Egypt

We haven’t had a thread on this. I have nothing to add to the discussion – I’m just reading the Guardian liveblog and wondering how many more people are going to die.

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173 replies
  1. 1
    Betty Cracker says:

    Interesting excerpt from that Guardian liveblog from a reporter surveying the scene of the gutted Morsi supporters’ camp:

    A few onlookers mutter under their breath about the injustice of what happened. The mosque’s grim-faced imam refuses to comment.

    But most here do not seem bothered – some are even pleased. A few scavenge for abandoned clothes amid the rubble. One man screams to a gathered crowd.

    “The men with beards have broken Islam. Anyone with a beard who speaks to me, I will cut him in half,” he shouts to a round of clapping.

    Obama is scheduled to make a statement shortly.

    ETA: I wish I understood what is happening over there. I read about it, but it’s hard to know what to believe.

    I don’t think we can construct a meaningful analogy using Western terms, but I ask myself, would I rather live under martial law or the rule of fundamentalist Christianists? I think both would suck, but the former? I’m sure there are factors at play in Egypt that we (or at least I) don’t understand.

  2. 2
    lone1c says:

    This whole situation is a slow-moving trainwreck that was obvious in coming ever since Morsi took on Mubarak-like powers before the constitutional referendum late last fall.

    As someone of Egyptian descent, it’s painful to watch, especially because I know there are no good options out of this situation, outside of starting over from scratch, and barring any past or present politico from ever running for office again, and turning things over to a new generation that doesn’t have the same entrenched interests as the Muslim Brotherhood and the armed forces and their cronies and stooges.

  3. 3
    raven says:

    The I’m going to re-post this:

    I assume the reason Cole leaves Pat Lang’s link here is because, despite being a confederate and catholic nutjob (and deep Kerry hater) , he KNOWS about the ME. Here’s part of his take:
    If you did not expect this, then you do not know Egypt. A maximum use of force against the unarmed is just about the only thing the Egyptian police and armed forces know to do or have any taste for. I am reminded of the Egyptair flight that was hijacked to Malta. the Egyptian Army showed up and shot the plane completely full of holes killing most of the passengers in the process. When asked “why,” by me for the CJCS (Admiral Crowe) the Egyptian commander said “To kill the hijackers.”
    As I observed earlier, the military there are not concerned about American opinion. They don’t think the money will be cut off for long. They have other sources of money. They are basically an internal security force and do not need the fancy gear that we have provided them. Abrams tanks, F-16s, etc. are too sophisticated for them to use effectively in actual combat.

  4. 4
    TriassicSands says:

    …wondering how many more people are going to die.

    Probably a lot. If not now, then soon. The road from dictatorship to a free and open society is not an easy one when it involves the participation of large numbers of religious fundamentalists. It may not even be possible for some countries.

  5. 5
    Punchy says:

    Anyone with a beard who speaks to me, I will cut him in half,” he shouts to a round of clapping.

    This would appear to be strong sign that things are not progressing well.

  6. 6
    raven says:

    @Betty Cracker: At the risk of being a broken record, Lang has a pretty deep understanding of the Middle East.

  7. 7
    srv says:

    @lone1c: Obama had no choice to embrace Morsi and the MB, or so all the apologerati here would have you believe.

    as al-Sisi said

    “You left the Egyptians. You turned your back on the Egyptians, and they won’t forget that,” Sisi was quoted as saying. “Now you want to continue turning your backs on Egyptians?”

    Not reported, of course, in the US media. Can’t have the new leader of Egypt lecturing the clown car IR experts like Kerry or Obama.

  8. 8
    Chris says:

    Pulled this from a Lebanese friend’s facebook: it compares the current events in the Middle East with Europe post-1848 during the rise of socialism http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08.....&_r=0

    In a nutshell,

    Years of authoritarian rule meant that political and social institutions allowing the peaceful articulation of popular dissent were systematically suppressed. And the state deliberately deepened social divisions. So when democratization came, long-dormant distrust and animosity exploded in extremist rhetoric, mass protests and violence. These things always frighten liberals, who favor order and moderation and dislike radical social experiments. This was true in Europe in 1789 and 1848, and it’s true of Egyptian liberals today.

  9. 9
    Betty Cracker says:

    @raven: I distrust him too much as a source of credible information to visit his site, though the bit you’ve excerpted may be dead right. Blind hogs, acorns, etc.

  10. 10
    Belafon says:

    @srv: Or, as gets also beaten around here, it’s not our job to nation build. Which do you want, involvement or no involvement? If you’re wanting the “right” involvement, welcome to the real world. There are no signs saying “go this way.”

  11. 11
    Betty Cracker says:

    @srv:

    or so all the apologerati here would have you believe.

    “Apologerati” where? America? Balloon Juice?

  12. 12
    raven says:

    @Betty Cracker: I hear ya.

  13. 13
    MomSense says:

    @TriassicSands:

    Egypt has a strong secular tradition and I think this is why there was so much rejection of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.

  14. 14
    Linda Featheringill says:

    Good morning, Betty. Feeling a little confrontational today?

    [You will note that I didn’t say that you were incorrect.]

  15. 15
    waratah says:

    How much does Israel influence what the U.S. does?

  16. 16
    max says:

    @lone1c: This whole situation is a slow-moving trainwreck that was obvious in coming ever since Morsi took on Mubarak-like powers before the constitutional referendum late last fall.

    Ja. The Army never let go, Morsi moved in and tried to play Mubarak and then the Army got pissed off and it’s all going to hell.

    As someone of Egyptian descent, it’s painful to watch, especially because I know there are no good options out of this situation, outside of starting over from scratch, and barring any past or present politico from ever running for office again, and turning things over to a new generation that doesn’t have the same entrenched interests as the Muslim Brotherhood and the armed forces and their cronies and stooges.

    I’m sorry Egypt has rolled snake eyes here, dude. I’m going to say I hope one side or the other wins quickly because otherwise the Nile will be stained red.

    max
    [‘Maybe they can ratchet this back then.’]

  17. 17
    CaseyL says:

    Egypt, Syria, and Iraq have succeeded in making Iran look like a model of good governance. Last I checked, Libya wasn’t doing too well, either.

    Here’s an interesting article about the Arab Spring. It was published a month ago, before the current shitshow in Egypt:

    http://www.oxfamblogs.org/fp2p/?p=15235

    Among the points the article makes is that most of these countries have seen a sharp rise in population, and most of the younger generation are very well educated. However, economic structure and social mores (esp. religious) keep them from setting up their own households and marrying. Also, girls and women consistently outperform boys and men in school, but are barred from participating in most professions, not to mention being kept out of political power.

    So there is an expanding part of the population that is bottled up, for whom the current regimes offer nothing, or worse than nothing.

    The Oxfam article emphasizes that the uprisings are taking place in a context of decades of corruption, repression, and stagnation. The end result of the Arab Spring isn’t the current bloodbaths, but how it plays out over the next decade or so.

    In short, revolution isn’t pretty.

  18. 18
    srv says:

    @Belafon: Ah yes, Obama can never make any mistake. He is always the victim.

    @Betty Cracker: Uh, if you ever bothered to get our of your echo chamber, a wide variety of FP experts, blogger and BJ commenters pointed out pushing early elections and supporting the MB in Egypt would be a disaster (and Kerry is pushing for the same ratfuck now).

    But of course, they were right for all the wrong reasons, and you pointy-head Obamabots were the grown up realists.

    al-Sisi disagrees. Just another Fucking Hippie.

  19. 19
    Laur says:

    I have no clue what’s going on. I don’t think anyone else really does either.

  20. 20
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Linda Featheringill: Didn’t mean to sound confrontational — just trying to figure it all out as best I can, both the actual events and how people are attempting to shoehorn them into their preconceived political narratives.

