Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Incomplete Revolution in Egypt

Now that Hosni Mubarak has stepped down as Egypt's leader, Erik Margolis reports on who may fill the vacuum:
Egyptians are getting more Mubarakism, sans Mubarak, at least for now. This is not what most Egyptians want or deserve.

Many Egyptians are still euphoric over the ouster of Gen. Mubarak, known to one and all as "pharaoh."

Most of them do not yet seem to have realized that the people who have taken over the regime are the very same generals, policemen and tycoons who ran it under Mubarak.

The dreaded secret police, or "Mukhabarat," is commanded by Gen. Omar Suleiman, who is widely viewed as America’s and Israel’s man in Cairo. Alongside him are Marshall Tantawi, chief of staff Lieutenant General Enan and Ahmed Shafik, also seen as America’s men on the Nile. The US usually had a backup for its favorite dictators; this writer noted last April that Gen. Omer Suleiman was Mubarak’s US-anointed successor. After Anwar Sadat’s assassination, Gen. Mubarak was quickly engineered into power.

The latter two generals attended the Pentagon’s updated version of the US military’s School of the America’s in Panama that recruited Latin American officers for the CIA. Senior ranks of Egypt’s 465,000-man armed forces and the secret police are believed to receive sizable secret stipends from CIA and the Pentagon.
Margolis sees the possibility of even more revolution just ahead:
Egypt’s large armed forces were reconfigured after the Camp David accords, turning it under US supervision from a force designed to defend Egypt’s borders and regional interests to one whose primary function was to control the population and protect the US-backed regime. The military’s stocks of munitions and spare parts for its US arms were kept to a bare minimum to ensure Egypt could not go to war with Israel....The massive pyramid of Egypt’s police state – to use a fine metaphor from the brilliant Albanian writer Ismail Kadere – will not be easily lifted, perhaps without a full scale, violent revolution....
If Egyptians feel cheated by the change of power in Cairo, as many will, and violent demonstrations begin, what will happen if the junta orders a battalion commanded by a colonel to open fire on protesters?

The first young officer who refuses and orders his men to join the demonstrators could become Egypt’s new hero. Nasser’s ghost haunts Cairo.
Even if one of the army's generals does not replace Mubarak and revolution brings to the forefront a leader who is not in the employ of America's CIA, there does not appear to be any understanding in the general population of the importance of property rights, the rule of law and free markets in bringing about a prosperous country. In other word's, if in the end, Egypt gets this revolution right, it will be close to a miracle.


  1. It's true Egyptians have no idea about property rights, free markets and individual liberty in general.
    But that is precisely why nobody must interfere in these revolutions. In order to reach the ultimate conclusions, people need more freedom and dictatorial rule will only keep people retarded in their political development. In other words, a dictatorial regime will -through violence- simply ban any activity or knowledge that threatens it.
    Unfortunately, revolutions (even violent ones) may be a necessary step for the Egyptians, just as it was in France and America in the past.

  2. France, that's a good example. When people are hungery and don't understand how an economy produces value, they generally turn to someone like Hugo Chavez who promises to take some property from the rich and industry to give it to them.

  3. The French revolution started out blood soaked, but was necessary (unless there was another option on the table i was no aware of) toward what France is today.

    Sure, people were hungry and they may turn to a Chavez-esque demagogue. But why is that their fault, instead of the despots that had ruled them up to then?

    What would the alternative have been in an age that nobody had heard of Ludvig Von Mises, Ayn Rand, or Murray Rothbard? To "let them eat cake" and continue the feudal system? And how, then, would they have gone from monarchy to more individual autonomy? By magical spell?

  4. And how, then, would they have gone from monarchy to more individual autonomy?

    The way other western countries did. The French revolution doesn't stand out for no reason.