This page has been archived and commenting is disabled.

Arab World's Berlin Moment?

Leo Kolivakis's picture




 

Back in May, I asked if Greek protests are going global?
With the recent events in Egypt, it looks like we are heading for
another round of geopolitical tension. Market participants are very
anxious because the global repercussions of this latest episode can be
significant.

While some in the media are proclaiming this the
"Arab world's Berlin moment", I'm very skeptical. Spero News had an
interesting interview with George Friedman, founder of STRATFOR, asking whether the end of Mubarak will lead to democracy or disaster (added emphasis is mine):

For
more than 30 years, the geopolitics of the Middle East has been built
on the American-Egyptian-Israeli relationship. STRATFOR founder Dr.
George Friedman contemplates current events in Egypt and the prospect
of the end of an era.

For more than 30 years, the geopolitics of
the Middle East has been built on the American-Egyptian-Israeli
relationship. Much of that time, the lynchpin has been Cairo and
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Is this era about to end?

Welcome
to Agenda and joining me this week by telephone from New York is
George Friedman. George, it seems probable the Mubarak era is now
passing. What impact will it have on the Middle East?

George Friedman:
Well, certainly, Mubarak is coming to the end of his days. And it’s
not yet clear what, if anything, it is going to do to the Middle East.
It really depends on what the successor’s regime is going to look like.
He was hoping that his son Gamal was going to replace him; that’s increasingly unlikely.

There
are demonstrations going on in Egypt. How widespread is hard to tell,
and of course the Western media is immediately assuming that these are
democratic reformers out there because they talk to the ones who speak
English and they tend to be democratic reformers.

We don’t know
what the Muslim Brotherhood is doing, or capable of doing. So we don’t
know if we’re going to get a military coup to replace Mubarak, we don’t
know if we’re going to get a Islamic government, or if we’re simply
going to have a succession, fairly orderly, when he passes on or even
before then. But whatever happens can have enormous significance, depending on which way it goes.

What’s the significance of the return to Cairo by Mohamed ElBaradei?

George Friedman:
Well, ElBaradei is the Gorbachev of Egypt. Gorbachev is deeply loved
by Americans and profoundly loathed by the Russians. I wouldn’t go so
far as to say that Elbaradei is loathed, but he hardly has deep and
effective political roots in the country. Remember that the Army has
been the dominant force in Egypt since 1956; that Gamal Abdel Nasser,
Sadat, Mubarak all come from the military, and that the military is
among the more modern capable forces inside the country. So, the
default thinking is that, regardless of these demonstrators are doing,
it will be some military person coming on and succeeding Mubarak.

The
second possibility is that what’s going on in the streets now will
kick off an Islamic revolution in the same way that the Iranian
Revolution in 1979 started out as appearing to be opposed the Shah’s
oppressiveness and had the wide support Western human rights groups,
only to be taken over under control of a radical Islamist regime under
the title of Ayatollah Amini. That’s a possibility, although it’s not
visible right now. But the real question that comes out of all of this
is very simply: Egypt has been a pro-American country with a peace
treaty with Israel have been quite effective for 30 years.

 

Now
are we going to enter a period in which Egyptian policy will change in
which peace treaty with Israel breaks down and a situation in which
Israel goes from a country that it is enormously secure from foreign
threat to one that is again at risk from Egypt, particularly if Egypt
begins re-arming. Second, what is the effect of a Islamist Egypt on the
American position in the region?

 

Egypt
is the center of gravity of the Arab world — by far the largest
country — and more than a match for Saudi Arabia or Iran or anyone else
should should it choose to be. If this becomes an Islamist country,
then the United States is entering a new phase in its war against the
jihadists. Now, is it about to become a jihadist government in Cairo? I
don’t think so but that’s really what the question is: what’s going to
happen. And the least likely thing to happen is a long-term reformist
democratic government.

