Egypt and the Democracy Paradigm

February 5, 2011

How to draw a false comparison in three easy steps. Example, Iran, pre 1978-79 and Iran 1979-present.

1. Examine Iran under the Shah and Iran under the Ayatollah regime: declare both to be tyrannies.
2. Declare that this is your starting position for comparison (tyrannies as nature of regime). (This involves ignoring nuances).
3. Declare that since both were tyrannies, and therefore undesirable to our point of view, both are equally wicked.

This means we can ignore the modernisation of Iranian society under the Shah, the moderation of its politics and foreign policy and focus on the wickedness of the secret police and of the United States’ support of the regime.
This also means in the comparison that we can ignore the murderous repression of Khomeini’s revolution involving the slaughter of feminists, democrats, communists, socialists, trade unionists and those who publicly criticised the regime.
It means we can ignore Khomeini’s order to massacre the surviving political prisoners from 1987-1989.
It means we can ignore the regime’s active sponsorship of Islamic terrorism around the world.
It means we can ignore the continuing persecution of the minorities in Iran.
It means we can ignore the precedent set by the fatwa against Salman Rushdie, in spite of this being a direct threat to freedom of speech in our own countries and a criminal incitement of murder.

All this is of course deplored by Western liberals but since Iran is supported by Russia and China (and probably France playing a double-sided game) and is not supported by the United States, then we can cheerfully keep our ‘consciences’ clean.

This applies to Egypt today. For all his and the regime’s faults, Egypt is an immeasurably better place than when it was at war with Israel. The war was not so damaging to Egyptian society as the state-led and encouraged hatred of Jews, the United States and of a supposed plot by the Western world to oppress the Arabs.

The state of war brought the Egyptian economy to a state of ruin. Even before peace was secured with Israel (even a cold peace), Sadat was introducing economic liberalisation as a policy into Egypt. This is significant because what he and the regime were attempting to do was to redirect the energy of the state into creating prosperity and improve the lot of Egyptians.

The chief opposition was then, as now, the Islamists who wanted to return to the existential struggle with Israel not just on ideological grounds but also as a means of unifying Egyptian society. The Islamists were preparing to launch a coup to seize the state from within and without the Army; this was detected and destroyed but one cell went undetected and eventually assassinated Sadat.

Since Sadat’s death, Egypt has been stable. It has not launched international adventures, it has not launched radical social programmes designed to transform Egyptian society into an enterprise aimed at producing some abstract outcome and it has not allied itself with the Baathists or with the Islamists of Iran. As a government often survives for a long period by reflecting the prejudices of its population, the Egyptian state has continued to indulge in anti-semitic and anti-american propaganda, has done little to improve the lot of women and engages in various forms of brutal behaviour, usually against outside groups such as the African refugees who regularly try to enter Israel through the Sinai.
(Actually this leaves an interesting thought experiment here: why if Israel is an apartheid state, do African refugees flee though Egypt to Israel?)

On the other hand, Egypt is well-educated, prosperous (the quarrels over economics seem to focus on nepotism and the effect of the economic downturn on employment) and populous.

Which leaves an interesting question open for consideration: if we are to support those protesting for democracy and freedom, why are we in government and media talking about accepting the Muslim Brotherhood – indeed, making them a necessary part of any solution, when even a cursory reading of their speeches, texts and political positions reveals them as anti-democratic, anti-liberal, anti-civil rights (especially on women and religious minorities) and pro-war against Israel and more widely the United States?

I suspect the answer is that most officials and journalists in the West are blinded by the false comparison – Mubarak’s a dictator, dictatorship is worse than democracy (conflating appeals for democracy with the establishment of a fully functional and robust democratic state) and so therefore a democracy with dominant anti-democratic forces is morally better than a military dictatorship. Dictator, bad; democracy, good. Two legs, bad; four legs; good. (Apart from the ducks and chickens…)

Through this simplistic paradigm, we neoconservatives are forced to watch our feckless governments and intelligentsia appealing for democracy in order to install those who would trample on every ideal we should be promoting abroad: women’s empowerment, secularisation, political moderation, free market economies, a free press* and suppression of practises such as female circumcision? In the interest of being on the side of democracy, as opposed to promoting democratic societies, we will side with those who preach an anti-modern agenda and show every sign of their willingness to put this into action?

* How long would that last in an Islamic democracy and what would classify as defamation of religion?


Police states promote terrorism

January 1, 2011

According to DEBKAfile, twelve al-Qaeda trained Palestinian terrorists have departed for Europe within the last week. I would suggest this means that Syria-Iran and al-Qaeda are working together.

Now, even though Saudi Arabian money finds its way to al-Qaeda, the Saudi regime is on the top list of enemies for al-Qaeda. The real allies of al-Qaeda are Syria and Iran, contrary to what anti-war thinkers believe.

The police states are quite safe against al-Qaeda. The open and liberal West is not. Dismantle the police states and we will have longer-term security because we will help construct states which produce societies resistant to the bug of political Islam.