  21. 21
    weaselone says:

    @srv:

    Obama has done and will continue to do what every American President has done with regards to Egypt for the last 50+ years. He will provide actual, concrete support to the Egyptian military and throw some nice words and the occasional scrap to whatever government ends up in place. In the event that he catches the Republicans napping, there might even be some founds invested in building up other institutions in Egypt.

  22. 22
    fuzz says:

    We don’t give the Egyptians that much money anyway when compared to what the Gulf kingdoms give. The money really isn’t much of an issue, if we cut them off the army would just buy things from Russia or China (or even India) instead. We have way less influence and leverage than people think.

  23. 23
    The Moar You Know says:

    I don’t think we can construct a meaningful analogy using Western terms, but I ask myself, would I rather live under martial law or the rule of fundamentalist Christianists?

    @Betty Cracker: I think that’s pretty much the analogy. Not precise but close enough to what we understand.

    As far as the choice, I’ll take the military every time.

  24. 24
    jamick6000 says:

    I don’t have much sympathy for the Muslim Brotherhood. Morsi undemocratically seized as much power as he could and rammed through a bogus constitution in an election that didn’t meet international standards. They killed a bunch of police, killed a lot of Copts and burned their churches. You reap what you sow.

  25. 25
    Botsplainer says:

    Bottom line is this – the Egyptian security services (army, police) are not going to let the Brotherhood get up a head of steam again. They had their chance within Egyptian checks and balances, and blew it.

  26. 26
    Linda Featheringill says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Revolution seems to be confusing. And you’re probably right, much if not most of the situation in Egypt just simply won’t fit into pre-formed categories.

    Scary, isn’t it?

  27. 27
    MomSense says:

    @jamick6000:

    This is what I am hearing from my friends there. BTW, Egypt had/has a lot of professional women who were not at all happy about the Morsi government.

    Also, too this is an old conflict going back to the Wald Party and the Muslim Brotherhood in ’52.

  28. 28
    Bruce Lawton says:

    I know all you guys have noticed how many clean shaven Egyptian men there are. Sure makes it easy to tell which side they’re on.

  29. 29
    Chyron HR says:

    @srv:

    It’s weird that for all your typing you have yet to say what Obama should (or should not) have done in Egypt. I guess when you’re a Proud Progressive Greenwaldian Firepup you don’t need to get bogged down in details beyond “Obama bad”.

  30. 30
    Betty Cracker says:

    @srv: Link to where I said I agree 100% with Obama and Kerry on the situation in Egypt, or back the fuck off. Don’t you ever get tired of playing Firebaggers vs. Obots, you brainless ninny? You seem to imagine yourself some brave truth-teller here to enlighten an echo chamber. You aren’t. You’re in an echo chamber of your own construction, yelling at people about stuff most of them never said.

  31. 31
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Linda Featheringill: Well, I guess I’m feeling confrontational after all.

  32. 32
    Botsplainer says:

    @Linda Featheringill:

    Egypt is very different from what people are used to. I’m very friendly with a number of Coptic people, have dealt with Egyptian Muslims on a fairly routine basis, and do have some trouble navigating cultural issues with regard to ordinary contractual concepts and clear communications.

    I have no problem dealing with Palestinians, Lebanese/Syrians, Iraqis, Sub Saharan Africans, and Eastern Europeans – their interests are always clear as a bell to me, and we “get” each other even when we disagree.

  33. 33
    NotMax says:

    McCain & Graham worked wonders, eh?

    Also, kudos is due Mr. El-Baradei for resigning in protest.

  34. 34
    CaseyL says:

    Morsi and the MB said they took a chance on democracy and were betrayed; that they have “no choice” now but violence.

    But “democracy” doesn’t mean that, once having won an election, you get to change the rules to ensure no one else gets a voice. The uprising in Egypt wasn’t about trading one repressive regime for another. Egyptians are mostly secular, not fundamentalist.

    Morsi and the MB betrayed the uprising by changing the Constitution to enshrine an Islamist government against the wishes of most of the Egyptian people. There was no guarantee their work could be undone – certainly not peacefully. We’ve seen theocratization take place too often: it uses democratic tools to establish a non-democratic state, then subverts the tools to ensure only the fundamentalists ever get any authority

  35. 35
    Chris says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    I don’t think we can construct a meaningful analogy using Western terms, but I ask myself, would I rather live under martial law or the rule of fundamentalist Christianists?

    I would’ve thought the meaningful analogy would be between Egyptian democracy in its infancy and American democracy in its infancy. You know, back when slave owners were running the place, getting elected to high office and enshrining their God-given right to own people into the constitution. Our identity politics emphasized racial rather than religious supremacy, but it was about as pretty.

    I have no idea which kind of government I’d rather live under (and to be honest, it would probably vary depending on which side had torched my street that day, rioting fundies or uniformed thugs). But I’d point out that it’s a little deluded to think you can simply rule through martial law indefinitely just because the people winning elections are scumbags too. In case anyone forgot, that had been going on for decades and it’s what caused the pot to finally boil over in 2010 and 2011. (See, also: Iranian Revolution).

  36. 36
    Linda Featheringill says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    :-)

  37. 37
    jon says:

    The dictator was overthrown, the new dictator was elected, that middle dictator was overthrown, the middle dictator’s followers demanded that the old dictator’s followers reverse the middle dictator’s overthrow. The new dictator says no.

    It’s a praetorian state with no one worth guarding. Elections can’t solve that. New constitutions can’t solve that. Only the Egyptian people finding a leader and a leadership style they agree to can solve that. And the praetorian guard has to agree.

    We better keep that money going their way if we’re to have this go our way. Or not? I think we have to send the money either way.

  38. 38
    raven says:

    @Chris: Um, the Iranian Revolution seems to have been in power indefinitely.

  39. 39
    Chris says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Don’t you ever get tired of playing Firebaggers vs. Obots, you brainless ninny?

    Quoted for truth, and agreement.

  40. 40
    rikyrah says:

    I don’t see an easy solution

    and it’s not our business

  41. 41
    raven says:

    Prez commin up on this. Bet he don’t say much.

  42. 42
    Chris says:

    @raven:

    No, just for thirty odd years. Longer than the Shah’s regime stayed in power after 53, but not by that much. My point was that it was another case in which a secular, military-backed, pro-Western dictator tried to stay in office because his people weren’t ready for democracy, which ultimately blew up in his (and our) face.

  43. 43
    raven says:

    @Chris: gotcha

  44. 44
    MomSense says:

    @jon:

    We better keep that money going their way if we’re to have this go our way. Or not? I think we have to send the money either way.

    More like we keep money going their way because Russia and China are quite eager to help in our absence.

  45. 45
    jon says:

    @MomSense: Having an operable Suez Canal, no war with Israel, and keeping the Muslim Brotherhood and similar groups under a boot isn’t the worst stuff to add to that list.

  46. 46
    Violet says:

    What a nightmare. I can’t imagine this is going to end well.

    I’m guessing the tourism industry is taking a big hit?

  47. 47
    HinTN says:

    @raven: As does Juan Cole. Sift through his politics and his facts are pretty good.

  48. 48
    roc says:

    What’s that fallacy again? Where you read an article in a newspaper about an industry/situation you know very well and chuckle to yourself about how ignorant the reporter, how poorly they’re conveying the situation, how biased their sources, how wrong their conclusions? And then you turn the page to read an article about an industry/situation you know little about, instantly forget all those demonstrated failures, and take the reporting, sourcing, presentation and conclusions as actual information.

    Because this whole Egypt thing is dripping in it.

    We can’t trust media reporting or random internet sites to convey our domestic situation. But a vastly more complicated/higher-stakes situation like Egypt? Sure, yeah. Why not? Let’s (randomly) pick a source to trust and run with whatever they’ve got.

  49. 49
    MomSense says:

    @jon:

    Bizzapt-akida (colloquial egyptian arabic for exactly and my favorite word but I have no idea how to write it in english)!