 

Much media comment is focused on
what they call the “Tunisia effect,” spelling the end of dynasties in
the East. Mubarak is under threat now, others may be tomorrow.

 

George Friedman:
In the case of Mubarak, he’s not, he’s dying by all accounts, I mean
he’s certainly going to disappear. And we’ve been talking for several
years about the succession. So it may be that what happened in Tunisia
influenced what’s happening a bit in Egypt but Tunisia is the tail to
Egypt’s dog. It’s also important to bear in mind the huge difference
between francophone North Africa and anglophone North Africa - that of
course is dominated by the English and the French.

 

Tunisia and Egypt
are widely separated. It certainly is possible to encourage some
people to demonstrate but in none of these countries outside of Tunisia
have we seen these demonstrations are particularly significant or
effective. The press is immediately speaking — I saw one headline about
the Egypt being on fire — uh, no, it’s not.
It may become, we can’t rule that out, but we have to remember the
example of the Green Revolution in Iran a couple of years ago (2009).
When the media was all over “what a transformation is taking place and
how the government is staggering” — the government was very effective
in putting it down and we haven’t heard much of it since.
So
much is uncertain of what’s happening but let’s be certain of this
much: what happens in Tunisia matters little to the world, what happens
in Egypt is a towering significance.

If this is a military coup or an army officer steps up to the plate, what then?

George Friedman:
Well, the military is in power in Egypt. Mubarak is a military man.
Sadat was a military man. Nasser was a military man. If the military
stays in power, in selecting one of its own to be president, I think
everything stays in place and that would mean that the regime survives.
It’s far more significant if the normal succession within the
framework of the military doesn’t happen. One
of the reasons that Gamal Mubarak was not going to be allowed by the
military to take power is that he wasn’t part of the military the same
way his father was. He wasn’t trusted by them. So, the issue here is a
succession within the framework of the military.

 

A sort of
military coup in which case the military takes much more direct and
open power, which it really doesn’t need to. So what we’re really
asking here is the geopolitics of the Middle East has been built on the
American-Egyptian-Israeli relationship certainly since 1977 — and
perhaps before that. Is that about to change? If that changes, it has
enormous consequences. But at this moment, I mean we know that the media
will get breathlessly excited over any demonstrations anywhere
especially that include twittering, that doesn’t mean anything yet.

The
crisis in Egypt is significant but what exactly does it mean for
markets? Over at Zero Hedge, RobotTrader posted a comment asking whether the market topped out on Friday, highlighting the following checklist:

1) QQQQ and IWM breakdown? Yep, they cracked big.

 

2) Financials breaking down? Not quite yet.

 

3) Retail stocks breaking down? Not quite yet.

 

4) Commodity "Midnight Massacre"? No.

 

5) Fleeing to USDX as carry trades unwind? Not yet.

 

 

6) Emerging market status? Blowtorched.

 

7) VIX going vertical? Yep.

 

8) Summation Index and McClellan Oscillator going down? Yep.

http://stockcharts.com/charts/indices/McSumNYSE.html

 

The
"all important 21-day" keenly eyeballed by the mo-mo crowd is about to
break. One more day, or a gap down on Monday will seal the deal.

Seal
the deal? In my opinion, it's way too early to speculate on where
markets are heading. Obviously, in the short-run, with all this
uncertainty the easy trade is RISK OFF,
close your risk trades and wait and see how all this plays out in the
weeks ahead. Some participants will be actively shorting the market but
that strategy is extremely risky and could easily backfire in these
volatile markets. Others will use this selloff as another opportunity to
scoop up more risk assets (my bias remains to buy every dip that comes
our way).

What we do know is what David Patten of Newsmax reported on, namely, that as Egypt explodes, oil is set to skyrocket:

The wave of unrest in the Middle East that began with the Jasmine Revolution is now having repercussions around the globe.

After
the recent fall of governments in Tunisia and Lebanon, angry marches
in Yemen, and the brutal crackdown in Egypt that has left seven dead
and hundreds wounded, analysts worry that the governments of Algeria
and Jordan could be next to see disturbances.

