The Islamic Vortex (Part 3a)

This series was preparing for the flight out from Cairo International Airport, to go WMD hunting in the Crescent, when a call arrived – from Fotrkd (on this thread) – turning our plans back around. It was hard to pick out the exact message from the stream of excited babble, but it was basically: “You’re not going to believe what Kerry just said to the Pakistani’s …” (who, we have to remember, are next in line for A New Beginning®.)

I’m guessing you’ve already heard it – since it’s all over the media. The Israelis string it together well (notice the encrypted message to Kerry in the URL: Ufu02Kzk2-k (!)):

“The military was asked to intervene by millions and millions of people, all of whom were afraid of descendance into chaos, into violence,” Kerry was quoted as having told Geo.

“And the military did not take over, to the best of our judgment – so far. To run the country, there’s a civilian government. In effect, they were restoring democracy,” he added.

The interviewer questioned him over allegations that Egyptian troops have shot dead people in the streets.

“Oh, no. That’s not restoring democracy, and we’re very, very concerned… I’ve been in touch with all of the players there. And we have made it clear that that is absolutely unacceptable, it cannot happen,” Kerry said, according to AFP.

If history is being studied in human languages a thousand years from now, these words will still be reverberating. They need to be carved on a pyramid, or something. This is one of those rare moments in which everything changes, and we have to catch up with it.

It’s all about democracy, obviously, but the improvised card-sharping makes it easy to miss the way the trick plays out. The first important thing to note — and the assumed context of the Geo interview —  is that the initial reference to democracy, as crudely, procedurally, and up to this point pointedly understood, is scrubbed out and replaced. When the interview question begins, we all know that what is being talking about is the abrupt termination of Egypt’s brief and pitiful experiment in Cathedral-inspired democracy. After Kerry’s initial words, all that has already been shrouded. The topic has somehow slipped into “descendance into chaos, into violence” — and we’re not supposed to register that these words are translating exactly the same thing that ‘democracy’ previously named, because ‘democracy’ is about to mean something else.

A lot of people (and they’re the people who matter) were  asking the military to intervene to shut down democracy the descendance into chaos, into violence, and a deal was quickly and efficiently done. The people who the military listen to got to borrow the military, and the military got to borrow a civilian face. The intimacy of this arrangement — and its deep neoreactionary sanity — has nothing at all to do with democratic legitimacy in its previously accepted (and now effaced) sense.  Kerry clearly doesn’t think that anyone will care about that. The right people took over, how could that possibly be a problem? (It’s not as if anyone ever complained about that Pinochet business.) But just in case some awkward memory of what we were supposed to believe last week is still hanging around, we now get the most exquisite political formula of the age: In effect, they were restoring democracy.

These words are too perfect. Sobbing with ecstasy could be embarrassing, so I’ll quote a little WRM while getting it together:

Let’s get the obvious parts out of the way: No, the Egyptian military is not restoring democracy in Egypt. You can’t “restore” something that never existed … […] The army wasn’t trying to build democracy, either; it was restoring order and protecting the deep state, more or less in accordance with the will of a large number of middle class and urban Egyptians. That’s the beginning and end of it. Americans desperately want somebody to be the pro-democracy good guys. But right now at least, democracy doesn’t seem to be on the menu at the Egypt café.

The structure of realization seems to go roughly like this:
(a) Democracy is the supreme Good, engraved eternally and universally in the human heart, but
(b) When an attempt is made to implement it almost anywhere on earth it immediately manifests as a descendance into chaos, into violence, and
(c) This existentially threatens the demographic which might be actually capable of sustaining a functional democracy, so
(d) In effect, the truly crucial step is the immediate cessation of democracy what was previously known as democracy, which therefore counts as
(e) A restoration of democracy.

We need to remember that John Kerry might have been President of the United States, and the Muslim Brotherhood helpfully work with us in thinking that through:

Supporters of Egypt’s ousted president Mohamed Mursi today slammed US Secretary of State John Kerry after he said the military was “restoring democracy” by deposing the Islamist leader.

“Is it the job of the army to restore democracy?” asked Gehad al-Haddad, a spokesman for Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood in a statement.

“Does Secretary Kerry accept Defence Secretary (Chuck) Hagel to step in and remove (US President Barack) Obama if large protests take place in America?

“Will the US army freeze the constitution and dismantle Congress and (the) Senate? Can they appoint a president that they solely choose?”

Gehad al-Hadad still isn’t quite getting it. When invited by the right people, whatever the army has to do in overthrowing the government now defines the ‘restoration of democracy’.

Once we get to the stage where the Middle East is re-exporting Kerryist democratic restoration, things could get extraordinarily interesting. At the present rate of Cathedralist ideological implosion, however, there might not be time for that.