  50. 50

    Even in retrospect, we did the right thing. We didn’t install Morsi, we couldn’t have put anyone better in place, and doing so would have required an invasion. That would be so dumb ass I wouldn’t know where to begin listing the stupidity. We let Egypt have their election. If it turned into a mess, it wasn’t a mess we caused.

    I hope this turns out well for the Egyptian people. I hope the violence dies down and the next election produces a government willing to have a real democracy instead of using one election to establish a dictatorship. I hope they are governed well and peacefully and I wish them prosperity. Whether any of that happens is not under our control.

    Well, okay, we totally have the power to fuck it up – but not to make it happen.

  51. 51

    @HinTN: Indeed but Prof Cole’s politics can be pretty tough to swallow. He can be nauseatingly emo and shockingly oblivious to political realities. There’s also a weird cultural bias in some of his writing. He seems much more optimistic about Islamic fundamentalists than their Christian counterparts. I find it hard to see any meaningful difference, myself, and am no more surprised by Morsi’s actions than I would be by Santorum’s, if ever allowed anywhere near the levers of power.

  52. 52
    MomSense says:

    @srv:

    Morsi is also blaming the Obama administration for not supporting him.

  53. 53
    Morbo says:

    @srv:

    Not reported, of course, in the US media. Can’t have the new leader of Egypt lecturing the clown car IR experts like Kerry or Obama.

    Except for the tiny minute detail that ynet got that quote from the Washington Post interview with Sisi, you’re entirely correct, this was completely unreported in the US media.

  54. 54
    Eric U. says:

    @Va Highlander: in fact, you can see in the behaviors of Cheney/Bush and the current House members that they are exactly like Morsi. They take what they want. The thing that took Morsi down was that he thought he had absolute power, but the military and the people finally had enough.

  55. 55
    Alex S. says:

    Thank God, or Obama, or Bush, or whoever, that America is going to be an energy exporting country soon. There is no reason to take any sides in this civil war anymore. And the egyptians have to sort it out for themselves. If fundamentalism can only be stopped by violence, then so be it. If democracy is incompatible with Islam, then so be it.

  56. 56
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    It’s interesting to see the neocons and the emo left in agreement that the Great White Father Obama should have put a stop to this. At least the neocons have an explain-able, if utterly delusional, theory as to how he could/should have done this.

  57. 57
  58. 58
    Jeremy says:

    The people blaming Obama and Kerry for backing Morsi make no sense. The guy was elected so what could the President do ? Either you want the U.S. to get involved in affairs or not. You can’t have it both ways.

  59. 59
    Jeremy says:

    Last time I checked none of the World Powers had an issue with Morsi before the turmoil so you can’t just blame the U.S.

  60. 60
    max says:

    @CaseyL: Egypt, Syria, and Iraq have succeeded in making Iran look like a model of good governance.

    It IS a model of good governance (and democracy) – for the 18th or 19th centuries.

    Last I checked, Libya wasn’t doing too well, either.

    Compared to Egypt, and particularly compared to Syria, Libya is doing GREAT. Takes years to establish a functioning democratic government (took the US 13). They’re in year two and they have elections and a working government. Egypt doesn’t have a functioning democratic government and never did, and Syria hasn’t gotten through the dictator removal part yet.

    @NotMax: McCain & Graham worked wonders, eh?

    G: ‘Well, you boys, I know you ain’t used to this stuff, but you gotta let the little people think they’ve got a choice.’
    M: ‘Have you considered bombing the Sudan? A little foreign distraction always helps, I find.’

    @Frankensteinbeck: Well, okay, we totally have the power to fuck it up – but not to make it happen.

    There was (and is) nothing much to be done. Excepting that we’re gonna have to cut off their money now. Obama did fine, except maybe with the Graham & McCain bit. (Bit like sending Lewis & Martin, except less funny.)

    max
    [‘The Saudis are gonna fund them anyways.’]

  61. 61
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    All I know is that Newsmax tells me that war criminal von Rumsfailed says that the Kenyan Usurper has botched the situation in Egypt.

    Which means that the Kenyan Usurper must be doing the right thing.

  62. 62
    Mnemosyne says:

    @srv:

    Obama had no choice to embrace Morsi and the MB, or so all the apologerati here would have you believe.

    So what should Obama have done instead? I’d really like to know.

  63. 63
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @max: Obama did fine, except maybe with the Graham & McCain bit.

    Still don’t get that. Pure domestic politics? They were supposed to be seen as representing the US military without being in it? I saw their comments about how “Egypt is going to fail”, struck me as Diplomacy 101 fail. SHouldn’t you at least feign optimism in public statements when there really is no clear good side? Of course, McCain thinks the Syrian rebels (which ones? No one asked him) “obviously share our values”?
    ETA: “[‘The Saudis are gonna fund them anyways.’]
    ” and that. I really don’t see cutting off money as a good idea, killing off what little hope of influence we have? and creating a vaccuum to be filled by Saudis, at best?

  64. 64
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Betty, thank you for this. Seriously.

    srv, you’ve been bitch slapped. Go whimper in the corner for the next, oh, I don’t know, fifty years or so.

  65. 65
    Jeremy says:

    I Find this stuff to be funny. When something bad happens in the world people whine and complain asking Obama to do something. Then when he does something the same people begging for action say “we shouldn’t have done anything” “Obama this is all your fault”. A perfect example is the Libya NATO operation.

  66. 66
    Suffern ACE says:

    @srv: Yes. The same elite military that wanted us to support an 80 year old president for life and the transition to power of his money vacuuming unpopular son will now like our unconditional support in its coup after it was determined in elections that the majority of the people didn’t actually want that elite in power.

    Your call SRV as to who you like in this mess. My guess is whomever allows you to express your disappointment the most.

  67. 67
    scav says:

    @Jeremy: It’s pretty much par for their mindset that the rest of the world has no real purpose or independent agency, being a mere backdrop (when convenient) or counter-example (again, when convenient) for internal US politics or a sufficiently exterior and thus tidier playground for occasional feel-good warfare.

  68. 68
    MomSense says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    You know what is weird–neo conservatism grew out of the emo left. Perle, Feith, Wolfowitz and others were Dems.

  69. 69
    burnspbesq says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Apologerati” where?

    In his/her imagination.

  70. 70
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Jeremy: it’s because the goal of the people who say these things isn’t to discuss events or policy, it’s to find a way to demonstrate that they aren’t sellouts or patsies who accept things as they are. With always the corollary LIKE YOU!

  71. 71
    burnspbesq says:

    Anyone imploring “America” to “do something” about the situation in Egypt has the burden of persuasion that their preferred “something” is feasible and will actually make the day-to-day lives of ordinary Egyptians better.

    So far, nobody has carried that burden. Until somebody does, hands off seems like the best option.

  72. 72
    Roger Moore says:

    @Chris:

    I would’ve thought the meaningful analogy would be between Egyptian democracy in its infancy and American democracy in its infancy. You know, back when slave owners were running the place, getting elected to high office and enshrining their God-given right to own people into the constitution. Our identity politics emphasized racial rather than religious supremacy, but it was about as pretty.

    The difference is that our Constitution was written by both the slave owners and the people who were opposed to slavery, and it incorporated a bunch of compromises between the parties that were intended to paper over their differences, e.g. 3/5 compromise, end of the slave trade in 1808, etc. They didn’t so much enshrine the slaveholders’ rights in the Constitution as they punted on the really tricky issue of what to do with slavery and hoped it would go away given enough time. It didn’t, and subsequent generations were left to pick up the pieces.

    In contrast, the Egyptian Constitution was written by the winners in their first election without substantial input from the opposition. Rather than compromise or punt on important issues, it took sides and deepened existing divisions. To draw the analogy, it would be as if our Constitution counted slaves the same as free citizens, legalized slavery throughout the country, and declared itself ratified as soon as half the states approved. Or maybe done the opposite and immediately abolished slavery. We would have gotten our civil war a lot sooner.

