Egypt Open Thread

Okay, here’s what we know.

First, this was Obama:

Second, Morsi is the black knight:

Third, and now I’m getting serious, Egypt is either going to explode or the military will impose harsh military rule very quickly to prevent an explosion.  Morsi is under house arrest, which makes his refusal to step down more symbolic than real.  Nevertheless, as symbolism, he will continue as the leader for and inspiration to Islamists and other Muslim Brotherhood supporters.

Fourth, despite his fawning Cairo speech in 2009, the Egyptians really, really hate Obama — as well they should.  It was Obama’s utter failure of leadership two years ago that paved the way for the Islamist/Muslim Brotherhood takeover of Egypt, a takeover that is both totalitarian and incompetent.  This time around, Obama’s patent support for the unpopular Morsi administration, followed by his leadership from behind (now that Morsi is obviously yesterday’s news, Obama is finally officially abandoning him), have led the Egyptians to realize what we on the right already figured out:  Obama is a weak man who does not like democratic values and, if given the choice, will always hew to dictators, the more Islamist the better.

Fifth, although Morsi was a bad leader, chaos in the Middle East’s most populous and most broke nation is not a good thing.  It’s also unclear now whether the military will abide by the peace treaty with Israel into which Sadat entered, or if Morsi was able to put enough Islamists in place that it will go even further than he did to ignore or entirely abandon the treaty.  There’s only a one in three chance of this turning out well for Israel.  These are the three options:  chaos and revolution, which is bad for Israel, since the only way to stop these revolutions is to find a scapegoat outside of Egypt; an Islamisized military, which is bad for Israel, because it may bring order to Egypt, but it will still attack Israel; or the military will abide by the peace treaty, which would be a good thing for Israel and for the rest of the Middle East.

I mentioned this was an open thread.  Please let me know what you think of what’s going on now and how you think things will turn out.

Gateway Pundit has pretty much real time updates about the speed with which the military is moving in Egypt.

If you were to bet on events in Egypt, how would you bet? *UPDATED*

Egypt protest in Tahir Square

Things in Egypt are coming to a head.  The protest in Tahir Square on Sunday is being billed as the largest political protest ever.  In addition to Cairo, people are protesting all over.  A mob burned down the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters.  Obama, after staying silent for some time, finally called upon to President Morsi to meet with the opposition and enact some democratic reforms.  (Two years ago, under similar circumstances, he demanded that the Egyptian president step down.)

I see a few scenarios playing out:

1.  Morsi leaves power.  There is a power vacuum, and a civil war.

2.  Morsi does not leave power.  There is a civil war.

3.  The military takes over, creating a military dictatorship.  Since Morsi tried to purge as many non-Islamist people as possible from the military, it is an Islamist military dictatorship.

4.  The military takes over, creating a military dictatorship.  Despite Morsi’s efforts to purge as many non-Islamist people as possible from the military, the military has remained primarily secular.  Once in power, it can either retain it or, having stabilized the country, pave the way for democratic elections.

5.  The military, which Morsi purged of moderate elements, backs Morsi.  It takes extreme measures, killing hundreds of thousands of Egyptians in order to put down the protests. The Muslim Brotherhood retains power, but with increased cruelty and despotism.

Keep in mind with these scenarios that Egypt has the largest population of any nation in the Arab Middle East, and that it shares borders with Libya (al Qaeda), the Sudan (Muslim extremists), and Israel (Jewish, democratic, prosperous).  It is also a country in deep economic decline, something that began under Mubarak and accelerated under Morsi.  Famine is dogging it.  Finally, Obama has continued to pour money and weapons (including F-18 fighters) into Egypt.

What do you think will happen?  Are any of my scenarios reasonable?  I assume there are a lot of scenarios that didn’t even occur to me.

UPDATE:  Right now, it looks as if the military is starting variation 4 — taking over — and to the extent it seems to support the protests, that may pave the way for a peaceful transition to a more democratic, non-sharia Egypt.  I know I sound cynical, but I’m not sure that people bred on decades of Islamism are capable of making that transition:

When are we going to admit that there is a war going on between us and radical Islam?

I’m guessing that a majority of Americans (a slim majority, but still a majority) know that America entered WWII because the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.  What few stop to consider is why we ended up fighting, not only the Japanese who had just bombed us, but the Germans as well, since they, after all, had not yet done anything to us.  The answer to that unasked question is that, for reasons known only to a megalomaniac, a few days after the Pearl Harbor attack, Hitler declared war on the United States.  The United States took up the challenge with gusto.  Within months, America had become a war machine, cranking out ships, tanks, guns, airplanes, and trained troops.  If Hitler hadn’t acted, Germany might have won the war.  England, after all, was on the ropes by the time America came in to help out.

It’s a little chilling to think that, were we to replay December 1941 with Obama in the White House, America would simply have ignored Germany’s declaration of war.  We would have heard that we have no quarrel with the Germans, who are a peaceful people, except of course for a handful of madmen.  We would have been told that, if these madmen killed our citizens, we would bring the actual killers to justice, but that we had no quarrel with the nations or ideology that gave birth to those killers and that are hard at work to raise an army of madmen.

As our administration and media talked, Hitler would have tightened his grip on Europe; fought a single front war against the Soviet Union; killed all the Jews, Gypsies, mentally disabled, and homosexuals in Europe; and then enslaved all Slavs and Communists (never mind that Naziism was a variation of socialism itself).   At the end of the day, our government would have said that we’re scarcely in a position to criticize the Nazis, since America was once a slave country itself.  Congress would then have announced economic sanctions, but the Executive office would have failed to enforce them.

But we don’t need a hyp0thetical December 1941 to imagine what our current administration would do.  We can watch it in real-time today.  There is a saying that “Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt” — and it’s funny that you should mention Egypt right now.  As if 9/11/01 and 9/11/02 weren’t strong enough declarations of war, Islamist clerics are actively calling all Egyptians to wage war against the west, starting with kidnapping:

Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has urged Egyptians to restart their revolution to press for Islamic law and called on Muslims to kidnap Westerners, the SITE Intelligence Group said Friday.

In a video released on jihadist forums and translated by the US monitoring service, Zawahiri also lashed out at President Barack Obama, calling him a liar and demanding he admit defeat in Iraq, Afghanistan and North Africa.

Criticizing the new Egyptian government — led by a president drawn from the Muslim Brotherhood — as corrupt, he said a battle is being waged in Egypt between a secular minority and Muslims seeking implementation of Shariah law.

