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“The idea that we could have controlled that process is absurd”

“The idea that we could have controlled that process is absurd”

That’s Doug Mataconis pushing back against my post We know who lost Egypt and similar arguments by others.

The push back misses the point.  Whether or not we could have controlled the situation — and whether or not we should have tried — the fact is that we threw Mubarack overboard in just one week without giving him a chance to reform or deal with the protests.  On February 2 Robert Gibbs announced the U.S. position:

Last night, Obama issued a brief public statement that included just one line about a prospective deadline for Mubarak’s exit from power: “My belief is that an orderly transition must be meaningful, must be peaceful and it must begin now,” Obama said.

But White House press secretary Robert Gibbs was more explicit Wednesday.

“‘Now’ means ‘yesterday,'” Gibbs explained. “When we said ‘now,’ we meant ‘yesterday’… that’s what the people of Egypt want to see,” Gibbs said, adding that a process that begins one week, one month, or many months from now won’t suffice.

One could make a good argument that we should not have intervened at all.  But having intervened, we should have done so responsibly.


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[…] Jacosbson responds to my argument by pointing to a February 2nd statement made by then White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, and […]

Liberalism: Where citing the foreseeably natural and obvious consequences of an action is considered totally unfair.

Egypt is now a budding Iran, with Libya and Yemen close on its heels. Hope and Change!

VetHusbandFather | December 1, 2011 at 11:43 am

More importantly: Not only did we force the ouster of Mubarak on Egypt with no plan for the aftermath. But we did it knowing there were plenty of warning signs that this would turn into a Muslim Brotherhood coup. A liberal could argue that they are okay with Muslim Brotherhood rule, but they cannot argue that this was unexpected.

    Do you ever get the feeling that this is part of a grand plan by the “anointed one?”

    I shudder to think of the damage that has been done to this nation in the last three years…

      The likely fallacy here is that anyone, let alone his divine eminence from the state of Illinois, has the mental acumen to actually plan out regime changes like this. I think he could wish for it. Or hope for it. But if he actually planned it – well, we both know in that case it would have gone all cattywampus on him.

We Americans should be ashamed of our selves regarding our past treatment of and interactions with countries like Egypt. We supported dictators for our own objective of “regional stability”, and scarified our democratic principals and our legitimacy in the middle east by so doing.

If you claim to support people having the right to vote, but are willing to prevent or forestall people from voting because you don’t like the likely outcome, then you are an unprincipled, selfish, spoiled westerner that cares for no one else but yourself.

The Egyptian people turned out in droves to vote – far greater percentages than in America – and yet we sit here and denigrate the entire thing because we don’t’ like their choices.

Talk about swallowing a camel and straining at a gnat. It is pure political Pharisaic nonsense.

    GrumpyOne in reply to Quayle. | December 1, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    When all the dust settles in the Mideast, most of the nations there will have turned to radical islam with the accountability resting squarely on the shoulders of Barrack Obama.

    Imagine, perhaps a half dozen of more countries lost by him as compared to one, (Iran), lost by J. Carter.

    Just FYI, some countries do not do well operating as a democracy. The cultures simply do not permit such to be a viable option.

    If you wish to live in the thirteenth century, good for you but kindly leave me behind…

      @JBSCanada in reply to GrumpyOne. | December 1, 2011 at 8:08 pm

      They have. (left you behind)

      To assume that the MENA countries “…have turned to radical islam…” when in fact the exact opposite has actually occurred is an astonishing leap of logic you have indulged yourself in.

      Let’s look at recent elections in MENA; Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt – every single one of them are moderate Islamist political parties. So moderate that it is difficult to find anything to support their “Islamist” namesake.

      A famous man once said; There is nothing so pregnant as an idea.”

      In the Middle East and North Africa, the (once pregnant) idea of democracy has taken hold and nothing will stop that now. You can blame any US President you want, but this kinetic has been building for decades – it just happened to burst forth into the dynamic, now.

      As for your statement to the effect that some cultures aren’t compatible with democracy, well… events in North Africa are proving you wrong – daily.

      Offer them your good wishes as they are going to need all the support possible.

