Friedman of the NYT Opens his Magic Box and Finds Egyptian Friends Therein.
We are constantly rapt and synthetically enlightened by political essays slickly intercalated among sausage-machine grade propaganda pieces that are proffered to be authentic [or at least sincere], but which seem to magically blend in with all the previous erstwhile rants published in the Walter Duranty Papers—aka [the near-bankrupt] New York Times. They promise so much hope for the world as long as our tax base can stand the brutal attacks. Our current hero at the Times has certain talents that give the appearance and applause of a magic trickster only a few finger snaps barely south of wizardry. He can conjure such fine conclusions from so little and is a grand master at such tricks as cards or Hide the Facts. With essentially nothing, save a positive attitude, our hero can trek into the hinterlands and find warmth, wisdom and other noble attributes from whomever he happens to bump into. Thus the sun rises as we read the current works of Thomas L. Friedman. He knows what to do in Egypt. He can see utopia, as usual.
How to best read my blogs:
[I offer extensive quotes in this blog so that the reader can view the exact language and can be confident that nothing was taken out of context or that nobody was misquoted. The easiest way to take in the salient points is to read the emphatic points in the quotes and then peruse my comments. Comments on my comments are always welcome: firstname.lastname@example.org.]
The launch of the mumbling:
“I’M sitting in the campaign office of Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, the doctor who has split from the Muslim Brotherhood to run for president of Egypt on a reformist agenda. As I listen to his team — three young Egyptian professionals volunteering their time — describe their strategy, this thought occurs to me: I’ve met more new, interesting Egyptians, of all political persuasions, in the last week than I have in the last 30 years.”--Getting to Know You ... By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN OP-ED COLUMNIST Published: January 14, 2012 in Cairo
I walked around the southern part of Frankfurt on different nights in five separate years in the span of a decade about 20 years ago and wandered about across the street from the main train station [Hauptbahnhof Frankfurt], had great food, but could not speak Swahili or Turkish and that was very interesting since I also met only new [to me] people. Everything seemed to be the same each year. I was glad that I didn’t have to listen to the politics of the time in mine or anybody else’s language. Friedman has nothing to say here as he might as well have visited the lavatory at Grand Central Station during rush hour.
“Egypt under Hosni Mubarak was a country where there was only one person to talk to, one person who was empowered to decide. Egypt under Hosni Mubarak was a country where there was only one person to talk to, one person who was empowered to decide.”--Getting to Know You ...
It is strange that many other places exist where there is only person that holds power, or did [Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea, PRC, USSR, East Germany, Kenya, Taiwan, Argentina…and so on. Mubarak was set up by the US government [5 billion in aid each year] after Sadat suddenly resigned in a kinetic sense. Nasser, Sadat and Mubarak were all military dictators. So what? Some point must be made here to convert this essay into something worth reading.
“That is not the case anymore. Egyptians are finding their own voices again and rediscovering who their neighbors are. In some ways, they have been shocked. A Muslim Brotherhood leader told me that he was totally surprised when the elections showed how many Salafi Muslims lived in Egypt. When the fundamentalists tell you that they had no idea there were so many superfundamentalists, you can imagine how surprised the liberals were. The Egyptian generals have been stunned at how many unarmed secular youths have been willing to confront troops in the streets to get the army to cede power. There is a certain “Oh-you-live-here-too?” quality to Egyptian life today.”--Getting to Know You ...
Now, this blather becomes interesting. The result of this chaos in the Arab Spring brings in untold jihadists, mercenaries, opportunists, soldiers and political operatives to the fray for many reasons. If Cairo has changed that much the change must have come from in invasion of hitherto unknown people. As in Libya, we had no clue what form of radical mobs were grunting and grabbing power in the vacuum left by the revolt. In the usual liberal sense the appearance of something new must be impressive, progressive and positive. This is so sophomoric. This is like watching San Francisco change in the years 1964 to 1965 and wondering where all the unwashed political protestors had been hiding in the last 20 years. Most were imported on the bus from the East.
