I think the "gambit" in Egypt is becoming more apparent.
Not only is Israel being pincered, but so is Saudi Arabia.
And yes, most of us need a score card. And we need a reminder about the sometimes hard-to-see, but very important distinctions between an authoritarian thug like Mubarak and the proto-communist facilitator like Mohammed ed Baradei.
First came a heads-up by Gamecock last Sunday in his pre-State of the Union piece about Tunisia's Lavender Revolution which was greeted a bit too enthusiastically by America's press. This is a good thing, we're told. (We'll see, let's hope.) Then came Hezbollah's 'takeover' in Lebanon, contemporaneous with Obama gratuitously rewarding one of Hezbollah's primary sponsors, Syria, by returning our ambassador after a six year shut-out precisely because of their sponsorship of terrorism. (Almost no media coverage on this.) Just as Syria helped engineer a terrorist-takeover of Lebanon, we rewarded them by pulling down their wanted poster at the post office. Per Barack Obama and Madame Chiang kai Clinton, they are no longer a rogue state.
This was a big, big two-fer for Islamo-fascism and terror, not to mention for anti-American stirrer's of strife of every stripe (say that three times), and, of course, for the worldwide anti-Israel lobby...who used to be called another name until academicians and European pols wanted to disguise their anti-Jewish resentments for the sake of courtliness. Germans were Jew-haters and baiters, but certainly not the History Department at Harvard.
So yes, Jews worldwide now abed do not sleep better with these unfolding events, for just as we here all dream of the great changes that will take place in 2012, Israel knows that the prospects for those changes taking place will make it all the more probable that a dark and sinister attempt will be made sooner, not later, against her existence.
And that America may not stand with Israel must also be thrown into the calculation.
Then on Israel's southern flank (and Saudi Arabia's western) the Egyptian Street erupted, and thanks to Strieff's excellent FP piece Egypt at the Abyss we got some insights as to what might really be going on there. Strieff raised good points about the legitimate use of force by the government, any government, when people, regardless of their motives, become destructive. His reasoning is sound, for we all know that no matter what the intent of the mobs assembled in Egypt, that the sponsors of mayhem will be in their midst, egging them, turning over cars, setting fires, and the television cameras and commentaries will not distinguish them. The noblest motives and the darkest intentions can be assembled together on those streets and we will not know which is is which. The objective of this revolt is as much us, and European opinion, as it is to strike fear in the heart of the Mubarak regime.
So, how do we know who to root for? Read on.
Then Sunday LaborUnionReport added still more context, that of possible US-State Department complicity in bringing about this attempted street coup, and the role of American and international labor (decidedly pro-Left, historically un-nationalistic, and unsympathetic to the democratic aspirations of everyone, everywhere.) The plot thickens.
What we know from Middle Eastern and European history is that provocateurs, both Islamo-fascists and communists, step into the breach when civil unrest turns so violent that the people will do anything to make it stop. This is a script being drawn up in almost all the European capitals now, and the US as well, so become acquainted with it. Trust me, when Iranians took to the streets in 1979 against the Shah, it was not their desire that, in 60 days, they would be wearing hijabs again. They wanted more freedom, not less. But more control and less freedom were precisely the intent of the thousands of mullahs who fanned those flames. So, 61 days later, most of the Iranian people regretted their hasty decision, their above-the-knee skirts locked away in a closet to be admired in front of a mirror only, behind shuddered windows for what, 31 years now, their captivity complete into a second generation, with children who've never even seen a Dial soap commercial.
El Baradei, Innocent Bureaucrat or Sleeper?
Then enter Mohammed el Baradei, an Egyptian, former head of the UN agency (the IAEA) that has created this ugly mess of a nuclear Iran, and possibly even brought on the 2003 invasion of Irag. He is almost an Obama clone, an academician of dubious distinction, or even provability, but belonging to an international body that is even easier to hide averageness in than Harvard Law School; the United Nations. He was a career UN-guy, no friend of the interests of the United States, or world peace (until Obama brought "change" to America) having torpedoed inspections for WMD's in Iraq, and a clear friend to the Left. But as a UN agency head, I repeat myself. He is about as Egyptian as Obama is black, and both carry in the glove compartment of their car the Nobel Peace Prize. Need I say more?