      John Brian Shannon

        forksdad in reply to @JBSCanada. | December 2, 2011 at 10:18 am

        Muslim Brotherhood wins 40% Salafists (ultra conservatives) win the next highest bloc with 20%, these are moderates? Muslim Brotherhood? Salafists? If you want to call people whose motto is

        “Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Qur’an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.”

        moderate, go right ahead. They raise money for Hamas and the imams that teach their way praise hate and death in Arabic while sounding ‘moderate’ in Western media.

        As one analyst put it, “One man, one vote, one time emphasis mine, is the results of ‘democracy’ in the middle east. It is dangerous wishful thinking to believe that anything good will come of this. We will be facing murderous, terrorist supporting regimes everywhere in the Muslim world.

        Iran has done nothing but support terror for thirty years now. Egypt has not gone to war since Sadat. Do you really think that Egypt won’t go the way of Iran if the generals let it?

        The American experiment in government is unusual and unique. Not every nation survives as a democracy and we may not ourselves. Islamic nations have the burden of Sharia law and the Qur’an to struggle against. There is no retreat in Sharia law or the Qur’an. Islamic governments always move towards less freedom and more oppression.

        I will make a gentleman’s bet with you. If the Islamists take control in Libya and there is no reprisals, stonings for adultery and hands cut off for theft, I’ll gladly admit I was wrong. On the other hand…

          @JBSCanada in reply to forksdad. | December 2, 2011 at 11:47 pm

          I appreciate the level of debate forksdad.

          I almost regret tearing your argument to pieces. But before I do, I will remind you – and me, of Voltaire’s words: “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death, your right to say it.”

          Your words quoted some Islamist leader or other, I assume; “‘Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Qur’an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.'”

          Well, here in the West the words have been and continue to be; “God is our objective. Jesus is our leader. Crusades, at first – and then two noble wars against nothing in Iraq. Sending our young people away to die for oil, is our highest hope.”

          Do you deny the following is true;

          1) Christians initiated many mini-wars called the Crusades against Muslims and others in previous centuries. It was conquest for conquest’s sake. It was a liberation of assets and land. If you are an honest student of history, you already know this to be true.

          2) Do you deny the Iraq Study Group’s findings? Remember the three reasons cited for America’s entry into a war against Iraq?

          a)There were WMD’s in Iraq.
          b)Iraq had links to terrorists prior to the war.
          c)Iraq was complicit in the 9/11 attacks.

          Iraq Study Group findings prove those reasons for going to war in Iraq were utterly false. The present Defense Secretary, Mr. Leon Panetta was one of the reports author’s! There was not one dissenting voice in that finding.

          Yes, Saddam was a very bad man. We were right to get him. We could have gotten him any number of ways, rather than stomping into Iraq and killing hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians in the process – and many of our own courageous soldiers.

          That war was about us stealing their oil. Bringing democracy was merely the sales pitch added afterwards once it became clear the three reasons cited for war did not hold up under the light.

          Imagine the reaction if some other country came and did the same to America?

          By any definition what-so-ever, the response from the Muslim world has been silent, save for a microscopic number (out of 1.5 Billion) of Muslim people who have displayed their anger, mainly to the press only!

          The per-capita rate of terrorists in all nations is comparable. There are just as many terrorists in America per capita, as anywhere else.

          Timothy McVeigh, the Una-bomber, Charlie Manson, John Hinckley Jr, and thousands of others who take part in terrorist activities inside the U.S. (mailing white powder, bombs, etc… to Congress, and so on) are all examples of home-grown terrorists.

          The only difference that I can see, is that here we put them in prison and pay for their upkeep and then let them out.

          Not so in Saudi Arabia, it is a quick trial and then a beheading! Which is why the Saudi’s lead the world in the fight against terrorism. A good idea there is to phone the authorities and turn in anyone you suspect of potential terror activities – rather than lose your own head.


          As for your statement; “Iran has done nothing but support terror for thirty years now.”

          I think that I will just let the Iraq Study Group’s words cover off that statement.