  73. 73
    Joel says:

    @srv: Seriously, are you even trying anymore?

  74. 74
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @burnspbesq:

    So far, nobody has carried that burden.

    Well, they’ve made suggestions as to who should carry the burden, so long as its not them, but they can still whine and moan about things from the back seat of the limo.

  75. 75
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Alex S.:

    If democracy is incompatible with Islam, then so be it.

    There are those who say that democracy is incompatible with Christianity. We call these people “Christanists”.

  76. 76
    NotMax says:

    @MomSense

    Perle, Feith, Wolfowitz and others were Dems.

    And were no less bereft of functional, rational policy prescriptions and no less impoverished of simple decency, they were just less well paid.

    The entire PNAC cabal has oh so much to answer for.

  77. 77
    Elie says:

    @TriassicSands:

    I think that you are sadly correct… I wish the Egyptian people the mercy of side stepping the spiral of violence at some point, but without the tradition of stable institutions that the people can basically trust, neither “side” is ever going to be happy with results and neither side apparently really wants shared power and a pluralistic society where all can be represented in some way. Its all or none and that is just not going to work.

  78. 78
    RaflW says:

    @TriassicSands: The road from dictatorship to a free and open society is not an easy one when it involves the participation of large numbers of religious fundamentalists. It may not even be possible for some countries.
    Russia comes to mind. And a slew if other nations. Heck, even our fine nation stands near the starting line of dictatorship.
    No, no, I don’t harbor Obama absurdist fantasies. But the currently composed GOP is klown-karing towards Facism in its unwillingness to actually participate in governing.

  79. 79
    Roger Moore says:

    @Alex S.:

    If democracy is incompatible with Islam, then so be it.

    It seems to be working OK in Turkey. Malaysia isn’t quite a model democracy, but they seem to be muddling along. Indonesia seems to be taking steps in the right direction. I wonder if it isn’t Islam so much as Arab culture that has problems with democracy.

  80. 80
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @MomSense: Bullshit. Perle, Feith and Wolfowitz may have been registered Dems at some point, but if they were “left” then I’m the fucking Pope. They came out of the Scoop Jackson militarist wing of the Democratic Party, and left the party three decades ago.

  81. 81
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    You’re in an echo chamber of your own construction

    If you honestly believe BJ isn’t primarily, generally an echo chamber for Botsplainers you’re more delusional than your posts indicate.

  82. 82

    @Alex S.: India has the second largest Muslim population in the world, democracy seems to be doing just fine there. In fact India is celebrating her 66th Independence Day today.

  83. 83
    KXB says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Democracy cannot take root when outside powers are constantly interfering. That is not just a jab at the U.S, Before the U.S – it was Britain, France, Russia, Iran, and the Ottoman Empire which were interfering in Arab affairs. In those countries where Arabs are left to their own, there are different disruptions. In the 90’s, the Algerian army stepped in when Islamists won an election, and that set off a civil war which killed tens of thousands.

  84. 84
    chopper says:

    @Alex S.:

    America is going to be an energy exporting country soon.

    you owe me a new keyboard. you should take that show on the road, dogg.

  85. 85
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Alex S.: If democracy is incompatible with Islam Christianity, then so be it.

    bqwhatever

  86. 86
    SRW1 says:

    Somebody upthread alluded to it already: Is the closest Western historical event the French Revolution? Is the revolution that has been unleashed is in the process of devouring some of its protagonist.

    Is the brutality of the soldateska sufficient to suppress the fervor of the true believers and stabilize the situation in favour of the ancien regime? We may be only seeing the beginning of the bloodshed and turmoil.

  87. 87
    MomSense says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    And they were FDR supporters who for the most part liked the New Deal, supported civil rights, etc. They veered off in 70 and yes, went for “Scoop” Jackson and became part of the Reagan Revolution.

    When you read or listen to neo-cons and to the emo left you hear many of the same criticisms–but from different angles. The language is even similar. Perhaps it is the approach more than the ideology that is so similar but over the years I have witnessed emo-prog friends transition to neo-cons. Just saw the full metamorphosis with a friend and former student and it is incredible. He went from Hedges/Hamsher/Greenwald to Goldberg/Ponnuru/Kristol.

  88. 88
    cvstoner says:

    This is why you should enjoy peace when it lasts. Because people soon forget, and the cycle starts over again.

  89. 89
  90. 90
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    As if anyone here gives a rat’s ass what you have to say, racist insect.

  91. 91
    drkrick says:

    @max:

    Takes years to establish a functioning democratic government (took the US 13).

    Took the US 189.

  92. 92
    Alex S. says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Yes, my words were a bit sloppy, I should have said something like ‘governments controlled by parties mainly motivated by faith’ or something like that. It’s not the existence of muslim people per se that might cause problems with democracy, but that, so far, there has been no concept of a moderate, modern Islam compatible with the kind of consensus finding and respect to universal rights that is the hallmark of a true democracy. Ataturk was a radical secularist and the more religous Erdogan has become, the more unrest there has been in Turkey. I don’t enough about Malaysia or Indonesia except that their Islam is mixed with local Hinduism, Buddhism and other faiths. And Indonesia was ruled by secular dictators like Egypt until not so long ago.

  93. 93
  94. 94
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Elie: It seems like there are more than two “sides” in Egypt and it’s a false dichotomization to declare that “neither” “side” wants democracy. If that were true the rioting would have started after election results were announced.

    Morsi wanted all the power. He overreached and pushed a lot of other factions into a corner–he ramped up the existential danger for many of them. Guess what happens when you put somebody’s back against the wall. Fight or flight, baby.

    I reiterate that Morsi is an idiot.

  95. 95
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @MomSense: The only “civil rights” Perle ever publicly supported were the rights of Soviet Jews to emigrate to Israel. Those guys were “emo left” only in some alternate universe.

    Scoop Jackson’s support of civil rights was certainly tainted by his support of Japanese internment in WWII, but his primary, overriding interest was in keeping any war going so as to bring the sweet, sweet pork back to Boeing.

  96. 96
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Alex S.: Wow, great minds think alike.

  97. 97
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Gin & Tonic: IIRC it was the generation preceding today’s neocons, Pappy Podhoretz and Irving Kristol, were socialists, maybe even youthful communists, who turned right when Stalin’s atrocities were exposed and never stopped. Checked Wiki, Irving Kristol was an avowed Trostykite.

  98. 98
    handsmile says:

    While largely in agreement with those urging the US to adopt a “hands-off” position during the current turmoil in Egypt, I believe the US must also suspend allocation of its annual $1.3B aid to the Egyptian military.

    In his remarks on the situation this morning, President Obama declared a cancellation of a joint military exercise, but reaffirmed the military aid stating, “our engagement can support a transition to democracy,” a dubious claim imo.

    For those actually interested in learning more about the crisis in Egypt, its roots and possible outcomes, I’d recommend this 25-minute clip from this morning’s Al-Jazeera English’s “Inside Edition” program. The three panelists included an American scholar and former State Department analyst, the editor-in-chief of Ah-Ahram, and a columnist from Gulf News and Middle East magazine.

    http://www.aljazeera.com/progr.....29270.html

    I cannot wait for the debut of Al Jazeera America next week.

  99. 99
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @RaflW: Russia and US both have horrific inequality and money ruling politics. US has some built-in advantages such as a much longer history of democratic government and pols who don’t openly assassinate their critics. Importatly, rather than gaining influence (as the Russian Orthodox church has in recent years), the Christian Right is in decline. Their numbers peaked years ago. They’ve been discredited in the public sphere. They’ve also achieved the Pyrrhic victory of coopting the apparatus of their erstwhile allies only to see themselves sink into insignificance as they reap the whirlwind of their divisive policies.

