Harrycool

February 12, 2011

Egyptians bring “The System” Down

Filed under: History, Politics — Tags: , , , , — HarryCool @ 6:37 pm

Egypt Revolution

These are historical times. The most significant and autocratic leader of the Arab world has been brought down in a span of two weeks without any specific trigger that impacted the people directly. The life in Egypt before the protests began was no different from what it was on any day for the past several years. The way one country’s revolution has impacted the people of another and now of several more in the region is a telling sign of how almost every Muslim is on the brink of revolt against their leaders’ inability to bring about prosperity, justice and dignity.

Egyptians were able to succeed with sheer will against a government which until two weeks ago had complete and unequivocal support of the most powerful country in the world. The success of this revolution is a convincing argument against those in Indian polity who conveniently escape responsibility by blaming the various separatist problems on support from other countries or a handy work of gangs of criminals (Maoists). A region’s affairs are run by the people who inhabit it. There always are opportunists and influencers, but eventually it is the locals who decide there own fate. If the Indian government really intends to govern with control and efficiency it must focus on bringing about prosperity to the people who belong to the region. The government, authoritarian or democratic must “earn” the support of its populace and not worry about fighting with the outside world. If Saddam and Mubarak ruled their countries for decades without any major issues, it has to do with the fact that they really had the support of its people. The people may have supported the governments reluctantly for lack of a better alternative but it definitely does not have anything to do with the autocratic rule of fist. Never mind the western minded concept of stability as a result of democracy; earning support and trust of its people is how even the kings in ancient times have ruled there kingdoms. Opportunists exist with opportunity, and there is a lot of opportunity in the Indian system. Unfortunately there isn’t much choice and that is why we are still struggling with our issues and lagging far behind the developed world in prosperity and development.

The way almost suddenly everyone in Egypt just got influenced by the success of Tunisia’s revolution looks as if some mind-altering virus has spread in the region and is now making its way to other Arab countries. This is the stuff Hollywood Sci-Fi movies are made of. This is also the stuff that my daydreams are made of. Unfortunately for me these are for my own country and not for some far away land that I remember exists only when I see “The Mummy” for the Nth time on Star Movies. However, I have also never felt this happy for any event outside of my own country before. I feel strange feeling happy about the revolution almost as if it happened in India. Maybe because I know this is the best I can get.

Protests in Egypt

With all the anti-Muslim propaganda, the scenes of hardliners protesting in Pakistan, the footage of Taliban executing people; never did I imagine ever in my life that masses of people chanting Allah O Akbar would sound pleasant. But then as I said in the beginning of this now garrulous blog, these are historical times. These are times of change.

Domino Effect of 2011

For the Americans, Ironically the “Domino Theory” coined by them during the Vietnam war more than four decades ago comes back to haunt them this time from the most unlikely of places. Americans could have predicted the fall of almost any government in the Arab world but not Egypt. From the perspective of long term future, if this domino effect succeeds unlike the one before which Americans were able to stop even though they lost the war, it will be the beginning of the creation of a third front for them. China is already quite ahead in solidifying itself as a second front.

From a historical perspective, the Arabs and Europeans controlled much of the world before the Industrial revolution left the former far behind. Many believe this change would sink the Arabs deeper into fundamentalism, but I believe it might and more likely do the opposite and yet for the worse for the rest of the world. Beliefs which are close to ones heart maybe controlled by authoritarian regimes but it is a free and jubilant environment that enables a willing change. This change will make the Arabs only stronger. However, the way this environment has been won, it is also likely to bring about extreme nationalism, and we all know what that could lead to. A friend of mine once pointed out to me that the world map has changed quite drastically almost every 100 years, it might very well be the beginning of the next change. The last change can be referred to 1991 with the collapse of USSR. I am definitely not going to be around by 2090s, so I guess I got nothing to worry about if I do make the prophecy that we are due for a major change by then and that this event in Egypt is a stepping stone. However, leaving the political map aside, the geographical one might change sooner on account of the global climate changes.

Sometimes I wonder why did Hindus not succeed as much as the Arabs or the Christians/Europeans in spite of having a richer, far ahead of time and more complex system of governance. The Indus Valley Civilization could not do what others could even though it had the edge in terms of modernity during its time. To put it simply it could be due to the over complexity of the caste system which divided the people and did not provide a single thread to bind a huge population. Hindus lost it because they tried to solve for everything. Too many freaking gods man. Muslims and Christians with their relatively simplistic belief system ended up being better. In the end the over intelligence, the analysis-paralysis killed us. We are taught in school that the British divided us and then ruled us. Well I think we were already divided. they just came and made the most out of it.

