Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Random Thoughts on Revolutions, Egypt, Iran, and the U.S.A.

One thing about revolutions, they sometimes come in pairs. How often have "democratic" revolutions turned ugly, within a few weeks, months, or years? This is a hopeful moment, but there may come a time when the military will act against the people. That seems a long way off, if it ever happens. Some say that the military's restraint was because "we (the U.S.A.) own Egypt's military," based on our financial support. We "own" them only as far as our next check clears, and let's remember that they were Soviet clients before they were ours. In the future, they may find China willing to sponsor them, for control of the Suez canal, with less concern for how they treat their citizens. For now, America's investment in Egypt's military seems to be paying off, when they refused to back an unpopular president against the people. You have to be blind not to see another shoe, ready to drop, sooner or later, though...



Q: How widely will this "democratic revolution" spread through the Islamic Middle East? A: It's only going to spread in "tolerant" US-backed regimes, such as Jordan and Yemen, if the Media follows the script. Others will repress it, as Syria and Iran (which justified banning the protests as an anti-Valentine's day edict!) have done "pre-emptively," by arresting or detaining all known opposition leaders. Authoritarian states that are not "US allies" are much better at this kind of repression than our "authoritarian allies" are, for some reason...
 

Egypt's "regime change" came after the Obama Administration cut levels of funding for Egyptian "opposition groups" established under Pres. Bush, and returned "approval" of the list of eligible "opposition" groups to the Mubarak regime. Maybe we should follow a similar policy with all of our "authoritarian" allies. Is the President on to something, or is he just the political beneficiary of world events? Can he take credit for a "fixing" a situation that our nation supported for decades, including his explicit support for the dictator Mubarak? Possibly, if things don't take a turn for the worse...

 

I can't help projecting Mubarak's deposing to Nixon's experience. They both had thousands of protesters screaming for their resignation, and were totally oblivious to the depth of the situation. Very different situations, but both men were overthrown by public opinion, ultimately. The differences are important, as well. We ban our military from acting on American soil, by law, and our Constitution is designed to protect us from government abuse of power. I hope that Egypt will conceive a new constitution with this in mind, and the military will support it. I'm still waiting in vain for our own US government to stay within it's constitutional limits, so I can't really throw stones at Egypt...until/unless the military goes against the people.

Back in the days of the USSR, conservatives like Reagan argued that people behind the "iron curtain" wanted to be free. Others said that these people never had a tradition of "freedom," and that they wouldn't be able to exercise "democracy" correctly, or some such nonsense. I know that the threat we face now is at least as big and bad as Communism or Fascism was, in the "Islamist" ideology. If Egypt is on the forefront of becoming an "enlightened Western democracy," it still has a long way to go. It's not about giving "power to the people," if the people don't believe in equal rights for all. That may be a concept that even the Egyptian military can't stomach, if it is considered "blasphemous" to "decent" Egyptians...