Who’s going to print up the T-shirts? We demand democratic restoration now!

August 2, 2013admin 17 Comments »
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17 Responses to this entry

  • spandrell Says:

    This is one of those rare moments in which everything changes, and we have to catch up with it

    So Kerry has come up with a lame argument to justify going back to military dictatorships for US allies.
    Big deal.

    Everything changes Nah. Plus ça change, plus c’est la meme chose.

    This gives further credence to the theory that the Cathedral won’t just go away with a bang. No collapse. Just ever creeping mediocrity. 1984 as a comedy.


    admin Reply:

    OK, that was over-excitedly stated. When from some hypothetical distant future, an attempt is made to retrospectively identify the point of Peak Democracy, it is hard for me to conceive any formula that would more exactly identify it. “In effect, they were restoring democracy.” But perhaps you are right, and the forces of farcical repetition are strong enough to reduce this high-water mark to a random inscription in the chronicles of chaos.

    [‘Alat’ (below) has more on this wavelength — make sure to follow the link]


    Posted on August 2nd, 2013 at 5:32 pm Reply | Quote
  • Dan Says:

    One of the arguments that’s been made contra the “neo-reaction” claim that “democracy” itself is to blame for everything is that the leftism, progressivism, etc. that everyone’s upset about has been fundamentally an elitist, anti-democratic project.

    Incidentally, even neo-reactionary discourse itself intimates this with its talk of “brahmins” and hierarchy and the like.

    As far as the US government goes, I don’t think it has ever held democracy itself to be the highest good. Nor does it attack or suspend democracy only if it descends into violence or chaos. There was no chaos or violence when states were allowed to refuse to recognize gay marriage by DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act). The US government went after it anyway.


    Posted on August 2nd, 2013 at 8:48 pm Reply | Quote
  • Solex Says:

    Is it really possible to develop such a thorough analysis of the region without considering the role and/or future of Israel?


    admin Reply:

    When things are unfolded with due regard to the objective order of priorities, the Israel topic has not yet earned the right to intrude.


    Posted on August 2nd, 2013 at 10:07 pm Reply | Quote
  • Discipline Says:

    Bonaparte was also a force for democracy. I don’t think Kerry is contradicting himself so much. Hierarchy reasserts itself rapidly after the loss of public order. The progressive degeneration continues, however, but at a more moderate pace.


    admin Reply:

    If no restoration can be anything other than a momentary interruption of the decay trajectory, then we are indeed utterly screwed. Were it not for the example of Deng Xiaoping, I would surrender to your gloomy interpretation unconditionally. Certainly, in the Egyptian case your prediction is more than likely to be vindicated. For the moment, however, we can at least revel in the awkwardness it introduces into the progressive narrative (at least in its most popular and mindless form).


    Manjusri Reply:

    In the case of Deng, he had the advantage that his predecessor had spent the previous ten years trying to demolish the party bureaucracy, not restore it. This, along with the lack of an enormous military albatross around it’s neck, was one of the key differences between the soviet union and China in the 1980s.

    Both China and the US are so thoroughly Brezhnevified that it might take another cultural revolution before things get better…


    Posted on August 2nd, 2013 at 10:13 pm Reply | Quote
  • Jason Says:

    M K Bhadrakumar on the proxy war:

    The Russians knew Bandar recently held coordination meetings in Washington and Tel Aviv to devise new ways of stepping up the military pressure on the Syrian government forces by arming the rebels – including groups affiliated with al-Qaeda in northern Syria – and to weaken the Hezbollah, whose fighters are helping the Syrian army.

    Arguably, Obama’s policy has an eerie similarity with the cunning strategy that Jimmy Carter and Zbignew Brzezinski crafted following the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan – bleed the Red Army in a covert war bankrolled by the petrodollar sheikhs.

    Whereas the Russian focus will be on paving the way for a political track leading to a level playing field in the presidential election due in Syria in 2014, the US-Saudi-Israeli problem with that is, Assad’s prospects of winning in that election and ruling Syria with greater legitimacy than ever before are excellent as things stand today.

    The fact remains that for a very substantial section of the Syrian people, Assad stands between them and the deluge that is enveloping the Muslim Middle East.

    Enter Bandar. The forte of the Saudi prince lies in finessing Salafist fighters as instruments of regional policy, something that fits in with the broader US’s geo-strategies as well in the so-called Greater Middle East (including Afghanistan and Central Asia).

    The Saudi-backed coup in Egypt reinforces the US-Saudi axis in Syria. The interim government in Cairo has reverted to the full-throttle collaboration with the Israeli security establishment characteristic of the Hosni Mubarak era, which is something that pleases Washington. Most important, Riyadh and Cairo have given a big hand to kick-starting the stalled Middle East peace talks, which is a significant contribution to the US’s desperate need to be seen as a benevolent mediator.

