Premature Ejection

As Napoleon famously advised: “Never interrupt your enemy when he’s making a mistake.” Understandably, but still unfortunately, the Egyptian army have just done exactly that.

Daniel Pipes has pipped me to the post on this (here or here). The short summary that pre-empts me most specifically is this: “Morsi was removed from power too soon to discredit Islamism as much as he should have.” It took seven decades of chronic failure to associate the Marxist command economy with hopeless dysfunction in the eyes of the world, and even then, the lesson remains far from complete. It can scarcely be imagined that a few months of Muslim Brotherhood misgovernment is going to sear any lasting scars into the global Islamic soul. So: an opportunity missed.

Clearly, the forces of the Egyptian deep state were in no position to be as utterly indifferent to humanitarian considerations as  Outside in. Their hand was forced, since whatever the educational virtues of mass starvation, it takes a certain distance to fully appreciate them. In any case, with Egypt now clearly unsprung, it is at least possible to find entertainment in the spectacle of popular anti-democratic protest, concluding in firework celebrations of authoritarian restoration.

Adam Garfinkle covers the nuts-and-bolts well. Goldman’s regional analysis is highly convincing. Steyn does the quick historical overview, no less persuasively.

July 6, 2013admin 15 Comments »
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15 Responses to this entry

  • spandrell Says:

    Starvation is the unstated subject of this week’s military coup.

    I love this guy.

    [Reply]

    Posted on July 6th, 2013 at 3:12 pm Reply | Quote
  • Alex Says:

    Morsi apparently was a key ally of China:

    http://blogs.wsj.com/chinarealtime/2013/07/05/in-morsis-fall-china-loses-a-key-friend/

    Authoritarian China didn’t seem to have a problem with Morsi and the Muslim Brothers in Egypt and cultivated an alliance with them.

    Pipes, Garfinkle, Goldman, Steyn et al seem to say that Morsi and the Muslim Brothers are bad, evil, authoritarian meanies.

    Why the discrepancy? Why did authoritarian China ally with them, while Pipes, Garfinkle, Goldman, Steyn et al (who’d tell that authoritarianism is terrible and bad and evil) think that Morsi and the Muslim Brothers are bad, evil, authoritarian meanies?

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    I’m deeply skeptical about both sides of this claim. So, there was a meeting in Beijing — “substantial political capital” — come on! Until I see any indication that real resources were put into this, it just looks like typical Chinese foreign policy hyper-pragmatism. As for all the mainstream right hostility to MB “authoritarianism”, that hardly squares with the obvious — if deeply jaded — sympathy for the subsequent military coup. Garfinkle aside (perhaps), these guys don’t like the MB because they don’t like Muslim political choices (reasonably enough, I’d say).

    [Reply]

    Posted on July 7th, 2013 at 2:15 am Reply | Quote
  • Alex Says:

    *who’d tell you that authoritarianism is terrible and bad and evil

    [Reply]

    Posted on July 7th, 2013 at 2:17 am Reply | Quote
  • Alex Says:

    Chinese foreign policy pragmatism means that it has no problem working with authoritarian regimes.

    The hostility to MB authoritarianism does square with sympathy for the coup. They sympathize with the coup because the MB are bad, evil, authoritarian meanies. That is literally the level of argument we’re dealing with here.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    China works with whichever idiots are in charge, and is very good at being polite to them.

    I don’t get your confidence on the second point. Why not assume — on equally shaky grounds — that they support the coup because they despise demotic politics in barbarous cultures? (There’s at least some chance the military dictator went to Sandhurst, some bearded oddball from the MB, not so much.)

    [Reply]

    Posted on July 7th, 2013 at 3:37 am Reply | Quote
  • Alex Says:

    How is that not the same thing? Barbarous cultures are full of bad, evil, authoritarian meanies and have bad, evil, authoritarian, mean politics.

    China will work with anyone, including bad, evil, authoritarian meanies from barbarous cultures.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    I’m just not sure ‘authoritarian’ is helping to clarify anything. The difference between Augusto Pinochet and Ruhollah Khomeini is significant to these folks (whether they admit it or not), and it has nothing whatsoever to do with ‘authoritarianism’.

    Barbarians come up with this kind of idea.
    Civilized people think things were better under the Pharoahs.

    [Reply]

    Posted on July 7th, 2013 at 4:42 am Reply | Quote
  • Alex Says:

    Their level of argument is that authoritarianism is something that’s bad, evil, and mean.

    The difference between Pinochet and Khomeini for them would be that Pinochet is less authoritarian hence less bad, evil, and mean, or that Pinochet’s brand of authoritarianism is less bad, evil, and mean.

    We’re dealing with primitive, essentially theological arguments here.

    Barbarians are bad, evil, authoritarian meanies who want to do bad, evil, mean things likes blow up pyramids. These guys are barbarians, so they’re bad, evil, mean. Etc.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    All basically true, isn’t it?

    There’s a cultural death-penalty worth of barbarism right here.

    [Reply]

    Alex Reply:

    We’re dealing with primitive, essentially theological arguments here. Barbarians are bad, evil, authoritarian meanies who want to do bad, evil, mean things likes blow up pyramids.

    From a primitive, essentially theological perspective, it could be worse.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Indeed.

    [Reply]

    Alex Reply:

    Yep, everything’s good to go. It’ll all end in tears.

    Posted on July 7th, 2013 at 9:01 am Reply | Quote
  • Alrenous Says:

    It can scarcely be imagined that a few months of Muslim Brotherhood misgovernment is going to sear any lasting scars into the global Islamic soul.

    Instead, it sets the precedent that Islamic government is a loser that only provokes a real government to kick it to the curb. If this pattern is filled out, it will be better for everyone involved. Moreover, such a pattern would be particularly galling to the Islamists themselves, more so than mere starvation in this world.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    It’s not the starvation, but the manifest incompetence that matters. The Egyptian situation still leaves too many excuses:
    — the MB weren’t radical enough
    — they’ve been conspiratorially manipulated (by guess who)
    — the establishment story is simply a lie (a few months doesn’t generate enough evidence for narrative momentum to stick)

    We’ll see how it goes, but I’d be stunned if this turned into a major humiliation, especially when there’s the Jihad in Syria and upcoming total (perceived) American defeat in Afghanistan set against it, amongst much else. Most likely lesson: Don’t waste time with Kaffir institutions, build everything out of holy war. Chance of near-term large-scale Jihad in Egypt is far from negligible, come to that.

    [Reply]

    Posted on July 10th, 2013 at 2:55 pm Reply | Quote

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