  100. 100
    drkrick says:

    From “annprof1” at Ta Nehisi Coate’s place at The Atlantic:

    I just got an email from an Egyptian friend who wrote how the coverage is biased and difficult to sort out. His impression: CNN and other Western media are confused because many reporters in the Mid-East are pro-Brotherhood and others rely on translators who give them a confused view . Most of the Egyptian media support the military and liberals. He says Al Jazeera is funded by Qatar who in turn supports the Muslim Brotherhood.

    He quotes a taxi driver to sum up his feelings about it: “It is a conflict between people with beards and people with military outfits and the rest are caught in the middle. It is the history of Egypt.”

    I don’t think there is a great deal the US can do about it.

  101. 101
    Alex S. says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    Heh, well, first hit on Google. But I think I read about it at several media outfits. After all, it is of extreme geopolitical importance.

  102. 102
    Alex S. says:

    @drkrick:

    I bet Tom Friedman’s taxi driver would definitely want the US to do something about it.

  103. 103
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: This I know. But to suggest that Perle and Wolfowitz were ever “left” in any sense (unless maybe to the left of Attila the Hun) is fantasy. They began their career in politics together, writing anti-disarmament papers for Jackson, who went on to compel Nixon to replace Gerard Smith as head of the ACDA with Fred Ikle, who brought those two ghouls with him. Their malign influence later on Reagan (particularly Perle’s) very nearly led to a US-USSR nuclear war in 1983. The sooner they both die the better off we will all be.

  104. 104
    chopper says:

    @Alex S.:

    US is set to produce more petroleum than Saudi Arabia within a decade

    1. LOL
    2. we burn through, by far, more petroleum than Saudi Arabia produces. we will never, ever be a net oil exporter.
    3. we may end up exporting natural gas for some time due to the shale gas bubble, but not for too long.

  105. 105
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @drkrick: If I may quibble, nobody said anything about a popular democracy.

    Democracy is always easier and so much more pleasant when you can exclude enormous classes of people from participating, see: Athens, Greece, Era of Classical Antiquity.

    I suspect this is what those upper-middle class 20yr old snots are obliquely referring to when they start screaming about how the US is a Republic on Facebook. Rome had a popular vote but only certain social classes could even run for high office and since vote-buying was legal, elitist hegemony was pretty much a done deal. I don’t know this for certain but I suspect Julius Caesar had a touch of popular appeal after being in the army for so long–hell, he styled himself “General” (latin: imperator) during his dictatorship. And he must have been popular enough for others to flog the “Caesar” name, which was a surname, not a title.

  106. 106
    Donald says:

    ” I wonder if it isn’t Islam so much as Arab culture that has problems with democracy.”

    A couple of decades back I remember people saying the same thing about Latin America. And Africa. Massacres, genocide, death squads, religious differences (much of the tumult in Latin America could be seen as conservative Christians, both Catholic and evangelical, vs. the liberation theology types.) Both regions still have problems–Africa has huge ones–but at least we don’t hear people making grand pronouncements about how incompatible their culture is with democracy. Americans have an historical memory that stretches back maybe one or two election cycles here, and maybe to last Tuesday when it comes to them furriners.

    For that matter, up until the 60’s, how democratic was the US, at least in the South?

  107. 107
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Alex S.: I gave up on Friedman years ago, I think it was pre-9/11 he devoted a column to teh pretty much fantastic (by which I mean barely imaginable) luxury one enjoyed as the personal guest of (if memory serves) the then Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.

  108. 108
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    There were quite a few radical leftists in the 1960s who became radical Republicans in the 1980s — David Horowitz is the most prominent one who comes to mind. Irving Kristol, Bill Kristol’s father and one of the original neo-cons, started off as a Trotskyite.

    Which only reinforces for me that left-wing radicals and right-wing radicals have far more in common than either of them will admit, since it seems to be easier for radicals of either stripe to move from one side of the spectrum to the other than it is for them to become moderates.

  109. 109
    Another Holocene Human says:

    Of course, Caesar also cynically named himself High Priest, making himself head of Roman state religion as well. I wonder if stuff like this helped fuel the spread of state religion-repudiating Christianity. I’m not a classical scholar–family’s not rich enough to pay for that kind of degree–but I’ve always found the era pretty cool (at least from a distance).

    Imagine if Romney took power in a coup and then was named Mormon Profit, er, Prophet after ascending to office, and everyone had to participate in monthly Mormon assemblies even if they were “free” to worship as they pleased the rest of the month. Hmmm.

  110. 110
    Mnemosyne says:

    @MomSense:

    Perhaps it is the approach more than the ideology that is so similar but over the years I have witnessed emo-prog friends transition to neo-cons. Just saw the full metamorphosis with a friend and former student and it is incredible. He went from Hedges/Hamsher/Greenwald to Goldberg/Ponnuru/Kristol.

    Yep — radicals want radical change and (to a certain extent) don’t care what form that radical change takes. That’s one of the reasons it’s almost impossible to distinguish between anarchists and libertarians.

  111. 111
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Mnemosyne: For the counter example, Ariana Huffington, who went from being a nasty Ann Coulter wannabe to Democrat activist…so she could protest Al Gore’s presidential candiacy from the left.

  112. 112
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Donald: Both regions still have problems–Africa has huge ones–but at least we don’t hear people making grand pronouncements about how incompatible their culture is with democracy.

    And US War on Drugs and Cold War policies had nothing–nothing!–to do with all the bloodshed, sure, you betcha.

    I don’t think that Central Europe would have had a relatively peaceful democratic transition (well, aside from the Serbian war–oh, and people said Balkan states couldn’t do democracy either, huh) if the US had been funneling weapons to rightist opposition parties and assassinating labor activists.

  113. 113
    Felonius Monk says:

    @handsmile:

    I cannot wait for the debut of Al Jazeera America next week.

    You might be disappointed.

    Eedle referenced a recent column in the Toronto Star by former Al Jazeera English chief Tony Burman, opining that “the Al Jazeera America project has the odour of potential disaster”. Burman cited a New York Times article by TV reporter Brian Stelter that began: “While it has a foreign name, the forthcoming Al Jazeera cable channel in the United States wants to be American through and through.”

    Stelter noted that AJAM scrapped its original plan to include content from AJE and instead: “now Al Jazeera America is aiming to have virtually all of its programming originate from the United States.” Wrote Stelter: “It will, in other words, operate much like CNN (though the employees say they won’t be as sensational) and Fox News (though they say they won’t be opinion-driven).”

    See this article.

  114. 114
    MomSense says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    It absolutely had a lot to do with keeping war going. I think that @Mnemosyne: said it much better than I with this.

    Which only reinforces for me that left-wing radicals and right-wing radicals have far more in common than either of them will admit, since it seems to be easier for radicals of either stripe to move from one side of the spectrum to the other than it is for them to become moderates.

  115. 115
    LAC says:

    @srv: oh, yeah, right…you are so ready to answer the call of duty.

  116. 116
    Alex S. says:

    @chopper:

    You say net oil exporter where I said net energy exporter.
    Unfortunately, that only makes you less informed, because that already happened:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/.....-2011.html

    Shale gas should be good for a couple of decades. And at least during this time, we can afford to ignore some countries of the middle east for a while.

  117. 117
    Roger Moore says:

    @Another Holocene Human:

    Morsi wanted all the power. He overreached and pushed a lot of other factions into a corner–he ramped up the existential danger for many of them.

    And his big mistake was that one of the factions he was pushing back against was the military, who actually had the power to do something about him. He probably could have gotten away with antagonizing all his civilian opponents, but not the army. It really highlights the importance of George Washington in our own early success with democracy. He was the one person who probably could have led a successful military coup against the new government, but he wasn’t interested and even worked to defuse a conspiracy that was trying to put him at the head of one. That, I guess, and that we were practically able to demobilize most of our army because there weren’t any looming military threats that required us to have one. Having a large army around without an extremely strong tradition of civilian control is asking for a coup.

