Monday, December 3, 2012

Thoughts On The Middle East

This has been an interesting couple weeks in the Middle East. Israel attacked Hamas in Gaza. A peace deal was reached. Meanwhile, Egypt erupted into chaos, but that appears to have stopped. And then the UN recognized Palestine as kind of sort of similar to a state. Should we be worried? Actually, no.
Issue One: Stop Shooting! Get Him!
When Israel started sending Hamasters to meet their virgins, the President of Egypt jumped right in and did his best to negotiate a ceasefire. For those who don’t know, this dude’s name is Mohammed Morsi, and he’s from the Muslim Brotherhood, who dominate the Egyptian government. No sooner did Morsi arrange a ceasefire than the head of the Muslim Brotherhood condemned the ceasefire. This freaked out Team Obama, who issued a sternly worded letter.

What does this mean? Believe it or not, it’s probably a good thing.

Look, when the Muslim Brotherhood took over Egypt, I wasn’t worried. A lot of conservatives were worried because they don’t really understand what the Muslim Brotherhood is. They see them as an arm of al Qaeda or some other terrorist organization and they never bothered to learn their history. Liberals weren’t worried at first because they saw the Arab Spring as all unicorn poo and fairy dust. They wanted to believe that now that the oppressive dictators were gone, the Muslim people (who we know are just like liberals everywhere) would create a peaceful democratic government that would usher in a utopia. But then liberals changed their minds once the Muslim Brotherhood didn’t turn out as cuddly as they seemed. So now they’re worried too. Everyone is worried. . . except me.

History and human nature tell us that there is a huge difference between the way people speak when they have no responsibilities and how they act when they are actually given power. Bill Shakespeare picked up on this in “Henry V” when Hal’s friends are shocked to discover that the playful, irresponsible drunk they knew suddenly morphs into a joyless, serious King. It’s human nature. With power comes responsibility. And once you take over a government you suddenly discover that it’s not all “kill the infidels” anymore.... it becomes, why wasn’t my garbage picked up... do something about crime... there ain’t no jobs. At the same time, you pretty quickly learn that you can’t really go angering the Great Satan because Uncle Satan gives you billions of dollars a year which keep your economy from going down the Khomeini. And about wiping out those dirty Jews... well, let’s just say it gets a little harder when you know the Jews plan to bomb your house first in retaliation.

What’s going on here is that the Muslim Brotherhood has done exactly what history, and their history, suggests they would. They took over the government and they intend to govern. This is what they’ve done in other countries where they’ve been the loyal (non-loony) opposition. This is what they said they would do when they swore off violence. This is what revolutionary movements almost always do. And them negotiating a cease fire is evidence they want to become a respectable government.

“But they still condemned the ceasefire!” Yeah, so? This actually gives me even more hope, quite frankly. Think about this for a moment. Think about how cynical this is. This is the Muslim Brotherhood making a choice to ACT responsibly while cynically lying to their followers to maintain the image of being irresponsible. Does that remind you of anyone? That’s right, they’re the Democratic Party in pyramid print. What this means is that they grasp the difference between rhetoric and action and they have chosen the path of making the world happy, not their followers. That is a great sign.

Moreover, the statement they issued to their followers has a laughable caveat. They state that, yes, the evil Jews must die, but not today... not today... we shouldn’t even try to fight them until “all the Arabs are unified.” Wink wink. That will never happen.

Seriously, pay attention to the cynicism. This is how a revolutionary party becomes a respectable government without losing its supporters. This is how China can be both deeply communist and deeply capitalist. It’s intensely cynical, but it also gives me hope that they’ve made their choice and they want to steer Egypt away from the Irans and the al Qaedas.
Issue Two: I Am Your Pharaoh, Beeeatches!
The more interesting (read: more disturbing) issue happened while Morsi was making peace between the infidels and the Hamasters. When no one was looking, Morsi issued a decree which allowed him to re-try anyone for any crime committed prior to his taking power from Mubarak. Within this decree was a pardon for everyone on the winning side. It also held that any decrees Morsi issues from now on will be unappealable. In other words, rule of law is dead.

This resulted in a serious backlash from any number of groups, with the Supreme Court itself calling for strikes. People are saying he made himself into a modern Pharaoh and they point out that this is more power than even the evil dictator Mubarak had. Should we be worried? No. Honestly, this strikes me as a win-win-win for us.
● Scenario one: he becomes an evil despot and the people hate him. We win in that regard because it destroys the credibility of Islamic movements like the Muslim Brotherhood. No longer will the reason for the people’s suffering be this fake claim that an American imposed dictator is making them suffer, this time it will be someone they chose themselves. That takes us a step closer to ending our role as permanent scapegoat.

● Scenario two: he becomes a benign despot and uses his power to impose needed reforms. Again, we win because Egypt would become less of a basket case. And the more middle class they become, the less dangerous they become.

