Renovation Time

February 15, 2011 at 12:54 am (By Randy)

As currently seen at the official website of the Egyptian government

(Via Outside the Beltway)

All that’s missing is the classic shovel graphic:

They probably left that off as who or what is getting buried or dug up is as yet unknown.

Anyway, a couple of random thoughts came to mind:

#1) Recent events in Egypt serve as a reminder that Political Science is not a science but an art.

#2) Virtually every prediction about the future course of events will prove to be wrong, but that won’t stop anyone. Then-Princeton professor of international law Richard A. Falk’s 1979 New York Times Op-Ed about the Iranian revolution serves as a reminder to keep grains of salt handy. As quoted in Wikipedia, Falk concluded:

the depiction of Khomeini as fanatical, reactionary and the bearer of crude prejudices seems certainly and happily false … To suppose that Ayatollah Khomeini is dissembling seems almost beyond belief. … Having created a new model of popular revolution based, for the most part, on nonviolent tactics, Iran may yet provide us with a desperately-needed model of humane governance for a third-world country.

(The last sentence above is being widely quoted elsewhere and inaccurately attributed to the New York Times editorial board)

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25 Comments

  1. karen said,

    Oh, no- Randy. This time it’s going to work out Aces– Hillary is going to be instrumental in the formation of democracy in Egypt!!!!! I heard that on the ~News~.

    Geesh- talk about injecting oneself into the dialogue. How Sarah Palin-ish.

  2. mockturtle said,

    We can take the $1.5 billion in foreign aid to Egypt, used largely to sustain Mubarak [whom we’ve now thrown under the bus] and apply it to our deficit or to defend Israel, if necessary. I see the Muslim Brotherhood is forming a political party. They didn’t even wait a discreet month or two as I would have predicted.

  3. wj said,

    Better yet, we can cut a big chunk of it out of the part that is military iad (about $1.3 billion, IIRC), put the rest towards non-military aid, and at the same time make an equivalent cut in military aid to Israel (and save that, too!).

    As for the Muslim Brotherhood, why worry if they are forming a political party. They’ve barely got 20% support, and they may give others an inspiration to form parties also.

    Besides, better they are forming a party than not forming a party. If they weren’t, I’d worry much more about them trying some kind of coup.

  4. karen said,

    I know this sounds really stupid(uniformed, whatever)- but, if Egypt can bankrupt us through oil, or by w/holding oil– ummmm, what’s up w/the foreign aid from us?

  5. mockturtle said,

    I don’t think Egypt has any oil. They are only of strategic interest.

  6. wj said,

    IIRC Egypt has a little oil. Not quite enough to cover its own use, but almost.

    Still it isn’t in a position to bankrupt anybody over oil. At the very most, it could theoretically block all oil transport thru the Suez Canal (and the parallel pipeline). Which could be a real hassle for Europe in the short term. And also a disaster for Egypt’s budget, which is financed in major part by tolls on the Canal — which is why it is unlikely to happen.

  7. Icepick said,

    As for the Muslim Brotherhood, why worry if they are forming a political party. They’ve barely got 20% support, and they may give others an inspiration to form parties also.

    Yeah, and the Communists were in the minority of the Russian Revolution. Organization and will power trump poll numbers when the time comes to start killing people.

  8. Randy said,

    Karen: As most such public pronouncements are nothing more than political theater, and the intended audience either domestic or international (or both), I don’t give much thought to whatever our Secretary of State says in public.

    WJ: IIRC, there is ample evidence that most non-military aid ends up being little more than indirect transfer payments to the Swiss bank accounts of the elites of the recipient country.

    Icepick: Maybe that’s what will happen. Maybe it won’t. Either way, I don’t think it is a good argument for maintaining what was the status quo in Egypt. (Not saying you are arguing that, btw.)

    Side note: Foreign aid for Egypt bought 30+ years of peace with Israel. Compared to the half a trillion dollars spent on the Iraq war and its aftermath (the last time I checked), the sum total given to Egypt has been a genuine bargain.

  9. mockturtle said,

    Side note: Foreign aid for Egypt bought 30+ years of peace with Israel. Compared to the half a trillion dollars spent on the Iraq war and its aftermath (the last time I checked), the sum total given to Egypt has been a genuine bargain.

    Gotta agree with that, Randy! And then there’s the Afghanistan fiasco. We don’t seem to learn from our past mistakes, do we? Or is it all about feeding the big contractors who are getting rich off these involvements? Only at the ground level was there ever any intent to ‘win hearts and minds’, a ridiculous concept, anyway.