Radical
extremists see the turmoil as their opportunity to institute the
region-wide, anti-Western Muslim caliphate or union that they have
dreamt of for centuries.

Some
analysts believe Morocco also could be at risk, as well as the kingdom
of Saudi Arabia, a key U.S. ally in the war on terror that boasts the
world’s largest oil reserves.

The financial impact of the
uprising in Egypt has already begun to ripple around the globe. Middle
East currencies are under attack by speculators, the Egyptian equities
market and emerging-market stocks have nosedived. But the big question
for the West is what will happen to Saudi Arabia, which like Yemen and
Egypt has been under pressure from radical, anti-American extremists.

“If
this spreads, democracy in the Middle East spreads, the United States
could take a huge hit,” predicted CNBC’s Erin Burnett on MSNBC’s
Morning Joe program Friday morning. “Because democracy in a place like
Saudi Arabia, you've talked a lot about who might come into power, what
that means for oil prices — they're going to go stratospheric."

The
Obama administration is already taking heat from both sides of the
aisle for its policy of avoiding any public confrontation with Middle
East regimes over their abysmal record of repression, torture, and
corruption.

Unlike the Bush administration, which made a public
push for democratization, the president has preferred to express its
concerns in a more low-key manner.

The
reality is that US officials are walking a tightrope. On the one hand
they publicly support a widening of civil liberties in the region, but
on the other they know that democracy will open the door to even more
chaos.

Either way, everyone will be watching developments in Egypt this weekend and investors will be pricing in Egyptian risk on Monday.
What remains to be seen is whether the world is heading into a long
period of heightened political uncertainty and how this will impact the
global political landscape, economy and financial markets.

I leave you with a thought provoking interview with William Engdahl
on Russia Today discussing how this crisis was orchestrated by the US
and how it might shape the "new Middle East" and destabilize Europe.

 

- advertisements -

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Sun, 01/30/2011 - 07:39 | 917593 Gutenburg
Gutenburg's picture

U.S. media spin as opposed to Aljazeera is very telling of corrupt and credibility deficient MSM. the unwashed will buy it without hesitation.

Sun, 01/30/2011 - 02:12 | 917471 Dirtt
Dirtt's picture

Stay in this arena Leo.  Pimping the solar fraud was too much to stomach.  Not that stupid.

This is good stuff.  Plenty of food for thought.

Sun, 01/30/2011 - 01:14 | 917427 alexwest
alexwest's picture

typical junk...
#democracy in a place like Saudi Arabia
really,,, ???

each time i read ( for free) Stratfor stuff I do understand why its free... i wonder what kind of idiot would pay 1 cent for this crap..

HEY LEO MY FRIEND,, ARE YOU STUPID ? please bring someone who knows something , someone fresh , new ..

alx

Sun, 01/30/2011 - 12:02 | 917744 Leo Kolivakis
Leo Kolivakis's picture

alexwest,

Please learn how to read my comments more carefully. You obviously missed the point.

Leo

Sun, 01/30/2011 - 00:34 | 917368 RoRoTrader
RoRoTrader's picture

Excellent insights, Leo.

FYI, Robot updated that call from; http://www.zerohedge.com/article/saudi-stock-exchange-plummets-6

 

by RobotTrader

on Sat, 01/29/2011 - 19:58
#917064

 

Possible to see a 3% - 4% down day on Monday.

Open down 1%, then melt down the rest of the day to close at the lows.

Sunday open looks very interesting and buy dips later.........after the shit blows over which may not be for a while by the looks of things.

 

Sun, 01/30/2011 - 10:25 | 917676 El Hosel
El Hosel's picture

     "Buy the dip"  

    Only..."after the shit blows over".  Yeah,  shit like the 100 Trillion in unfunded, unprovoked, liabilties the US has assigned itself ahead of the real shit?  This won't be blowing over anytime soon.

