31. January 2011 · Comments Off on Forty Centuries Look Down · Categories: Fun With Islam, General, My Head Hurts, Politics, World

So – been following what happened/happening in Tunisia, and now in Egypt . . . that’ll be one for the history books, I’m sure. Egypt much more than Tunisia, I’m afraid, what with the Suez Canal and all. Tunisia’s a nice country and all, lovely Roman relics, coastal aspect on the Mediterranean, ancient culture, spectacular if arid scenery and I am sure the people there want and deserve the best they may get for themselves, but Egypt – oh, my, talking about balancing on a knife edge, when it comes to throwing out an entrenched and despotic dictatorship. Egypt’s got all of our attention, whereas Tunisia seems to have had only that of those aficionados of drastic unrest in exotic foreign countries. But access to the Suez Canal does tend to draw a higher level of interest, not to say concern. With umpty-ump percentage of world-wide ship traffic going through the Canal – the Suez Canal, not the Panama – that will tend to make political administrations sit up and pay attention. It may even teach Chris Matthews a little geography. The Suez is still a strategic choke-point, and that has everyone’s attention. With Mubarak Junior and his kithn’kin and various prominent members of Egyptian high society all departing at speed, extraneous Americans also being urged to depart at similar speed, the Egyptian military going over to the protestors, cutting off internet access, and citizens of every rank and stripe turning out into the streets . . . well, at least as near as we can make out from this distance and through the filter of time, distance and the various credentialed and un-credentialed news media . . . something momentous is happening, will happen, or might even have happened already. (Oh, wow- I see that our old camera-hound Dr. Zahi Hawass has gotten in front of them once again . . . Jees on a cracker, is the most dangerous place in Egypt that between Dr. Hawass and the nearest news camera? Up until this week it probably was . . .)

So far in this crisis, the absolutely funniest thing that I read on Open Salon was this comment “Been picking up hints on NPR of this broiling Mideast situation. Thank goodness Obama is president. Can’t begin to imagine the scenario we’d be facing with McCain.” on a post by this OS writer who otherwise is relatively sane – although the Stellaaaaaaa that she refers everyone to for further education is . . . well, why bother with her if you have Rantburg at your fingertips. Nice people at OS, many of them. High percentage of bat-shit crazy libs, though. Have to take them one by one, and refrain from pushing their particular buttons and they’re OK. There are also more libertarians and veiled conservatives among them than is apparent at first glance from the front page. Anyway, where was I? Oh, yes – Egypt.

Sorry, the pooch is probably screwed now matter what we – that is the Obama Administration does or doesn’t do. Whatever happens, we will be blamed, solo and chorus. Support Mubarak, or support the right of the Egyptian people to protest, or support whatever leaders eventually emerge, knowing that whatever shakes out, the best-organized faction will probably come out on top. Odds seem to be on the Muslim Brotherhood organization, much as the Ayatollah Khomeini came out on top in that little ruckus in Iran thirty years ago. In that case, the good side to that outcome is that the Egyptians are guaranteed to get good and tired of a strict theocratic rule, just as the Iranians have. Downside – it will take thirty years. In the mean time, the Egyptian tourism industry will be totally napalmed, ship traffic through the Suez Canal ditto, and the odds of a mob of protesters attempting to take over the American Embassy and holding all the staff hostage seem to be pretty good. Second verse, same as the first, just a little bit louder and a little bit worse. On the up side? Can’t think of one, actually . . . except that Jimmy Carter can heave a sigh of relief; there exists now an administration with the potential for karking up an international crisis even more disastrously than the Tehran embassy-hostage affair.

Depressed enough already? You’re welcome – I live to serve.

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