Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Understanding Egypt

Anyone who is keeping an eye on the situation in Egypt needs to read an article that appeared a couple of days ago in the Sunday edition of the San Francisco Chronicle.  Fortunately, it isn't behind their new paywall.  The author is Frank Viviano, a career Egypt correspondent.  The article is:

How social media led U.S. astray in Egypt

Speaking from his 30 years of experience as a regular Egypt correspondent, Mr. Viviano makes points about Egypt, and about the coverage of the "revolution," that I haven't read anywhere else, including in the Economist; and they're important points.  The situation in Egypt isn't what we think it is; it may be much worse than we think it is.  Read the article.

For that matter, there isn't much the U.S. can do about Egypt, any more than we can "do anything" about Syria.  What would we do, send in the 101st Airborne?  I fully support President Obama's hesitation to take "firm action" there - what firm action? 

P.S. A Letter to the Editor in today's Chronicle, also supporting Obama's Egypt stance, read, "Since when is the United States policeman to the world?"  I read that and thought, since about 1947, as a matter of fact.  (Do these people actually not understand 20th century history??)


  1. The real threat to America's economic security today is China.

    The challenge to our national well-being no longer presents itself in military terms. We have no immediate interests in any single country in the Near and Middle East. Certainly nothing on the scale of China.

    China has outmaneuvered us and seized the initiative, out-producing us and throwing us into debt (much of which they hold). Our manufacturing infrastructure has been dismantled, and we can no longer "afford" to conduct open-ended police actions around the world.

    Our attention now should be directed towards regaining the economic upper-hand. If our nation doesn't prosper, we will simply become a second-rate power--unable either to defend ourselves, or our interests elsewhere.

    Spending money we no longer have, throwing armies and materiel into sink-holes like Syria or Egypt will yield nothing--just as in Iraq and Afghanistan, where things will soon return to the chaotic disruption that existed before we "intervened."

    There's a huge scale humanitarian disaster going on in these places, and we might lend a hand with first aid. But beyond that, we must attend to our own needs first. Going in and shooting people accomplishes nothing.

  2. As you can probably tell, I agree completely that going in and shooting people accomplishes nothing. I agree with you on China; but I was especially interested in this particular post on Egypt because of the background on social media coverage.