No government yet?
“The longer you stay here, though, the more it becomes clear that Egypt has not had a revolution yet. It’s had an uprising. The basic military regime that has ruled Egypt since 1952 is still in charge — only a military council has replaced the Mubaraks. But this uprising has lifted the heavy lid off this society and let in oxygen. That, plus the recent parliamentary elections, has enabled all these newly emergent people, parties and voices — from all walks of Egyptian life — to surface. Whoever becomes Egypt’s next president had better be ready for a two-way conversation with all these emerging forces.”--Getting to Know You ...
The presumption here is that a merry ensemble of different personalities can come together to form a new and wonderful society using their obvious but unproven cooperative skills. Can we reach back and ponder upon: thesis, antithesis, and thusly synthesis?? Probably so if we get a glimpse of any cohort of humanity in the eyes of a liberal. Liberals always have a solution when they have a chance to use other people’s monies.
Friedman demands a revolution along some ‘democratic’ lines.
“But for Egypt to have a democratic revolution — a real change in the power structure and institutions — all these newly empowered parties will have to find a way to work together to produce a new constitution and a new president. That will not be easy. The economic and social problems that Egypt has to overcome today are staggering. They will require the whole society to pull together, but the divisions and lack of trust today between the new and old power centers — the army, the security police, the Tahrir youth, the Islamists, the Christians, the traditionalist silent majority, the secular liberals — are substantial. This country needs a weekend retreat to get to know itself anew.”--Getting to Know You ...
We can then presume, after basking in the warm glow of this grand utopian exercise, that tribalism and other ingrained societal factors in Egypt and most of the Middle East will be calmly set aside and the formerly warring groups can pass and smoke the peace pipe and be civil for a time. This hapless projection defies an example from that region for the last few thousand years. The tribalism and religious divides produce problems of disjointed societal synthesis of enormous proportions. We can spend some time reviewing the 4,000 year old history of Arabia and Egypt and come up with little more than what T. E. Lawrence found in 1919 and that he described so well in The Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph (ISBN: 0140181229 / 0-14-018122-9), edited by [and probably mostly written by] G. Bernard Shaw and proofed by his loyal wife. Here Prince Faisal spent most of each afternoon and far into the night listening to the centuries-old vendettas from the tribal leaders assembled to fight the Germans and Turks in 1919. They were divided along both tribal and religions lines. The tribes were held in place only on the promise of money from the British. It is always interesting to review what our politicos said and did about wars such as most of the world and all the belligerents thinking the Great War would only last two weeks. 51 million dead too. Impressive.
An incident in 1919 that is instructive to think about tribalism:
A reading of the Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T. E. Lawrence gives us an insight into tribalism in the Arab Revolt of 1917–18 during World War 1 in North Africa. Here the assembled tribes were fighting a near hopeless war against the Turks and Germans yet the combatants prioritized the legions of ancient tribal hatreds among themselves over the common effort to contest their mutual enemy. The slightest incident between different tribal members would rekindle the fires of tribal hatred dating back centuries. Such a trivial episode might provoke an instant battle among members of different tribes and create new and fresh reasons for inventing new vendettas. Lawrence himself had to ‘solve’ a problem of an inter-tribal killing in his military group by executing the guilty person who murdered a member of a different tribe. This death sentence was mandated by the aggregate tribal notion that the guilty person must, indeed, be executed, but that his own tribe would not do this and any other tribal member who was willing to bring justice to the crime would merely generate another reason for future retaliation. A solution was needed. Lawrence finally executed the man and all the tribes acclaimed that justice was done! It was okay that an infidel shaped the justice in this case. The simple occurrence of conflict among the tribal members—whatever the origin or the outcome—was the ultimate proof that the other side was guilty. Identity politics is thus an all-encompassing mixed form of tribalism, bigotry and racism and is deeply embedded in most elements of this political world. This is not lunacy, but a prearranged form of social reasoning. Everybody seems to be happy with identity politics as long as they can agree with the tenets of the particular polices defined in a given slate of issues. It works even better when your enemies hold the opposite views. Hate and racism aid this behavior.