  10. mockturtle said,

    Well, I seem my italics aren’t working today. :-(

  11. PatHMV said,

    mockturtle, you have to use the angle brackets < and &rt;. So to put something in italics, you would go: <i&rt;text in italicts</i&rt;. Be sure and put the /i part at the end, or everything that follows in the entire web page (all subsequent comments) will be in italicts too.

  12. PatHMV said,

    Ok, let’l try that again (need to check the admin options to see if we can have a preview before posting:

    have to use the angle brackets < and >. So to put something in italics, you would go: &lti>text in italics</i>. Be sure and put the /i part at the end, or everything that follows in the entire web page (all subsequent comments) will be in italicts too.

  13. PatHMV said,

    Almost. Third time’s the charm?

    you have to use the angle brackets, < and >. So to put something in italics, you would go: <i>text in italics</i>. Be sure and put the /i part at the end, or everything that follows in the entire web page (all subsequent comments) will be in italics too.

  14. mockturtle said,

    Thanks. I’ll try putting italics in italics. I know I did it once before. ;-)

  15. mockturtle said,

    It should have cut off after the first ‘italics’ because I put the symbol just before and just after the word. Oh, well…from now on I’ll just use quotation marks. :-O

  16. karen said,

    LOL- that’s why i just use the ~ squiggly lines~ to assume italics!!

    I know i’m in the minority of loyalty when it comes to W and Iraq, but(huge intake of breath)… i believe Iraq was the precursor to Egypt(ducks to avoid thrown rotten fruit).
    I wonder if anyone can be really free in the ME, but the fact that these three groups of people are now working to govern together was probably not thought possible before the war.

    So, why is the price of gas and oil going so way up these days?

  17. Randy said,

    Fixed that comment for you, mockturtle. Your mistake there was using brackets: “[ ]” Next time use the less than (<) and greater than (>) signs (above the comma and period on the keyboard) and you'll be fine. Also, dont forget to use the / as in "/i" to end the italics (or whatever). If you don't, everything anyone writes after that appears as italics until someone gets around to closing it ;-)

    P.S. How about that? Parenthesis work (<)

    Karen: RE: gas prices. Who knows? Fear? Demand? Greed? Probably a combination of all three, as usual ;-)

  18. Icepick said,

    Randy & Karen, don’t you know that commodity prices are going up because the economy is doing so goddamned well that we’re just all using much more of everything?

    So I know how to use the italics thing, but how do I use the sarcasm tags?

  19. Randy said,

    LOL! I’ve seen people use both [/s] and [/sarcasm].
    Another I’ve seen I’m not sure will work here. Let’s see: Nope, it didn’t.

    But I did find this: SarcMark. What do you think?

  20. mockturtle said,

    Good concept but I fear you lose a lot by having to emphasize a sarcastic comment or ‘bon mot’ [note the lack of italics there].

  21. Icepick said,

    mockturtledoesonelosealotbyaddingaquestionmarkattheendofaquestionoraperiodat theendofastatementorquotationmarkswhenquotingsomeoneithinknotnordoesone losealotbyfailuretoemphasisacommentwithanexclamationpointalthoughtheyshould notbeoverusedafterallpuctuationstandardsaresimplytheretomakethingsclearerand
    ifanewpuncuationmarkaddsadditionalclaritytoourwrittencommunicationthenIwelcome
    itcauseotherwiseitsallabitofanindecipherablemessyes

  22. Icepick said,

    Randy, I like the idea, but perhaps we should just stick to ye olde eyeroll @@.

    And I think comment 21 might be my second favorite comment of all time, of the ones I composed. First has to be the one about Samuel L. Jackson as Presidential Press Secretary, and yes, he was in character. Ah, good times….

    Good concept but I fear you lose a lot by having to emphasize a sarcastic comment or ‘bon mot’ [note the lack of italics there].

    Of course, by emphasising the lack of italics that would have otherwise been used to emphasis a phrase or word, you have emphasised such. OTOH, since you DIDN’T use italics, I don’t know if you meant to emphasis just “bon mot” or “emphasize” or some other combination of words. So by emphasising your lack of emphasis, you have completely negated the additional emphasis that you may or may not have intended by your declaration of non-emphasis. What you have done, however, is cause me to spend several minutes trying to figure out just what the hell you meant by emphasising your non-emphasis of your statements concerning emphatic punctuation. So next time just use the fucking italics tags already.

  23. Randy said,

    LOL! Actually, the one thing I tried above but didn’t work was an eyeroll emoticon often used on bulletin boards to denote sarcasm. Although I just ran across this one, which is pretty good, IMO.

  24. mockturtle said,

    Icepick, I was merely poking fun at my own ineptitude. Glad you got a kick out of it. ;-)

  25. mockturtle said,

    PS: I would not italicize ‘bon mot’ to emphasize it but just because it is considered a foreign term. Call me old-fashioned…

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