● Scenario three: the public rises up and he needs to back down. Again we win because that’s another seed that can sprout democratic ideas and institutions. . . the public demanding rule of law.
The worst case is that he becomes evil and attacks Israel out of desperation to save his butt when things go wrong, but that doesn’t really fit his prior actions or his personality. Plus, the military doesn’t support him enough for him to do that. Not to mention, Egypt’s army wouldn’t make it fifteen steps into the desert before Israel destroyed them because their army is decrepit and is really just built to control the public.
Issue Three: Hey, I Know You!
The UN Department of Thugs and Perverts voted to give the Palestinians observer status, which kind of implies they’re a real state. Ok. Yawn. Sorry. This has upset a lot of people, but honestly, so what? The Palestinians basically run their own state now as it is. How does UN recognition change anything? Iran already arms them. Saudi Arabia already funds them. Egypt already helps them smuggle in toys for the kids.... Torture Me Hosni is very popular this year. Seriously, how does this change anything?

Frankly, the best solution for the Palestinian/Israel issue has always been for Israel to carve out territory, hand it over, throw up a wall, and say, “you got what you want, now go away.” This is because once the Palestinians have a state, everyone else is going to get sick of hearing their whining. Why? Because “They stole our homeland and are keeping us prisoner” is a pretty compelling argument, “We wanted better land for our homes” is not.

Honestly, I see this recognition as a mistake by the Arabs. They have basically taken a step to make Palestine less interesting to everyone by making their demands a lot less compelling. Less compelling means less interesting. And less interesting means lower ratings. And lower ratings means you get cancelled.


Anthony said...

Great article. I agree with pretty much everything. I supported the Arab Spring from the get-go not because I think democracy = peace, but because it would end the deadly game Arab dictators played. They would tell their people that they were oppressing them because the West (and of course, Jews) were making them do it they would tell the West that their people were so anti-Western that they are our best and only friend. To make the poison pill deadlier, they suppressed all forms of civil society aside from Islam.

Democracy is a long, messy road (hell, even America had a civil war) but it should result in countries where the people are less focused on us and more focused on themselves.

I thought it was very interesting that the Arab street didn't come out in support of Hamas en masse.

Anthony said...

UN recognition doesn't mean anything, but meaningless PR victories are the only types of victories the Palestinians can achieve.

The Palestinians' move will reportedly prompt the Israelis to expand settlements, one of the few areas where one can always see daylight between Israel and US presidents (of course, there is a lot of daylight between Obama and Netanyahu) so this will apparently be even a bigger meaningless victory than it was at first blush.

Patriot said...

Andrew......This of course presumes that the Mullahs and Islamist fundies in Egypt have little to no say in how the Egyptian culture and society will run. We are assuming Morsi is a pragmatist (because he was educated in the West?) who will defy the will of the Isalmists in his governing party.

I expect to see Egypt slide more and more into sharia, with Morsi's dictatorial edicts as the precursor to rule by Islamic law. Your scenario 1 states that he becomes an evil despot and the people hate him. So what? So what if some, if even a majority of the people "hate him?" Every Friday the mullahs preach that inorder to be a devout muslim, one must follow sharia and submit to the will of the mullahs.

And once again, I think you are letting yourself become deluded in relying on the wisdom of the "people." So what if half the people don't support Morsi? Half the people in this country don't support Zero and he's running end runs around OUR constitution regularly. "If Congress refuses to act on this issue then I will go around Congress."

So, I don't share your rose-colored-glasses view of the "Arab spring" in the Mid-East. I think the region will continue its slide into religious rule and anti-Israel scape-goatism(sp?). What this shows, is that Iran's influence in the region continues to grow, and that cannot bode well for the U.S.

Tennessee Jed said...

act responsibly while lying cynically. It actually kind of reminds me of the house of Saud. Loudly decry the Israeli's and the Great Satan who helps them in order to mollify those who love the radical mullahs while working with G.S. quietly behind the scenes.

If he goes the evil despot route, it could be a long, long time before the world press ever gets off blaming us. Think Bush era tax cuts and Bush recession.

As far as U.N. recognition, it probably doesn't make much difference. The world media is overwhelmingly liberal, so I suppose they can spin it a particular way. But there still is the fact that middle eastern muslims want to drive Israel into the sea and cease to exist. In that respect, they are like liberals. No matter how many concessions you give them, they always keep their eye on the ultimate prize.

My biggest concern remains the fact that in our country, we are incredibly vulnerable to terrorist attacks, and short of using our own nukes on Israel and agreeing to Sharia law, it will be a long time before that threat is gone.

Koshcat said...

I think most of the palastinians living in Israel have mixed feelings. Yes, they want their own state but they have some of the highest standards of living and lowest unemployment in the region. Money talks.

T-Rav said...

On issue two, yeah, I don't really care about that either. The Egyptians have made their bed and they can lie in it.

On three, I would agree, except that this is seen by many people on both sides as a "Who do you support? Israel or Palestine?" issue. (Argue all you want about whether that's actually the issue at hand, but that is how it's generally seen.) In that case, the overwhelming margin of the vote in favor of Palestine is cause for concern; especially if you have any familiarity with the casual and increasing anti-Semitism in Europe and elsewhere.

On issue one--well. It's true that most people who do get into power naturally become much more responsible as a result. Except when they don't. I won't name names, but, again, I think this overestimates the rationality of the rulers in that region. And it's just as easy to spin this argument in reverse: Faced with that much responsibility for if/when things go wrong, who wouldn't look for a way out by scapegoating the Jews?

I'm hopeful that this recent episode will blow over, but I'm still extremely leery about the position the Arab Spring and its consequences have left Israel in.

tryanmax said...

Palestine got screwed and they don't even know it. Official recognition in their current state all but finishes the 1967 borders argument. Now there is an extremely valid case for recognition of the 2012 borders.