  118. 118
    Paul in KY says:

    @MomSense: They were never Dems. They might have said they were, but they weren’t.

  119. 119
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @chopper:

    The WEO finds that the extraordinary growth in oil and natural gas output in the United States will mean a sea-change in global energy flows. In the New Policies Scenario, the WEO’s central scenario, the United States becomes a net exporter of natural gas by 2020 and is almost self-sufficient in energy, in net terms, by 2035. North America emerges as a net oil exporter, accelerating the switch in direction of international oil trade, with almost 90% of Middle Eastern oil exports being drawn to Asia by 2035. Links between regional gas markets will strengthen as liquefied natural gas trade becomes more flexible and contract terms evolve. While regional dynamics change, global energy demand will push ever higher, growing by more than one-third to 2035. China, India and the Middle East account for 60% of the growth; demand barely rises in the OECD, but there is a pronounced shift towards gas and renewables.

  120. 120
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Quibble all you want but the fact remains that Strauss was an anti-Nazi ivory tower activist who–evidently influenced by Plato’s theories of government–advocated for a sort of reactionary rule of the elite to block mass fascist movements before they start. You know, coopt populist fascism by putting ultra-conservatives culled from the upper classes in power, advised by middle-class scholars, a special cognoscenti, nevermind Germany had Hindenburg and the state still went down.

    I don’t know that Plato’s theories have any basis in reality or actually achieve any sort of positive goals but conservatives keep returning to that well so they must really flatter conservative academics and people who inherit ‘uuuuuge tracts of land.

  121. 121
    fuckwit says:

    @Chris: Yep, and Romania in 1989.

    Egypt reminds me more and more of the post-Ceaucescu Romania. Been saying that for a few years now.

    If you can find the documentary “Videograms of a Revolution”, I recommend it highly.

  122. 122
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Mnemosyne: There were quite a few radical leftists in the 1960s who became radical Republicans in the 1980s

    Not denying that. Perle and Wolfowitz were not among them.

  123. 123
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    For the counter example, Ariana Huffington, who went from being a nasty Ann Coulter wannabe to Democrat activist…so she could protest Al Gore’s presidential candiacy from the left.

    Arianna Huffington wants to be on the winning side, whichever that one is. When the Republicans were in the ascendancy, she was pushing her ex-husband to run for governor or senator as a Republican. When the tides turned, she magically became a Democrat.

    Huffington doesn’t have any actual ideology — she’s just a garden-variety opportunist jumping on the closest bandwagon.

  124. 124
    handsmile says:

    @Felonius Monk:

    I might be (and I’ve been disappointed by some of AJA’s hires, e.g., David Shuster, Soledad O’Brien). That said, Al-Jazeera English is far-and-away the most informative news channel now broadcast in the US (though available in only a few media markets).

    I’m prepared to give it some time and some latitude.

    Also, I must say I admire your discretion re the linked article’s author.

  125. 125
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Paul in KY:

    They were never Dems. They might have said they were, but they weren’t.

    Well, sort of. You’re forgetting the massive political realignment that started with Nixon and accelerated with Reagan, where Dixiecrats and other conservative Democrats changed parties. Jesse Helms was a Democrat until 1970.

    They may not fit in with today’s definition of “Democrats,” but they were certainly members of the Democratic Party who fit in pretty well with the conservative wing of the party at that time.

  126. 126
    Roger Moore says:

    @Another Holocene Human:

    Rome had a popular vote but only certain social classes could even run for high office and since vote-buying was legal, elitist hegemony was pretty much a done deal.

    They also had a system in which the richest people formally had a larger vote than poorer ones. The vote was divided between census classes rather than by individual, with the classes set up on the basis of how expensive a set of military gear you could buy. The top census classes were much smaller than the lowest ones and got to vote first, so the election was often over already by the time the poor people even got a chance to express their opinion.

  127. 127
    burnspbesq says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    The Racist Insect Front is on line two. They said something about libel.

  128. 128
    MomSense says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    He might not meet your definition but he grew up in Hollywood, CA and considered himself a liberal in high school and in college. In his own words, he said he was a liberal until he found reality or something like that.

    When I was in college, my work scholarship job was working in the cafeteria and for the catering service at a very conservative graduate school on the same campus. I have excellent hearing! All of these guys were regulars in the 80s and I served them food and wine and listened to everything. I also heard the gossip.

  129. 129
    fuckwit says:

    @max: This is the money quote right here, though I’d quibble with your dates:

    Takes years to establish a functioning democratic government (took the US 13).

    We have such a horrible, weak sense of history. Democracy is hard, and fleeting throughout history, as the Federalists well knew.

    Yes it took time even for us to get our shit together. British surrender, Treaty of Paris, and establishment of the United States of America: 1783. First election under the new Constitution: 1789. So unless my calculator got gastritis, that was 6 years not 13.

    Still, yeah, it takes time, and we were lucky. I’d say give the Egyptians a generation to sort it all out. I just hope they find a way to do it with minimum violence.

  130. 130
    The Moar You Know says:

    @chopper: You do realize that Saudi Arabia is number 4 on the list of nations we buy petroleum from, right? That at this point we get so little from them they could stop selling oil to us entirely and the worst effect we’d see would be somewhat higher gas prices?

    The lion’s share of America’s imported oil comes from that land of terror and jihad, Canada.

  131. 131
    Felonius Monk says:

    @handsmile: It will be interesting to see how this turns out for AJA. I would love to see a real news network come alive against the likes of the bullshit we have to endure now. But unless they can convince the cable companies to carry them, it will go nowhere.

    Regarding the author — well, the sources were identified and the drill-down seemed to bear out the facts, so I guess Glenn can function as a reporter on occasion. :)

  132. 132
    burnspbesq says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    that land of terror and jihad, Canada.

    Finally the truth is revealed!

  133. 133
    chopper says:

    @Alex S.:

    first, the bloomberg article you cite is not net oil. it’s net oil products. so for a while we exported more gas and diesel than we imported. so don’t lecture others on ‘being informed’ when you can’t even get right the shit we’re talking about.

    this is in part because we import and refine petroleum for other countries and count the stuff we send back as ‘exports of oil products’. likewise, the difference in volume (but not weight, or energy content) of the products after refinement is counted towards our own production statistics for some wacko reason. it’s part of what’s called ‘refinery gain’ and it’s absolutely meaningless except to make us look like a bigger producer than we are.

    and besides, your first article spoke of us eventually producing more petroleum than saudi arabia does.

    the us peaked in petroleum production around 1970. we’re far below that peak, and we’re not going back up to it. we got a shot in the arm in the 80s when alaska came on, but that didn’t come close to bringing us back up to our former glory and alaska has long faded.

    even the slipperier use of ‘north america’ (i.e. including canada) in the article doesn’t really fix the situation. people like to point at the tar sands as holding a shit-ton of oil, but production can’t be ramped up to saudi levels. and mexico is basically fucked 8 ways.

    believe the pixie-dust laden talk of ‘industry insiders’ looking for investors if you want.

  134. 134
    chopper says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    i know that. i don’t understand what that fact has to do with our own production vs consumption. whether we buy more oil from canada or SA has little to do with what our overall import needs are in terms of barrels/day.

  135. 135
    handsmile says:

    Re the old chestnut about the complementary of left-wing and right-wing radicals.

    Anecdotes and data. I’ve been associating with “left-wing radicals” for nigh unto 40 years, and I’ve yet to know a single one who’s become a right-wing firebrand (or even one who find David Brooks “the sensible conservative”). Far more often, age, professional responsibilities, and family obligations have turned them into, gasp, liberals.

    For years now, David Horowitz has been cited as the example of a ’60s-era radical who became a right-wing partisan. But I’ll be damned if I can think of (or have read of) another from that generation. Not sayin’ there aren’t others, but nominations?