I’ll admit that this is a challenging war because we are fighting, not a single nation, but a geographically diffuse ideology, but it is still war.  After all, what do you call it when a vast and recognizable group of individuals announces that it intends to kill and enslave your people, and then uses arms to carry out that promise?

We should be addressing this war on all fronts:  militarily, economically, and ideologically.  Instead, we are pretending it’s not happening.  To give credit where it’s due, George W. Bush figured out the military part and, with Iran, the economic part.  His problem, though, was that, as leader of a pluralist country, but he couldn’t bring himself to break through political correctness to admit that we are at war with a huge ideological foe.  After all, many Americans who are good, decent people share the same label (i.e., “Muslim”) as that foe. We confuse linguistic nuances with substance.

A problem of nomenclature, though, should not be allowed to obscure the fact that we have an active, resolute, powerful, and devious enemy.  We therefore do not fight that foe by excusing it.  Instead, we fight it by using every breath of free speech to challenge it in every way possible — debate, media, leaflets dropped from airplanes, and whatever else could work.

Obama has been the ultimate Islamist apologist.  He has only half-heartedly imposed sanctions against Iran, given a blank check to the Palestinians (who are a front in this Islamist jihad), weakened Israel (which is an ally in this existential battle), demoralized troops and energized enemies in Afghanistan by setting a certain pull-out date, and undermined a nascent democracy in Iraq by pulling out all troops without leaving a provisional force.  As for what just happened in Benghazi, that’s a chapter in itself, one that includes institutional cowardice and politicizing, lying, cover-ups and, with the imprisonment of a video maker, the destruction of our First Amendment.

Not only is Obama not much of a leader, he’s totally unsuited to military leadership.  You have to love your country to lead your military.  Obama doesn’t.  You have to believe in your country’s values to lead your military.  Obama doesn’t.  You have to courage to lead your military.  Obama doesn’t.  At every level, in every way, Obama fails as a military leader.  Let’s fire him from the job before it’s too late and we find ourselves defeated in the war we continue to pretend doesn’t exist.

Further thoughts on events in the Middle East and, especially, on the feckless Obama administration

First of all, it appears that the suspicions I voiced yesterday about the film that started it all are, if not true, at least headed in the right direction.  Poynter has a post detailing all the peculiarities about the film — the lies, the misdirection, and the purpose behind it (to incite violence).  It was a head-fake from the beginning.

Second of all, you all have probably heard the stories that Ambassador Stevens was sodomized and mutilated either before or after he was killed.  Right now, these are unconfirmed rumors, but there is every reason to believe that they are true.

When it comes to Muslim Arab culture, how self-delusional were all these people on the Left not to have figured out that there are some cultural stereotypes about Muslim Arabs that live on because they keep proving them to be true: They cook outstanding food, they abuse their women, they kill homosexuals, and they rape and mutilate any of their enemies unlucky enough to have fallen into their hands.

My parents came of age in 1930s and 1940s Palestine, so I’ve heard about Arab culture my entire life (and my parents had lots of Arab friends, Christians admittedly, whom they valued greatly.)  Muslim Arab culture is a brutal one predicated on power, both physical and, especially, sexual. They are adequate friends and horrible enemies. Does this hold true for every single Muslim Arab in the world? Of course not. But it’s true enough for a sufficient percentage of them that we ought to be very guarded in our dealings with them.

Speaking of being guarded in our dealings with them, that guard should include having actual security guards. Too bad Valerie Jarrett didn’t loan some of her guards to the Libyan embassy, which had no American security detail; or maybe she could have given some of the bullets that her guards carry to the Egyptian embassy, where the guards were denied live ammo.

As it was during the Carter years, this is amateur hour at the Ritz. The problem that, when America goes amateur, not only Americans die, but everyone starts taking hits. Without strong leadership from a nation dedicated to individual freedom, you pretty much end up with a pack of rabid wild dogs controlling the world’s zeitgeist.

Was yesterday’s embassy attack in Cairo a set-up from beginning to end?

The story goes that Sam Bacile, an Israeli living in America, created a crude video that so inflamed Egyptian sensibilities that they had to besiege the American embassy in Cairo.  I’ve been wondering how they got wind of that silly video in the first place.  Now I’m wondering if this whole thing wasn’t a set-up, including video.  It turns out that there is no Sam Bacile.  Scrape away the top layer, and you get the claim that it’s a pseudonym.

Scrape away the next layer and you find that there is a Sam Bassel, who is an Egyptian and who created the original video that was crudely dubbed into something inflammatory:

Actually, there’s basically no evidence that “Sam Bacile” even exists. The closest person who fits that description (at least electronically) is a self-proclaimed Egyptian “movie-maker” in California, who calls himself “Sam Bassel” on Facebook. Bassel has been registered on Facebook since 2010, and has posted regularly about the movies he supposedly produces, including the one that was used as a pretext for the Egyptian riots.

“Hello, I am a producer in a America and I live in Hollywood California,” he wrote in a July 15 post, well before the controversy erupted in Egypt. “I recently produced a movie that I believe to be one of the most historically important movie of our times. It is a 2 hour long movie about the entire life of the Prophet Muhammad from start to finish. Everything that is depicted in the movie is very true and well documented in all historical books that are found and taught in all Islamic countries.”

Bassel has posted about the film often over the past few months. According to one post, the movie took Bassel 12 years to complete and “blames America for the wars that occurred recently in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Hmmm.

I have no proof whatsoever, but I’ll tell you what popped into my head:  the Mohamed cartoons.  What happened was that a Danish newspaper editor refused to be cowed by sharia strictures and took it upon himself to publish cartoons showing illustrator’s imaginings of Mohamed’s face.  Some clearly mocked him or implied that he was violent.  And then nothing happened.  Absolutely nothing.

Events reached a head over those cartoons — with violent, murderous riots all over the world — when an Imam took it upon himself to republish the cartoons.  More than that, since they were insufficiently inflammatory in the Imam’s estimation, he added a few cartoons.  The truly foul ones — such as Mohamed with a pig face or Mohamed’s face on a dog’s body — weren’t from the Danish cartoonist (something that should have been obvious, given how primitive they were, compared to the more sophisticated imagery in the Jyllands-Posten.

Instead, the most offensive images came directly from Imam Ahmed Abdel Rahman Abu Laban’s own hands.  He created those disgusting pictures specifically to spur riot and rapine.  He succeeded, too, because the Muslim mob is nothing if not easily led.

