The Sticks and Stones Theorem
Published on: August 2, 2013
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  • WigWag

    “The Egyptian military knows what it’s doing, or at least it thinks it does. It thinks that by showing strength at this early stage in what is bound to be a protracted conflict within Egyptian society, it reduces the likelihood of a civil war and massive domestic violence. Al-Sisi and company believe that if they seem weak now in the face of protests, it will encourage the Brotherhood and the Al-Nour Party salafis to take the next steps and organize for an insurgency.” (Adam Garfinkle)

    And besides, the Saudis and the Gulf Arabs just paid the Egyptian military $12 billion to put its foot on the neck of the Muslim Brotherhood. Given the fact that its this $12 billion that stands between Egypt and mass starvation, isn’t the military acting wisely by upholding its half of the bargain?

    In the United States we put our faith in, “We hold these truths to be self-evident…” The Muslim Brothers put their faith in “…dying in the way of Allah is the highest of our aspirations.”

    Why exactly should Americans care if the Egyptian military at the behest of the Saudis help the Brothers achieve their fondest wish?

    • Nicely said. Yes, you’re right about the foreign money. Obviously, in a blog post I don’t have room to mention every factor. And I think the military would think the way it does even without that money.

  • K2K

    The Saudis are now subsidizing the two biggest, and best, non-Arab Sunni militaries: Egypt and Pakistan, even though Saudi/GCC subsidies to Pakistan are not widely publicized.

    There is one huge difference between Pakistan and Egypt. Egypt has had a national identity for 5,000 years, most of which pre-dated Islam. Another key difference is Egypt is part of Mediterranean civilization, and with a very different colonial history than Pakistan, which is currently my #1 example of bad British map-making.

    I do wonder if Kerry ever studies history.

    If he does, I hope he has now read William Dalrymple’s “Return of a King”, the most fascinating history of the First Anglo-Afghan War that I have yet to read, and just finished a few days ago, which is why Pakistan just moved to my #1 spot of bad British mapmaking, ahead of Sudan.

    I first read Olaf Caroe’s 1957 anthropological history, “The Pathans”, ten years ago. Now about to re-read it, to find clues if the Pashtuns/Afghanistan really do still want Peshawar back.

    It is unfortunate that too many think illiteracy = ignorance when the illiterate have long histories that they do pass on, generation after generation.

    Apologies for rambling. Always a pleasure to read Mr. Garfinkle, and WigWag.

    • Sorry, but Egypt is too an Arab state. Yes, the Egyptians are special and their dialect of Arabic has lots of words unique to Egypt. But: they speak Arabic; they headquarter the Arab League; and if you ask an Egyptian if he or she is an Arab, unless they are just trying to irritate you they will say “sure.”

      Does Kerry study history? I don’t know, but let’s just put it this way: He ain’t no intellectual (which is not all bad, but……).

  • Peter

    The root of the word diplomat is two-faced, and this post, if nothing else, validates that description.

    You have to wonder if those in diplomatic service, after spending years of lying and twisting of words, can distinguish reality from the hot air that emanates from them and surrounds them.

    I fear not, and that may well be the cause of much of the world’s problems.

    • Serious diplomats know the difference, and being able to dissimulate is critical to effective diplomacy. Lies should never be wasted on the inconsequential, of course, for they are too precious. In this, the 500th anniversary of the publication of The Prince, I suggest you read chapter 15. It might cure your naiveté.

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