BevfromNYC said...

Several Points: Don't believe everything that you don't read in the press. Egypt/Morsi openly supported Hamas in the bombing of Israel, and started their own little amassing of soldiers on the Israeli border, so to say that they intervened is bogus.

2. There is no such thing as a benevolent dictator who grabs power by edict. Don't forget that it's not just Morsi, but their "Congress" is also a majority Muslim Brotherhood too, who just issued a draft constitution that takes away the rights of women and legalizes slavery. The judges have gone on strike. So what, judges can be replaced, overruled or killed in a dictatorship. Morsi will execute his foes like any other dictator, so how is that better? The people of Eqypt apparently hated Mubarek for over 30 years. At least with Mubarek, there was a thriving middle class and women had relative equality for a Middle East country.
- The people of Venezuela hate Chavez, but he's still dictator until he dies of bone cancer.
- Same for Cuba
- Same for North Korea
- Same for USSR
- Same for China (until they found $$$)
Same for...well, you name any dictatorship.
That's the funny thing about dictators, they don't really have to listen to the "will of the people".

3. Perception is everything. The fact that they can now declare themselves a state means that they ARE a state. Palestine being declared legitimate after generations of global terrorism (not just regional, btw) and rewarded by a body that openly despises Israel and would rather see it obliterated off the face of the earth is an affront to all modern civilization.

Don't get me wrong, the reason that Israel came into existance in 1947 at the behest of the UN was because Europe didn't want the Jews to come back to Europe. It was not created as an act of benevolence, but an act of finalizing Hilter's "Final Solution". Oops, the Jews just didn't die like they were supposed to.

And the Obama US will stand by and watch it unfold while our leaders wring their hands (and Obama plays another round of golf) and making stupid statements like "Oh, they shouldn't have done that. Bad Palestine" when they bomb Israel again, this time as a legitimate state. And this time over the right to call Jeruselem a capitol.

And we will continue to pay Hamas $500million dollars for "humanitarian" aid for which they spend money to by bombs, not bread.

Israel has already started by announcing the reinstating their right to build settlements in the West Bank.

Koshcat said...


Don't you understand all that is happening is done at the behest of the Jewish Banker Overlords? This is part of their plan for world domination. Next, you will probably try to convince me that Jewish people don't eat the blood of palastinian children.

It is so weird. I have a couple of Jewish friends and they seem so nice, but the far left keeps telling me what evil monsters they really are.

T-Rav said...

Bev, one point on your comment: I've read from people who grew up there that while Egypt was one of the more open societies in the Middle East a few decades ago, it's been trending fundamentalist for some time; already five or ten years ago, women wearing fairly conservative bathing suits were, to put it politely, being vigorously discouraged from doing so. So maybe an MB upsurge would have happened regardless, Mubarak or no Mubarak.

Otherwise, I agree: This is a screwy situation all around, and we should trust Morsi and the Palestinian leadership about as far as we can throw them.

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, Thanks. I agree.

I thought the Arab Spring was great.... not because I expected them to become peacefully, happy democracies but for the very reason you say -- it shifted the responsibility to the Arabs for their own mess.

With Islamic governments of their own choosing in place, they could no longer blame us for all their problems because they couldn't point to their dictator as someone we installed. Now their dictator is someone they installed.

I think that goes a long way to pulling the anti-Western venom out of Arab world.

There is a long way to go on this, but I do believe this will change things. They will stop looking out for enemies and start looking in for answers. And that will eventually make them more normal countries.

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, I honestly don't see how UN recognition gets them anything more than better parking spaces in New York. It really doesn't change anything on the ground that I can see.

PLUS it now causes them the problem that their cause will no longer seem as important because people will start to say, "hey, you got what you wanted... now leave me alone."

It won't make the issue go away, but it will tone down the willingness of people to use it and that means it will move to the back burner.

So in the end, I think this really is a victory for Israel, even if it doesn't seem it.

AndrewPrice said...

Patriot, I think you are completely misreading me. I am not looking through rose-colored glasses, nor am I listening to anyone in the media. To the contrary, the media is currently whining that this means exactly what you are claiming -- "oh my God! He's an horrible Islamist after all."

First, I see the Arab Spring quite cynically. I don't see it as resulting in the Arab world becoming a good place, it see it as good because it makes them responsible for their own problems. That will suck the anti-Western venom out of the region as they return to infighting.

Second, I'm using human nature and history to judge the current situation, not listening to the media. Indeed, the media is on your side -- they are panicking that this means a dictatorship is coming.

I'm looking at this using human history and human nature as my guide. And I am watching the deeds, not the words. The deeds are quite clear, they are treating their people cynically. They have made a decision to form a respectable government. And the only reason they would do that is because they have come to realize they have no choice. They don't have the wealth or the stable enough economy to do anything else.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, It is a lot like Saudi Arabia or China or any other number of anti-American states. Except for the ones run by true crazies (Venezuela and Iran.... both of which can use oil to back their craziness) these countries talk big about hating us, but then help us out quietly. I think what we are seeing in Egypt is the same cynical behavior. Don't forget, they never had to jump in to try to negotiate a ceasefire. Nor do they need to wait to go full Islamic -- the control 70% of the government. So their actions, which show a lot of cynicism to their followers suggest they see their future more like Turkey than Iran.