This faking technique worked well once before to stir up the mob.  Who’s to say that we haven’t just witnessed the technique being used again, and to the same effect:  Inflaming the Muslim masses.  This doesn’t mean Mr. Sam Bassel is the culprit.  It just means that, based upon past history, this is as likely to be a set-up as it is to be a genuine example of American free speech.

Our feckless president

We all recall how Michael Moore mercilessly savaged George Bush because, when the first reports about the 9/11 terrorist attacks began, Bush was reading a story book to small children, and chose not to run screaming out of the room.  Fast-forward eleven years and we have a president who boasts that he’s better than everybody at doing anything.  Apparently he’s now decided to one-up Bush’s insouciance in the face of imminent disaster.

Yesterday was not a good day for America.  First, it was the eleventh anniversary of the most deadly attack ever launched against U.S. soil.  More than 3,000 American civilians died, horribly, over the course of a few hours, and they did so at the hands of people in thrall to radical Islam.  Obama celebrated this anniversary by campaigning, talking music with a pimp with a limp, and by sending a nice message to the Arab Forum on Asset Recovery.  Feckless.

Moving on from past tragedy to imminent disaster, radical Islamists attacked the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.  The Embassy responded before the attack by apologizing explicitly for Free Speech and doubled-down on that apology after the attack.  Hillary Clinton — Obama’s highest State Department official — reiterated the spineless apology.  The administration has tried now to walk back the statement, claiming that it didn’t authorize it (something that rings untrue in light of Hillary’s conduct) but the damage is done:

But the damage control being performed in Washington isn’t enough to put the administration’s stand in a positive light. If the initial apology resonated around the world it was because it was very much in line with the tone of moral equivalence that was the keynote of President Obama’s speech to the Arab world given in Cairo in June 2009. Having set forth a credo that balanced understanding for grievances against U.S. policies with a desire to conciliate its critics rather than to forthrightly defend America and its allies, the president cannot now be surprised when the instinct of U.S. representatives abroad, and especially those in Cairo, is to apologize first and to be resolute later.

Feckless.

The news of what happened in Egypt was swiftly followed by a report that “rebels” had stormed the American embassy in Benghazi, killing one person.  It only got worse.  We learned today that Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three others were deliberately murdered — Christopher by alleged “suffocation,” and the three others by gun shots.  The murderers than did the usual Arab thing of dragging the Ambassador’s body through the streets.  Honestly, they’re so primitive out there that, if it wasn’t for the Koran’s dietary proscriptions, I suspect they would have gone all Aztec or Druid and eaten his heart.

Obama’s response was swift:  He’s heading for Vegas.  He did take time out from his busy campaign season this morning, however, to make a short statement.  Considering that he used this statement to jettison the First Amendment, maybe it would have been better if he’d just kept quiet and gotten on the Vegas plane.

Romney, incidentally, gave a speech in favor of Free Speech.  He clearly understands that yesterday’s events are not the pathetic Arab have-nots standing up against the arrogant and cruel American haves.  Instead, what we saw yesterday was the latest outbreak in a war between the backwards, repressed, bloodthirsty world and American exceptionalism, a doctrine founded on individual freedom, which is inextricably intertwined with Free Speech.

Maybe it’s no wonder that Obama was caught flat-footed.  He’s been so busy with campaigns and phone calls to rock stations and TV appearances that he hasn’t had any time for security briefings in the last week.  Yet more evidence, as if we need it, that Obama’s priorities are all about . . . Obama.  Feckless wretch.

Obama didn’t do any better in his dealings with Israel’s existential nightmare — a nuclear Iran.  The first reports were that Obama refused to speak to Netanhayu at all.  Fear not, Obama fans.  This doesn’t mean he’s too busy to do the really important stuff, such as making an appearance on David Letterman’s show.

When the uproar became too great to tolerate, Obama announced that he spoke on the phone for one hour with Netanyahu.  Think about that:  Israel, America’s only stable, democratic ally in the Middle East is facing a potential nuclear holocaust, and Obama is able to carve out a single hour from his busy schedule of shmoozing and begging for money.  As Roger Simon asks, how can Jews continue to ally themselves with Obama and Democrat party?

Obama is the most feckless president in American history, especially when it comes to the Middle East.  Or maybe he’s not feckless at all.  Worse, maybe this is part of a grand plan and ideology.

 

American embassy in Cairo appears to embrace sharia speech codes *UPDATED*

Yes, I understand that the embassy in Cairo is besieged but it does strike me as cowardly to abandon core principles as this juncture (emphasis mine):

U.S. Embassy Condemns Religious Incitement

September 11, 2012

The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. Today, the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans are honoring our patriots and those who serve our nation as the fitting response to the enemies of democracy. Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.

You’d think that you wouldn’t have to provide basic constitutional lessons for U.S. Embassy employees but I guess they need a little review:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

If we Americans want to say Islam is an incitement to violence, we can. If we want to put Jesus in a vat full of urine, we can. If we want to say Jews are greedy, we can. If we want to say Hindus worship cows, we can. If we want to say Mormons wear funny underwear, we can.  We are allowed to hurt the religious feelings of religious people.  It’s our right as Americans to be rude.  Neither tact, nor forbearance, nor non-mutual respect, nor polite lies are required under our Constitution.

Last thought:  It is possible that the language from embassy — that it’s bad “to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims” — is as foolish as it is because the embassy people meant them ironically. Perhaps the White House said “say something that won’t hurt Muslim feelings,” and some P.O.’d embassy official came back with this nonsensical, unconstitutional PC fecal matter. I mean, the statement is too close to parody to be real. Isn’t it?  Come on, someone.  Please agree with me right about now.

Of course, if that statement is a heartfelt expression from America’s representative on Egypt’s soil, God help us all, because our government is in the hands of dhimmis.

UPDATE:  For more on embassy awfulness (proving that this is no joke, but is their real thinking) just check their twitter feed:


Is it possible that these government representatives do not understand that the essence of free speech is the ability to criticize religion?  No, it may not be very nice, but in a normal, non-sharia, world, this type of criticism leads to a debate that enriches the marketplace of ideas — and may the best idea win.  We do America a profound and lasting disservice if we abandon this core principle to pander to a 7th century mentality, the practitioners of which are deathly afraid to subject their beliefs to an intellectual airing and analysis.