We suddenly require hope!
“The hopeful news is that real politics has broken out here, and some Egyptians are working on building lines of trust across the new power centers.”--Getting to Know You ...
Cooperation is the byword:
“Speaking of the new Parliament members, Hamzawy said, “We are just being introduced to each other — with different stereotypes, and different packages of demands and interests and reservations. But we have a society waiting. We have to deliver. The big challenge is to transcend the polarization of the elections. We will not be able to deliver if we polarize in Parliament. We have to transcend ideological differences. From a strictly liberal perspective, we have around 20 percent. The political Islam camp has about two-thirds. So our job is to work to pull moderates from the political Islam camp to the center. Our challenge is to define that new strategic center for Egypt.””--Getting to Know You ...
Here, the ‘liberal minority’ sits in perpetual judgment of the structure and operation of the new constitution. With only %20 the hope that they can form a coalition with an extra mere %31 in the opposition is folly of the sort that makes liberalism the joke that it has become to be. Pulling ‘moderates’ from a street brawl is challenging. The economy is a wreck. Liberalism has created such monsters as the EU, the UN and 15 trillion dollars in US debt. All they have is your money and you don’t, obviously, have enough.
Friedman suddenly delves into the reality of this political entity:
“Egyptian politics for the last 50 years has been largely a struggle between the army and the Brotherhood, and both today are suspected of having secret agendas to grab power alone. I’d keep a wary eye on both of them.”--Getting to Know You ...
The Brotherhood has only been around since 1921 and does not represent the major power or history of the Middle East since 800 A.D. The tribalism and satrap system has been around much longer so it is reasonable for the outcome to look like something from the 12th Century.
“But here’s what’s new: They are not the only ones anymore with plans for Egypt’s future and the energy to push them. Somehow all of these new and old forces have to now find a way to share power to rebuild this country.”--Getting to Know You ...
The crushing problem here is economic and that probably dominates the future system here. Egypt has the Canal, some former tourist spots where tourists fear to go and some grand playgrounds at Sharm El Sheikh. They have little else. Wasn’t it the Brotherhood that bombed this nightspot several times? There are no energy assets save a gas line near Gaza. How can they provide jobs and such for form a new society with next to nothing?
But Friedman takes the positive approach and tends to tell us, writing between the lines, that the 20% estimated liberals can solve these problems and dominate the government and military with their grand intellect and impressive government. The rest of the Middle East went through several revolutions and revolts and has remained the same for centuries. Afghanistan and Iraq are both reverting back to their traditional tribalism and religious frictions.
Friedman will need more than a few magic tricks to keep this mess from boiling over at periodic intervals. 
 The Babbling Brooks of the
 In honor of that celebrated Communist stooge and liar and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for the
“He said that these people had to be "liquidated or melted in the hot fire of exile and labor into the proletarian mass". Duranty claimed that the Siberian labor camps were a means of giving individuals a chance to rejoin Soviet society but also said that for those who could not accept the system, "the final fate of such enemies is death." Duranty, though describing the system as cruel, says he has "no brief for or against it, nor any purpose save to try to tell the truth". He ends the article with the claim that the brutal collectivization campaign which led to the famine was motivated by the "hope or promise of a subsequent raising up" of Asian-minded masses in the Soviet Union which only history could judge.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Duranty
 Friedman of the NYT Hides his Economic Aces up His Sleeve: Tax and Spent. http://ryckki.blogspot.com/2011/09/friedman-of-nyt-hides-his-economic-aces.html
 Friedman Bawls about Balls and Can Show Nothing. EcoNazism and Propaganda at Work.
 Friedman of the
Getting to Know You ... By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN OP-ED COLUMNIST Published: January 14, 2012 in Cairo http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/15/opinion/sunday/friedman-getting-to-know-you.html?_r=1&ref=opinion
An excerpt from a previous blog: An Urgent Need for a New Definition of Racism. [Cryptomisoxeny?]