On recognition, you are right, the Mullahs will always hate Israel until Islam stops being about hate. But the thing is that the rest of the world is going to stop caring once they think the Palestinians got what they want. That's human nature. Once the demand stops being "we need a homeland" and becomes "we want a better homeland," all those foreign backers are going to grow very tired and annoyed with them.

The terrorism thing is a problem, but don't forget -- you can never stop terrorism completely and we don't want to lose our freedom trying to do that. The long term answer to terrorism is to not security, it's solving the demand side. I think that ultimately, events like these will get us there.

AndrewPrice said...

Koshcat, I thought it was really interesting how the Palestinians whined about how much they hate Israel, etc. etc., and then Israel would close the border for a couple days and they would go into a total outraged panic: "We can't get to our jobs! We can't go shopping! This isn't right!" Interesting, isn't it?

I really do think that the solution is just to give the Palestinians a "state" (they basically have one now) and to appear as hands off as possible and to let them struggle with their own problems without anyone to blame.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Honestly, on the Palestinian v. Israel thing, the thing is that like everything else with "the world", the world is all talk. And the less intense the claims seem to be, the less inclined people will be to want to get involved. That's why I think this is bad for the Palestinians. Basically, the Euros and the Africans and the South Americans will pat themselves on the back for smacking down the dirty Jews and will then start to ignore the issue. We'll see, but that's my guess based on how these things always have worked in the past. It's human nature only to help when things are at their most extreme points. This makes the whole issue less extreme.

On him getting evil, you could be right -- I do say there are three possible scenarios, but I doubt it. You will never go wrong following the money or examining the cynicism. Cynicism more than anything else tells you what someone's true mindset is, and here the cynicism tells me that they plan to talk angry but rule rational. Don't forget, the easy path for him would have been to just condemn Israel and watch the carnage.

Also, frankly, I have no worries if he does go evil and try to attack Israel. The Egyptian military really is not a true military, they are a population suppression unit. I honestly don't think a single one of their soldiers would ever make it anywhere near Israeli territory.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I think so too. What this means is that they will never get a "negotiated" state. Instead, they will get what they have now and they will spend 100 years appealing through world courts for more, only to discover that those courts don't really side with you and that their opinions aren't binding anyway. Basically, I think this may turn out to be a real disaster for the Palestinians.

BevfromNYC said...

Koshcat - I am not sure who told you that, but in fact, we drink the blood of Christian children, not Palestianian children. Obviously you have never tasted Mogen David wine...

T-Rav said...

Andrew, it really comes down to how much weight you give to the irrational or non-rational in human affairs, especially where the Middle East is concerned. With Iran, for example, there are all sorts of power struggles and conflicting interests at work, but at the end of the day, the guy holding a lot of the strings is Ahmanutjob, and he really does seem to believe that attacking Israel will make the 12th imam crawl out of his hole or whatever and bring on a new Islamic Empire. Given what we've seen in Egypt and elsewhere, I have to assume a lot of people in that region are functioning under similar assumptions.

As far as the Palestinians go, I would really like to see some survey of how they feel about their fellow Arab states. Don't forget, much of this could have been promptly solved in '48 if Jordan and neighboring countries had taken them in and assimilated in. Do they like being purposely kept in no-man's-land? I'm sure they blame Israel for much of it, but still, I would like to see some hard evidence on the other side.

T-Rav said...

Bev, I thought you just threw our kids down wells or something? Maybe I'm getting my blood libels confused....

K said...

Morsi successful = Clinton in 2016.

Individualist said...

<a href=">Nawal el Saadawi</a>

Here is an interesting comment from a liberal Egyption who is calling Morsi an "Obama Clone" and is stating the reason he and the Muslim Brotherhood can stay in power is that America is buying them. She views Egyot as an American colony.

Not sure what this all means but I think Andrew that if Morsi becomes a despot we need to quit funding Egypt.

As long as we are giving dictators money the people oppressed by those dictators will balme America at least in part for their plight. This is why I disagree with those who say we fund countries if it is in our best interest to do so. This to my mind is short term. How can you buy the loyalty of Morso when he betrays his own people. As soon as he has a need or reward is greater than what you give him he will turn.

I say money is better spent making true democracies more powerful becuase democracies are less likely to attack each other.

Just my thoughts on this.

Individualist said...

Nawal el Saadawi

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, A few counterpoints....

First, please don't misunderstand me. I am not saying this means puppies and rainbows. I suspect none of this will make Egypt a happier or healthier place in the short term. What I'm saying is that it will draw their focus inward and they will infight instead of out-fight. Will they try to blame Israel for their problems? Sure, but it won't have nearly as much meaning as it did when they were ruled by an "American/Israeli puppet."

In terms of Egypt helping Hamas, that may be, but keep in mind they didn't have to work on the ceasefire, they could have let Israel be drawn into a ground war and then supplied Hamas with arms. To me, that is significant. That strikes me as them having made a decision that they need to aim for respectable. To me, this reeks of the Democrats promising something like the ERA to women and then somehow never finding a reason to bring it to a vote except when they are sure there are enough Republican votes to keep it from happening. This is pure political cynicism... not revolutionary zeal. I see that as a good sign since the cynicism was aimed at their people and not Israel.

