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Slow Motion Disaster
Egypt Isn’t Getting Better
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  • rheddles

    Egypt remains the key to what is left of the stability of the Middle East

    We’re in worse trouble than I thought. And this article doesn’t even go into the demographic and agricultural problems. Iran and Turkey are whistling past the grave yard.

  • WigWag

    Have you checked out the current account deficit in Turkey recently? It was awful even before the coup. See,

    http://www.tradingeconomics.com/turkey/current-account

    Have you checked out the rate of venereal disease in Iran? By some measures, over 50 percent of the sexually active population has been afflicted at one time or another. These diseases are responsible for Iran’s plunging fertility rates. This level of sexually transmitted diseases hasn’t been seen in the Western World since the Middle Ages.

    The economy is dreadful in Egypt and so is the level of human rights. Levels of violence are also abysmal. But is it any better in Iraq, Libya, Sudan or Syria? My guess is that most Egyptians are counting their lucky stars although the really lucky Arabs are the Arab citizens of Israel and the territories of Judea and Samaria. They should be on their hands and knees thanking their Jewish cousins.

    Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Stares are surely doing better but with the collapse of oil prices how long will that last. Egypt lives only because of Saudi and Gulf State subsidies. Unless oil prices go up, they might all fall like a house of cards.

    What about the supposed success stories of the Muslim world? States like Indonesia and Malaysia? In Indonesia, militants have taken to blowing up Christian churches. See,

    http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/suicide-bomber-blows-himself-up-in-indonesian-church-report

    In Malaysia, Christians can be arrested for referring to the deity as Allah. See,

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-01-21/malaysia-s-top-court-bans-catholic-use-of-allah-in-newspaper

    The reality is that it’s not just Egypt and it’s not just the Arab world; it’s the entire Muslim world that is coming apart at the seams. The sad reality is that there is not a single Muslim-majority nation that is prosperous, modern or free. That the collapse of this world is accompanied by paroxysms of violence should not be surprising.
    If there is a reason to believe that devout Islamic societies can thrive in the modern world, I would like to know what that reason is.

    But here’s the paradox; just as Islam and modernity seem incompatible in the east, secularism and modernity seem incompatible in the west.

    While the difficulties facing Europe and the west are less profound than the multiple crises of the Islamic world, the Western world is also increasingly moribund. Fertility rates are abysmal, economies are stagnant or worse, political instability abounds, entrepreneurship in Europe is dying and hope for the future is dying too.

    Attacks on pluralism and freedom of expression that were once hallmarks of the far right are now hallmarks of the far left. Worst of all, collectively the west seems to have adopted a defensive, crouching position and refuses to defend its own, history, values and heritage. To be frank, huge numbers of citizens of European nations, like millions of Americans seem to be embarrassed and ashamed of their own history.

    Only the oblivious could fail to realize that the increasingly fragile position of the west has corresponded with a massive rejection of Judeo-Christian values in favor of secular values.

    It’s amazing really, the Muslim world is being destroyed by Islam while the western world is bleeding to death because of a rejection of Christianity and Judaism.

    There was a time it seemed that the United States could escape that fate but this looks more doubtful than it once did.

    Literally, the only country that seems to be negotiating these treacherous waters successfully (at least so far) is a tiny country living in the midst of hundreds of millions of angry and aggrieved Muslims.

    Could it be that that particular country is enjoying protection of a supernatural kind?

    • f1b0nacc1

      As always, a delight to read…
      Let me offer an observation, one that I am not sure will be entirely popular here. Israel is the only civilized country in the region, and while hardly perfect, it has managed to maintain its embrace of civilized norms and standards even when they are not popular. This has been its ‘supernatural’ protection, and it will remain precisely as long as Israel continues this embrace.
      Let me suggest that perhaps this offers us a vision for the future…the civilized world will survive and prosper, the rest will not. Of course they will only prosper as long as they remain civilized, and this includes not letting the barbarians run the show.

