revolution!

suggested strategy on getting from where we are now, to LIBERAL democracy in Egypt

revolution!

Postby kerravon » 2011-02-11 23:17

I must say I was skeptical that the Egyptians could pull this off. I was expecting to see a result more like the Tiananmen Square massacre, as I'm well aware of the military reality of the situation. The Egyptian protesters were incredibly brave risking horrible vengeance if they had lost (as I was expecting).

The situation now is that we appear to have moved from Mubarak rule to military rule rather than Suleiman rule. ie more-or-less a military coup (triggered by the protests) - the same as we had in Tunisia.

Basically everything is up for grabs now. With the old political side completely sidelined, it's a question of what Tantawi chooses to do. Well - nominally. Tantawi won't have the absolute loyalty of everyone under him either. He'll be in a weaker position than Mubarak was in. There will be dissent throughout the entire armed forces. It's essentially a chaotic situation - where the (as far as I can tell) genetic trait to subjugate comes into play. If this was a tribal situation, Tantawi or anyone else would be willing to do anything at all (mass murder etc) that is required to ensure that he gets to be the new ruler (and thus pass on his genes), rather than some rival. This is why the Middle East has had wall-to-wall dictators for so long - it's the natural state of humans.

The situation in Egypt is somewhat different though. Tantawi will know that he doesn't remotely have what he needs to be the new supreme dictator of Egypt. So the natural human tendency will probably be suppressed. Although I should temper that with:

1. We don't have a great track record in Middle Eastern history as to what happens in this situation. Tunisia is about the only exception - and even that isn't proven for sure yet.

2. My previous prediction that Mubarak would survive was wrong, so I don't have a good track record on predicting the future myself.


Anyway, with the stated goal (ie by definition - this forum is the wrong place to be if you have a goal of an Iran-like theocracy) of achieving liberal democracy rather than just "democracy" like you saw in Palestine, where the Palestinians voted for their favourite terrorist organization, in a "one man, one vote, one time" scenario - where do we go from here?

My initial suggestion would be they need something like Turkey has/had - with the military setting some secular ground rules for people to compete under. Other countries have something similar, by other means - e.g. a constitution that guarantees secular rule (should really be extended to disallow rule by any dogma to try to prevent Chavez's communism). The UK has had a House of Lords for centuries. Yes, it's time to abolish that now, but I think Turkey (under EU pressure) abandoned their military's role prematurely. And Egypt obviously hasn't even started such a system.
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Re: revolution!

Postby problem, officer? » 2011-02-11 23:37

hello

Anonymous capitalist here ;-)

be back in 20 minutes or so, I must go eat something nice
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Re: revolution!

Postby kerravon » 2011-02-11 23:40

problem, officer? wrote:hello

Anonymous capitalist here ;-)

be back in 20 minutes or so, I must go eat something nice

Hi "problem". :-) Thanks for joining, let's see what we can come up with.
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Re: revolution!

Postby problem, officer? » 2011-02-12 00:15

kerravon wrote:
problem, officer? wrote:hello

Anonymous capitalist here ;-)

be back in 20 minutes or so, I must go eat something nice

Hi "problem". :-) Thanks for joining, let's see what we can come up with.


No problem, let's get cracking on solving some of the world's problems :D
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Re: revolution!

Postby problem, officer? » 2011-02-12 00:23

Some thoughts on your initial post:

While I broadly agree with your main points, I'm not so sure that Palestinians have made a mistake. Much of their opinion isn't inline at all with the other opposition party. In all political systems, there are universally two points of view, regardless of geographical location etc. The Palestinian version of the Left was having its way for a long time with the support of the West, and that was unsustainable.

i.e. there is a Left and there is a Right, always, like Yin and Yang. Neither should be suppressed, otherwise instead of democracy, we have revolution.
It's worth remembering that democracy and revolution are both 'steam governors' of a system. Regulators of a system searching for solutions. That is my idea of the function of politics at least.

Secondly; I'm not so sure that HAMAS won't hold genuine elections in the future? Where are you getting that information?
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Re: revolution!

Postby problem, officer? » 2011-02-12 00:32

Like yourself, I believe there is one of two ways this could go in the future.

A; we have an Iran situation. At first everybody's talking of democracy, openness. Then the religious factions grow in power by being the most vocal and thereby gain power, and install a authoritarian state. Unfortunately these types are almost always clueless about economics (otherwise they probably wouldn't be installing a strong centralised state in charge of the commanding heights of the economy, such as it is now in Iran).

B; we have a Turkey situation. Both secular and religious get on reasonably well, and both agree on opening up the economy to liberalisation.


My friend, an Iranian, believes A will occur. I'm not so sure, but I cannot tell yet.

In truth, although the 30 year reign of Mubarak was authoritarian, it wasn't quite as bad as some régime’s. Obviously, crony capitalism was going on, when he and his family own 70 Billion US dollars of capital, while the entire GDP of Egypt is just 170 odd Billion US dollars in total...