 

Addendum.

Same source reporting that Saudia Arabia has hired two Pakistani nuclear weapons


Small point and Michelle Malkin

August 27, 2008

Small point but in Britain, the first female leader of either of the two main political parties and the first female prime minister of the country was Margaret Thatcher. Now she achieved that post through sheer merit and force of personality and by her ability to lead and argue in debate.
Now the Democrats across the pond have been obsessed with countering sexism and other discriminations for years… Yet they seem to have trouble with women… Hillary in my view would have been better qualified to lead the Democrats, despite her troublesome baggage, yet the party chooses a black man (ok, he’s not “black”, he’s a white man with dark skin) over a woman. I mean hey! I thought merit ought to decide party leaders, not who’s more discriminated against.

I watched the video of Michelle Malkin being harassed, verbally abused and threatened by the moonbats outside the DNC. Shocking. I hope she is quite alright and that Alex Jones does something to be put in prison. Bastard.
It is interesting that the far left spout slogans of “peace, liberty and justice”, but what they mean is “obey, group think and tyranny”. If you disagree with Michelle Malkin, moonbats, try having a debate. I would disagree with her over the internment of Japanese citizens of the USA in the Second World War, but I haven’t read her book and would interested to do so. It is wrong to extrapolate from her book that she is arguing for racial based detention (meaning in this case that all muslims should be locked up) but I would suspect that she might argue for dentention of those who are known or suspected of Islamic terrorist activity.
The moonbats respond to an alternative point of view just as the Nazis did – with intimidation, denial of the public space and violence (the communist who tried to attack the Christian crazies who attended Recreate ’68). Notice that Alex Jones and his supporters were actually urging murder – “Kill Michelle Malkin”. If I were in her shoes, I would be pressing for his arrest on a charge of breaching the peace and incitment to murder.

This kind of incitement is dangerous and must be stopped as it poisons the political atmosphere. If far right crazies can bring guns to Denver, what is stopping a communist or a trotskyite trying to murder Michelle Malkin, Robert Spencer or David Horowitz? Just because you disagree does not make the other person a criminal.


Russia declares war on Georgia

August 8, 2008

We are seeing the opening moves of the attempted Russian conquest of Georgia. This is worrying beyond any exaggeration as Georgia is a free and growing nation. My feeling on this is that Russia will crush Georgia (Especially, if unsupported) and use that as an example to cow the ex-Soviet nations into towing the line, or further territorial demands will materialise.
This could not come at a worse time for helping Georgia, given that the militarily active parts of NATO are engaged in Iraq and Afghanistan. We must at least supply weapons and ammunition to Georgia and warn Russia against expanded or future aggression.

Let’s watch the Left either wring its hands and say “war is not the answer”, or take the Russian side but not so as one might look as if one is supporting them.


Another reason to look askance at Obama

May 18, 2008

The messianic air given to Barack Obama by the left across America has consistently worried me, given the totalitarian end-tendencies of messianic movements but now seeing the posters being produced and sold in a manner reminiscent of a religious cult is starting to truly alarm me. Obama is being portrayed in a beatific light as a saviour, yet espousing what are fundamentally partisan political viewpoints. The consequences of this could be deeply poisonous to the fabric of American politics in either of the two scenarios pertaining to the presidential election.
In the first case scenario, where Obama wins the election, he will probably be attempting to govern on the basis of “uniting” the American people, yet would still be attempting to do so on partisan grounds. In essence, the language would be to ‘join our side and be together’, but where does that leave those who still disagree? This is outcome of passive aggressive, pacifistic politics, that those who still disagree are then cast out of the social grouping and demonized: the epithets of “warmongers”, “hate-filled”, “right-wing” will be hurled at the opponents of ‘unification and hope’. Not necessarily by Obama himself, but certainly by his most fervent supporters, destroying the idea or image of a unifying presidency.
The second scenario is the aftermath of a defeat whereby John McCain wins the election, especially if winning by a small margin. I do not believe that Obama will take part in the fury and mud-slinging of his supporters, but would he speak out against it? Regardless, the probability lies in the left demonizing the rest of the country as “enemies of peace”, “selfish”, “reactionary”, “hate-filled”, and the term “racist” will be used a great deal.
The end result either way, but more heavily in the second case, would be a language of exclusion and hatred filling the public discourse which will come from the left. The American left have become proto-totalitarian in their outlook, brooking no time for alternative points of view or dissent, yet claiming the mantle and protectorate of ‘free-speech’. The American left have talked to one another for years about “reclaiming our country/nation/America”, which suggests the political alternative is inherently illegitimate.
This discourse must end if there is not to be a deeply poisonous current in American political discourse for the near future but also so that the left does not completely abandon the field of politics to the right. A balance of discourses produces the healthiest body politic. A tyrannical and intolerant (yes, the left) discourse, aiming for domination of the others produces only misery and danger.