Tuesday, February 01, 2011

If the minute hands ticks towards midnight.

Any regular reader of this blog knows that I have little use for Obama. However, the notion that Obama fumbled away Egypt is misguided in my opinion. Yes, he was caught flat-footed, and I have little confidence he'll do anything other than make a bad situation worse, but in the end it will be the Egyptians, and nobody else, that have fumbled away Egypt if it sinks into a theocracy. 

Above are two pictures from Phyllis Chesler's post The Steady Erosion of Women’s Rights in Egypt: A Photographic Story. They are both of Cairo University graduating classes, the top one is from 1978 while the bottom is from 2004. In the first they are dressed in secular fashions, in the second the women all wear hajibs.  Their dress is not something the West forced on them. Their dress is a cultural reaction to the failure of the Islam against the West. 

Whether forced or not, and let's remember that Saudi Arabia, the epicenter of Wahhabism, has to enforce Moslem piety with canes and police beatings, their dress is their embrace of political Islam. Further, that embrace is spreading as Arab push-back against it falters.

When 9/11 happened I feared a widespread war. I still harbor that fear. There was a long thread at Slashdot after the 9/11 attacks. Every one was wondering what the future held and to do moving forward. There was on post in the midst of it all that worried that we already knew the answer to our dilemma: we had reduced both Japan and Germany to rubble and misery, and we could do it again. What a horrible thought, to bath the 21st Century in even more blood than the 20th. Still, it is a potential end game if all goes pear-shaped.

It is a knife's edge the world has been balancing upon, as each side increasingly sees existential threat in the other. I hope we can maintain the balance, because the alternatives are ghastly.  

Then again, maybe I'm just being jittery. I do tend to brood and fear the worse. Perhaps we'll all come out of this crisis in better shape than we entered it. Perhaps the Egyptian populace will embrace the Iraqi rather than the Gazan model of Moslem democracy; and, who knows, but there may be people in Tehran tonight -- and I don't mean the Mullahs -- who are looking at Cairo and seeing an opportunity to reignite their struggles against their repression. After all, history never moves in a straight line.

I apologize for this somber post. If it is any consolation, I am not an Arab or Islamic expert -- I'm just a dilettante. Ah, I should have never gone back and revisited Wretchard's Three Conjectures this afternoon. 

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