In terms of the way they treat women, it is horrible, but that's what Islam is about -- it's a religion for men with small penises who are afraid of women. The only way to change that is along term cultural change. But that change won't happen so long as they can maintain their outside status -- we only oppress you because we need to, it would be paradise if we ran the country.... now it's put up or shut up time.

In terms of your list of dictators, let me point out a few things. The Soviets collapsed because the people got sick of it. Prior to that, they acted surprisingly rationally. Venezuela and Iran are indeed run by lunatics. But they are special cases. They sit on oil which lets them buy loyalty and keep their economies running. And even then, their powers do have surprising limits. Egypt doesn't that mold. It is a poor country that needs to make its own way.

As for the Europeans, sure, they are antiSemites, that's obvious. But they don't really matter. Europe is a land without economic or military influence. No one really takes them seriously and they would never lift one effete finger to actually help out.

On the perception point, step back for a minute and think about this. The perception is that Israel invaded Palestine and took their territory. Since then, they've been holding the Palestinians hostage on their own land. That's a strong image and makes it easy for Palestinians to claim the moral high ground. BUT if they now are perceived as having their own state again, then that all goes away. Suddenly, this is just about two countries arguing over borders -- happens every day around the world. People like the Euros will lose interest in that cause.

Again, I'm not saying that this will make the world perfect -- far from it, but I am saying that I think ultimately these developments will prove good for the west and good for Israel... over time.

AndrewPrice said...

P.S. Bev, Two more points.

1. I agree about Obama. Money is fungible and giving money for humanitarian aid just frees up other money for weapons.

2. Look at Fatah. They were just as bad as Hamas. Then they appeared to get what they want - a state-like thing. Suddenly, they found themselves awash in actually needing to govern. They started infighting, they became political rather than revolutionary. They realized that Israel closing the border was a bigger threat to them than Israeli bombs.

They were neutered. That is almost always what happens when you actually take power. That is what I see happening in Egypt.

AndrewPrice said...

Koshcat, LOL! Sadly, people believe that crap.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Never trust anyone when it comes to foreign policy. I'm just saying, watch for signs that things are moving in the right direction and then encourage the good and discourage the bad. This is just about seeing what is really happening, not really about any particular policy change. Our policy should be "be ready for anything."

As I understand it, the entire Middle East is trending fundamentalist for a number of reasons. I think that letting government like this get in place and then oppress their people is about the only way that will change any time soon.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, It's funny you should say that about drinking blood... apparently, there is a big vampire scare on-going in Serbia.


AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, As strange as this may sound, Iran is not as crazy as you think. Keep in mind that nut-job for all his bluster has not simply attacked. He has pushed the world, but never far enough to create a real blow back. And in the process, he has managed to lift Iran's stature from "poor sh*tholes that couldn't even beat tiny Iraq" to "American's biggest threat and the number one power in the region."

There is often method in the appearance of madness.

AndrewPrice said...

K, I don't really think foreign policy influences our elections except in very rare instances. But I think that Egypt turning out well would indeed be a feather Clinton would claim for her cap.

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, I don't think we should be funding rotten countries either, that doesn't help.

I don't think anyone can rationally claim that the people of Egypt will see Morsi as a tool of the Americans. The Muslim Brotherhood is 100% not connected to us, and to try to claim they are our stooges just won't wash.

In terms of funding, I'm not a fan of sending money in any event. If they need aid, we should send food, expertise, jobs... but not cash.

Koshcat said...

You know what would be an awesome race for 2016?

H. Clinton vs. Jeb Bush

I have a tingling running up my leg...or I just had a stroke. I have been wrong before but the only way Hillary gets elected is if Perot runs as a third party again.

Individualist said...


In order to blame America for all your problems being rational is not required.

In fact being irrational is a great help in making that case.

As you have stated about our current election Joe Average or Abdul Averge for that matter don't like to have to think when it comes to politics.

AndrewPrice said...

Gee, Thanks Koshcat, nice way to ruin my day.

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, True rational is not required, but some level of believability is. You simply can't invent something without any basis for people to believe it and think that's going to be believed.

Patriot said...

Andrew......Once again I needed further insight from your fertile mind into your original thesis that Morsi and the MB aren't radicals who want the overthrow of Israel and blame them for all their woes (aside from their Charter of course).

My bottom line is, historically, the left has worked with Islamists to undermine Western values and culture (Germany and the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem for example). They do this to destroy the "cult of the individual" that is at the core of their philosophies. The state, as embodied by either dictator, Mullah or tyrannical ideological despots, must rule. THEY and they alone have the answers to peace and harmony for the human existence (basically, kill anyone who disagrees with us).

I believe Morsi and the MB fit right nicely with this historical smart set. Sure start benevolently (aka Hitler in the early-mid 30's; Lenin in the teens; ---hee hee--- Obama in the early aughts) and then slowly but surely enact your plans and set your desirous mitts upon all that hated accumulated wealth in your opponents (the people) hands.

Nope, I don't believe this will end well and the rest of the world will suddenly leave Israel alone. The left has always needed a bogeyman, and throughtout history the "Jooos" have been the preferred scapegoat. This will NOT change in our lifetime, and no amount of "Arab Spring" "Leading From Behind" or US $$$ payoffs will stop it. If it doesn't serve the "progressives" vision of a one-world order with them running things, then it won't happen.