Barry Rubin’s prediction for Egypt: Massive violence

When it comes to the Middle East, I’m hard-put to think of a more astute, knowledgeable observer than Barry Rubin.  In light of the Egyptian court ruling striking down large parts of the recent elections, and the military’s subsequent power move, he’s not sanguine about Egypt’s future:

The Egyptian Supreme Constitutional Court has just invalidated the parliamentary election there. The parliament, 75 percent of whose members were Islamists, is being dissolved. The military junta has taken over total authority. The presidential election is still scheduled for a few dozen hours from now.

In short, everything is confused and everything is a mess. All calculations are thrown to the wind. What this appears to be is a new military coup. What is the underlying theme? The armed forces concluded that an Islamist takeover was so dangerous for Egypt and for its own interests that it is better to risk civil war, a bloodbath, and tremendous unpopularity than to remain passive and turn over power. I believe this decision was made very reluctantly and not out of some lust for power by the generals. They have decided that they had no choice.

Yes, it is under legal cover, but nobody is going to see it as a group of judges — appointed by former President Hosni Mubarak, remember — looking deep into the law books and coming up with a carefully reasoned decision based on precedent. In theory, this will be seen by every Islamist — whether Salafi or Muslim Brotherhood — and by most of the liberals — who feel closer to the Islamists than to the government — as if the 2011 revolution has just been reversed. In preparation, the army prepared a new regulation allowing itself arrest anyone.

Prediction: massive violence.

Read the rest here, especially because Rubin tempers that grim conclusion with some speculation about the weird silence with which the Islamists have greeted the events of the last 48 hours.

Syria — random thoughts

I’ve been quiet about a lot of the revolutions in the Middle East.  The only one as to which I was really vocal was the attempted revolution in Iran — and that was because I thought the uprising could only benefit America.  That regime is so evil, that destabilizing it for awhile, even if would eventually be replaced by an equally bad regime, would still be good for us.  As long as Obama is in the White House, the bare minimum that would benefit America would be to buy time until a competent, pro-American (and, one hopes, pro-Israel) president is in the White House.  Obama, of course, was conspicuously absent during the attempted Iranian uprising, and I can’t fault him enough for that silence.

As for the other “revolutions” . . . .

Tunisia did not affect America one way or another.  It was short, sweet, and seemed to have a good outcome for the citizens, which is a blessing, and I’m pleased for them.

Egypt!?  Oy.  Mubarak was a slimeball but he was our slimeball.  He kept the peace with Israel and he did not threaten American interests.  Obama’s first response was to say nothing, then he said nothing useful, then he suddenly announced that Mubarak had to go, then he didn’t know what to do after having made that announcement, and then it became clear that he had no idea what to do in the vacuum following Mubarak’s departure.

Right now, Egypt is poised on the knife’s edge, as the Muslim Brotherhood, having waited for this moment for decades, slowly and carefully begins to consolidate power.  The MB is helped by the fact that this radical, nationalist, sharia oriented movement got the official Obama stamp of approval.  I’m not saying the Egyptian revolution could have been stopped or (since I lack a crystal ball) that it will be a bad thing in the long term.  I am saying, however, that Obama proved himself totally inept and incapable of shaping the situation to America’s advantage.  He was a reactor, not an actor.

In Libya, Obama again plays the helpless idiot.  He cedes leadership to France, which seizes it with gusto but that doesn’t mean that the seizure is to America’s benefit.  Libya’s oil supply is neither here nor there for us.  He’s now snuck is into a war that not only confers zero benefit on us, but that aids al Qaeda, which is currently trying to kill our troops in Afghanistan.  There is no good outcome here.

Three revolutions, three missteps by Obama.  Meanwhile, he and his State Department made all sorts of silly noises about President Assad being a reformer, despite the fact that his is one of the most evil, corrupt regimes in the world, not to mention the fact that it’s hand in hand with Iran.

So then, Syria blows up.  And what does the Obama administration do?  Nothing.  Burned twice, and trapped by its own recent word’s praising Assad’s presidency, it’s paralyzed.  The problem is that, Syria, like Iran, is a place where a revolution is not necessarily bad for America’s interests.  The Syrian people might go from the frying pan into the fire, which would be unfortunate for them, but we, at least would buy time.  A country in disarray is not usually a country that is capable of pursuing evil against nations outside its border.

The score for Obama is four revolutions and four leadership failures.  Sadly, given America’s staggering but still existent preeminence, that’s the exact same score for the Americans, the Israelis, the Egyptians, the Iranians and, so far, the Syrians.

Aside from trendiness, there’s something wrong here

I’m with Sadie, that there’s something deeply off-putting about Obama casually applying the ancient Passover story to the uprisings in the Middle East:

Passover recalls the bondage and suffering of Jews in Egypt and the miracle of the Exodus, but U.S. President Barack Obama says its message is reflected in Muslim uprisings.

In his annual message, prior to his third straight participation in the Passover Seder, President Obama stated, “The story of Passover…instructs each generation to remember its past, while appreciating the beauty of freedom and the responsibility it entails. This year that ancient instruction is reflected in the daily headlines as we see modern stories of social transformation and liberation unfolding in the Middle East and North Africa.”

Aside from the superficiality of Obama’s message, it has two other problems.  First, typically for a Progressive, he fails to understand revolts that are keyed to a people’s freedom versus revolts that simply raise up a new oppressor.

In America, because of the American Revolution, our template is that revolutions bring about greater freedom.  However, as France, Russia, China, Cuba, etc., show, our revolution was not typical.  As often as not, a “revolution” simply brings about an equal or greater tyranny.  It remains to be seen, for example, whether Egypt results in greater freedom for the people (since Mubarak was very oppressive) or lesser freedom (since there is nothing more repressive than an Islamic regime).  At least Mubarak was dormant when it came to waging war against Israel and America.

Libya sees exactly the same problem. Gaddafi is a monster but, vis a vis America, he has been a benign monster since 2003.  Now, though, we’re cheerfully spending millions of dollars a day (dollars we don’t have) to overthrow Gaddafi so that al Qaeda can take his place.  Al Qaeda, which is killing our troops in Afghanistan, will not improve the Libyan people’s lot (because radical Islam is always oppressive government), but it will put America at greater risk.

In Iran, I supported the Green Revolution because it was good for America:  anything that rocked the current Islamic government had to improve the status quo as far as Americans were concerned.  It was, frankly, questionable whether the Iranian people would simply be trading the frying pan for the fire.  While I applauded their courage, I had my doubts about their freedom quota.

