Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Crazy as a Fox ?

(warning...A rambling tirade brought to you by too much BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera, Twitter, WikiLeaks and WikiPedia. Not to mention a lack of sleep because of the fact that back to back revolutions take a lot out of an armchair observer)

I've been following the events in Egypt for the last week and am a bit troubled, confused and in fact, worried that maybe, just maybe, Mubarak is going to last through the contest between he and his country buying himself enough time to put the pieces in place for a continuation of the status quo.

You see, the way I see it unfolding is in one of two ways and they both hinge on the actions of the Egyptian Army.

Option 1
Under increasing popular pressure and with assurances of a continued relationship and support from the USA and the west, the Egyptian Army forces Mubarak to step down. Basically doing to him what they did in 1952 to King Farouk. Force a resignation of the dictator, this time re-establish the republic and call for free elections.

The Egyptian people have the time, the momentum and the desire to form a truly representative government. Over time the world governments learn to deal with the newly represented Egyptian Nation as equals and not just geo-political tools to further their own interests. 

Option 2
In the absence of concrete western assurances but not necessarily fully supporting Mubarak, the Army does nothing. The Army doesn't depose Mubarak but doesn't crack down on the protesters either, thus creating a stalemate. Egypt which has been effectively shut down for the last week is literally starved into returning back to their lives. This would be the end of the "revolution" and a waiting game would begin to see if any of Mubarak's promised reforms actually get enacted, including his leaving office in September and the inclusion of Opposition Parties into the power structure.

Remember one thing though, regardless of which Option (if any) actually transpires, people the world over are watching closely. There are quite a few countries, not just in the region, with oppressive regimes and people who are getting sick of living under the yoke of some strongman who doesn't represent their interests. Whatever results from events in Egypt will serve as a lesson to other fledgling democracy / freedom movements. 

Of these two options, it's clear that the Egyptian people would prefer Option #1, most western governments would prefer Option 2. I KNOW Israel would prefer #2 because they think that this gaurantees their security. Problem is, I think that Option 2 actually leads to......

Option 2 (The Aftermath)
The people return to work, warily keeping an eye on Mubarak who, for the first few months makes all the right moves..Publicly at least. The western governments, the UN and everyone else within earshot of a microphone and camera praises the Egyptian people and Mubarak for their "Embrace of Democracy". Then September 2011 comes around and the promised free elections are anything but. The people are cheated once again but the regime has had 7 months to get it's plans in order and any new protests are crushed without mercy. This leads to all out civil war only this time, what started out in late January as a mostly secular and peaceful revolution becomes a very radicalized uprising and this time, the people are so sick of lies, politics and politicians that the more radical or fringe elements appear as attractive alternatives.

Israel is now seriously threatened..Directly. The west has lost any remaining influence and goodwill, not only in Egypt itself or the region but the world over. People everywhere are more polarized than they were in January 2011 and the body count rises on all sides. 

Isn't it time for countries to actually practice what they preach ? There's a saying that insanity is defined as "doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results". When will the world recognize that the game of Real-Politik that our governments have been playing for 60 years is not improving things and maybe it's time to try something new. 

Six days of of protest in Egypt has done more for freedom and democracy in that country than 30+ years of diplomatic / government efforts. A lesson I hope is not lost on others, myself included.


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