    @Mnemosyne:

    On Huffington, I agree with you a bazillion percent!

  136. 136
    Chris says:

    @Another Holocene Human:

    I suspect this is what those upper-middle class 20yr old snots are obliquely referring to when they start screaming about how the US is a Republic on Facebook.

    It’s exactly what they’re referring to.

    This is what the 47% thing Mitt Romney mentioned was all about. It started out as a meme on right wing blogs like PJMedia, Instapundit, RedState, etc, as “the number of Americans who don’t pay taxes,” and was usually accompanied with the opinion that in a just world these people shouldn’t be allowed to vote, because “they don’t have skin in the game.” It’s quite uncontroversially accepted among conservative true believers that universal suffrage was a bad idea. They usually back it up with a possibly apocryphal quote from Alexis De Tocqueville saying that if you let poor people vote, they’re just going to vote themselves more and more welfare and bankrupt the country.

  137. 137
    Suffern ACE says:

    @fuckwit: We had the advantage of having Canada and other british colonies where people who weren’t all that interested in throwing off a king could relocate to rather quickly. Yeah, there was a lot of anti-loyalist mistreatment, but there wasn’t this need to set up a government that would satisfy both monarchists and democrats.

  138. 138
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Chris: In the open thread last night, there is a poster who noted that someone in Portland was posting flyers threatening to reveal all the people in the neighborhood who recieved disability payments who were voters from the government so “their neighbors could decide” if these people were truly were disabled or not. That’s kind of gist of it. You shouldn’t be voting if you’re going take form of “welfare.” Because somehow that makes you biased and greedy, I guess. Rather than the cool-headed “non-biased” people who never had to struggle with a disability – their biases about what people are capable of doing should never be questioned.

  139. 139
    Alex S. says:

    @chopper:

    Ok, but then again, I said net energy exporter, and not net oil exporter, but anyway, both will happen within the next 15 years. It is literally happening right now. Here is another, more recent article, about oil, not oil products:

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/100721958

    Peak Oil is not relevant here because energy is more than just oil, and technological progress reduces oil consumption and improves the refining process. Saudi Arabia also isn’t relevant because there are many other countries to import from. You may continue believing in Peak Oil which is something that must exist, but doom and gloom are not necessary, at least not within the next 30 years or so. Not in this context.

  140. 140
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Roger Moore:
    I’d say you’ve got that about right.

  141. 141
    Chris says:

    @handsmile:

    Anecdotes and data. I’ve been associating with “left-wing radicals” for nigh unto 40 years, and I’ve yet to know a single one who’s become a right-wing firebrand (or even one who find David Brooks “the sensible conservative”).

    Not to really argue with your point or anything, but every time a conversation like this pops up I find myself wondering what exactly a “left-wing radical” is supposed to be defined as in a country that’s always been pretty far to the right on economic issues and a world that’s lurched pretty far to the right in the last couple of decades. To me the word is supposed to evoke followers of Marx or Lenin or at least people who believe in replacing capitalism with something else. (Which there really aren’t much of in the U.S).

  142. 142
    MomSense says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    Which Portland are we talking about?? One is awfully close to me and I had a bad canvassing experience there last weekend with a Paul LePage supporter.

  143. 143
    chopper says:

    @Alex S.:

    even if we hit parity (we import the same amount of oil as we produce domestically), that’s a far cry from being a net exporter. to be a net exporter, we’d have to further double our current production after that point, producing far, far more than we ever did in history.

    i really don’t give a shit about who SA sells its oil to. but you posted an article claiming we’d surpass them in production numbers. which is horseshit.

    peak oil is relevant here because we’re talking about our own production and consumption. back in 1970 when the us peaked and oil was cheap and easy to extract and we consumed 50% less of the stuff than we do today we weren’t a net exporter, we were still importing 15% of our oil.

    come on. imports may drop, efficiency may rise (though oil consumption is, at least temporarily, on the rise), but the idea that we’re going to magically jack up our production of crude oil to the point where we’ll become an honest-to-god net exporter is a pipe dream.

  144. 144
    Roger Moore says:

    @chopper:

    even if we hit parity (we import the same amount of oil as we produce domestically), that’s a far cry from being a net exporter. to be a net exporter, we’d have to further double our current production after that point, producing far, far more than we ever did in history.

    No. If we reach parity, we can become a net exporter by increasing our production (or decreasing our consumption) by a fraction of a percent. We won’t be a big net exporter at that point, but we will be a net exporter.

  145. 145
    Keith G says:

    @Chris:

    I would’ve thought the meaningful analogy would be between Egyptian democracy in its infancy and American democracy in its infancy.

    No.

    Reactionary Islam is the wild card here, or should I say the deal breaker. There is no analogous force in our history therefore there cannot be a comparison. Reactionary Islam is antithetical to democracy and as long as they have sufficient power they will try to destroy the democracy they hate. Morisi and his boys are an example of this.

    It seems that the Egyptian army has come to the conclusion that blood is going to have to be spilt. I wish they were wrong, but I don’t think they are.

  146. 146
    chopper says:

    @Roger Moore:

    uh, no. no, not at all. hell no.

    if we consume, say 14 million barrels of oil per day, and we get to the point where we produce 7 million of that and import the other 7 million of that, increasing our domestic production to 7.5 million does not make us a net exporter. it just means we’re importing 6.5 million instead.

    we’d have to increase our production to over 14 million to be able to become a net exporter.

    you guys are confusing domestic production with overall consumption. the former is a subset of the latter in our case. this is one of the reasons so many people get caught up in all these feel-good industry stories of us easily becoming oil independent and what-not.

  147. 147
    Alex S. says:

    @chopper:

    Apparently, I, and all the news agencies have a different definition of the word ‘net exporter’ than you do. And just claiming that something isn’t true without any evidence can’t convince me.

  148. 148
    Paul in KY says:

    @Another Holocene Human: Actually Caesar (Julius) was named Pontifex Maximus (oversees temple rituals, etc.) early in his career when he couldn’t name himself anything. He had to resign when his 1st wife was caught with a lover (big no no for wife of Pontfex Maximus).

  149. 149

    Completely off the topic but has kitteh, who as we all know were worshiped as gods in Egypt.

  150. 150
    Paul in KY says:

    @Mnemosyne: See your point.

  151. 151
    Haydnseek says:

    @MomSense: I was once the proud owner of a Bizzapt-Akida. Best dog I ever had.

  152. 152
    JoyfulA says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Some of those neocons started out as Trotskyites, IIRC.

  153. 153
    chopper says:

    @Alex S.:

    well, news agencies never get things wrong, amirite?

    when you produce 55% of what you consume, and import the other 45%, you aren’t a ‘net exporter’ of the product.

    for example, if i produce 55% of my daily food needs from my backyard vegetable garden and purchase the other 45% at the grocery store, i am not a ‘net exporter’ of food.

    this isn’t hard.

  154. 154
    MomSense says:

    @Haydnseek:

    HA!

  155. 155
    TAPX486 says:

    @Betty Cracker: I think your last statement ‘I’m sure there are factors at play in Egypt that we (or at least I) don’t understand.’ sums up the problem with American diplomacy and our VERY SERIOUS PEOPLE . The WAPO neocon editorial page is screaming that Obama has blood on his hands. Rand Paul is demanding that Obama take stern action. I’m sure there are many more demanding that Obama do what all previous American president’s have done – threaten the Egyptians with a host of plagues if they don’t do what he wants.

    We have seen how well this has worked around the world over the past 50 years – Vietnam, American (and Israeli) involvement in Lebanon, Iraq, Somali, Afghanistan, Hamas in Gaza and that is the short list. What these folks do not seem to get, still, is that what the US can do is marginal at best. Sure we can take the ‘bomb them back to the stone age’ approach but as Vietnam proved that is of limited value. Winning hearts and minds has not worked so well either in a dozen different countries.