Not all uprisings are created equal.  That’s problem number one with Obama’s facile little analysis.

Problem number two is that there’s something horrible about quoting one of the greatest stories in Jewish history, a story that has been retold annually in Jewish homes for thousands of years, to justify revolutions that will put into power people who have as their primary goal . . . killing Jews.  That’s just wrong.  Deeply, deeply, classlessly, tactlessly wrong.

Niall Ferguson on Obama’s role in Egypt

I was remarkably silent on Egypt.  The situation was too fluid for me to grab a hold of.  I knew only that Obama’s policy would follow whoever seemed likely to win, since he will always hew to the strong man.  Now that it’s over, I was thinking of writing about the abysmal Obama performance (following, no clear ideological goal, confused and ever-changing messages), but I discovered that someone got there better and first.  You can read Niall Ferguson’s Newsweek article, or just watch the video as a reporter desperately tries to defend Obama, and Ferguson rips her apart:

Hat tip:  small dead animals

Obama suffers an empathy failure when it comes to Israel

Let’s think about Israel from the Israeli viewpoint for a minute, shall we?  It is, by any standards, an extremely small country.  Within its own borders, it is a sophisticated Western-style nation that leads the world in scientific innovation.  Its political system is a parliamentary style democratic republic.  Although its system isn’t perfect, no one questions the fact that it extends full civil rights to all citizens within its borders, regardless of race, religion, color, sex, sexual orientation, or country of national origin.

Another fact about Israel?  A large part of the world wants to see it — and all its citizens — destroyed because the State of Israel is a Jewish state.  Europeans classify it as the most dangerous state in the world.  Israelis rightly suspect that the Europeans are wrong, and that there are, in fact, a few other states more dangerous than it is.  There is the Gazan state along its Western side, that has a charter that enshrines the desire to drive every citizen of Israel into the Mediterranean, presumably in a satisfying welter of blood.  There is also the West Bank, which has precisely the same goal.

To Israel’s north is Lebanon, which is controlled by Hezbollah.  Hezbollah, coincidentally, shares the Gazan state’s goal:  total Jewish genocide.  To her east are Syria and Jordon which, quelle coincidence, have precisely the same mandate.  Stretch yourself a little further and you find Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Libya and Oman all of which, again purely by coincidence, have as official or unofficial government policies a vociferously and repeatedly stated desire to reduce Israel and her citizens to dust and ashes.  To make things a little more exciting for our small republican democracy, Iran is on the verge of having a nuclear bomb.

Oh, and did I mention that the other states are tyrannical dictatorships that have not only expelled all Jews from their borders, but that also maintain their control on power by stirring the masses into an antisemitic frenzy?  They’ve learned that the Jewish scapegoat is always a useful way to deflect attention from ones own failings.

The only nation near Israel — and it’s a big nation — that hasn’t been baying for her blood for the past 30 years is Egypt.  The Israelis knew that Hosni Mubarak was an often-cruel dictator, but in that regard he was completely indistinguishable from the Middle Eastern leaders heading the other nations I’ve mentioned.  They knew that Egyptians weren’t doing so well under Mubarak’s leadership, but in that regard too those pathetic citizens are completely indistinguishable from most of the other Middle Eastern citizens around them.  What makes Mubarak — and therefore Egypt — different, is that Mubarak steadfastly held to the Camp David peace accords.  He allowed his citizens to become infected with the worst type of antisemitism, but neither he nor his military went in for a repeat of 1948 or 1967.

Looking at things from Israel’s view, Mubarak was a good thing for them, and no worse for his citizens than any other tyrannical Middle Eastern leader Muslims in the Middle EAst would inevitably have suffered.   He was a win for Israel, and a wash for his own citizens.  For Israel, his leadership was no harm and no foul.

Now let’s think about President Obama and his administration for a few minutes.  Obama is very empathetic, right?  I know this, because he assured us that empathy is an extremely important quality:

“I view that quality of empathy, of understanding and identifying with people’s hopes and struggles, as an essential ingredient for arriving at just decisions and outcomes.”

Or, as Clinton more pithily said, “I feel your pain.”

You’d think that, with his natural appreciation for empathy, President Obama would have felt for the Israelis when Egypt suddenly ran off the rails.  From their point of view, the existence of the Muslim Brotherhood within Egypt, yet another organization loudly and explicitly dedicated to Israel’s destruction, was an untenable risk.  Israel’s geographic isolation, and its neighbor’s homicidal antipathy, meant that Israel would invariably prefer the known Mubarak imp over the equally known, but infinitely more scary, Muslim Brotherhood devil any day.  And as I said, from the point of view of Egypt’s citizens, it’s six of one secular military dictatorships, versus half a dozen Islamic totalitarian dictatorships.  They’re screwed regardless.

But was Obama empathetic?  No.  Decidedly no.  Instead, he was — and I quote — “disgusted.”  Yes, the notion of a small, liberal, democratic republic looking at the possibility of yet another genocidal nation on its borders, rather than stirring the milk of human kindness in Obama’s veins, roused him to disgust (emphasis mine):

Rather than even listening to what the democracy youth in Tahrir Square were saying and then trying to digest what it meant, this Israeli government took two approaches during the last three weeks: Frantically calling the White House and telling the president he must not abandon Pharaoh – to the point where the White House was thoroughly disgusted with its Israeli interlocutors – and using the opportunity to score propaganda points: “Look at us! Look at us! We told you so! We are the only stable country in the region, because we are the only democracy.’’

The only pain, apparently, that Obama felt was ennui when forced to listen to people who are worried that, in the next few days, weeks or months, they will be subject to military attack from all sides.

Well, I have to confess that I too am empathetic.  You see, when I think of Obama and his administration, as well as their fellow travels at the New York Times, I know exactly what disgust feels like.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

Blind intelligence

Has the U.S. ever been so clueless as  it is today with respect to events going on in Egypt?

CIA Director Panetta just admitted that he gets his information on Egyptian events from the media, rather than from his own agency. National Intelligence Director Jim Clapper, meanwhile, pontificates about how the Muslim Brotherhood is a largely secular organization, only to be immediately followed by the rapid back-pedaling of his minions.

http://www.mediaite.com/online/report-cia-chief-based-congressional-mubarak-testimony-on-media-broadcasts/

So, is it fair to blame the CIA for these massive intelligence failures?

What we are seeing is the successful culmination of the witch hunts that have been directed against the CIA post 9/11 by the Democrat Left and their fellow travelers. Remember AG Eric Holder’s crusade to prosecute CIA personnel when the Obama administration came to power?