My main fear, is that Egyptians, because a lot of the protesters will be on the Left since there is a large academic middle class component to them, will try and install a government which veers away from market economics, and I think you know as well as I do where that will go.
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Re: revolution!

Postby kerravon » 2011-02-12 00:37

problem, officer? wrote:Some thoughts on your initial post:

While I broadly agree with your main points

Cool! Sensible debate for a change!

I'm not so sure that Palestinians have made a mistake.

Surely you wouldn't want to be ruled by Arafat or some other terrorist? What if you have a non-terrorist point of view you'd like to express? Don't you want to be able to walk through the streets of Ramallah/Gaza with an Israeli flag if you choose? With absolute confidence that the good people in those places will defend your right of dissent?

Much of their opinion isn't inline at all with the other opposition party. In all political systems, there are universally two points of view, regardless of geographical location etc. The Palestinian version of the Left was having its way for a long time with the support of the West, and that was unsustainable.

The Palestinians are not currently split left/right on economic grounds. They are split on "religious means to exterminate Israel" vs "secular means to exterminate Israel". It's something similar to how Northern Ireland has been voting for decades.

i.e. there is a Left and there is a Right, always, like Yin and Yang. Neither should be suppressed, otherwise instead of democracy, we have revolution.

I'm not suggesting suppressing the equivalent of US Democrats! More de-Nazification.

It's worth remembering that democracy and revolution are both 'steam governors' of a system. Regulators of a system searching for solutions. That is my idea of the function of politics at least.

Yes, theoretically given time - like decades - the Palestinians (or Nazi Germany) would potentially wake up on their own, and use their democratic right to switch to what clearly works in the West. It's not that easy to throw off indoctrination though (although I note that there aren't many Polish communists).

Secondly; I'm not so sure that HAMAS won't hold genuine elections in the future? Where are you getting that information?

It was more a reference to Arafat being 7 years into his 5 year term at the time he died. Regardless, when I look at Hamas, "free and fair elections" is not what springs into my mind. Even the Soviets had "elections" in fact. They may well hold elections - and their Adolf Hitler may indeed win democratic elections. That misses my main point though. Nazi Germany democratically electing Hitler and gassing Jews is not quite what I have in mind as an end goal. Are you disputing the end goal, or my observation of what currently exists?
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Re: revolution!

Postby kerravon » 2011-02-12 00:43

problem, officer? wrote:Like yourself, I believe there is one of two ways this could go in the future.

A; we have an Iran situation. At first everybody's talking of democracy, openness. Then the religious factions grow in power by being the most vocal and thereby gain power, and install a authoritarian state. Unfortunately these types are almost always clueless about economics (otherwise they probably wouldn't be installing a strong centralised state in charge of the commanding heights of the economy, such as it is now in Iran).

B; we have a Turkey situation. Both secular and religious get on reasonably well, and both agree on opening up the economy to liberalisation.


My friend, an Iranian, believes A will occur. I'm not so sure, but I cannot tell yet.

In truth, although the 30 year reign of Mubarak was authoritarian, it wasn't quite as bad as some régime’s. Obviously, crony capitalism was going on, when he and his family own 70 Billion US dollars of capital, while the entire GDP of Egypt is just 170 odd Billion US dollars in total...

My main fear, is that Egyptians, because a lot of the protesters will be on the Left since there is a large academic middle class component to them, will try and install a government which veers away from market economics, and I think you know as well as I do where that will go.

This is all questions about economy. I'm actually willing to concede that. Obviously I support capitalism as much as you do, but if they want to install Chavez-like economic policies, so be it. It's going to have negligible impact on anyone else. Yes, in principle I don't think people should have to be subjected to "economic experiments". But that's the least of my worries.

I'm more worried about the persecution (even if short of actual gassing) of religious minorities (ie Copts), war with Israel (a genuine member of the free world), sponsoring or turning a blind eye to terrorism, human rights abuses even worse than occurred under Mubarak. That sort of thing. And an end to democracy that could otherwise have given the Egyptians the opportunity to change their minds after a decade or whatever.
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Re: revolution!

Postby problem, officer? » 2011-02-12 01:23

kerravon wrote:
problem, officer? wrote:Some thoughts on your initial post:

While I broadly agree with your main points

Cool! Sensible debate for a change!

I'm not so sure that Palestinians have made a mistake.

Surely you wouldn't want to be ruled by Arafat or some other terrorist? What if you have a non-terrorist point of view you'd like to express? Don't you want to be able to walk through the streets of Ramallah/Gaza with an Israeli flag if you choose? With absolute confidence that the good people in those places will defend your right of dissent?

Much of their opinion isn't inline at all with the other opposition party. In all political systems, there are universally two points of view, regardless of geographical location etc. The Palestinian version of the Left was having its way for a long time with the support of the West, and that was unsustainable.