      • Tom

        I’m not sure if I’d say the Israelis are the only civilized country in the region.
        Maybe just the most.

        • f1b0nacc1

          I am open to correction here…care to name another civilized country in the region?

          • Tom

            The Jordanians would probably qualify, although theirs is very fragile.

          • f1b0nacc1

            I stand corrected…Jordan (for the time being, at least as long as the Hashemites remain in power) certainly does qualify.

    • FriendlyGoat

      To your last question, Israel “could” be enjoying supernatural protection. More likely it is enjoying nuclear protection.

      • f1b0nacc1

        Not to quibble, but I believe WW’s reference is to Israel’s amazing capacity to avoid the many social, political, and economic failings that beset her neighbors. The presence of nuclear weapons hardly helps that along, else the USSR would have been a smashing success as a society.

        Even more to the point, Israel’s conventional capabilities far exceed those of their neighbors…even without nukes, there would be very little chance that her neighbors would represent much more than an annoyance. With that said, the nukes do represent a fine insurance policy against a strategic rainy day, but as yet the sun still shines brightly….

        • WigWag

          Israel has plenty of problems and as in the rest of the world lots of polarization. Large numbers of its Arab citizens are disaffected, there’s the constant threat of terrorism, Israelis put up with constant hectoring about Judea and Samaria from its moronic “allies” in the west and there’s plenty of alienation between the Haredi and the rest of the population. In short, Israel is a normal country with normal problems.

          What distinguishes Israel from the rest of the developed world and certainly from its Arab neighbors, is a sense of happiness, optimism and hope for the future.

          The evidence for this is plain; Israel has the highest fertility rate of any OECD country. And it’s not just the Haredi (who’s fertility rate approaches that of African countries) and Israeli Arabs; the fertility rate of secular Israelis is significantly above replacement value. See,

          http://www.jewishpolicycenter.org/2013/02/28/israel-demographic-miracle/

          It’s remarkable (and remarkably disquieting to Israel’s critics) that Israelis are amongst the happiest people in the world. Survey after survey proves it. See,

          http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-improbable-happiness-of-israelis-1462833235

          and,

          http://m.jpost.com/Israel-News/Where-did-Israel-place-on-the-2016-world-happiness-index-448101#article=6020Qzk3NTU4QkQ1NEVEMDJCOUYxMDAwMEFEMzE3QzRCQTU=

          How to account for this?

          I think religion has a lot to do with it. Israelis, unlike so many people in the west, have refused to abandon their religion. They don’t think Judaism is superstition, they are not embarrassed by Judaism, they don’t think the history of Judaism is repulsive and they don’t think science (at which Israelis excel) makes Judaism anachronistic.

          This doesn’t mean that all or even most Israelis are particularly observant, many are, many are not. Still over half of Israelis light sabbath candles every Friday evening. Even non-religious Israeli Jews have an intense affection for their religion.

          Secular people in the west can be very happy too. All the nation’s ahead of Israel on the “happiness” list are Scandanavian countries where most citizens think religion is a joke.

          But given the fact that Israelis face far more challenges than Scandanavian nations do, I think it’s almost certain that Israel’s attachment to Judaism explains the country’s remarkable success.

          One last thing; Europeans despise Israel’s attachment to religion and they despise Israel because Israel reminds them (incorrectly) of their own imperial past. They are embarrassed by that past; in fact they revile it. That Israelis don’t share their sense of guilt is something they find intolerable.

          The Israelis see it differently; by merely living in Israel they are fulfilling a commandment authored by God. The Arabs may not want them there and the Europeans might not either. But God wants them there; who do you suppose they should listen to?

          There’s a famous bumper sticker Professor Mead once mentioned in one of his posts. It goes like this,

          Friedrich Nietzsche: “God is dead”

          God: “Who’s laughing now?”

          I think there’s a good chance Israelis will have the last laugh; at least that’s what I’m hoping.