    In the end we have not ‘lost -country of the moment – ‘ for they are not our country to win or lose. They have their own history, culture, language and political factions. Just about all of these countries were functioning political entities long before Columbus ‘discovered’ America.

    I’m not sure if the particular steps that Obama has taken are the correct ones, but at least he seems to realize that he does not have magically pixy dust that will cure all of the worlds ills, no matter what John McCain may claim.

  156. 156
    handsmile says:

    @Chris:

    Thanks, I’ve only just returned to this thread and while I would like to do justice to your comment with a suitably thoughtful reply, my offline life is calling. What follows is quick, dirty, and probably not all that helpful. (As I do compulsively, I’ll check back here tonight).

    There’s a reason I typed quotes around the phrase “left-wing radical”; it’s more a connotative phrase than something denotative or usefully descriptive

    Those I know (or known) are broadly or closely familiar with the canonical works of Marx/Engels and with any number of Western post-Marxist theorists, e.g., Gramsci, Lukacs, de Beauvoir, the Frankfurt School. (I myself have never met an avowed Maoist.) There is a general belief that the social/economic inequities of Western capitalism have become untenable and reforms to the economic/political model must be advocated and enacted. What reforms and the methods of implementing those reforms are subjects of great debate and wide interpretation.

    Few radicals of my acquaintance have been “bomb-throwers.” Anarchism is not an inherently left-wing ideology, but some adopt its practices. Sharing a broad commitment to egalitarianism and emancipation, most are devoted to specific causes that will advance those principles. That devotion is often expressed in forms that are not well-mannered or necessarily law-abiding.

    I hope this broad brush has covered something for you.

  157. 157
    Origuy says:

    One thing people forget is that the American Colonies were largely self-governing during the period from the mid-1600s through the mid 1700s. The turmoil in Britain caused by the Civil War, the Commonwealth, and the Restoration, plus the distances involved, meant that the colonial assemblies mostly ran things. It was Parliament’s and King George’s attempts to establish greater authority that triggered the Revolution. Americans had a century to practice republican government.
    Few if any countries have gone straight from authoritarian to democratic governments. France failed several times.

  158. 158
    Origuy says:

    @Another Holocene Human: Constantine was Pontifex Maximus before he converted. Afterwards, he continued acting as head of the Church, arbitrating in theological disputes, convening conclaves, etc. His successors right through the Byzantine Empire pretty much did the same thing, at least in the eastern church.

  159. 159
    TAPX486 says:

    @Origuy: and we didn’t always get it right the first time. We were just lucky to have the time and space to experiment.

  160. 160
    chopper says:

    @Origuy:

    oh boy, did france have a bunch of do-overs or what.

  161. 161
    PeakVT says:

    Data. Net imports were ~6,700,000 bpd for the latest week, vs ~19,000,000 consumed. Production peaked at ~10,000,000 bpd in December 1970. After the recent increases, domestic production is back up to ~7,200,000 bpd.

    Even if production reached the peak of 1970 – which was primarily from onshore or shallow offshore fields – consumption would have to fall by over 40% for the US to be a net oil exporter.

    Becoming a net energy exporter, OTOH, is entirely possible if we start to export NG and coal in large quantities. Doing so would be moronic.

  162. 162
    chopper says:

    BTW, the whole oil thing is not that OT in this thread. egypt’s descent from oil exporter to importer had a great deal to do with the revolution.

  163. 163
    Keith G says:

    @TAPX486: And we had shit tonnes of natural resources (best of which was well watered, arable land smack dab in a temperate climate zone) that made it easy for all to be flexible since making more money quickly became the national religion.

    What differences we had in the first 100 years (our democratic childhood) were not reinforced by religious fanaticism. That was a big help.

  164. 164
    PeakVT says:

    @PeakVT: Fall by 35%, that is. My bad.

    ETA: Or some pretty big number. Depends on how refinery gains are counted.

  165. 165
    chopper says:

    @PeakVT:

    Even if production reached the peak of 1970 – which was primarily from onshore or shallow offshore fields – consumption would have to fall by over 40% for the US to be a net oil exporter.

    exactly. and consumption is, at least for now, on the rise. dropping our consumption by 9 million bbl/day? that’s almost as much as China consumes. we’d have to cut our domestic oil consumption by ALMOST AN ENTIRE CHINA.

  166. 166
    chopper says:

    @PeakVT:

    don’t forget corn ethanol, which by all rights shouldn’t be counted either.

  167. 167
    really? says:

    @Punchy: you have no clue

  168. 168
    StringOnAStick says:

    The stories about the occupying MB supporters that I’ve read and heard prior to this crack-down left me sure we’d see at least what we saw yesterday in Egypt. As is true of our own homegrown religious fundamentalists, compromise was the last thing they were interested in. Morsi did exactly as others have stated here; used his election to become the new dictator, just with an Islamic flavor. That his followers would take the same hardline approach he did and assume the potential “rewards” of martyrdom are theirs for the taking isn’t terribly surprising.

    More blood is coming, as one can usually expect when you have that ugly combo of a destroyed economy, no tradition of political compromise or of functioning democratic institutions, and religious fervor driving the argument for zero compromise from a main political actor, plus a military that is used to being in power and is very well armed. Yes, the military impeded the Morsi regime’s attempts to set up a civil society, but it sure didn’t help that all the Morsi regime was interested in setting up was a fundamentalist Islam civil society in a country that is much more secular than the Morsi followers were/are willing to tolerate. I have to say that the saddest realization is that all the current turmoil makes Iran look like the smart kids on the block, and damn is that obnoxious to contemplate considering what the youth of that country appear to want and have absolutely no chance of getting via the ballot box since the mullahs are the overarching power.

    Someone asked about tourism in Egypt. My husband in tangentially in the tourism business and tourism to Egypt took a huge hit first from tourist-targeted terrorist attacks, really got nailed when Mubarak was in the process of being overthrown, and is basically near nonexistent at this point. His company is no longer offering tours of any kind to Egypt because they (1) don’t have the demand, and (2) can’t get insurance for them now. The Egyptian economy depended a lot on tourism, and the attacks on tourists by Islamists were aimed at hitting the Mubarak regime in the wallet; as usual, the people who really suffered now and then are the ordinary Egyptians who worked in tourism and are now dealing with a collapsing economic and political situation.

  169. 169
    Paula says:

    @Chris:

    Thanks for the link.

    I’m pretty confused actually. There are plenty of progressives who wanted us to get out of the way of Egypt even if that meant MB would be in power. That is what happened.

    Now progressives want to blame Barack Obama for supporting a democratically elected gov’t?

    And/or want to blame Barack Obama for not reading Morsi’s mind?

    WTF?

  170. 170
    chopper says:

    @Paula:

    i’ll explain it.

    Now progressives want to blame Barack Obama for supporting a democratically elected gov’t?

    And/or want to blame Barack Obama for not reading Morsi’s mind?

    see, it’s easy.

  171. 171
    David Koch says:

    @handsmile:Well, Eldridge Cleaver and Hitchens come to mind. They’re out there, just no one has bothered to catalog the crazies.

  172. 172
    Donald says:

    ” I’ll explain it.”

    I’ll explain it better. People here spend way too much time arguing about whether it’s fair to blame Obama for problem X, and not enough time rationally discussing problem X and incidentally, whether or not Obama’s policies helped or hurt. In this case obviously the Egyptian military and those lovely Egyptian liberals who favor establishing democratic norms by shooting people in the streets share the bulk of the blame along with the Muslim Brotherhood–Obama didn’t want the military to do this However, if we continue to supply aid then it will send a clear message that we don’t care about our own human rights standards. But then hypocrisy is sort of what we’re really all about, so he’d just be continuing a great American tradition.

  173. 173
    Keith G says:

    @Paula:
    @chopper:
    Some people say….

    Really?

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