Sat, 01/29/2011 - 23:44 | 917323 vxpatel
vxpatel's picture


I can't believe the Amerikan government hasn't labeled the Egyptian protesters as terrorists...yet...

Sat, 01/29/2011 - 23:21 | 917292 sellstop
sellstop's picture

and you know, this math thing to get these posts published is difficult with the ETOH.....

Sat, 01/29/2011 - 23:20 | 917288 sellstop
sellstop's picture

Why is the u.s. so vulnerable?

Is it because we've got this house of cards that is not capable of standing up to any disturbance?

It must be the oil thing.

So, our economy is strong until oil goes up in price?

It just went down. The price of oil is not near the recent highs, but the stock market sells off.

The stock market is nervous. I think the traders have talked themselves into selling.

I won't fight it. But.......

bought gold again a few days ago.

gh

Sat, 01/29/2011 - 23:11 | 917278 Wags
Wags's picture

I am afraid this can be the start of the Black Swam event. Who knows where it will take us. If Egypt falls into the eventually hands of the Muslim Brotherhood the Sh*t will hit the fan. This could have bigger ramifications that the Iranian Revolution. That event we are still paying for.

Sat, 01/29/2011 - 23:04 | 917269 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

What is key is whether or not the Muslim world will be democratic or a theocratic populace.

Emotionally I am 100% behind the Tunisians and Egyptians revolts in the name of democracy and individual representation and freedom.

However, if these revolts devolve into the reign of theocratic despots in the name of Islamic fundamentalism or Sharia Law we lose and they lose.

Sat, 01/29/2011 - 21:29 | 917126 max2205
max2205's picture

Move all Drones to Cario. Me thinks Osama might be relocating

Sat, 01/29/2011 - 21:38 | 917141 topcallingtroll
topcallingtroll's picture

the moslem brotherhood does not like al queda. No matter what happens al queda will not get hold in egypt.  Sporadic bombings here and there by isolated groups maybe, but no significant organized presence.  the moslem brotherhood would kill them all.

Sat, 01/29/2011 - 22:13 | 917206 Salinger
Salinger's picture

I think both are a bit more pragmatic than you give them credit for; the idea of an Islamic caliphate (mid east and beyond) is a most enticing notion and accordingly will bring even the most disparate groups together to achieve the objective. (there will  always be tomorrow to settle other differences)

Sat, 01/29/2011 - 21:08 | 917077 BigDuke6
BigDuke6's picture

The comments here about this being 'educated students' is typical of the hand-wringing soft-cocks that have allowed europe to become a demographic basket case.  Beware of these types.

Do you know any muslim 'students'?

i do, i've been there for 3 months when a student myself - they all have hard drives full of hard-core pornography despite it being illegal in their country - with white women getting pummelled.  and they'd do the same to your sister if they ever got over the border into the west to these 'white-sluts'. 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1332746/Asian-gang-raped-girls-young-12-picking-streets-sex.html

 

yeh we've all got a few movies ourselves BUT we don't have GB's of the worst stuff and watch it with our mates on a normal friday night.... yes a common pastime.

The harsh comments are sadly true - if we don't take a hard line against the countless great unwashed - who hate us - we are going down.

 

Sat, 01/29/2011 - 21:32 | 917131 topcallingtroll
topcallingtroll's picture

they are often misogynists to the nth degree, especially toward western women who they all think are sluts and just waiting for some fat arab or north african cock to force themselves on the lady, cuz that's they way the ladies like it in their hard core misogynist porn, so it has to be true about western ladies in general.  Fortunately this stereotype only holds true for a significant number, not all of those primitive types.  They all also still follow greek traditions of pedophilia.  Look at recent reports out of afghanistan where our guys have been really uncomfortable with what they have to put up with.  It's not unusual that when pussy is scarce that people seek alternatives.  I knew someone in special forces in pakistan.  He said they all called it "Pakit stan" because apparently they weren't aware that the americans could see in the dark.  he said there were men all over the place buttfucking each other after dark.    I have no problem with homosexuality, but when it is repressed and is also associated with subjugation of women then I have a real problem with it.