Were I in the CIA today, I expect that I would be doing everything that I could to take no risks, make no decisions, and effectively do…nothing! And that’s what we have got for national intelligence…a blind nothing.

No, I don’t blame the CIA or any other intelligence agency for these intelligence failures.

Feel safer now?

Barack Obama’s “understanding” of all things Muslim

When I was six years old, within a few short months, I went from having perfect vision to being extremely nearsighted.  I was discussing that fact with a friend today, and noted that I have no memory of ever having seen well without help from glasses or contacts.

This comment made me realize how little of our childhood sticks with us.  As adults, we have few large and coherent memories of our first five years.  From the years between six and ten, our memories expand, but they’re still spotty and they’re bounded by the limitations of our child-world, which boils down to school-life, home-life, and the occasional memorable vacation.

I grew up during a time of tremendous social and political upheaval (it was the 1960s and early 1970s, after all), but have only the most limited recollection of that time.  What I remember are my teachers (some of them), my school friends (some of them), the continuity of my home life (same mom, same dad, same sister, same house), and the highlights of my life (summers in Tahoe, a Renaissance Faire, my first trip to Disneyland).  For me, the Vietnam War boiled down to Walter Cronkite announcing the day’s dead and wounded on the news.  The Chicago Democratic Convention, which happened when I was 8, didn’t make it to my radar at all.  The hippies, who were a far-reaching social phenomenon, were simply smelly people to me.

I also had such a limited frame of reference that, when I heard information that fell outside my knowledge, I manipulated the information that so that it would mesh with my mental furniture.  My favorite example of this is the story of my Dad’s brother; or, rather, how I completely misinterpreted the story of my Dad’s brother.  My uncle was, apparently, a genius amongst geniuses.  In the years leading up to WWI, many of his teachers at Berlin’s Jewish gymnasium considered him to be the most brilliant student the school had ever produced.  Considering that this was a school that, for more than a hundred years had taught the academic Jewish students living in an academic German nation, that was saying a lot.

My uncle lacked drive however and made nothing of his brilliance.  Indeed, as I often told my friends, he ended up life as a janitor!  One day, when I was already in junior high school, my parents heard me telling this story and were, to say the least, perplexed.  It turned out he wasn’t a janitor at all.  Instead, he was a low level civil servant in the Danish government.  My confusion stemmed from the fact that my parents had given me his job title:  “Custodian of Foreign Property” or something like that.  In my youthful world, a “custodian” was a “janitor” — and so a story was born.

I wasn’t unique in that I really didn’t “get” what was going on around me, or that I put my own child-like spin on things.  The other night, when my husband went to kiss our 11 year old son goodnight, he found him punching himself in the stomach.  In response to a query from my husband, my son announced that Mom had told him that, if he wanted to get good stomach muscles, he should sock himself in the stomach.  My husband came to me to investigate this peculiar piece of body-building advice, and learned what I had really said:  “One of the good ways to improve your muscle tone (and get the six pack abs my son so desperately desires), is to suck in your stomach when you walk around.”

(I call this active walking, meaning that you simply keep your abs engaged as part of regular movement.  Up until two pregnancies wrecked havoc with my abdominal muscles, I could have been on the cover of one of those ab workout videos, so I know this technique works.)

Children are bright, observant and absorptive.  They also do not know how to process all of the information they take in, they do not always understand the information headed their way and, by the time they are adults, they’ve forgotten large chunks of their childhood.  That’s normal.  The developing brain is a wondrous thing, but it’s not a fully functional thing.  Also, as my little “janitor”/”custodian” story shows, children live in a very small world.  Their understanding is bounded only by their immediate knowledge.

Think about how children understand their little world, and then think about Barack Obama.  He lived in Indonesia from the time he was six until he was nine or ten.  He was part of an expatriate community, and went to a slightly more ecumenical school than would be the norm in a Muslim country.  Also, he was in an East Asian, not an Arab, Muslim country, one that, even today, is somewhat liberal by Muslim standards( starting with the fact that the women traditionally did not wear veils there).  His exposure to a rather singular type of Islam occurred at a time in his life when he was processing experiences through a very narrow, youthful frame of reference.

Nevertheless, David Ignatius assures us that this limited exposure, during a time in life when even the brightest child isn’t tracking things that well, makes Obama a Middle East expert:

As President Obama watched events unfold this past week in Egypt and the surrounding Arab world, he is said to have reflected on his own boyhood experiences in Indonesia — when the country was ruled by a corrupt, authoritarian leader who was later toppled by a reform movement.

Obama looks at the Egyptian drama through an unusual lens. He has experienced dictatorship first-hand, a world where “the strong man takes the weak man’s land,” as he quoted his Indonesian stepfather in his autobiography. The president came of age reading Frantz Fanon and other theorists of radical change. He is sometimes described as a “post-racial” figure, but it’s also helpful to think of him as a “post-colonial” man.

Based upon my memories of my own childhood, and my day-to-day observations of the children with whom I spend a great deal of time today, Ignatius’ take is just horse pucky. Unless Obama was a political savant, he was almost certainly unaware of or had, at most, limited awareness of the political and social dynamics in Indonesia.

It’s entirely possible that, as Obama grew older, his exposure to Indonesia as a child meant that, as an adult, he paid attention to Indonesian politics. That would make sense. But to say, as Ignatius does, that Obama, the former community organize, has the innate ability to negotiate the pitfalls of this Egyptian revolution because he lived in Indonesia when he was 7 or 8 years old is nothing more than an insult to our intelligence.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

A letter from Egypt everyone should read

Brian E added this letter as a comment to an earlier post.  In it, his brother, a teacher at BEN- Baptists Equipping Nationals, relays a communication he received from someone in Egypt.  I think it is important enough for everyone to read that I’m making it a separate post.  Thanks, Brian.

My brother who travels to Egypt twice a year to teach at a Bible Seminary there sent me this e-mail last night. (He’s in the US right now).

Dear Family,

Following is the latest direct from Egypt.  I received this 5 minutes ago.  Please PRAY!

“Mobs have field the center in Cairo rioting and causing a lot of injury, one person was killed and many abut 403 people are injured.

Mobs are hired, given each a barbecue chicken meal, two bottles of water and $100.00 a day. (money either from the gulf states or Iran)

Obama statements are seen as the US is conspiring to topple the Egyptian government. The world Satan, is working for the state of Israel.