So going back to the Egypt revolution, where is my country in all this? Nowhere. India is just just too big and diverse for its own good. But today is not the day to be gloomy. Today is the day to celebrate the success of a side which has been the underdogs for far too long. For me by not being on any particular side, it is more fun to follow this event. It is like watching a wild card win a grand slam – thrilling. And thrilled I am indeed!

To finally end this feast of weekend prolixity here is a funny yet a curt reminder of what just happened – www.ismubarakstillpresident.com

February 7, 2011

Self Centered not Hypocrites

Filed under: Economics, History, Politics — Tags: , , , — HarryCool @ 4:12 pm

There is no righteousness in the decision to support or not support Mubarak just like there wasn’t and isn’t any in the policy towards Communism, Taliban, Korea, China, the Muslim world or whatever have you. It is all a matter of what is good for the interests of the Americans. I do not see anything wrong with that from an American perspective. It has always been about money. Right from the time immortal the desire to be prosperous (and not get screwed over in the process) has driven the matters of the world. Whether we are talking about the birth of religions, period before or after the industrial revolution, beginning and end of colonization, the world wars, communism or the conflicts with the Muslim world, each period’s events have economy as the driving factor – one way or another. Justifying these though with complete facts and analysis would be a book-length article

Americans are not hypocrites; they are simply self-centered. The rest of the world needs to be just the same and it is. No one supports or opposes America because of morality. While Americans try their best to manipulate the world, the world too acts in its own interests. Countries do take a stand against America wherever it is beneficial and can be got away with without screwing oneself. America has more or less a firm grip on the world and most of the time countries need to tow its line. They do and justify it with whatever BS they can come up with to make their governments survive. More often than not towing the line is beneficial for economic interests and so be it – forget the righteousness, it can be justified. After all there isn’t really any right or wrong. It is just a matter of which side of the line you are on.

In fact from a perspective of “the right thing to do”, if people in Iraq or Afghanistan have not toppled their respective governments that too would have been just and as per the will of the people. That is democracy. But then we all know, Americans didn’t wait that long. There was no righteousness here, just a self-centered relentless approach to pursue one’s own national interest. Had they got away by simply nuking the place(s), they’d very well have done that. Injustices are everywhere in abundance. Almost all nations of the African continent, Indian Sub-Continent, China and many countries in South East Asia – conditions large populations are living in are probably worse in these countries than what existed in Iraq under Saddam. Americans could have chosen any or all; but curing the problems of another was not the objective to begin with. Honestly, I really can’t fathom to the best of my ability what Americans actually gained by any of their conflicts post Vietnam but considering they continue to be the most powerful nation, I am sure whatever they are doing (or did) is right for their own good. Too bad for those on the receiving end. This is the nature of the game – Survival of the fittest.

After exhausting its own markets, the world trade is no more about selling the resources of one country in your own for a profit. It is more complicated and more interdependent. Trade still has to be aggressive for maximum profit but more tactful than ever before. The place one buys from also has your customers. Thanks to the large population of the developing world it is more lucrative too. In fact the prosperity of the developing world is better for the trade unlike before where one could manipulate a less prosperous and hence weaker producer. Now that producer is also the customer. The more prosperous Asia gets the better it is for the west. Caveat though is maintaining the upper hand; and this is where the real game is. Keep developing the developing world but maintain control and tilt of power.

What Hitler did was stupid and rash. Was it really an evil thing to do? He could have gone about the same objective in a different manner and killed exactly the same number of people albeit with a completely different historical opinion. Had he taken this same approach a few hundred years before his time, he’d have been called Alexander the Great.

Power to colonize any country of the world still exists with the very same countries but it just isn’t profitable anymore. The world is still very much ruled by the companies but the customers are no longer just in the developed world, they are everywhere and so the strategy is different but objectives just the same. Fighting a war no long gives supremacy and profit; and so No Nuking Nobody No More!

I really had to copy-paste the whole article below – written right to the point. This is the first time for me to read this point of view from a western writer for a western newspaper. Not surprisingly it is from a Non-American for a Non-American newspaper.

The West’s itch to meddle is no help. Leave Egypt along

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/feb/01/west-itch-meddle-leave-egypt-alone

We are hypocrites. We cheer on the brave Tunisians and Egyptians as they assert the revolutionary power of the street. Hands off, we cry. Let them do it their way. It has taken a long time, but let the people get the credit and be strengthened thereby.

We gave no such licence to the Iraqis or Afghans. We presumed it was our job to dictate how they should be governed. We accused their leaders of crimes and decided to punish them all, massacring thousands. We declared a "freedom agenda", and bombed them to bits.

Hosni Mubarak of Egypt is another Saddam Hussein, a secular dictator ruling a Muslim country with a rod of iron through a kleptocracy of cronies. Less wealthy than Saddam, he had to rely on American support, but he was only a little more subtle in his ruthlessness.