          IF Iran, as a state, has funded or been involved in terrorism, it is nothing compared to the number of innocent deaths in Iraq since 2003.

          IF… is a pretty big word. There has been no international trial, no airing of the “facts” in the media – just some very vague references in the media, whenever the economy starts to dip.

          The whole world is looking askance at America nowadays, they remember the sales job leading up to the war in Iraq – and they remember the Iraq Study Group’s findings.

          There is no suspension of disbelief this time.

          Your words; “Egypt has not gone to war since Sadat. Do you really think that Egypt won’t go the way of Iran if the generals let it?”

          Well, if they were going to go to war, (against whom, by the way) they would already have done so. Egypt has always been ruled at the pleasure of Egypt’s generals and that will continue to be the case for years to come. Really, it’s a non-issue.

          Your words; “The American experiment in government is unusual and unique. Not every nation survives as a democracy and we may not ourselves.”

          What?? Surely you don’t believe that? Ever heard of France, England, Germany, Japan, Sweden, Canada… I could go on. So far, every nation that has ‘signed up’ for democracy has continued in that form of governance.

          I remind you of Sir Winston Churchill’s words, about a strong a defender of democracy there ever was; “Democracy is the worst form of government except for everything else that has been tried.”

          We are stuck with it, until we find something better. So far, nothing else has surpassed it.

          Your words; “Islamic nations have the burden of Sharia law and the Qur’an to struggle against.”

          We all have our burdens!

          My worry is that our democracies are being subverted from within, even the American founding fathers alluded to this peril. We may become a plutocracy, if citizens (not the government) don’t exercise their due diligence, always.

          Thank goodness for people like Anderson Cooper, “Keeping them Honest” – we need more like him!

          I’ll take your bet, by the way. No doubt, Libya and all the other MENA countries will be a work-in-progress for years to come, as was early America – and Europe, for that matter. The theater for WWI and WWII and other conflict, including the original home of colonialism. That continent has the blood of over 200 million deaths, or more, upon it’s head, since 1066.

          All the deaths caused by Islamist’s since the beginning of Islam wouldn’t amount to 1% of that number.

          The Western civilization isn’t blame free, but you would think that not one wrong thing has ever been done by a Western government, if judging by the comments against newly democratic Muslim nations.

          If we help them to fail, it will go against our security! If we ignore them, we do so at our peril. If we assist them, they will become fully-engaged citizens of the existing world order.

          The solution to our fears… is profoundly simple!

          John Brian Shannon

    Cowboy Curtis in reply to Quayle. | December 1, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    Nonsense. We are a nation-state, and the purpose of societies organizing governments, borders, etc, is so that we can further our interests, not those of other nations and groups. When what’s best for America conflicts with what’s best for someone else, well, I know whose side I’m on. That goes doubly when letting the other guy get what he wants means the creation of yet another violent, islamist state.

    Democracy and representative government requires social and cultural maturity from the parties wishing to govern themselves. Things profoundly lacking in the muslim world. However distasteful it is to back this or that despot, there is nothing immoral or unjust about doing so when he’s vastly preferable to any of the vicious madmen the populace would select. We helped Iran to oust the Shah thirty years ago- anyone still think we did the Iranians a favor there?

      Cowboy and Grumpy above him are showing the typical American and western arrogance in claiming that we are more sophisticated and advanced that are other people, and we know who is and isn’t capable of handling democracy.

      To which I say: what part of the millions of souls that the west sent to early graves in WWI and WWII show us to be so much more sophisticated and advanced in our civil comportment, and better able to handle democracy, than the Muslims?

      Yes, you read right – within the last 100 years Christians killing millions of other Christians in the name of our wonderful advanced west that is so much more capable of handling democracy.

      And now Muslims now have smaller spats in which only thousands and tens of thousands are killed (or more, between Iran and Iraq), yet we still think we western Christians have any standing to look down Muslims as barbarous, after our last century?

      How deep does our self delusion and self-righteousness go?