American statements are very bad, confusing, and hearting the people of Egypt, not helping them. the united states image have been marred badly
a spirit of deception is trying to engulf the country and the region

All the world media is reporting from the center of the city, they are not reporting that throughout the city cars are loaded with families fanning the streets crying in unity out ‘long live Egypt’

Egypt does not know which way to go

Amira my wife yesterday was crying out of fear, today she is crying for Egypt,

There are wiled beasts in the city trying to devours the country

Egypt now is being assaulted

No order, no political leader to lead total anarchy”

What is not said:  The evangelical Christians are the most at risk people in the Middle East.  These people have been without an income since the chaos began.  Many are fearful to leave their homes.  They need our prayer support!

Thank you for caring with us.

Chuck and Carol

Defining our terms when we speak about Egypt

A lot of people keep talking about a desire for a “democratic” Egypt.  I hate to say it but, with the word “democratic” as the starting point, that’s not a very useful discussion.  The dictionary definition of a “democracy” is as follows:

government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.

In other words, a democracy is one in which every citizen or, at least, every adult citizen, or possibly every adult citizen who isn’t a felon or insane, gets to vote, either directly for the legislation itself or for a representative who will handle the legislative end of government.

Calling for a democracy in Egypt sounds great in theory, but if there’s one thing we’ve learned in the last fifty years, having the right to vote isn’t necessarily a good thing for the citizens.  Those of us who came of age during the Cold War vividly remember the Soviet Union sneering that it had a much stronger democracy than the American people because (i) more people turned out to vote (about 90% versus our 60-ish%); and (ii) because socialism meant that there was a direct relationship between people and government, without the necessity (or, in socialist terms, evil) of capitalist, corporate intermediaries.

The dirty little secret was that the votes in socialist nations were shams.  All candidates came from the same pot, and a vote for Candidate A was precisely the same as a vote for Candidate B.  People voted not because they had a meaningful choice that would result in differing forms of governance, but because they would get in trouble for not voting.

The Soviet example demonstrates that a democracy without freedom is meaningless.  But just as “democracy” is a fluid term, so too is “freedom.”

Some use the term “freedom” in the colloquial sense of being free from something negative:  freedom from hunger, freedom from poverty, freedom from fear. I would argue that this notion of freedom is a socialist definition, because it has the government promise to provide for the people’s physical needs.

For example, under the “government will provide for all wants” school of freedom, the promise is that you will not be hungry because the government will give you food.  Of course, in order to make good on that promise, the government must force people to harvest the land, whether they have the interest or the ability.  The government will also bend its bureaucratic might (a might usually untethered to functional knowledge) to decide what crops will be grown, how they will be grown and, assuming there is a harvest, how the food will be collected and disseminated.

Under this scenario, which we saw replayed repeatedly throughout the 20th century in Communist lands, because people who are coerced into a task tend to do it badly and because bureaucratic guidance can be worse than no guidance at all, the ultimate harvest is often . . . well, minimal.  Nevertheless, you can be assured that your friendly socialist government will share out the small amount of available food amongst its citizens.

There you have one form of freedom:  government-provided freedom from hunger or, at least, freedom from total starvation . . . or possibly, the government will earnestly tell you that none of the myriad emaciated corpses it’s burying actually starved to death.  And you, as a good citizen of this type of “free” country,” will politely ignore the gun that encourages you to believe this bizarre fiction.

The other form of freedom, the one that so many of us effortlessly conflate with democracy, is the type that leaves the citizens of a nation with the maximum available choices over their destiny.  In order for the free society to function, freedom shouldn’t equal anarchy.  In a healthy, free society, you don’t get to kill, rape, steal, vandalize, and assault with impunity.  Functional democratic freedom envisions a society that has the smallest possible number of equally applied rules for all citizens.  Examples of that are rules holding that none of us get to murder at will, that we all stop at red lights, and that legal sex is consensual sex amongst adults.

There’s always the risk, of course, that the rules will mushroom, not only because this is the nature of government, but because ordinary people want a certain predictability in society, and predictability can be had only in the presence of myriad rules.   The more rules you have, the less individual freedom you have.

Indeed, right now, many of us feel that America has too many rules.  However, as the last two elections showed, we’re still falling on the side of freedom.  The candidates presented to us reflected genuinely different approaches to government in America and, if you managed to avoid the New Black Panthers standing at the polling place doors, you, as a citizen, got to go into the voting booth and, in private, express your preference as between those real choices.  Unsurprisingly, after four years of heavy-handed, freedom-limiting legislative activity, joined by two years of equally heavy-handed executive activity, the majority of Americans voted for the representatives who promised to get the government to retreat.

Now that’s freedom!

That freedom, the maximum number of individual choices exercised in a stable society with the minimum number of rules to ensure honesty, functionality, safety and stability, is also the type of government I wish for the Egyptian people.  To call for “democracy,” when that “democracy” seems to be the right to vote for Radical Muslim Brotherhood Candidate A or Radical Muslim Brotherhood Candidate B — both of whom will cheerfully lock your women in their homes, hang your gays, murder your Christians and start an apocalyptic war with the Jewish neighbor next door — is not a helpful way to free the people of Egypt from the chains that have bound them for so long.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

The news (not!) out of Egypt

One of the things I’ve noticed regarding the “news” coming out of Egypt is that it’s incoherent.  Because the situation is so big and so fluid, and because the reporters streaming in are remarkably uninformed to begin with about the region, the news stories remind me strongly of the blind man and the elephant. If you’re not familiar with that tale, the following version is the delightful poem by John Godfrey Saxe (1816-1887):

It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.

The First approach’d the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
“God bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a wall!”

The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, -”Ho! what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me ’tis mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!”

The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
Is very like a snake!”

The Fourth reached out his eager hand,
And felt about the knee.
“What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain,” quoth he,
“‘Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree!”

The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said: “E’en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan!”

The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Then, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
Is very like a rope!”

And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!

MORAL.

So oft in theologic wars,
The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean,
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen!

This reporter speaks to a crowd the loathes America; that reporter speaks to a crowd that seeks democracy; this reporter gets trapped in the middle of a riot; that reporter sees peaceful protests; and so on, ad nauseaum. There is no coherent narrative emerging.