    Over and above, the sidelining of Qatar has removed a maverick while the puncturing of Turkey’s pretensions as the leader of the Arab people ensures that the US-Saudi axis has a better control over the conduct of the covert war in Syria.

    Simply put, there is a high probability of the Syrian conflict taking a new geopolitical dimension by locking in big power rivalry. The influential US senator John McCain said Thursday that Moscow’s decision on Snowden is “a slap in the face of all Americans”…..

    Meanwhile, Russian media reported intercepts of message addressed to “jihadists” from North Caucasus to look to join the holy war in Russia rather than proceed to Syria, and to “prepare for the so-called Olympics Games in Sochi [February 2014].”


    Posted on August 2nd, 2013 at 10:35 pm Reply | Quote
  • fotrkd Says:

    Maybe this will help, as the significance you’re perceiving in Kerry’s remarks is not apparently widely shared:

    The initial criticism I was itching to make about the first couple of parts of this series involved your alignment by analogy of Westphalia and Sykes-Picot. The Peace of Westphalia (I’d written) was a victory for state sovereignty over empire and/or family dynasties. As such it was a recognition or consolidation of the autonomy of pre-existing states against (empire level) attempts to impose external authority e.g. religious conformity. The Sykes-Picot Agreement on the other hand was precisely the result of expansionist, colonial empires arbitrarily or prejudicially carving up (without respect for borders or institutions of national self-determination) the territory of a failed rival with minimal ‘state’ resistance. You could in fact argue its unravelling (if that’s what this is) is a vindication of the Westphalian system.

    Now whether that has any value or not, what is clear is that it displays considerable temporal bias. The states represented at Westphalia – nation states in general – have since been eroded (by the Cathedral empire if you will) to such an extent that there is no resistance left. They no longer have the strength to sustain the Peace originally obtained, and a form of Sykes-Picot has inevitably been imposed upon them. The bloody unravelling we’re seeing in the Middle East is therefore a proleptic playing out of our own future. When Kerry talks of restoring democracy in Egypt he is echoing the words of a Secretary of State from America’s near future – about America.

    Is that neoreactionary sanity or Leftist Singularity? Or can the former only arrive on the back of the latter [excited babbling becomes incomprehensible] ..?


    admin Reply:

    This is extremely interesting — but it’s also making me quibblish. Can we seriously talk about “institutions of national self-determination” being over-written by the S-P agreement? The precursor was the Ottoman order, of Turkish suzerainty over tribal entity and the relics of long-collapsed imperial polities, with regard to which any attribution of ‘nationality’ seems like a reckless stretch. So I am still tempted to see the West and the Islamic world as symmetrically diverging from a central, two-way historical mirror (rather than merely de-synchronized within a consistent time-stream). Despite that, where you take the argument is very close to the heading I see this on … final incomprehensible question included.


    Posted on August 2nd, 2013 at 11:00 pm Reply | Quote
  • Handle Says:

    Public Law 108-7, 117 STAT. 182, 20-FEB-2003


    SEC. 508. None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available pursuant to this Act shall be obligated or expended to finance directly any assistance to the government of any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by decree or military coup:

    Provided, That assistance may be resumed to such government if the President determines and certifies to the Committees on Appropriations that subsequent to the termination of assistance a democratically elected government has taken office:

    Provided further, That the provisions of this section shall not apply to assistance to promote democratic elections or public participation in democratic processes:

    Provided further, That funds made available pursuant to the previous provisos shall be subject to the regular notification procedures of the Committees on Appropriations.


    Posted on August 3rd, 2013 at 1:25 am Reply | Quote
  • Alat Says:

    this is one of those rare moments in which everything changes, and we have to catch up with it

    Nah, this is just a “back to the future” moment. When the new Egyptian regime consolidates itself, it will then be undermined by the Cathedral in the name of democracy, and the wheel will turn one more time.

    Exhibit A


    admin Reply:

    The quality of this illustrated push-back is so remarkable that it serves as a signature.
    In response: 3b (pending).


    VXXC Reply:

    Da Bug?


    admin Reply:

    There’s only one commentator here who regularly fishes up evidential links of such devastating, stand-alone articulacy
    (recently seen wearing a funny hat)

    Posted on August 3rd, 2013 at 2:37 am Reply | Quote
  • VXXC Says:

    “Who’s going to print up the T-shirts? We demand democratic restoration now!!”

    You can count on me.

    Which was already known.


    Posted on August 3rd, 2013 at 9:36 pm Reply | Quote

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