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  • Egypt's Class Conflict
    • Interesting parallel. It shows that despite its past mistakes the US Administration lives in the permanent delusion that it can control events indefinitely. But, like 1979's Iran, todays Egypt is out of control. Like Iran, the USA (with the help of many European countries, let it be said) has made its mistakes in Egypt long ago and there's no magic time machine to go back and fix them. Whether true or not the USA and its Western allies are seen, in Egypt, more as the protectors of Israel than honest benefactors of Egypt. All they do is obsess about "Islamic extermists" taking power (as if their best ally, Saudi Arabia, was ruled by democratic liberals). Unfortunately there is not much you can do now. El Bardaei has been seeking help from the "West" in peacefully replacing Mubarak since he left his IAEA job; all has fallen to deaf ears (remember Barak Obama rushed to Cairo to give his support to Mubarak's regime).

      It's too late now. When the dam breaks you don't call the engineers to design a new one, you just.

      The next big mistake that the USA could (and will probably) make is to resist the most likely ascent of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood from an underground network to political power. Instead, let them go, don't turn yourself into their "enemy" as they did with Iran's Ayatollah's (or Palestinian's Hamas). Look at Turkey and its "extermists" in power. Is it so scary? Did they destroy Israel? (So far, it was Israel that managed to assassinate some Turkish citizens on a boat heading to Gaza, as far as I can tell. Turkey is not calling to the destruction of Israel and is ready to maintain the previous relationship, provided Israel takes responsibility for its irresponsible acts.) The Muslim Brotherhood, if it ever comes to power, will most likely burn itself into just another "moderate" regime: it has too much to loose from alienating the USA and the EU. They may be fanatical, but they're not as stupid and blind.

      The problem with the USA is that it worries disproportionately more about Israel's "security" while neglecting or taking for granted its relationships with the Arabs. No wonder its unable to control events.

    • Really? They didn't seem to grieve much for Sadat's assassination. Tired of war surely, but supportive is another thing. No Egyptian I know was ever (openly) supportive of Camp David, but many suggested that it was the best that could be achieved at the time, as the country needed to focus on more pressing problems than liberating Al-Quds for the Palestinian few (as compared to the Egyptians, that is).

    • Indeed, linearising the exponential function in the long-term is a common mistake. Fertility must drop below 2 children/woman in order to reverse the trend in the next 30 years. The Chinese understand this and were able to tackle with the 1-child policy. Dropping from 2 to 1 may seem harsh, but that's the only way to make it fair (as having 1.5 children each is not feasible). Clearly the social structure of Egypt is very different that China's, but lessons must be learned from the world's fastest riser. Egypt is fast reaching demographic saturation point, with huge impact on the Nilotic and Eastern Mediterranean ecosystem.

    • Professor Cole, I found your analysis synthetic yet enlightening. However, I wouldn't dismiss the Muslim component so easily. It is true that the problems of Egypt cannot be solved with religion, and most Egyptians know that. But, having visited part of the Nile and Cairo last year in April, after more than 32 years of absence, I have noticed that the society is much more "islamised" as it was in the late seventies. As an example, I talked to a school teacher and she said that all girls in public schools *must* wear the veil. Mubarak's regime has not only repressed the Muslim Brotherhood, but has had to concede something to them in order to stay in power. After Socialism and Capitalism have both failed Egypt (and given the successes of Islamists in Turkey), don't you think that political Islam may not be so strange an alternative?

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