The problem, then, with el Baradei, is the same as we've all had with Obama since he first burst on the scene in 2007...is he a deep, dedicated Leftist, or just some poseur, a la Chance the Gardner, who just smooth-talked his way through a career among fawning toadies into a position of responsibility where he could do real damage?
In truth it doesn't matter, for prudence dictates we consider him the former, even if he is the latter....for both in this case seem to think rather benignly about the Muslim Brotherhood who spawned such luminaries as Osama bin Laden, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and others, and probably, if anyone wanted to look, trace their ancestry to Mohammad Amin al-Husayni, "Hitler's Arab", the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. They are bad people.
It really doesn't matter that el Baradei may be a useful-idiot facilitator (Mensheviki) or deep simpatico sleeper (Bolsheviki), the result to the interests of world peace would be the same.
My view is that he is more likely a proto-communist than an Islamist sleeper, which explains the deep interests of the American Left and unions have in his accession, believing, yet again, they can "control" the Islamo-fascists once they bring them into government. More like the Kennedy's in undoing the Diems in Vietnam that Carter cutting loose the Shah, I think the fix has been in for quite awhile, a "class tie" thing that will start going south almost as soon as el Baradei is sworn in.
Why we root for authoritarians from time to time.
Jeanne Kirkpatrick wrote a Foreign Affairs article early in the Reagan years, distinguishing between authoritarian regimes and totalitarian ones. I recommend you read it. (I met Ms Kirkpatrick in 1991. She asked me to put a little more relish on her hot dog.) What you need to know about that difference is this (these are all my words, not hers):
Authoritarians, while thuggish, can be peeled away, like an onion, and the people can achieve many of their "cultural democratic aspirations" and eventually gain enough power to overthrow the regime. Machiavelli hinted at this in his prescriptions to "The Prince" which i don't read as cynically as others might. His was advice was like the old Fram oil filter line "You can pay me now, or pay me later".
Totalitarians, on the other hand...and this applies as equally to Communists as the Islamo-fascists...set up totalitarian regimes that require 1-2 generations to bring down, and an equal number to recover...if there is anything left to recover from."
OK, Anyone but el Baradei.
No matter who he's pimping for, el Baradei's pimping totalitarianism, and the Egyptian people, even the street vendor who really doesn't understand freedom and just wishes he could get a more congenial "mafia" to collect that 10% each week, will lose. And they will know it very quickly, just as the people of Tehran did in '79. With control over the Suez, the rest of us will know shortly thereafter. It would be like TSA setting up screening lines at the end of your block.
So then who?
The key, as we know, is the Egyptian military. What we (you) don't know is they are at the mercy of the US government to some extent. You see, as part of the 1979 Treaty negotiated by Jimmy Carter between Anwar Sadat (Egypt) and Menachem Begin (Israel) there was a secret protocol of annual cash money. You didn't think Carter got that deal with charm, did you? (I knew inside people in those days.) That figure runs about 1.9 BILLION per year now, and we've been pretty honest in keeping our end of the deal the past 31 years.
The point is, that 1.9 billion represents a significant stimulus to the Egyptian private (read "licensed") economy, as much as 70% of the military budget, and 100% of the grease that keeps the corrupt Egyptian political engine running.
That's a whole lot of leverage and I have no doubt that either the WH or State has back-channeled to the military that el Baradei's "our man"....or else. Among generals especially, you can't imagine how existential this conundrum can be, for they know that el Baradei represents the quick rise of a Revolutionary Guard (read SS) inside the military that will forever subordinate them, and the eventual killing of the golden goose in either case.
The only way they can say "no" to the overtures being made today by the WH/State is to bet on a GOP victory in 2012 that will reinstate their paycheck and their preeminence.
We need to let them know this....now.
By calling Obama's bluff, anyone but el Baradei, the military can then put in their own man, and then wait out the next 20 months. And pray.
Democracy in Egypt will then be saved, only no will know it, or live to see it. But it will happen. I agree with with Ms Kirkpatrick on that.