Sun, 01/30/2011 - 01:51 | 917460 OldPhart
OldPhart's picture

There are military videos of Afghans engaged in bestiality with donkeys, camels and sheep.  I've been told of a practice of Man Thursday, when it is customary to select a male partner for an evening, preference is for boys.  This can only be due to a culture where women are viewed as filthy and disgusting creatures.

Sat, 01/29/2011 - 23:35 | 917307 BigDuke6
BigDuke6's picture

Yep , coming to claim refugee status and claim asylum in a western country near you.

Then go on welfare, get disgusted by western society, get radicalised and go up in improvised nail bomb on a commuter train.

Or just try to rape teenagers on a train.

http://news.ninemsn.com.au/national/8198634/adelaide-girl-assaulted-on-t...

 

Sat, 01/29/2011 - 21:28 | 917122 Korg
Korg's picture

Exactly....just wait till food prices go up another 50% this year thanks to the bernak. I think all hell starts breaking loose this year and next year is when the war starts.

If the US had a fuckin brain we would use this opportunity and inflame the entire ME...let KSA fall...then invade the oil producers and take over...checkmate China....

 

maybe we are????

Sat, 01/29/2011 - 20:43 | 917037 topcallingtroll
topcallingtroll's picture

you know this all started because a dumbazz policeman dumped over a poor man's vegetable cart and ruined his produce.  This man just barely scratching by to take care of his family went home and burned himself to death, there being gun control and pills being too expensive.  He ignited tunisia and then ignited the arab world.  It is often these small forgotten people who make a difference.  I am sure he has a family and kids to support.  A thousand dollars could make a big difference in tunisia.  If someone could find out his name and maybe someone at zero hedge could do an article on this guy and we could at least drum up a thousand dollars for his kids and widow.  This started a revolution but he never knew it.  I'm in for 500 if the rest of you could pony up 500 and we could find out his name.  Leo could you do an article on him?  I will kick in an extra 100 dollars for a tombstone that says father of the revolution or whatever the family wants.  tombstones are cheap there.  I'm sure they can't even afford a tombstone.  We are only separated six or seven people from his widow.  I am sure someone knows someone who knows someone who knows someone who knows someone who knows someone who can get in contact with his widow.  Obviously great care would be taken so that this money went to her and her children and didn't get ripped off.  I may sound all mushy and sentimental for a troll, but we trolls have feelings too!

Sat, 01/29/2011 - 20:47 | 917043 topcallingtroll
topcallingtroll's picture

this is a classic example of emergent properties being unpredictable from complex systems, seemingly small events have unpredictable consequences.  Macro events have ruined many a portfolio

Sat, 01/29/2011 - 20:31 | 917020 Korg
Korg's picture

THis seems like the beginning of the end for KSA, give it a month, Egypt was the lynchpin and its fooked.....And yeah, eventually we will realize we can't save em all and just isolate the 3rd world and let em go for 10-20 yrs until there's no one left. Remeber we are in the 4th turning and someone just hit the gas....

Sat, 01/29/2011 - 19:34 | 916918 geno-econ
geno-econ's picture

Would love to see a peoples revolt in Kazahkistan which is ruled by a "President for life" in a state filled with corruption , oil interest pay offs and the like, while the people languish in poverty. Perhaps Egypt will wake them up or better yet send Erin over as a roving ambassador .

Sat, 01/29/2011 - 19:26 | 916909 PenGun
PenGun's picture

 Stratfor is always wrong. Both in analysis and comment. Friedman is a fool.

 

 Still, not a bad bit.

