The Other I

January 29, 2011

Egypt isn’t as far away as it used to be

Filed under: Political thoughts — theotheri @ 8:58 pm

I don’t think I’m any better informed than usual in relation to events in Egypt but I am much more concerned than usual.  The news channels have been reporting live from Egyptian cities and the millions of demonstrators who have been on the streets for the last four days.  Reports tonight are that Mubarak’s’ two sons have just arrived here in London.

I cannot help but hope that the demonstrators are successful in overthrowing the present regime, and I am very glad the Obama administration has made it clear that the financial implications would be severe if the army started to fire on the demonstrators.

But Egypt has been under the heel of a dictatorship for almost 50 years, and under Mubarak’s dictatorship for 38.  There isn’t a government in waiting.  The newscasters here say here that the Islamists do not represent the views of the majority of Egyptians who want an authentically functioning democracy.

But as we have seen repeatedly, functioning democracies take more than a free vote to work.

And then there’s the even bigger question of other governments in the area.  Mubarak had Washington’s support because he was a cornerstone in supporting America’s peace plan for the Palestinians in Gaza.  What will happen with Mubarak gone?  And will the other dictatorships in the region be vulnerable if Egyptian protestors are successful?  There are demonstrators already in Yemen and Jordan.  Unemployment is high throughout the region and people are getting poorer.

I think we could be seeing a change as significant and wide-sweeping as the one that took place in Eastern Europe after the fall of Russian Communism.

But the implications for the United States may be felt more deeply.  What will we do if Israel uses its nuclear weapons in the region?  What will be the implications if oil shipments, many of which go through Egypt’s Suez Canal, are interrupted?  What will we do if Pakistan decides to use its nuclear weapons?

The Bible says that two thousand years ago Jesus, Mary, and Joseph fled into Egypt to escape Harrod.

But today I fear there is no place to flee.



  1. Let us not forget america’s opposition to British and French troops defending the international status of the Suez canal in 1956. The financial sanctions threatened [ie bankrupcy] saw Britain withdraw from the operation within days.
    Mubarak has been an american puppet for many years and his oppessive regime took an active part in the illegal ‘rendition’ policy of Mr Bush.All for the sake of protecting israeli policy in Palastine; that condones everything that america and the allies fought against in WW2.
    I share your misgivings about the use of nuclear weapons in the area – the sole reason why Iran is determined to possess them is to balance the perceived [?] threat from Israel.I would like to think that I will survive 2012 as I did the ‘cold war.’ !!


    Comment by lairdglencairn — January 31, 2011 @ 11:06 am | Reply

    • Oh yes, I agree completely – my comments definitely can benefit from a reminder of the ilk of Mubarak’s support. For years, America has supported dictatorships because they were supporters of American foreign policy – which often amounted to nothing more than being anti-Communist. I also believe that American government support for the Israeli position is intolerable. The problem is that whatever party is in power in the US – the Democrats or Republicans – cannot afford to completely alienate the American voters who support Israel. This includes not only the explicit Jewish lobby but much of the Christian religious right, which means we may be talking about as many as 25% of the voting population.

      Ditto on Suez, though I do think it was naive of Britain and France for expect support for an attack on the Suez without informing the U.S. a head of time.

      The *sole* reason Iran wants nuclear weapons is because Israel has them? I agree that it a major contributing and destabilizing factor. But unfortunately, I fear that just because Israel can be cast as a villain in the piece, that doesn’t actually make Iran totally virtuous. I would prefer you to be right on this issue, though.

      Shall you and I survive 2012? I would like to think so too. Though one way or other, our days are numbered. I think one of my biggest regrets when my time comes is that I will never know how the story ends. Though, of course, I don’t believe there ever *is* an end.

      Thank you for writing. Now I’m going to check out *your* blog.


      Comment by theotheri — January 31, 2011 @ 12:58 pm | Reply

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