The Palestinians are not currently split left/right on economic grounds. They are split on "religious means to exterminate Israel" vs "secular means to exterminate Israel". It's something similar to how Northern Ireland has been voting for decades.

i.e. there is a Left and there is a Right, always, like Yin and Yang. Neither should be suppressed, otherwise instead of democracy, we have revolution.

I'm not suggesting suppressing the equivalent of US Democrats! More de-Nazification.

It's worth remembering that democracy and revolution are both 'steam governors' of a system. Regulators of a system searching for solutions. That is my idea of the function of politics at least.

Yes, theoretically given time - like decades - the Palestinians (or Nazi Germany) would potentially wake up on their own, and use their democratic right to switch to what clearly works in the West. It's not that easy to throw off indoctrination though (although I note that there aren't many Polish communists).

Secondly; I'm not so sure that HAMAS won't hold genuine elections in the future? Where are you getting that information?

It was more a reference to Arafat being 7 years into his 5 year term at the time he died. Regardless, when I look at Hamas, "free and fair elections" is not what springs into my mind. Even the Soviets had "elections" in fact. They may well hold elections - and their Adolf Hitler may indeed win democratic elections. That misses my main point though. Nazi Germany democratically electing Hitler and gassing Jews is not quite what I have in mind as an end goal. Are you disputing the end goal, or my observation of what currently exists?


Bullet points:

1. I don't call HAMAS a terrorist organisation. They have been voted into power. As such they are now a government.
2. It is easy to tell you're thinking of Left/Right in American terms, Europeans have a different take on what is Left and what is Right. Similarly for the Palestinians. You may not recognize it easily, because they are in such a drastically different state of affairs, but I assure you that there is *always* a Left and Right in any system, no exceptions at any time.
3. Disputing your observation of what currently exists. I mean, a country could go to war, murder lots of people in the fashion of the Nazis, this doesn't necessarily mean that democracy stopped existing. It's more unlikely under a democracy, but it's certainly too far to go to think that it's impossible to occur under a democracy. It's not a cure for all mankind’s ills.

Note. I'm not anti-Israel, but you have to notice that blocking trade into ports isn't exactly a free market principal. They are unwilling to give autonomy, and restrict economic freedoms of the people in Gaza. From my point of view, either trade crosses borders, or soldiers do, it's literally that simple. First economic freedom, then political freedom, in that order.
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Re: revolution!

Postby problem, officer? » 2011-02-12 01:30

kerravon wrote:
problem, officer? wrote:Like yourself, I believe there is one of two ways this could go in the future.

A; we have an Iran situation. At first everybody's talking of democracy, openness. Then the religious factions grow in power by being the most vocal and thereby gain power, and install a authoritarian state. Unfortunately these types are almost always clueless about economics (otherwise they probably wouldn't be installing a strong centralised state in charge of the commanding heights of the economy, such as it is now in Iran).

B; we have a Turkey situation. Both secular and religious get on reasonably well, and both agree on opening up the economy to liberalisation.


My friend, an Iranian, believes A will occur. I'm not so sure, but I cannot tell yet.

In truth, although the 30 year reign of Mubarak was authoritarian, it wasn't quite as bad as some régime’s. Obviously, crony capitalism was going on, when he and his family own 70 Billion US dollars of capital, while the entire GDP of Egypt is just 170 odd Billion US dollars in total...

My main fear, is that Egyptians, because a lot of the protesters will be on the Left since there is a large academic middle class component to them, will try and install a government which veers away from market economics, and I think you know as well as I do where that will go.

This is all questions about economy. I'm actually willing to concede that. Obviously I support capitalism as much as you do, but if they want to install Chavez-like economic policies, so be it. It's going to have negligible impact on anyone else. Yes, in principle I don't think people should have to be subjected to "economic experiments". But that's the least of my worries.

I'm more worried about the persecution (even if short of actual gassing) of religious minorities (ie Copts), war with Israel (a genuine member of the free world), sponsoring or turning a blind eye to terrorism, human rights abuses even worse than occurred under Mubarak. That sort of thing. And an end to democracy that could otherwise have given the Egyptians the opportunity to change their minds after a decade or whatever.


I'm far more concerned about the economics than the politics. To me, the system is a stack of layers, with the economic system being a substrate to the political one.

We *cannot* say: oh, you are welcome Egypt, BUT you must not dislike Israel, BUT you must not support HAMAS. Their version of government is unlikely to be identical to ours, and we should just accept that. They are not at puppet to be given direction. As far as I'm concerned, that guy from the Nuclear Energy UN thing is no good, he's just a pawn of our governments. A lot of Egyptians are similarly wary of him for the same reason. I'm on board with you as far as human rights concerns go, I just think that human rights are more likely to be violated on a mass scale if you have a collectivist central government in power, that's why my concern for the openness of the market economy.
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