is why refugee camps usually have astronomical birthrates.) And when a huge percentage of a population is young, there’s proportionately fewer older wiser people to try and keep cooler heads prevailing. Ever see a mob of old or even middle aged people?

And then foreign policy. While the west has made noises about democracy and human rights in the region, their actions speak much louder than words. Governments that would be pilloried as torture regimes (because they are torture regimes on par with Saddam’s Iraq) are given a pass and propped up with western arms as long as they maintain “stability.” By which I mean they don’t do anything to hinder the region’s oil wealth being plundered and used to fuel development and progress in the west. “Supertankers are the treasure galleons of our time, freeway interchanges the cathedrals” is a very apt analogy. In the rest of the world the west has encouraged at least some democracy, and there are political parties even though the west manages to keep pro-western parties in power for the most part. In the Middle East, despots rule and the US looks the other way.

Another aspect of this that nicely illustrates the incredibly short sighted foreign policy of the USA is Israel. The USA literally bought Israel 30 years of peace with Egypt. Did Israel use that 30 years to settle the Palestinian issue and make peace with its other neighbours? Nope, they used it as an excuse to be completely intransigent on the peace process and put the Palestinians under ever more pressure. Not to mention invading Lebanon and creating Hezbollah and confiscating ever more Palestinian land. Basically Israel spent the three decades of breathing room that the USA so generously bought them by building walls when they should have been building bridges. It’s a pretty safe bet that whatever new governments emerge in the region, they are going to be more supportive of the Palestinian cause than the west’s bought and paid for dictators have been.

So how should the USA and Israel respond to these developments? Well, if we had any real leadership in Washington, we’d jump on the bandwagon and throw the dictators to the crowds so to speak. The results might be messy, but done right, good will towards the US could increase dramatically in the region. In the long run this would be good for US business interests in the region, and would take the wind out of the sails of Al Qaeda and the like. Hell, done right we could even force a settlement to the Palestinian question, a viable Palestinian State would be the worst thing that ever happened to Muslim extremists. Sadly, Eisenhower is long dead and Obama is a cunning domestic politician with zero aptitude for foreign policy. Biden claiming that Mubarak “isn’t a dictator” pretty much sums up our head-in-the-sand approach to the developing situation. (Head-in-the-sand is the diplomatic phrase, enough said.) The only good thing about the US response is that the right wing extremists running Israel now are probably going to react even worse than Washington.

I’m hoping I’m wrong, but I fear the over-reaction to this is going to sow the wind and reap the whirlwind. The Middle East is too big now to occupy along the lines of Iraq and Afghanistan, but the abject folly of either enterprise didn’t stop the US from trying. NATO troops occupying Egypt? Anything is possible.

(The above image is public domain under US copyright law. Despite the perversions of the concept since, the founding fathers were onto something. We’re all in this together, every human has political and individual rights. And sometimes we have to fight for them. If we stand together, we cannot lose.)




Written by unitedcats

January 30, 2011 at 10:21 pm