Sat, 01/29/2011 - 18:38 | 916833 JR
JR's picture

Egypt has been a pro-American country with a peace treaty with Israel [that has] been quite effective for 30 years. – George Friedman

“Effective” is in the eye of the beholder.  For the treaty agreements between Egypt and Israel have come at great cost to Americans.

The 30-year treaty has been effective for Israel; it has been defective for the Egyptian people.  Does Friedman recall how television anchor Walter Cronkite appeared on CBS repeatedly with the latest in Middle East tensions in the 80s and 90s, tensions that continue to this day?  It was the deal of the devil to help silence and keep at arms’ length the Arab world while Israel expanded and waxed and grew more belligerent.

America paid an enormous price for this agreement;  in loss of strategic leverage, its honor among nations, wars of injury to our young men and women and substantial financial costs through military aid, foreign aid, and the borrowing and printing of inflation.

 It was the Carter Administration that brought Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat together in 1978 and the Clinton Administration that helped with these Israeli/Egyptian agreements by expanding the protection of Israel: with Israel-Lebanon and Israel-PLO treaties, agreements to keep the Arab world from halting Israel’s growing dominance.  Certainly the people of Egypt suffered; 50 percent of the Egyptian population is below the poverty line making $2 or less a day, while Israel, a socialist nation reliant on the U.S. taxpayer, has a per capita GDP that is one of the highest in the world.

The Egyptian people are not pro-American; Mubarak is pro-American.  America is his paymaster.

As for Friedman’s claim that “we don’t know what the Muslim Brotherhood is doing,”  we know some things—there is no leader to this revolution.  It is a “leaderless” protest. Everywhere you look, there is no kind of organization.  It’s true the Muslim Brotherhood said it supported the protest, but in the main, the demonstrators are young people—young people who want dignity to be recognized as going somewhere, remunerative dignity for their labor, patriotic dignity for their country… so they can hold their heads up. You can see it in their faces.

You don’t go against tanks and water cannon and U.S.-made tear gas and bullets with a chance of being killed, unless it’s revolution.

Sat, 01/29/2011 - 21:12 | 917085 New_Meat
New_Meat's picture

JR:

"You don’t go against tanks and water cannon and U.S.-made tear gas and bullets with a chance of being killed, unless it’s revolution."

Well don'tcha know, the courage (or ignorance or passion, in these cases suicide)  are enormous.  My kids used to say "are we serious about this?" at which the response was "well, we're fucked anyway, so take the bastards with us."

Did I say I hate man vs. tanks?

- Ned

Sat, 01/29/2011 - 22:28 | 917230 JR
JR's picture

Man climbs the mountain because it’s there; man takes on the tyrant because he's there…sadly, it seems to be the only way, Ned, in this modern world redrawn.  I thought, with the end of the Cold War, we would have peace.

Sun, 01/30/2011 - 14:30 | 918066 Kayman
Kayman's picture

JR

If Egypt throws out the dictator, the U.S. is going to be in one hell of a spot. One hell of a notch indeed.

Sat, 01/29/2011 - 20:46 | 917016 Kayman
Kayman's picture

greetings JR

The duplicity of the Balfour Declaration haunts us still.  One waning British Empire is now replaced with a waning American Empire.

It would be cheaper to write each and every Israeli and Palestinian a check for a million dollars and move them to Florida, than to continue with the absurdity of the last 40 some years.

If Egypt becomes the next Iranian Revolution, will the cabal in New York put the entire U.S. nation at risk to support the patch of dirt in the Eastern Mediterranean ?

PS. troll

Malthus was wrong and is still wrong. He simple could not see technology increasing the food supply and decreasing the birth rate. As people become wealthier, sex becomes recreational not procreational. And there are many alternatives to rolling the old girl over on a cold winter night.

Leave poor old Tom in the box where he belongs.

Sat, 01/29/2011 - 22:20 | 917220 JR
JR's picture

Brilliant summary of a very tragic era, Kayman. 

