● Egypt: Egypt seems to be on the verge of revolution. What’s upset them? Believe it or not, they’re upset about the lack of checks and balances on the government. What started things was President Morsi’s declaration (discussed here LINK), which gave him dictator-like powers. . . which he took under a declaration of “trust me, I’m doing it for Islam.” People freaked out and started protesting. Morsi recently responded by imposing a curfew and a state of emergency. This turned into a running battle between the police and the public. The Army has decided to stay out of this so far.
What interests me here are three things. First, the Army’s decision to warn both sides and then to stand back tells me that the Muslim Brotherhood has no control whatsoever over the Army and that the Army is probably hoping the public overthrows the government. This suggests Egypt will be a lot more like Turkey than people expected. That’s a good thing.
Secondly, the fact the public is upset about a lack of checks and balances is a pretty advanced “Western” thought about democracy. This is something most people didn’t expect as democracy generally takes a long time to build the institutions it needs to thrive, yet here are the people demanding the core stabilizing element of democracy. That’s a great sign and again suggests a Turkey-like Islamic model.
Third, during the protests, the public has chanted “the Guide needs to go.” The “Supreme Guide” is the name given to the head of the Muslim Brotherhood, who is seen on the street as the real power behind Morsi. This is interesting because it represents a serious blow to the MB and their belief that Muslim populations are ready to impose unchecked Sharia law when given a choice. This again gives me hope that Egypt is trending toward Turkey.
● France: France is “totally bankrupt.” So admitted their Labor Minister Michael Sapin. Yeah, big surprise there. But don’t worry, it was Nicolas Sarkozy’s fault, which means there’s no problem, right? As an aside, since Hollande took over, unemployment rose to 10.7% (a rise of 15% in one year). That must be le Bush’s fault.
This won’t surprise you either, though it’s come as a big shock to the French, but Hollande’s massive tax hike on the rich hasn’t exactly worked out as planned. Instead, data from the Bank of France shows that capital has been fleeing the country and continues to flee. Imagine that. Hollande is not deterred and he plans to jack up taxes another $30 billion over the next five years. Good luck with that, mon frere!
Anyway, don’t worry about the bankruptcy thing, the government assures us they can in fact pay their employees. And Hollande plans to cut $75 billion from their budget to get things into shape.
Hmm. Wait a minute. Hasn’t the left everywhere in the world been telling us that spending boosts the economy? Why would France cut spending at a time when their growth is close to 0%? Shouldn’t they spend their way out of bankruptcy? I think they should build a Death Star.
● Mali-bien-phu: All is going “well” in Mali. The French and their African chums have “defeated” the al Qaeda backed rebels and driven them from a couple of “key” cities. Nothing to see here. Move along. These are not the droids you’re looking for.
As an aside, from what has been reported, they’ve killed almost no rebels. Indeed, they were bragging about possibly killing 12 the other day. The reason is either the totality of the French victory turned them all to dust or the rebels have done what they always do... they disappeared into the population and plan to conduct terrorist attacks. Now le Froggies are sending more troops, including British advisors and French combat troops from other nearby countries. This kind of reeks of Vietnam.
So far, Obama has refused to get involved (except for some mid-air refueling) because the Pentagon thinks France has no exit strategy. Personally, I’m thinking their best strategy would just be to raise the tax rates in Mali to 75% and watch al Qaeda flee.
You know, speaking of using government in its most effective form, why did it take the Pentagon so long to find Osama bin Laden? Why didn’t they just call the student loan people. Those people can find anyone, even people who’ve fled to caves on Mars.