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Spengler

Egypt’s Bankruptcy and America’s Foreign Policy Failure

March 31st, 2013 - 7:19 am

“Short of Money, Egypt Sees Crisis on Fuel and Food” is the headline of David Kirkpatrick’s dispatch running the length of the right-hand column of Sunday’s New York Times. Two years after Egypt’s impending economic disaster became apparent, it leads the liberal newspaper of broken record. As Kirkpatrick belatedly observes:

Egypt is running out of the hard currency it needs for fuel imports. The shortage is raising questions about Egypt’s ability to keep importing wheat that is essential to subsidized bread supplies, stirring fears of an economic catastrophe at a time when the government is already struggling to quell violent protests by its political rivals. Farmers already lack fuel for the pumps that irrigate their fields, and they say they fear they will not have enough for the tractors to reap their wheat next month before it rots in the fields.

The American foreign policy consensus is riding a dying horse. The Obama administration’s hopes for Muslim democracy have run up against reality, along with the illusions of the Republican mainstream. As recently as March 8, Charles Krauthammer, the pundit who gave the name “democratic realism” to these illusions, argued that “we should not cut off aid to Egypt,” that “we should remain engaged,” because “there is nothing inevitable about [Muslim] Brotherhood rule.”  That is true, strictly speaking. Egypt’s military might seize power, but that’s not what Krauthammer meant. The trouble is that Washington is still arguing about the disposition of deck chairs on a Saharan version of the Titanic. The question is, rather: How do we deal with a Middle East in which social chaos becomes the new normal?

As I predicted last September and on several subsequent occasions, the Obama administration’s silver bullet–a $4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund in exchange for tax hikes and budget cuts–never will be fired. Kirkpatrick:

United States officials warn of disaster unless Egypt soon carries out a package of tax increases and subsidy cuts tied to a $4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund. That would persuade other lenders that Egypt was creditworthy enough to obtain billions more in additional loans needed to meet its yawning deficit. But fearful of a public reaction at a time when the streets are already near boiling, the government of President Mohamed Morsi has so far resisted an I.M.F. deal, insisting that Egypt can wait.

Egypt is not going into an economic and social tailspin because the government of Hosni Mubarak fell in 2011; the government of Hosni Mubarak fell because Egypt already was headed into an economic and social tailspin. We stand not before a glorious era of Muslim democracy, comparable to the revival of Eastern Europe after the fall of Communism, but a prolonged period of chaos. We cannot prevent this; at best we can limit the damage. The problem with the Republican Party isn’t that our generals are stupid or malicious. On the contrary: with great intelligence and good will, they have been fighting the last war rather than the new kind of war that confronts us. A war arising from civilizational failure is a circumstance that never entered their imagination.

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America continues to import people long after the West has been won, simply because we've always done that. Egypt continues to have babies like there's no tomorrow and so, there may not be. At least not one that baby will want to grow up in.

The West will further bankrupt itself putting out Third World fires and importing the refugees. A collapse will gradually become semi-global because, like bad parents, we don't hold idiot children responsible for what they do or insist on a discipline that will cure their ills. Instead we share our productivity with the non-productive, and it's only a matter of time before the lifeboat becomes full.

Meanwhile, countries that truly don't care about anyone else, like China, Russia, Brazil and India, will wax fat on the people they don't import, and the national treasure they don't spend.
1 year ago
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Here's an oldie but goodie about John McCain, from VVP:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D6h9tTz5VYE
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/04/03/how-russians-forget-their-own-past.html

Slightly OT David, but I'm sure you can appreciate the significance of it:

The Daily Beast of course has been rabidly anti-Russian for years, but this latest David Frum piece relying on the opinions of some Russian who thinks his country to be perpetually backward and militarized truly takes the cake. if neocons like Frum are hearing from Russians who loathe their country so much they think Tatarstan is going to secede (or would've seceded) any day now, it's no wonder they can't fathom why the Bolotnaya crowd failed to storm the Kremlin and overthrow that nasty Putin and all the billions spent on NGOs and Colored Revolutions have been a total waste. This is near North Korea-level propaganda against Russia, not just against Putin personally or even the ruling elites.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Our host's confusion that a Tatar is a Tadjik is a Turk is one thing -- the Tatars are actually Turkic while the Tadjiks are a hybrid of Persian, Mongolian and Turkic blood who speak a Persian language with a Cyrillic alphabet. But this is just plain nuts -- I don't want to raise the historic grievance card but is it the Protocols of Elders of Zion being created by the Tsarist secret police that ignites such flames even a century later? I mean seriously what did Putin ever do to David Frum?

