Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Egypt’s Army Flails About As Middle East Implodes. By Walter Russell Mead.

Egypt’s Army Flails About As Middle East Implodes. By Walter Russell Mead. Via Meadia, November 26, 2013.


The army is having difficulty finding a firm footing in the post-Muslim Brotherhood Egypt. Having lifted a nation-wide state of emergency more than a week ago, a rising tide of political assassinations, bombings, and general discontent has Egypt’s rulers flailing about and resorting to some of the same tactics that earned President Hosni Mubarak the enmity of the people. The New York Times:
“They have kept alive the idea of ‘enemies of the nation’ and the war on terror — the only glue keeping the bits and pieces together,” said Rabab el-Mahdi, a political science professor at the American University of Cairo, speaking of the interim government. “For any ruling alliance to be stable, it cannot depend on force or coercion. They lack any kind of ideological shield, except being against the Brotherhood.”
“They are not delivering,” Ms. Mahdi added, “and they will keep facing the dissent.”
The military regime in Egypt faces three enemies. There are the Islamists—a mix of angry supporters of the overthrown Muslim Brotherhood government and more radical types. There is the storm of economic problems that confront the country that fuel public anger against any government. And there is the endemic corruption and inefficiency of both the Egyptian state and the private sector that for decades has prospered more through political cronyism and payoffs than through real capitalism.
The combination is deadly. The political violence and instability keeps foreign investment and tourism at bay. The absence of investment and tourist income worsens the economic problem and increases public dissatisfaction with the government, helping the rebels. And the poor health of both the state and the private sector leadership just makes everything worse.
The military has faced rebellions and terrorists before and managed to restore some stability and growth, but this time the challenges are harder. With the Obama Administration washing its hands of the region as much as it can, with Europe strung out by recession and divisions at home, and with the Saudis increasingly preoccupied with the Iranian threat, Egypt isn’t getting the attention or help it would have had in earlier decades.
The old Arab order continues to melt down and so far, nothing viable has emerged to replace it. The whole world should be watching what happens in Egypt. The military regime does not have clean hands and it has only ugly solutions to offer, but if the military fails, then Egypt’s downward spiral is likely to continue. That will further destabilize an arab world that increasingly seems less threatened by radicalism than by a general breakdown of social order and coherence.

The Deal With Iran: A Turning Point Toward What? By Walter Russell Mead.

The Deal With Iran: A Turning Point, Yes, But Toward What? By Walter Russell Mead. Via Meadia, November 25, 2013.

Averted: The War Between Iran and America. By Juan Cole.

Averted: The War Between Iran and America. By Juan Cole. History News Network, November 25, 2013. Also at Informed Comment.

The Middle East warmly welcomes Iran deal, sees it as Step toward Denuclearizing Israel. By Juan Cole. Informed Comment, November 26, 2013.

Does the Road to Mideast Peace Run through Tehran? By Juan Cole. Informed Comment, November 25, 2013.

The Sadism of the Israeli Occupation. By Juan Cole. Informed Comment, October 21, 2007.

Israeli Atrocity on Gaza Civilians. By Juan Cole. Informed Comment, January 20, 2008.

Dear Diary: Juan Cole’s Bad Blog. By Efraim Karsh. The New Republic, April 25, 2005. Also at Campus Watch.

Juan Cole and the Decline of Middle East Studies. By Alexander H. Joffe. Middle East Quarterly, Winter 2006.

Juan Cole Peddles Hamas Propaganda. By Cinnamon Stillwell. Middle East Forum, January 24, 2008.

Juan Cole’s Jihad Against Israel. By Cinnamon Stillwell. Middle East Forum, July 9, 2008.

Juan Cole’s Curious Lexicon. By Noah Pollak. Commentary, October 22, 2007.

Juan Cole: Palestinians are Israel’s Slaves. By Noah Pollak. Commentary, January 21, 2008.

Miley Cyrus: Wrecking Ball.

Miley Cyrus: Wrecking Ball. Video. MileyCyrusVEVO, September 9, 2013. YouTube. Director’s Cut. American Music Awards.

Miley Cyrus and the State of American Culture. NJBR, August 27, 2013. With related articles and video of VMA performance.

Miley Cyrus to Wreak Havoc in the Holy Land. By Lauren Izso. NJBR, November 12, 2013. With We Can’t Stop video.

Robin Thicke: Blurred Lines.

Robin Thicke: Blurred Lines. Video. RobinThickeVEVO, March 20, 2013. YouTube. Unrated Version at VEVO and YouTube.

Obamacare’s Threat to Liberalism. By Franklin Foer.

Obamacare’s Threat to Liberalism. By Franklin Foer. The New Republic, November 24, 2013. From the December 9, 2013 issue. Also here.

Don’t Dare Call the Health Law “Redistribution.” By John Harwood. New York Times, November 23, 2013.