Monday, January 31, 2011

Further thoughts on Egypt

I think it has long been inevitable that the Middle East tyrannies would eventually be overthrown by populations that were exposed to western civilizations.  The forces of revolution are of two kinds, I believe. 

One force is the force of modernization and Westernization as the young see the freedoms and prosperities of the West.  This force is one that the West hopes for and embraces.  But, the other revolutionary force is that of fundamentalist reaction and loathing against the greed and corruption of the West, and the greed and corruption of their regimes, which they blame the West for.  In its extreme, this force has become violent and bloody jihad led by Osama Bin Laden and followed by many.

I think that the current Egyptian and Middle Eastern uprisings are more about the outbreak of civil wars in the Middle East itself.  I think that whichever faction wins in Egypt will have only a temporary victory, with strong opposition from their opposites.  This could go on for some time.  I think it is very likely that attacks on America and Europe may take a back seat as internal wars in Egypt and the rest of the Middle Eastern countries will consume them. 

Israel, however, may very well be a target as an expression of the civil wars themselves, and America could get sucked into that dark vortex.  America has a very difficult role to play here with long alliances with Israel and Egypt, as well as other tyrannical regimes that we have supported as a matter of the national interest of our security. 

In the end, I have a strong hope and a real expectation that the forces of modernization and Westernization will win.  But, along the way, I think America and the West will also be changed by the rise of Islam, and we ourselves will turn away from the same greed and corruption that is so reviled by the Islamists.  Lord knows, the more I have read about the cesspools of greed, corruption, and incompetence that led to the financial collapse and today’s great recession, the more I have been repulsed.