Egypt, On Our Minds…

EgyptWhat are we to think of the reports from Egypt? The place hasn’t devolved into a Syria—yet—but people are dying in front of us. Our President has said he will not take sides but he is plausibly accused of favoring the Moslem Brotherhood. American politicians are split over U.S. military aid to the country. The Moslem Brotherhood’s President Morsi has been dumped by the military and the Brotherhood and the secular Egyptians are fighting it out in the streets, with the military helping the seculars. What are we to make of this unfortunate mess? Hell, I don’t know but that doesn’t interfere with my having opinions. It shouldn’t interfere with yours, either. Here are mine:

There are two things that ‘work’ in the Middle East: Israel, and oil. The rest is historic Arab failure built upon corruption in Arab society. Egypt is a historic oligarchy ruled by a small number of families for millennia, though of course, not always the same families. The military is said to be on the payroll of the families; it clearly opposes the Brotherhood.

The Arab Spring is variously characterized but the reality seems to be a reaction to economic failure. The Moslem Brotherhood, better organized, took over that wave and rode it into power but overreached with its imposition of fundamentalist Islamic behavior onto the population while failing to adequately address the economy. That set up the climate for the overthrow of the Brotherhood. The Brotherhood is resisting and the unknown now remains: will this be another Syria, with civil war?

America is arguing about continued military aid; Egypt has been among the top recipients of that. At present, the White House has suspended at least some of that aid. Meanwhile, back at the Pyramids, the Brotherhood continues its resistance to the new Egyptian government and its attacks on Christian churches and upon Christians.

Given the split between the effectively, secular people and the Brotherhood supporters, which would you rather see prevail? The Brotherhood, not the seculars, has been blowing up and burning the churches. The seculars under Hosni Mubarak had made peace with Israel, which the Brotherhood is sworn to destroy. Which do you wish to see prevail? President Obama seems to prefer the Brotherhood, according to some, though he claims neutrality.

When you’ve picked your preference in Egypt between the corrupt, military-supported current government and the Brotherhood and its corrupt Morsi government you have then to decide what to do about your choice. Resume aid? Send troops? Just pray? Getting involved in Iraq and Afghanistan has killed a lot of people and spent a  lot of money the U.S. has had to print up out of air, has it improved anything? You need to decide that, too.

The Middle East seems to be enduring an Arab convulsion in response to economic failure, a convulsion of which the Islamists are anxious to take advantage as a road to power. That would if successful, militate against U.S. interests and should, it seems to me, be opposed so far as possible without direct intrusion into Egyptian affairs. From there, it’s up to the Egyptians. America is facing enough of a challenge assuring decent lives for Americans.

That’s how things seem to me; you’re welcome to think otherwise but if you do, please first, explain where you will find the financing for whatever you have in mind…

About Jack Curtis

Suspicious of government, doubtful of economics, fond of figure skating (but the off-ice part, not so much) Couple of degrees in government, a few medals in figure skating; just reading and suspicion for economics ...
This entry was posted in Barack Obama, Corruption, Foriegn Policy, Israel, Middle East and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Egypt, On Our Minds…

  1. the unit says:

    Whatever the preference, how to pay for it? That struck a nerve and made me remember what Bill Clinton mentioned for government income. I asked you about it several weeks ago. I couldn’t remember the name, and called it a tax on your paid off home.
    Well it wasn’t actually tax, but tax on imputed value of your home if you were to rented it out. Imputed was the word I couldn’t remember. Did a little research and others have commented one’s imputed value could be placed on caring for your own kids, instead of hiring help or raking your own yard, instead of hiring a yardman or woman or other. Guess it could go on and on, i.e. brushing and flossing your teeth.
    I got to think more on my preference, but at least offered Slick Willie’s plan to pay.

    • Jack Curtis says:

      Hmnn… no wonder that was hard to remember; it’s a very slippery idea to begin with!

      Imputed value… huh. Seems to me, the government can impute all the value it wants to impute but when it does something, it can’t pay with value; it still needs money. And there ain’t none anymore. Awful lot of politicians and even, real people forgetting that these days…

  2. James Teague says:

    Found this on the Drudge report. More to be found on

    Now you know why President Obama prefers one side. I don’t understand John McCain though.

    • Jack Curtis says:

      That’s almost enough to make one suspicious, right? Re McCain, he seems increasingly to be following the same zugzags followed by fellow Arizonian Barry Goldwater as he aged… maybe the Sonoran desert eventually dries out the brain?

  3. I was a US military Middle Eastern specialist. I lived and worked in Egypt for several years. I speak the language, I studied there, I have published on the country, and I taught a few classes in a local university. I know more about the country than most people, and working with all levels of people in and out of the government has given me some perspective. I also know many, many, MANY, MBs.

    Can someone with an iota of education on the subject explain why anyone with a mind would consider the President a partisan of the MB?

    • Jack Curtis says:

      A rather general question. I reported that the Prez has been accused of a pro-MB stance; I didn’ say that I shared that. I said that the accusation was “plausible” and these report some ot the reasons that I used that word:

      Our Prez is being circumspect but so far, none have accused him of anti-MB bias and the accusations of leaning toward the Brotherhood come from Egypt.

      You have not provided the basis for questioning the plausibility here; we will be instructed by your doing so…

      • Ok, why is the accusation plausible?

        Asking my to provide a basis for questioning the plausible is a logical fallacy. If someone asserts that person X shares ideology Y, it is up to that person to prove the connection, not for the connection to be asserted then demand others prove it wrong.

        You are asking me to prove a negative, which is illogical.

      • Jack Curtis says:

        Kindly refer to my earlier comment in this thread to find the reasons I think it ‘plausible’. The reasons are listed.

      • Ok, but having extensive knowledge of Egypt, the MB, and America, I fail to see how any of your “evidence” is plausible at all.

        It is possible that you or your sources have more experience than I do, but I highly doubt it.

      • Jack Curtis says:

        You’ll note that it is listed as ‘plausible’ and that is all. I’m not selling it. Information is both scant (though repeated to distraction!) and suspect these days. How would you characterize what you’re hearing?

      • Information is hardly scant, but we live in different worlds. I live, work, and breathe in the ME, so my information is fairly extensive, but it comes from people on the ground and source you are likely unfamiliar with (Al-Jazeera is actually a pretty good source). All of that being said, I still do not see why so many people think the President is a MB supporter.

        Then again I also do not get people who think he is a Marxist, but I have also read Marx, and few others have.

      • Jack Curtis says:

        Perhaps people who oppose him generally simply attribute to him a connection with their favorite villians. I don’t see our President as a Marxist nor either as a Moslem, another accusation common. I don’t see him as very far from his predecessor, based upon his actions rather than his rhetoric. His style differs substantially as does his perpetual campaign modus operandi.

        I am told that there are two al-Jazeera publication policies; one for English speakers and another for Arabic readers and the two are politically divergent. Not reader Arabic, I haven’t verified that. But considering the present nature of U.S. media, it’s difficult to complain of such things.

        From here, ‘Egypt seems in contention between the corrupt oligarchs who have bought the military and owned Mubarak–call them the ‘Establishment’–and the opportunistic Moslem Brotherhood that lurks and pounces when it sees an opening. A third element, the fed-up and apparently, increasingly desperate, secular public chivvied along by students and such seems to be coalescing but its ultimate influence, uncertain. I think Morsi overreached, likely a response to his extremists. What do you see?

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