Our American 300 year old experiment could very well be in its' death throes as Zero is the perfect embodiment of what the left has pushed for centuries.

Helluva ride huh?!

Individualist said...


All they will know is that Morsi is a Son of a B#$%#$ and his Military gets one billion a year to support his tyranny form Uncle Satan.

They won't really care about anything else. We have to cut the money off then the US won't be in the equation. That's the point.

T-Rav said...

Andrew, that's all well and good. But I do think you're expecting more out of the leadership in these countries than you should. The idea that the responsibility of governing makes people more moderate is nice, but it's hardly an iron law of history (come to think of it, history doesn't have any iron laws except "S*** Happens"). And I know that's not what you're saying here; my point is, there's too many examples of leaders doing the exact opposite and looking at an aggressive foreign policy as a means of resolving domestic issues--see also, Germany in 1914, a nation far more sophisticated and rational than any Middle East country has a reputation for being.

We simply cannot trust that the "Arab Street" will do the rational thing here.

AndrewPrice said...

Patriot, Let's start with this. Conservatives are paranoid when it comes to Islam because they keep trying to see Arabs as irrational. Arabs are not irrational. Far from it. They are very good at reading the West and getting what they want. They are also very good at reading the stupidity of their people and keeping them from revolting.

So discount anyone who claims that Islamists are crazies who want to blow up the world no matter what the consequences. Even Iran, the most crazy of the bunch, has walked a very fine line since the Iran Iraq War taught them revolution doesn't in fact spread.

Secondly, forget this idea about the left. The left you are talking about doesn't exist at the moment. There is no Nazi Germany looking to take over the world and no COMINTERN looking to convert the world. The left right now is nothing more than a rabble of individuals who hope to push the world toward their current ideology, which is a hodgepodge of grievances. They aren't driving anything and they aren't players in this.

Moreover, the Muslim Brotherhood despises the left as much as "the capitalists." They see themselves as something else, neither left nor right, but different -- they are left, but they don't believe it.

The players are the Euros who want to see the region stable and favor the Arabs. The Americans who want to see the region stable and favor Israel. Islamic terrorists who don't want to see the region stable. The Muslim Brotherhood. And "the Arab street" which is shorthand for the mob of unemployed Arabs.

The Brotherhood was founded as an intellectual organization who wanted to free the Arab world from British rule. They turned to terror and discovered what all terrorists do -- that terror doesn't work. So they made a decision to become more of a pan-Arabic political party with the intent of becoming the opposition who succeeds these dictators as they die. Where they have been given power, they have proven to be quite responsible. They also swore off terrorism some time ago and apparently have not gone back on their word.

Now does that mean they won't scapegoat Israel? Of course not. Israel is the easy scapegoat. But their goal is not to destroy Israel, it is to take over these countries and run those governments. And they aren't fools. They know that to run these governments means they need to keep the people marginally happy at least or they risk a revolt.

Combine the fact that they are rational with the idea that the only way to stay in power is to improve the lives of their citizens and what you get is a party that really does need to focus on being responsible -- war with Israel would cause them massive economic and political harm and will result in them being ousted... they know that. Add in a history that seems to back that up and I really don't worry about them.

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, That's wrong. That's a conclusion looking for evidence and it simply misunderstand the facts on the ground. To the Arab people, the Muslim Brotherhood is well known as the opposition to the West. They have fought against every British or American or Soviet puppet dictator since the 1940s. They knocked out the American puppet Mubarak. Morsi was a top dog in the Muslim Brotherhood.

The idea that somehow they are now going to say, "wait a minute! They get money from the US? They must be US puppets!" just doesn't make any sense.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I'm not expecting this to be pretty or easy. Clearly, Morsi is not planning to impose Constitutional Democracy given his decree. But they will moderate.

1. There are few historical instances where moderation did not occur.

2. Those instances typically involved special circumstances that aren't present here.

3. Despite the conservative insistence on seeing these guys as crazy, they aren't -- they are not irrational nor are they suicidal.

4. The MB has a track record already of moderating on several occasions. I think it's irrational to believe that those instances were all just a ruse to gain credibility with the West... they don't need credibility with the West unless they want to be responsible.

Seriously, I am not saying things will be perfect tomorrow, but I am saying that conservatives need to stop knee-jerking the Middle East and realize that their prejudiced view of the Middle East is hardly right and is certainly unhelpful.

tryanmax said...

RE: puppets. The thing to remember is that most of the world isn't as automatically suspicious of authority as Americans are. For Morsi's supporters to suddenly turn on him like that would require such suspicion of libertarian proportions. Only a libertarian could promote someone to power and then actively oppose him the next day. I just don't see a lot of libertarianism in the Middle East.

Patriot said...

Andrew.....I must disabuse you of your notions in your post above. This is what I meant by "rose-colored-glasses" thinking.

1. I don't believe "Conservatives are paranoid when it comes to Islam because they keep trying to see Arabs as irrational. Arabs are not irrational. Far from it." I think 'conservatives' have a much clearer picture of what 'Arabs' want. You are confusing groups here. Iranians don't consider themselves "Arabs," they are "Persians" first and foremost with a proud history all their own. Egyptians consider themselves the "first civilization" and the natural, historical leaders of what we now call the "Middle-East" (Nasser and his Pan-Arabic movement). Saudis consider themselves the only true "pure" Arabs, with all other groups as lesser tribes. And then you have the internal Islamic differences (Sunni/Shiite/etc...). We can't conflate the Arabs and the Islamists. They are way too diverse to lump together.