I have come to one conclusion in my own mind, though, for better or worse.  There is a substantial likelihood that any outcome will not be friendly to Israel.  If that’s the case, there’s a likelihood that a new government will abrogate the Camp David treaty, and declare war against Israel.  That’s a bad thing . . . except . . . except:

For the first time in a long time, there will be clarity.  Israel will face a nation, not a terrorist group interspersed amongst a complicit, but picturesquely pathetic citizenry; Israel will be the declaree, not the declarer, should there be war, which has a propaganda value that needs to be respected; and Israel has a better fighting force.

Past wars have shown that the Arabs and Muslims fight with ferocity and inhumanity when they think they’re winning, and run from the fight when they think they’re losing.  History has also shown that, in open battle, the Arab/Muslim bite hasn’t yet lived up to its bark.  And yes, I know that the Iraq/Iran war was an eight (?) year open sore, fought with unparalleled brutality and loss of life, but it’s worth remembering that it was fought by two similar militaries, in a conventional way.  Israel (God willing) has learned its lessons, has planned (God forbid) for such a moment, and will avoid embroiling itself in the 21st Century equivalent of trench warfare.

I’m not saying there’ll be war.  I’m saying (a) we have no real idea what’s going on and (b) outcomes in that region tend to disfavor Israel.  If it comes to war, all is not lost and maybe there’s something to be gained.

And Mussolini made the trains run on time….

When I read that the Obama administration is good with having the Muslim Brotherhood on board in Egypt, because it’s really not such a bad organization, I keep thinking of 1930′s rationalizations about Mussolini:  He made the trains run on time.  Surely our standards of decency are higher than that?

Uh, no.  I guess not.

UPDATEYet another example of the “Mussolini was efficient” attitude.

Two questions for you about Egypt

1.  Faced with a popular revolt of the type we’re seeing in Egypt, can an American president make a difference?

My sense is that, while we’re certainly not going to drop bombs, the American president (any president, not just Obama) is such a vast presence that both his silence and his speech matter.  His bully pulpit is so large that, by appearing to support one side or another, either through silence or affirmative statements, he can affect the momentum within the other country.  What’s your point of view?  This is separate from whether Obama is being inept.  After all, if anything he does is meaningless theater, his ineptitude, if it exists, is irrelevant.

2.  What do you think will happen in Egypt?

I think that, while the average Egyptian on the street is not an Islamist (meaning he’s not committed to the Muslim Brotherhood’s jihadist goals), he really doesn’t know what he wants beyond not wanting the current situation.  That vagueness creates a vacuum, and I think the MB is poised to fill that vacuum.  If it does, I predict that, in four months, (a) Egypt will have sharia law; (b) Egypt will abrogate the treaty with Israel and attack; and (c) there’s a 50% chance that the Islamists will let their hostility to the Wets override their economic self-interest and shut down the Suez Canal.  Of course, if Mubarek can hang on long enough for a peaceful transition, maybe something good will come of all this.

A profound difference between the Iranian protests and the current Egyptian uprising

When I was faced with troubling decisions in my life, I used to give myself a pep talk.  I’d tell myself that there were three things that could happen as a result of my decision:  things could get better, they could get worse, or they could remain the same.  So, I’d tell myself, there’s only a one third chance that my decision could have a bad outcome.  This simplistic way of looking at things ignored, of course, whether mine was a smart decision, that hewed in the direction of better-ness, or a dumb decision, that pretty much predicted the worst possible outcome.  The fact remained that there were indeed three possible outcomes.

That simplistic thinking is slightly useful right now.  Think back to the Iran protests.  I watched those protests with fascination, because I knew that, from my situation in America, things couldn’t get worse; they could only remain the same or get better.  (That is not true, of course, for the protesters, who could, and did, suffer terribly if/when the protest failed.)  I was cheering at a football game, comfortably aware that a bad outcome would disappointment me, but not hurt me; and very hopeful that things would get much better.

The same cannot be said about events in Egypt.  The situation there was bad for the Egyptians but (mostly) stable for the rest of the world, including Israel.  The greatest likelihood is that something very bad will happen there, probably involving the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and Hezbollah.  I therefore find the news reports, not fascinating, but very unnerving, veering into frightening.  The possibility of a good outcome — a democratic revolution — is extraordinarily small, especially with Jimmy Carter . . . uh, Barack Obama at the helm.  Yup, this is a time warp moment.  It’s 1979 all over again.

Family calls, but feel free to comment here about your take on the revolt and its potential outcomes.

The world would not be better off with Mohammed El-Baradei at Egypt’s helm

When I read news reports saying that Mohammed El-Baradei had shown up in Egypt as a potential “democratic” leader, I was confused.  Surely this couldn’t be the same El-Baradei who served for so long as the head of the IAEA?  I couldn’t find specifics within my own brain, and was too lazy to look around on the internet, but when I thought of that El-Baradei, I kept thinking of someone who lied about Iran’s nuclear program, and who was relentlessly hostile to America and Israel.

Sometimes my instincts are right on the money — he’s a bad dude, with a bad history.  Egypt will go from the Mubarak frying pan straight into the El-Baradei fire if the latter steps up to a leadership position.

Is global warming hysteria responsible for Egypt’s revolution?

Track me on this one:

1.  With help from Al Gore, Hollywood, and the entire Leftist panoply, global warming fears reach hysterical levels.

2.  As part of their apocalyptic battle against rising seas and dying polar bears, warmists declare ethanol is one of the answers (never mind that it turns out that it takes 1.5 gallons of fossil fuel to produce a gallon of ethanol).

3.  Did I mention that ethanol comes from corn?  In the old days, people used to eat corn.  Now they drive it.

4.  To satisfy the panic-stricken need for drivable corn, food crops are diverted into fuel production.

5.  The cost of staples rises substantially around the world.

5.  In 2008, food riots break out, including riots in Egypt.  (Here are three links supporting the ethanol/riot connection, one from a free market site, one from a technology site, and one from an organic food site.)

6.  Although food riots haven’t been in the headlines lately, what do you bet that, with ethanol production still causing producers to divert food crops into the energy market, marginal economic societies such as Egypt continue to feel the effects of food shortages?

7.  Voila — riot conditions.  For history aficionados, remember that, in the 1790s, the French had suffered aristocratic depredations for centuries; it was the food shortages that triggered revolt (a la “Let them eat cake,” not that Marie Antoinette actually said that).  The same pattern showed up in Russia, with rising discontent reaching a fever pitch with WWI shortages.

In other word, what’s happening in Egypt is Al Gore’s fault.  (And yes, I’m being snarky, but it’s not a completely unreasonable supposition.)

Cross-posted at Right Wing News