No One Has a Handle on Egypt’s Future – No One

Posted on February 2, 2011


Prophets abound in the Near and Middle East and also now on the web.  There are people of great learning and experience who have put forth definitive views on Egypt’s future.  The really popular articles are the ones that deal with the Muslim Brotherhood faction or others that tell us the current government  has hired Israeli death squads to assassinate the leaders of the opposition to ensure the outcome. [kawatherinfo.com]

Then there are the articles by the academics that point to historical revolutions as the basis for judging the outcome in Egypt:

If history is any guide (and it is, albeit a rather fickle and ambiguous one), we are still in the early stages. The French revolution went through a series of distinct phases for more than a decade (accelerated, to be sure, by war), before Bonaparte’s seizure of power. The Russian Revolution began with the March 1917 uprisings, followed by the Bolshevik coup in October and then a civil war. The Islamic republic of Iran did not leap full-blown from the brow of the Ayatollah Khomeini, but took several years to assume its basic form. Even the United States was a work-in-progress for years after victory in the revolutionary war. (Remember the Articles of Confederation, and the debate over the Constitution?). [Foreign Policy]

The most valuable part of the Harvard professor’s article cited above had to do with the toll that extended and escalated violence could take on the Egyptian psyche:

It will help a lot if the process of political contestation in Egypt avoids large-scale violence, because the onset of mass violence (whether by the regime and its supporters or by the anti-Mubarak groups), is going to fuel greater hatred and paranoia and tilt the process in more dangerous directions. For this reason, those who are urging a peaceful and orderly transition (including the Obama adminstration) are exactly right. And that’s why the reports I’m seeing about rising violence (a summary of which can be found on Andrew Sullivan’s The Daily Dish) is worrisome.

The rapidity with which change has occurred on the globe has markedly increased.  Certainly in this instance a change at the top cannot happen soon enough to help reduce conflicts in the streets.  No one of reason will be left standing in Egypt if the world leaders do not soon press Mubarak to leave and let his Vice President head the government and to help ensure elections within 2 months.

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