03 February 2011

Further comments

1) If Obama comes out soon with a more clear support of the demonstrators, Mubarak will probably fall. If not, I'm fairly sure he can wait it out, though it will be a weakened regime with democratic reforms taking place.

This is not an endorsement of dictatorial rule by a one-party client state.

2) Upon further reflection and study of its role in Egypt, it is really foolish to see the Muslim Brotherhood as a threat. So far as I can tell, they function sort of like the religious right (or maybe more like the Catholics or Mormons), operating charities, hospitals, and other social services in a nation-state that doesn't offer these with sufficient access to its public. They do not engage in or support terrorism, and they are basically a social-political movement with a religious overtone. As annoying as such people are in their worldviews at times, they do tend to try to do good things in a society (though they will be a little more prone to go astray on the whole "other" aspects of a society). It's possible they will take a harder pro-Palestinian stance and do things like send aid through to Gaza officially rather than simply wink at the blockade. But I very much doubt this silly notion that if they were to be the sole power broker in a post-Mubarak age that they would risk billions of dollars of American foreign aid by adopting explicitly anti-American stances, offering state support for terrorism, or even seriously be interested in attacking Israel directly (or even indirectly, such as by ignoring the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel). That question doesn't seem to be as pressing as strengthening the nation-state of Egypt and the plight of its people economically and socially.

What actually seems to distress some Americans is that they are not Christians and thus (somehow) constitute some sort of threat. If this is your problem with the situation in Egypt, I'm not sure how this threat exists in reality, even to the Egyptian Coptic church, much less to Americans. I don't see the Muslim Brotherhood as adopting some sort of hard line fanatical stance that precludes the existence of other faiths or even other interpretations of Islam, and certainly not as the second coming of an Islamic caliphate. I see them more as those annoying people who knock on doors to get people to come to their church, or who run soup kitchens.

They look a lot more like the AKP in Turkey, or even the GOP here, than al Qaeda or the Iranian mullahs in Khameini's pocket or Hamas or Hezbollah.
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