        JEBurke in reply to Quayle. | December 2, 2011 at 1:54 am

        It’s not a matter of looking down on Muslims. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. There are at most a couple of dozen countries in a world with scores of countries that have stable, effective democratic governments combined with a broad scope of individual liberty and the rule of law — and they are all either in the West or profitted by a period of Western tutelage. It is just a fact, and not all that surprising a fact since governments of this kind emerged through a specific set of historical circumstances peculiar to the West. This is no less true because Western nations and people’s waged war on each other more or less continuously for hundreds of years, not just in the 29th century. Indeed, one can make a strong case that the ideas underpinning Western-style liberty and democracy succeeded only through conflict and the extirpation by violence of countervailing ideas. That was certainly the case when German Nazism was crushed by overwhelming force.

        Truth to tell, there is not a lot we can do to guide Egypt to democracy other than insist on elections and other outward signs of a democratic order in exchange for money aid, trade, etc.

    Oh, good grief! What drivel. We are not talking about Vermont, here. If you think what Egypt has is “free elections”, how about bidding on this bridge I’m selling on eBay?

Barack Obama could have been a hero, and maybe could have calmed the situation, simply by echoing what was being said by the various sides at the time.

Mubarack had been in power for about 30 years, and in that time, he’d kept the peace. He’d managed to get re-elected despite degradation of civil rights in his country by pointing to the dangers posed by the Islamists. However, the regime had been in place too long, and both cronyism in the political arena and corruption in the police force had crept in.

The original protests in Tahrir square started over corruption in the police force. A blogger was beaten to death while in police custody, and there was no subsequent investigation. The protesters had consistently stated their desire for peaceful protest. Rioters in the square were caught with police id, and pictures were posted on the Net.

Mubarack himself acknowledged the legitimacy of the protesters’ complaints, about both the police and the political system. The Army also acknowledged that legitimacy, and the value of the protesters to the country, and moved in to contain the police.

At this juncture, BO could have legitimately thanked Mubarak for keeping the peace, and acknowledged that the problems inherent in a very long-term regime had arisen. He could have praised Mubarak’s recognition of the protesters’ concerns, which were indeed legitimate, and said that the love of country evident in the various statements on all sides was a basis for good decisions and a peaceful transition to a freer and more prosperous society.

The whole Middle East hangs on the words of the President of the United States when he talks about them, and a few well-deserved kind words could have encouraged both those who love freedom, and those who need stability to work together. Their goals are not mutually exclusive.

    GrumpyOne in reply to Valerie. | December 1, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    Very well written Valerie.

    Sometimes it is easier to fix a broken system rather than replace the whole apparatus that has been untested.

    Interesting times are ahead considering that Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and probably Syria will be lost to radical Islam.

    It is times like this that I am thankful that I’m not one day younger than I am…

    herm2416 in reply to Valerie. | December 1, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    A very thoughtful reply! This is why I like LI, very little snark like other sites; mostly useful, constructive viewpoints.

    @JBSCanada in reply to Valerie. | December 1, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    I agree, well-written, Valerie.

    However, President Obama did praise and encourage Hosni Mubarak, both before Feb 2, 2011 and after that date in regards to decisions about Egypt and Mubarak’s decision to step down.

    Unpopular and in ill heath, the then President of Egypt worked with the U.S. to promote a peaceful transition government, which quickly deteriorated afterwards when protesters arrived. (Which is their right to do, of course)

    Here is a link to one article of four that I
    have which describes this situation as it then was;

    John Brian Shannon

Mataconis has the better part of this argument. While the way the Obama administration eventually called on Mubarak to leave “yesterday,” and its apparent failure to try to press for a way for the old man to gain refuge somewhere, were needlessly nasty and ungrateful, the idea that the US had it within its power to keep Mubarak in office really is ludicrous.

The only real power in Egypt since 1952 has been the military — and that means the professional officer corps, particularly the senior officers. Mubarak was one of them — as were Sadat and Nasser before him. As of January 2010, Mubarak had long alienated most of his brother officers by his blatant effort to prepare a transition of power to his sons on his death. When the Tahrir Square protesters boiled their demands down to ousting Mubarak, his fellow officers were willing to oblige by dumping this already ailing octagenarian. This was a lot like what has happened in enduring military dictatorships since the Roman Empire when emporers would try to elevate their heirs to Caeser or co-emperor status only to see other powerful generals unite to oust and kill them all.