          As for the Muslim world and the Europeans, they’re committing demographic suicide. All we can do is hope that their suicide will be as painless as possible. For them and for us.

          • f1b0nacc1

            Actually we completely agree, well….not quite. Israel is not a ‘normal’ country, at least not by today’s standards. They are making an attempt to balance many of the West’s traditions (faith, nationalism, honor, etc.) with some of its postmodern affectations (a quick trip to Tel Aviv will reveal that…sigh…), and while it suffers from some tensions as a result, it is by and large succeeding. That USED TO be normal, nowadays it is extraordinary.
            With that (very minor) quibble, we are in agreement. Your observation of the centrality of Israel’s spiritual strength is well taken…I have some (very limited, very minor) contact with several of the higher ups there, and one thing I can say without any serious fear of contradiction is that they are strongly linked to their Judaism in a way that American politicians would find deeply uncomfortable.

          • Anthony

            Refreshing.

        • FriendlyGoat

          Okay, no quibble. Just to be clear, I’m not one who “knocks” Israel in any way. It is our best friend in the region—-period. And it definitely exhibits progress and modernity beyond anything else in that area.
          I do believe Islam is SERIOUSLY holding the other countries back. I don’t believe Judaism (specifically) is the only or main factor advancing Israel. From what I hear, there are a lot of basic atheists there as well as many devout Jews and some (but not a majority) Muslims.
          One of the things I find problematic about speaking of Israel being under supernatural protection is that (too many) Christians see the prophetic future of Israel as advancing some pre-ordained playout of Christian-oriented end times events which are not to favorable to Israel itself. There is some nuttiness to that IMHO and I prefer to think that Israel is protected by its own good sense and its alliance with America. It was educational for me to learn that in 2015 the Jewish people did their own world census and estimated that they have about six million in Israel, nearly six million in the USA and something over two million everywhere else put together. That rather speaks for itself.

          • f1b0nacc1

            By and large we agree, though these days I think that Israel’s alliance with the US is rapidly becoming (not there yet) more of a burden than a benefit. Perhaps after this year that will change, but I wonder…

          • FriendlyGoat

            We might feel less of a burden if we quit trying to broker a peace deal between Israel and its neighboring “Palestinian” territories. First of all, the “Palestinian” issue has never been the main beef from Islam toward the West (as some have wrongly imagined). Secondly, Israel itself has no intention of doing a two-state deal or a one-state deal or anything other than expansion and/or security measures.
            Maybe our position all along should have been that we expect the neighboring Islamic countries to take care of the “Palestinians”—-something which should have happened sixty-five years ago.

            Obama was correct to question the intent of Netanyahu. Every president should—-so that we don’t spin wheels trying to dream up some Western plan that Israel feels a need to dance around with ambiguities.

          • f1b0nacc1

            Israel is our ally, and (for the most part…..certainly there have been exceptions, which we should object to) has been a valuable asset to us. Obama has treated them appallingly, and allowed his visceral dislike of Bibi (no shame there, he is an easy man to dislike….) to color whatever judgement he might have had (I am being generous) regarding Israel, and stir him to behave atrociously towards them.

            As for Bibi’s intent, the Israelis aren’t going to hand over essential strategic assets to avowed enemies without some iron-clad guarantee of security, something that Obama has gone out of his way to prove that they (the Israelis) cannot trust America to deliver. While one can offer any number of arguments pro and con regarding the Iran nuclear deal, the damage that it has done to our relationship with Israel (something that will end up costing America dearly) is more than enough reason to reject it. Obama’s overweening narcissism (and I say this as someone whose ego shows up on satellite photographs!) is going to leave an ugly mess in the Middle East that will not easily be cleared up for a very long time

          • FriendlyGoat

            1) If Netanyahu makes himself easy to dislike, then let’s dislike him.
            He either is forthcoming on the international stage with other leaders including Obama or he isn’t. If he isn’t, tell him he is a jerk and suggest to Israel to elect better. We have to expect “friendship” to go both ways. We do not have to be “controlled” by either Israel or an Israeli leader.
            2) There is no “cost” to America for a damaged relationship with Israel unless you are suggesting that Israel might prefer Russia to America.
            3) The ugly mess in the Middle East is Islam. It is not Obama. Your “Bibi” thought he would just roll Obama and he met proper resistance for that approach.