2. "The left right now is nothing more than a rabble of individuals who hope to push the world toward their current ideology, which is a hodgepodge of grievances. They aren't driving anything and they aren't players in this." I don't know where to start with this one..... Do you consider the UN in its current manifestation a collection of "conservative" and/or "right" leaning bunch of groups/countries, or a group of "leftists" using a once noble organization to further their "global" governance goals?! If that's not a leftist goal then I've got no counterpoint to your argument. I believe their has been a group of...yes, leftists....that have always had their goal of control over others due to their superior intellect and moral authority. "L'etat uber alles" (to mix language metaphors here). The EU is another leftist goal masquerading as "progress." Quite a "rabble" huh?!

3. "Where they have been given power, they have proven to be quite responsible. They also swore off terrorism some time ago and apparently have not gone back on their word." Hmm...Refer to the "Muslim Brotherhood" Hamas Party in Gaza as to their moderate, responsible approach, to Israel in this case.

Sorry Andrew......I do not agree with your assessment of a moderate MB, Arab world or Islamist-led government. A clear, cold assessment leads a rational minded person to reject your thesis. And, FWIW, I have many close "Arab" friends and we have discussed the situation in the Middle-East over cigars and drinks. I trust their perspective as participants in the front-lines of the perpetual battle for the Middle-East.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I think there's a lot of wrong thinking going on regarding the Middle East.

1. Arabs are not irrational or suicidal. They respond to the same cues about human nature everyone else responds to.

2. There is a temptation by liberals to be blind to the evil, and by conservatives to be blind to the good.

3. There is a total ignorance of the history of the region.

4. There is this strange assumption that if you don't predict total doom, then you are somehow predicting utopia. That's a clear sign of emotional/irrational thinking.

5. Conservative thinking is ultimately worthless on the middle east because it boils down to: they are all hopelessly evil and will never change no matter what happens or who is in charge or what we do.

6. Any change will be for the worse.

7. The motives of these strange creatures called Arabs are unknowable.

I'm not sure why conservative thinking is so messed up on the Middle East, but it's really unhelpful.

AndrewPrice said...

Patriot, Allow me to respond...

1. I use the term "Arab" intentionally because conservatives seem incapable of making a distinction. They lump all of Islam and everything from India's border to the Atlantic in the category of "Islamists," which they sometimes mix with Arab. They don't seem to understand that they aren't all Arabs or that Most people who practice Islam are actually Asians.

2. You're missing my point on the left. Of course there are leftists and they fill organizations like the UN and the EU and whatnot. What you don't have anymore is an organized leftist movement that is intend on spreading "the revolution" to country after country. There is no Soviet Union. And the UN is hardly comparable to the Soviets, the unions is a bunch of jerkoffs who work by consent. Seeing them as a comparable threat to Soviet communism or Chinese Marxism or any other militaristic version is just wrong.

3. I have no idea where you are hearing that Hamas and the MB are connected, but even if that's true, you are missing a good deal of documented history.

As for rejecting my thesis, that's fine... offer your own.

Patriot said...

Andrew..... I agree on your distinction in your point #1 above. Yet I think most Americans/Westerners do the same due to their media-fed bobble-headed lack of knowledge of the region.

Re your point #2: In my world (which looks like a Tim Burton inspired asylum) I believe what I call leftists, those looking to create a "One World Order" by crushing dissent, have been with us in many different forms since Ug took his club to Og's head in order to have what he had. It is much easier to take by force (gov't) than go out and work for it. And I truly believe if we weren't the strongest military force around, then the Russkies, the Chinee and or any other organized leftist movement would not hesitate to visit our shores and move right in. Maybe I am conflating "leftist" with "Tyrannical" but in the end, I think they both are after the same thing....control other peoples lives through the use of force. Call it what you want, they have always been with us.

As to point #3, I give you -----Dateline Middle East 12/10/11 YNetNews: "A senior Hamas source told the London-based Arabic-language al-Hayat newspaper on Saturday that the Palestinian organization has joined the global movement of the Muslim Brotherhood.
According to the source, the move took place as early as two months ago. The expression "a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood – Palestine" has been added to Hamas' official name – "The Islamic Resistance Movement."

I believe we are probably more alike in our theses on most things "conservative," yet on this, I must respectfully take issue with your interpretation of what the MB's ultimate aims are, and how they have the patience to see them come to fruition.

And that is why I like the site you put together. Respectful debate on all things considered. And why this type discussion would never make it on MSNBC!!

Chris Matthews said...

I just felt a tingle run up my leg....or something run down it...

Koshcat said...

The middle east is fascinating in that although the region from a civilization standpoint is old, it seems about 500 years behind Europe and China. In the past Europe also has multiple different tribes and peoples that hated one another. Even when religion (christianity) brought many together, that often still wasn't enough to keep them from fighting. Over the years stronger tribes wiped out weaker and started developing true countries. They still didn't stop fighting each other until frankly the mid-20th century after nearly destroying itself.