To be sure, the US had — and still has — influence with the military leadership but the notion that we could have persuaded them to stand behind Mubarak — much less persuade them to put off elections indefinitely because of the MB — rests only on wishful thinking.

    William A. Jacobson in reply to JEBurke. | December 1, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    It’s called the January 25 Revolution, even if some protests started a little earlier. That’s one week prior to the “leave yesterday” position. Mubarak already had announced he would not run for President again and the issue was whether there would be an orderly transition over a period which gave non-Islamist groups time to organize. We said leave yesterday.

      It’s not about the timing. Your unspoken premise seems to be that what the US said would have or could have been decisive in some way — or even that it was the triggering factor in the military dumping Mubarak. I think that vastly overstates US influence in the matter. It is more likely that the Administration understood that Mubarak was already dead meat and “called on him to step down” largely for the benefit of Obama’s domestic audience and elite internationalist opinion.

      Honestly, the notion that Egypt’s generals, faced by the most serious civil disorder experienced by Egypt in 60 years, would make decisions based on what the US said or didn’t say is the same sort of strange overestimate of US global power that the left routinely engages in. Lefties basically assume that we are neo-imperialists whose hidden hand can be found virtually everywhere propping up or tearing down governments at will. The truth is usually that we are reacting to events.

      Anyway, the whole “Arab Spring” bringing on democracy was obviously always a crock. We agree on that, but what I think you are missing is that the removal of Mubarak was more a coup carried out by the military than a popular rebellion. The military continues to hold all the reins of power in Egypt. If the Muslim Brotherhood or anyone else winds up holding offices that wield any part of that power, it will do so at the sufferance of the military leadership. That is not necessarily good news since the Egyotian military may be as willing to do business with Islamists as the Pakistani military.

Obama’s Islamic advisors are shills for Muslim Brotherhood fronts in the USA.

The Muslim Amabssadors at large he sends to the Muslim countries to explain the US way of life have been in the main from the same groups. At least one preaches in the USA that the Sharia law is compatible with laws in the USA. Overseas, he preaches the supremacy of Islam over the USA. This, on the the State Departments dime.

It is no wonder the administration does not have a problem with the Muslim Broththerhood. His advisors support the group.

PS. I just noticed a headline “McCain says Muslim Brotherhood could not win a democratic election.” Where has he been. The MB is probably the only group that could win a fair an democratic election.

The Brotherhood probably has the best infrastucture to support a national campaign. And each Friday the Imams of Egypt preach to the people the only true way is the way of Allah.

Does he really think the 10 million Christians, or the moderate Muslims or Socialists have a chance.

we should have done so responsibly.

Sorry. “Responsible” in all its forms is not a part of the Obama dictionary.

Look at the same events, in different countries: Egypt, Iran, Honduras, and the US of A. Each country had protests, and riots against the established order. In three of the countries, Obama and his political allies support(ed) those trying to overthrow the system. In one country, with an already-established autocratic, and very bloody-minded regime, Obama professed solidarity with, and loyalty to the dictators.

In Egypt, the outcome was initially a military coup d’etat, followed by the Muslim Brotherhood winning. Egypt will shortly begin its descent into madness just like Iran did in 1979-88 with the massacres of any opposing the mullahs.

In Iran, the mullahs reacted as they always do: with tons of blood. Obama, strangely, did not side with Iranian rebels.

So, in response to Doug Mataconis: yes, Obama could have guaranteed the outcome. In fact: he did, and he likes the results.

In Honduras, the duly elected President of that country was caught attempting to usurp the country’s Constitution and laws, and pull a Minnesota Special: pre-filled out ballots in such quantity as to give him and his compatriots a comfortable majority. When Hondurans opted to follow their own laws, Mr. Obama was righteously angry at their refusal to enter into tyranny.

In America, the majority of folks have essentially ignored OWS and OfA. For some odd reason, the majority of Americans are too busy putting food on the table to be concerned about some whiney brats.

