Thursday, February 10, 2011
The Problem With Egypt
Maybe we should back him - maybe we shouldn't.
Maybe we should back those protesting - maybe we shouldn't.
While America likes to think of itself as being the World's Police - America is seen by much of the world in much the same way American citizens view their local police departments. (It all depends on how one benefits or is abused by those entrusted with power.)
Mubarak was seen as a friend to the West.
Which is to say; Mubarak allowed the West to use his country in ways which benefited the West, often at the expense of those in the rest of the world.
America's wealth often came at the cost of another country's (or culture's) poverty.
For the past couple of weeks, many young, educated and newly informed Egyptian citizens realized that someone else was eating their piece of the pie while they were going hungry.
The Internet allowed the better informed younger generation to see beyond the state controlled propaganda being spun by those who ruled their country.
And as memes go - this one seems to be transforming itself faster than the speed of a microchip.
The problem is, we can neither back Mubarak nor the protesters.
If we back our 'friend', we are seen as being more to blame than Mubarak himself.
Mubarak would only be a puppet while those making our policies would be seen as the ultimate evil puppet masters.
If we back the protesters, their efforts would be seen as an instrument of the West.
Their revolt would be seen as Washington-made and inspired.
By taking a side we dilute the value of any final outcome.
Regardless of ones race, it seemed that every guy found these girls to be attractive.
I also had another clique of girls as friends who hated the "Joy Luck Club" (As we called their friends and them).
One night, one of the girls from this group had heard that one of the sisters had hooked-up with her boyfriend.
For days, the girls from this clique talked a lot of ish about the sisters and threatened to beat the ish out of the Joy Luck Club on sight.
This all came to a head when three or four girls from this clique spotted the two sisters walking up to a nightclub.
My boy 'Turtle' saw this and ran to tell me what was about to transpire.
"Oh, hell no." I said.
"Get to the sisters before those girls and tell them that I need to talk to them... RIGHT NOW.", I continued.
Turtle ran to the sisters and said as I had said in an effort to remove the sisters from harms way.
As my talking to these sisters seemed to be more important than beating the girls down on this day, the clique moved aside to allow the sisters through their ambush.
I didn't say a word to either group but enough was said by my actions.
The clique did not wish to offend me so they never brought the problem up again.
The sisters were thankful for allowing them so save face so they never mentioned this problem again.
So what does this have to do with Egypt?
We cannot tell Mubarak to step down - he would lose face.
We cannot support the protesters because we would be betraying a friend.
In the case of Egypt - our best move might be to allow the Egyptians to solve their problems themselves.
But this leads to another problem.
If Mubarak were to leave today - who would run the country?
Who would make sure that America still benefits from their country's new 'autonomy'?
An angry mob?
If Mubarak is allowed to transform the country himself - wouldn't this allow him to save face?
(Every leader worries about his legacy - no one want to be thought of as his country's Jimmy Carter.)
For America to be actively involved in the transformation of Egypt would be a lose/lose.
In this case, maybe we should "Beware of Foreign Entanglements.".