Again, if one were to substitute 'Jews' for 'Russians' and 'Israel' for 'Russia', I can only imagine the shudders and outrage.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Again, I am not an anti-Semitic person in the least and have been to Israel and would gladly visit again. I simply hate to see any nation -- not merely leaders -- demonized, and that includes both Russia and Israel. At the end of the day if the U.S. keeps going down, Israel's own integration within a revived Eurasian security zone led by Russia and China might have the neocons screaming in their old folks homes how it ever came to that when just a couple decades earlier Israel was their unsinkable aircraft carrier in the Mideast. My point is no nation exists solely for the imperial wishes of a few, a minority that is rejected even within Israel.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I wonder if Israel's southern wall wil keep out Egyptian economic infiltrators as it does African ones? A complete economic collapse of Egypt is dangerous to Africa and Europe more so than Israel. If one assumes that politicians will see the low hanging fruit, an Egyptian invasion of Eastern Libya for the oilfields or Sudan for "Nile water security" is more likely than an invasion of the Negev to fight an Army than can effectively fight back. That being said if the egyptians can amass an army of tens of millions armed with only rifles, the Israelis will stillhave a tough fight on their hands.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I think you have hit it. It would be more likely that the Egyptians would hit the divided and confused Libyans for their oil. Saddam invaded Kuwait for the same reason a bank robber robs a bank. because that's where the easy money is.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Iran Nukes Scenario:

Israel takes out some of Iran's nuke facilities. Israel let's it be known everywhere that if one missile is fired at Israel from Iran, then Israel must assume the missiles are nuke tipped. Iron Dome/Arrow interceptors are not perfect and it only takes 10 to 15 minutes for a missile to hit Israel from Iran. Iran fires a bunch of them anyway. End of Iranian problem.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
What always frustrated me with Bush was the public denial that the West and Islam were in a civilizational clash. We've ALWAYS been at war with Islam or rather, they've been at war with all non-Islamics as well as internally. Thomas Jefferson knew that!

War and conquest is the CORE of their religion.

I can see this denial as a tactical move but, like light bulbs, we'll never help a civilization that doesn't want to change its dysfunctional ways.

Sorry Egypt, but we'll help feed you when a pro-West military takes over and not before.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Put the Kopts in charge of supplying humanitarian aid to Egypt. >:)
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"A war arising from civilizational failure is a circumstance that never entered their [Republicans] imagination." Why not? Are they deaf, dumb and blind? Everybody I know has known -- civilizational failure - to be exactly what is. Maybe the refusal to know, because it's too inconvenient to know, is THE symptom of our civilizational failure.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
A civilization failure is North Korea. But they do not have the power to wage war on the south. They would be crushed if they tried. Rather they are slowly selling themselves and their land to the Chinese. Why would it be any different with the Egyptians.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
In your JINSA article, you write, "The United States and its allies should make clear their commitment to preserve the integrity of Egypt's eastern and southern borders, and take visible and unambiguous measures to signal to all concerned that this commitment is in earnest."

What about the western border? And how, precisely, do you think Iran might attempt to exploit the situation?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
What about the western border?

What about the US southern border. The current bill being considered by the senate is going to allow for "temporary" legal status before the border is enforced. That means that anyone who comes over the border immediately gets temporary legal status. And in practice this means that unless they commit some heinous crime they can never be expelled and are on their way to citizenship. It also means that the border will never be enforced. The tax payers wind up paying for endless waves of illegals until the federal government is bankrupt.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The world is burning. And the leaders of the West, China and Russia keep on fiddleing.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
China and Russia are proceeding on schedule with their own agendas. Our president has his head jammed firmly between his back pockets.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The stupidity of the neocons when it comes to Russia -- literally driving that country into the embrace of the Chinese to create the very Eurasian block Z. Bzrezinski and others wrote was their avowed objective to prevent post-USSR collapse -- is a sight to behold. They truly think they can go on television and egg on the EU in the theft of Russian (and Greek Cypriot and British pensioners) accounts 'because it was all oligarch money anyway' and other financial crimes and there will be no retaliation against the euro, the dollar, Frau Bundeskanzler's government in Berlin, or the TransAtlantic order. Revenge when it comes like the Klingons I think will be a dish best served cold, when the German euroskeptic parties suddenly experience a stunning series of wins, a great influx of cash, and the Bolotnaya/Colored Revolution formula is flipped in the opposite direction. Not to mention Cyprus finally overthrowing its corrupt government and welcoming the Russian fleet.
1 year ago
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