In Iran, the mullahs reacted as they always do: with tons of blood. Obama, strangely, did not side with Iranian rebels.

After all is said and done, Egypt is now a democracy!

My fellow North Americans, what could be wrong with that?

If you don’t like the results in Egypt’s election, too bad. That’s democracy in action – nobody gets everything they want.

As far as I know, Egyptian’s are the only ones authorized to vote in Egypt. We in the west don’t get to vote for candidates there.

The MENA countries are going to go moderate and Islamist and we all better get used to it.

Maybe we should use diplomacy to engage with democratically-elected officials in those nations to sustain our interests there.

Now is the time for that.

One last thing. Democracy can only be a good thing for a nation or region especially as applied over the long-term. Whether we appreciate the personalities elected into positions of high office or not, the process itself is of the utmost importance.

Far be it from me to ever complain that an entire country has chosen to join the democratic model of governance.

John Brian Shannon

    William A. Jacobson in reply to @JBSCanada. | December 1, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    Yes, the one person, one vote, one time model. Wonderful, congratulations on subjecting generations of Egyptians to an Islamist theocracy and the crushing of Egyptian civil society, all so Obama could score points as a supporter of the Arab Spring by forcing Mubarak out quickly with no transition in place.

      Huh? One time model? There is no going back now. It would be easier to put Mt. St. Helen’s back together than to cap the new waves of democracy sweeping MENA nations.

      You should be cheering that! Shame on you.

      Your words; “congratulations on subjecting generations of Egyptians to an Islamist theocracy and the crushing of Egyptian civil society,…”

      Do you really believe those words? Generations? Really? The “crushing of… civil society” Crushing?

      Oh my.

      Your words; “all so Obama could score points as a supporter of the Arab Spring by forcing Mubarak out quickly with no transition in place.”

      Obama saw a very time-limited opportunity to help democracy bloom in Egypt – and he took it.

      President Obama issued two short statements to promote democracy in Egypt while President Mubarak – although ill, was still holding office.

      Because democracy is sometimes messy, that is no reason to be un-democratic.

      Our new democratic partner in the world, (Egypt) will need the UN’s assistance to strengthen their democratic institution – and we should feel honored to fulfill that role.

      Going retrograde at this point is not an option for Egypt, or us.

      John Brian Shannon

        LukeHandCool in reply to @JBSCanada. | December 1, 2011 at 6:44 pm

        I am obliged to confess I should sooner live in a society governed by the two thousand faculty members of Harvard University than in a society governed by the first two thousand names in the Egyptian Islamist Leaders telephone directory.

        —LukeHandCool, 2011 (who can feign a pretty good Transatlantic accent).

        forksdad in reply to @JBSCanada. | December 2, 2011 at 10:17 pm

        Yes free and fair elections just like Iran, North Korea, China, etc. The idea that having a vote makes a democracy is like saying having a plate on a table makes a dinner. It takes a lot more work.

        We shouldn’t worry about the Copts because they are a ‘small minority’? I guess Jim Crow South was fine because African Americans were just a ‘small minority’.

        I am sorry but the way I see it you are either a troll or utterly clueless. ‘Amina’ was more honest about the middle east than you are.

          @JBSCanada in reply to forksdad. | December 3, 2011 at 12:05 am

          So, you’re against democracy? Or – just for some folk.

          “Democracy only works for the civilized. Whites only – need apply?”

          I plainly see who you are.

          “The brown people can’t handle concepts such as democracy.”

          Give me a break.

          John Brian Shannon

        forksdad in reply to @JBSCanada. | December 9, 2011 at 4:31 pm

        Good for you JBS, mud slinging, name calling, strawman arguments and false analogies. You’ve hit all the ‘troll’ buttons. Really, calling me racist? When you start calling names you’ve lost.

        ‘Amina’ or whatever the pseudo-lesbian’s name is was more honest than you are. Right now the flag of Al Qaeda flies over court houses and government buildings in Libya. I guess they’re plenty moderate for you.

        You brought up the Crusades? Really, that’s part of your argument? Instead of answering the question about Iran, you point to American ‘crimes’ in Iraq. Troll.