          • f1b0nacc1

            1) Bibi is a typical Israeli male, especially typical of the senior political and military elite. Intelligent, capable, and incredibly blunt and arrogant. There isn’t some sort of capable humble beta male waiting int he wings of Israeli politics, even the women are like this. The choices that the Israelis make for their leadership are THEIR choices, not ours. If they are truly our allies (and we theirs) we might regret those choices, but it must end there. Doing what Obama did (interfering in Israeli politics, using federal funds to support other candidates) crossed the line. Bibi was (correctly) castigated for his behavior when he visited the US, and his thinly veiled attempts to harm Obama’s standing…why is it acceptable for Obama to do much worse.

            2) The Israelis provide the US with a very large amount of military intelligence, as well as tactical support for numerous operations, black and otherwise. They are large consumers of our military hardware, and have provided the fruits of their research to us. If you don’t think that alienating them would have huge negative consequences for the US, you are truly a fool. Finally…yes, they could easily turn to Putin (who actually seems to have a soft spot for them), and put us in a very, very difficult situation.

            3) Without question the primary mess in the MENA is Islam, but Obama, who refuses to recognize this, appeases our enemies, undercuts the few allies we have, and spends more time trying to satisfy his insatiable need for adulation at the cost of American interests massively complicates and exacerbates the problem Keep in mind that I am not a believer in intervention beyond dealing with immediate threats to our interests (I have little interest in the juvenile posturings that WRM seems so fond of in Syria, for instance), and find Obama’s choice to involve us in tactically absurd interventions (airstrikes without ground forces are ultimately futile, for instance) to be emblematic of what he does wrong in making things worse. Allowing himself to get into a pissing contest with a vital ally over personality differences is precisely the sort of thing that the Donks would be outraged by if it was suggested that DJT was doing it, yet they turn the other way (or rationalize it) when Obama does it.

          • FriendlyGoat

            If the Jewish people of Israel decide to prefer Russia to America—–where nearly the other half of the Jewish people are—–then there would be a leadership problem in Israel, no? We are supposed to be loyal to Israel and it is supposed to be loyal to us FOR THE SAME REASONS. After all, there is something to “dance with the one that brought ya”.
            As for “blunt and arrogant” (your words, not mine), those are not necessarily virtues.

          • f1b0nacc1

            If the Israeli government finds Russia a more reliable partner than they do the US, that is certainly a problem for us, though it might be one for the Israelis as well. It is all about trade-offs, and if we are considered to be an untrustworthy partner (and Israel is hardly the only one of our erstwhile allies to find this), then we clearly have the bigger problem.

            Allies are supposed to be loyal to each other, but that loyalty is supposed to be rooted in mutual self interest (see Disraeli and Palmerston on that) as well as trust, and it is hard to imagine how any ally of the US in the last 8 years could see a greater level of trust in us or our behavior.

            I didn’t argue that blunt and arrogant are virtues, I merely said that he was blunt and arrogant as are most Israelis. Acknowledging reality is different than praising it.

    • 4Justice

      I have just spent hours feeling privileged to read your comment history on a variety of topics.
      It was a joy to read and think and question, because your comments inspire the reader to do exactly that.
      Thank you for sharing your important comments.

      • WigWag

        Thank you for the kind words.

  • זאב ברנזון

    Egyptian collapse is inevitable it is just a question of when
    no nation can survive by taking foreign loans to buy foreign grain

    nothing can be done Egypt is ” too big to save ”
    i bet the contingency plan ” reverse pyramid ” to secure the water ways is planed and practiced by the idf daily

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