The middle east reminds me much of this except many of the current countries are really in name only. Only Saudia Arabia seems somewhat stable, although if the money for oil where to dry up it would turn into a back water desert. To tamp down some of this unrest, many leaders have used Israel as a rallying cry. As if destroying Israel will solve all of their problems. It won't of course and these "Arab Springs" are going to continue and get worse.

This is why we need out of this region. If Israel wants to stay, I say we still support it, but get out of the way from everyone else. Iran wants to mine the Persian Gulf? Fine, we will use Canadian oil, etc. Just like a spoiled child wanting attention, the best is to ignore them. That doesn't mean that if they try to bomb us again, we don't obliterate them. Even a spoiled child needs a good spanking. It is a no-win situation and we are more likely to get caught in a civil war -AGAIN- losing thousands of young men/women with nothing to show for it.

I would rather do business with the Chinese for a 1000 years then to do another day's business with these, so called, countries.

Patriot said...

Koshcat......That is racist, bigoted, Islamaphobia and has no place in in civilized discussion. Oh....and I agree with most of it!

AndrewPrice said...

Patriot, Same here, I really like that people can disagree without it becoming nasty. And no, MSNBC would never go for this... not nearly enough anger.

You might well be right about the ultimate motives. It's hard to say -- this is all best guest. As I see it though, the evidence points to them wanting to first turn Egypt into a showcase for good Islamic government, because I think their ultimate goal is to rule each of the Arab countries and then combine them.

At that point, the question would be would they sacrifice the prosperity they hope to have for a war they would lose? Not sure. I do believe they think they would... but that's a long way off. And if they do succeed in fixing Egypt, they may well find the public's taste for war vanishes.

On the other points, I think you're right about number one and I find it really frustrating. I think it doesn't help us when we can't spot friend from foe, and I see it too often where conservative thinkers just label two billion people as terrorists.

On point two, I agree -- leftists are leftists and they are dangerous whether they are militaristic or not. But there is a huge difference between having the Russians out them arming resistance groups, spreading propaganda, staging proxy wars.... and some idiots at the UN who want to drown the world in red tape. So when it comes to the middle east, I don't see the left as players, at least not in the sense they were in the past. If they succeed, then these governments just become befuddled by red tape... they don't become militant arms of the revolution.

AndrewPrice said...

Chris, Was this tingle yellow per chance?

Patriot said...

....and why the hell are we still in Afghanistan?!

One of my sons served in theater there and says these folks, most of the country (exurbs..Ha Ha!)live a hand to mouth existence, in huts and caves like some paleolithic tribe that time forgot. They do not understand what is going on around them only that this group or the other will give them something if they do X. That X sometimes costs them their lives and those of their village, but c'est la vie! That's the way it is and the way it has always been. We, the West, will NOT change that and bring m'fing democracy to these cavemen.

We've done what we came to do and now need to leave them the hell alone. Oh...but Patriot....that's defeatist talk! We need to see 'victory!' Give me a break. Anyone who doesn't think we "won" has no idea what went on there.

BTW.....It's fascinating to read some of the old newsclippings from Germany right after WWII ended there. German "terrorists" and "resistance fighters" were all the rage. Former SS (Taliban?) went right on fighting even after the treaties were all nice and neatly signed.

AndrewPrice said...

Patriot, I've long felt we should leave Afghan. Why are we wasting American lives on those people? Frankly, we never should have gone in. We should have declared victory and left right after the Taliban fell.

The moment we decided to stay, we found ourselves in the middle of a civil war being waged between primitives with no good guys on either side. American lives are too precious to waste in that.

On Germany, there's a lot that people don't realize about the end of the war and how brutal things really were. There was even serious talk in the US about basically starving the Germans to death.

AndrewPrice said...

Koshcat, Sorry, I missed your comment.

I agree. I think the Middle East is a mess. I think their culture is the problem. It's premised too much on the idea that things are beyond their control and that they have enemies who are keeping them down. Essentially, it's a culture-wide victim mentality.

That lets these strongmen exploit them and it keeps them from fixing their own problems. So far, that's worked to a degree because the region has been able to blame the British and then us, and they've been lucky to be sitting on vast amounts of oil which people like the Saudis have shared.

But that is exactly why we should leave the area. When we are gone, they are in their own mess, with no outsiders to blame and they either need to shape up or just turn on each other.

As for Israel, I'm fine guaranteeing their security and letting everyone around them fall apart.

Individualist said...


The Muslim brotherhood may never be seen as puppets of the west but Morsi will. over a few years of staying in power Morsi will be forced to clamp dowen on the Muslim brotherhood because he can't afford to do as they bid (invade Israel or wwhatever).

The Muslim Brotherhood will then pronounce him a traitor and claim he is in league with the west and look at all the money he gets. Uncle Satan bought him. That will be how a Morsi dictatorship plays out benign or otherwise.

If Morsi is not benign then it will be worse. If he has secret torture chambers the way the Shah of Iran did. Well then the next set of revolutionaries in Egypt will not just be revolutionaries, they will be American hating ones just they way Iran was in 79.

I believe that Mubarik came to pwoer with Muslim Brotherhood backing and fell out with them early on when it was clear he was not going along and that is when they started trying to assasinate him. Binladen;s right hand, the Egyption doctor was imprisoned as an Egyption dissident.

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, It will be interesting to see what happens. I doubt Morsi will be seen as a puppet, more likely they will see him like they saw Quadaffi or Assad -- an anti-Islamic dictator.

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