        Oh, and you don’t know anything about me or my family, except that I don’t agree with your lies. You are the worst Huffpo troll I have ever seen. Done writing responses to anything you post.

    JEBurke in reply to @JBSCanada. | December 2, 2011 at 2:12 am

    Surely you see that holding an election is one small part of building a stable democratic order that produces effective government under laws consistent with the principles embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    There are plenty of sound reasons to be skeptical of the Muslim Brotherhood’s interest in building that kind of democratic order. One hopes that skepticism proves unfounded but it would be foolhardy not to entertain it.

    Louis Napolean was elected President of France at a time of turmoil when elections were still a novelty to France. In due course, he declared himself Emperor and expunged the Second Republic.

The Copts must be thrilled with the new “democracy.”

Of course, in a “democracy” run by Islamists the Copts’ excitement will soon be tempered by concerns over gerrymandering, gay marriage, wasteful spending … just like us.

LukeHandCool (who was pleasantly surprised to see the Professor’s original post, “We Know Who Lost Egypt,” now linked at Real Clear Politics).

    “LukeHandCool (who was pleasantly surprised to see the Professor’s original post, “We Know Who Lost Egypt,” now linked at Real Clear Politics).”

    I can see IRS audits all round in the offing. Followed of course by the obligatory demonization by CAIR and Dangeroom.

      LukeHandCool in reply to davod. | December 1, 2011 at 6:32 pm

      Well, davod, being a modern, western-style democracy like all others, at least we can look forward to the “Saturday Night Copt Card Game” series as the Copts start to brazenly assert themselves as an aggrieved minority.

        At the rate that the Copts are now being slaughtered that game need to start quickly before there is no “aggrieved minority” remaining to make a full house or even a pair.

          LukeHandCool in reply to Joy. | December 1, 2011 at 8:29 pm

          No doubt they’ll use slaughterings in the new “democracy” as a means to increase leverage playing the Copt card. Unbeknownst to many western worry warts, hard-line Salafists are eminently embarrassable.

          Joy, a democracy is a democracy is a democracy.

          It doesn’t matter if it’s run by the first 2,000 applicants to the Jerry Springer Show, 2,000 Harvard professors, or the first 2,000 names in the Salafist phone directory.

          You’ll get the same outcome. Guaranteed.

          LukeHandCool (who could do a lot worse than quote Dan Rather to ease the worries of the Doubting Thomases: “Courage”).

    “The Copts must be thrilled with the new “democracy.”

    They better be because they have zero chance of being resettled as refugees. The US, and probably many other countries, use the good offices of the UN to classify refugees, and Christians from Islamic countries do not get classified as refugees.

    Now you know why we seem to be resettling whole villages of Muslims, but not Christians.

    PS. I forgot the one place that may take them without the UNs input – you know, the apartheid state of Israel.

    @JBSCanada in reply to LukeHandCool. | December 1, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    Because the Coptic Christians (a tiny minority of Egypt’s population) may be inconvenienced or harmed by criminal elements in Egyptian society, that is not a good enough reason to abandon or decry the rise of democracy in Egypt.

    You are confusing the behavior of potential criminals (whether holding elected positions of power, or not) with the democratic form of governance.

    Those are two very different things. One relates to criminal behavior and the other relates to governance.

    Which is exactly why we in the West should be assisting Egypt (through the good offices of the UN) to strengthen their rule of law through legislation, their justice system and respective police agencies.

    The UN should also take a proactive role in leading Egypt’s new government forward towards a fully-functioning democratic state.

    Fully-fledged democracies do not automatically appear out of the ether, it always takes some amount of effort to attain.

    If you check history, you will see there are many examples of the effort involved in bringing this to fruition, such as the French Revolution, American Independence, the end of the apartheid, one-party state in South Africa and more.

    And now, the responsibility falls to our generation – let us not fail.

    John Brian Shannon

      LukeHandCool in reply to @JBSCanada. | December 1, 2011 at 8:33 pm

      “Those are two very different things. One relates to criminal behavior and the other relates to governance.”

      Criminal behavior relates to Islamism as Islamism does not relate to democratic governance.