We are told that there were sound strategic reasons for supporting Mubarak – as there once were for supporting the Ba’athists, Assad of Syria and Saddam himself. There were similar reasons for backing the Ben Ali dynasty in Tunisia and "Britain’s good friend", the outrageous Colonel Gaddafi of Libya. All offered a supposed bulwark against Muslim extremism, a monster of which Americans and Britons are told to show a pathological, all-consuming and costly terror. Now, apparently, that no longer applies to Egypt.

In reality there is no such thing as an ethical foreign policy. There is something philosophical called ethics and something pragmatic called foreign policy. The art of diplomacy lies in navigating between them. The Blair-Bush "crusade for democracy" failed to do so. It was motivated by the most dangerous thing in politics, religious fervour.

What is happening in Egypt is plainly exhilarating to any lover of civil liberty. So too was Georgia’s rose revolution, Ukraine’s orange revolution, Burma’s saffron revolution, Iran’s green revolution and Tunisia’s jasmine revolution. Few people scanning the pastel shades of designer Trotskyism will remember which were successful and which not, but they made great television.

In each of these cases people burst out in visceral opposition to dictatorship. Driven beyond endurance, they took the last option available to autonomous individuals and marched down the street. The outcome depended on the security and self-confidence of the regime and its command of the army. It rarely depended on the approval or assistance of outsiders. Indeed the most effective weapon deployed against an uprising in a moment of national crisis is to call it a tool of foreign interests. This was certainly the case in Iran.

To western eyes, watching revolutions is re-enacting our own democratic origins. They remind us, sometimes smugly, that much of the world has yet to find the path to free elections, free speech and freedom of assembly. But they are also the political equivalents of earthquake or flood. Surely these people need our advice, our aid, at least our running commentary. The itch to intervene becomes irresistible.

Britain, with a history of ineptitude in handling Egypt, offered its pennyworth at the weekend. The Foreign Office said: "We don’t want to see Egypt fall into the hands of extremists … We want an orderly transition to free and fair elections, and a greater freedom and democracy in Egypt."

Who cares what Britain "wants" in Egypt? Egypt is not Britain’s responsibility any more, insofar as it ever was.

The US is in an equally absurd position. Having intervened for three decades, backing Mubarak with $1.5bn a year for armed forces alone, Washington has slithered from declaring him a "force for stability in the region" to "demanding an orderly transition of power". The message to all allies is that an American friend in need is a friend who will vanish at the first sign of trouble.

America could intervene, as Bush and Donald Rumsfeld might have done, with Blair cooing along behind. They could have told Mubarak to reform his regime but hang in there. Since Washington regards the Middle East as a powder keg about to explode in its backyard, it should not allow the Muslim Brotherhood to run Egypt. Bush would have told Egypt to get the "bad guys" off the street. What are tanks for? Why are those F-16s buzzing round the sky? Drop bombs like American and British pilots did on Serbs, Iraqis and Afghans. Retain control or the mad mullahs will be at all our throats. Western security is too important to be left to the mob.

Alternatively Washington might intervene on the other side. It might argue that Mubarak has shot his bolt and "engineer regime change". Don’t rely on rioters, half of them probably extremists. America could remove Mubarak as it removed Mullah Omar and Saddam Hussein, by force. Give Cairo a dose of the shock and awe. This is the policy supported elsewhere by Democrats and Republicans, Labour and Conservatives, that the west had a right and a duty to ordain regime change in Muslim countries. What was good for Afghans and Iraqis must be good for Egyptians – and perhaps even Iranians and Pakistanis.

Such interventions would be mad. Had the west not intervened in Iraq and Afghanistan, I bet the Iraqi people would by now have found a way to be rid of Saddam. They or the army would have done what the Tunisians and the Egyptians are doing, and at far less cost in lives, upheaval and chaos. As for the Taliban, as clients of Islamabad they would have come to Pakistani heel. The Afghans would be a threat to nobody but themselves.

What history will call the Wars of 9/11 have killed immeasurably more people than did 9/11 itself. They have cost western taxpayers billions that would have gone far to relieving global disease and famine. American and British governments, for reasons embedded in some imperial paranoia, grotesquely exaggerated the threat posed to them by the Muslim world. They embarked on a campaign of intervention, regime change and nation building far from their shores. The campaign has been inept and counterproductive, as well as in breach of the United Nations charter on self-determination.

Egypt, Tunisia, Iran and Pakistan are all Muslim states wrestling with agonies of self-determination. The west’s sole contribution has been to plunge two of their neighbours, Iraq and Afghanistan, into a bloodbath of insecurity and chaos. This is not our continent, these are not our countries and none of this is our business. We should leave them alone.

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