      LukeHandCool (who got this one right on the SAT)

Definition of ISLAMISM

: the faith, doctrine, or cause of Islam
: a popular reform movement advocating the reordering of government and society in accordance with laws prescribed by Islam


Definition of CRIMINAL

: relating to, involving, or being a crime
: relating to crime or to the prosecution of suspects in a crime
: guilty of crime; also : of or befitting a criminal


John Brian Shannon (who appreciates a good online dictionary)

    LukeHandCool in reply to @JBSCanada. | December 1, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    An old Islamist saying:

    “The first man to post tedious dictionary definitions loses the argument. And his head.”

    LukeHandCool (whose subconscious may have made that up, but he’s pretty sure there’s a Chinese saying about the first man to raise his voice in anger).

Everything worked just as obama planned. The muslim brotherhood is now in charge in Egypt and that was the whole goal. Everything obama did, from that nefarious speech in Cairo to turning his back on Mubarek was carefully planned. If I could question obama about his actions, I would ask him “why Libya and not Egypt?” I still think there was something fishy about that debacle. The muslim brotherhood is rising in the entire ME and will take it over soon. All these countries will be islamist theothugrities and a danger to the rest of us, especially when you recall all the muslim immigrants in all our western countries making trouble and committing crimes and demanding sharia law.

Hi BarbaraS,

There is no power on Earth that could have held back the Muslim Brotherhood from gaining power in many countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

What President Obama did, or didn’t do, had little effect on recent election results in Egypt – as this movement has been barreling along for decades before Mr Obama took office.

Although, President Obama may have prevented armed conflict or even full-scale civil war in Egypt by “helping” Hosni Mubarak to leave office, sooner, rather than later.

Prior to 1998, the MB had decided to become a political movement and having gained in popularity, then decided to become a political party intent on achieving political office.

The only question from their point of view was; could they accomplish this by overthrowing corrupt governments with the popular support of the public — or by gaining power employing the vehicle of democratic elections?

They bet the farm on it and won!

Since 1998 especially, they have worked tirelessly in Egypt and other MENA nations, as social/political activists to listen to and inform the people they were in contact with on a regular basis.

They raised many millions of dollars and used it to run social agencies wherever governments were absent. A cross between the Red Cross and the Salvation Army, but “Islamist style” if you will.

So many millions of people fell through the cracks in the MENA countries, that MB was in the business of literally helping millions of people per year – and always listening to concerns and/or gathering evidence against states to promote MB policies at the same time. To put it crudely, a “Rice Christian” sort of relationship formed very early on with their potential voters.

On account of the extreme poverty in these countries, MB’s job was fall-down easy!

The Muslim Brotherhood has been a work-in-progress for decades and some Arab and North African governments have made it effortless for MB to gain in popularity.

That is why we are seeing one state after another going democratic/moderate/Islamist. I expect this trend to continue throughout the Middle East – although Western nations may be tempted to slow this movement as it approaches the oil-rich Gulf states.

The Kingdom of Jordan is a country where the MB and other Islamist groups have taken hold in large numbers and they are working WITH the government there (most days) towards reform. They have already forced the resignation of one Prime Minister and his government – although they seem to respect Jordan’s King Abdullah II. They do chide Queen Rania in the media for her Western views in regards to women’s rights.

I have defended Queen Rania’s rights in Jordan’s media and was heard by the MB there. They did respond in the media and were quite moderate, almost agreeable, in their response to me.

The MB’s may not be such a bad deal after all is said and done. Their platform is very domestic-orientated as they care little about the rest of the world, which they view as rife with corruption.

Many well-known journalists who cover the Middle East have extensive contacts within the MB and have interviewed key spokesmen many times. They are certainly not some shadowy, terrorist group, but rather, a popular movement dedicated to their particular domestic agenda. None of which should concern us.

John Brian Shannon

Having become somewhat less enthusiastic with the level of commentary on this thread, I have decided to leave it and pursue higher dialogue, elsewhere.

To those insightful commentators whose thoughts and ideas I have read about here; I salute you!

John Brian Shannon