Margaret MacMillan was the great-granddaugher of David Lloyd George, the man who more than anyone pushed the Ballfour Declaration into the “notch” of history.  But her heritage did not keep her from many straight gems of truth concerning this Middle East event.  In her classic book, Paris 1919, here’s an excerpt:

“Even in 1919, the British in Palestine were finding themselves caught between Zionists and Arabs.  The Zionists complained, with some truth, that the military authorities were at best insensitve, at worst anti-Semitic. Jabotinsky, from the Jewish Legion, said that the British could deal with the Arabs, 'just the same old "natives" whom the Englishman has ruled and led for centuries, nothing new, no problems.'  The Zionists were a different matter: 'a problem from top to toe, a problem bristling with difficulties in every way—small in numbers, yet somehow strong and influential, ignorant of English, yet imbued with European culture, claiming complicated claims.' (Jabotinsky’s own contribution to the problems was to organize an underground army.)

"The British, of course, had created their own dilemma by making promises during the war that they could not now fulfill.  On one hand they had supported a Jewish homeland on land largely inhabited by Arabs, and on the other they encouranged the Arabs to revolt against their Ottoman rulers with the promise of Arab independence.  When the Arabs pointed out that Palestine had not been exempted from the land to come under Arab rule, the British accused them of ingratitude. 'I hope,' noted [Arthur] Balfour, 'remembering all that, they will not begrudge that small notch, for it is no more geographically, whatever it may be historically—that small notch in what are now Arab territories being given to the people who for all these hundreds of years have been separated from it.'”

Small notch indeed.

Sat, 01/29/2011 - 20:54 | 917053 topcallingtroll
topcallingtroll's picture

we shall see.  There will still be a billion more of them before this things tops out even under the optimistic conditions.  If oil is limited  I am not so sure that will will make the transition smoothly to whatever comes next.  That is an argument I have followed closely and it all depends on depletion rates now.  There is no smooth transition to whatever comes next if the downward slope on oil production is steeper than expected.  We don't have time.  Otherwise we seem to be in total agreement regarding the israeli palestinian situation.

Sun, 01/30/2011 - 14:19 | 918034 Kayman
Kayman's picture

troll

Thanks for your thoughts.  I am busy on a project this weekend, so ZH is getting snippets of my time.

It may sound Pollyannish but I still think the speed limit is the human imagination. And basic supply and demand thru the price mechanism (pricing relativity) is more important than blanket statements that we are running out of oil (or anything else for that matter).

I firmly believe the hidebound tenets of orthodox religions necessarily limit human imagination.  That IMHO is our greatest problem.

But don't be thinking I have nothing to believe in- I defer to W.C.Fields " A man must have something to believe in; I believe I'll have another drink..." I quit drinking so I'm now a little less grounded.

Thanks.

 

 

 

 

Sat, 01/29/2011 - 17:37 | 916725 Captain Planet
Captain Planet's picture

Funny. Cause I think we will see some pretty violent die offs right here at home in the next two decades. Don't think 20 million black americans are going to stay in their ghettos and starve while the rest of the country continues to go to Whole Foods.Or that the Mexicans aren't going to try to take back Texas, Arizona, NEW MEXICO (ha), and Cali. Good luck down there.

Oh yea....disease....worst health care system of any developed nation....hope you have a friends in med school.

Got agircultural land? Better make some friends if you don't.

Peace Bitchezzzz.....grow your own!

Sat, 01/29/2011 - 18:01 | 916760 DosZap
DosZap's picture

Your funny.................

Cali is a DONE deal.(self imposed destruction, good for them, idiots).

Texas?, bro, I think w/out using Tactical nukes, Texas could take on practically any army in the world.

Without US Armed forces help.

Hitting the gound here with Foreign troops would be a massacre.

AZ, NM, nope neither one there either, Texans would go help them, it would be over shortly.

Sat, 01/29/2011 - 19:30 | 916913 kaiten
kaiten's picture

He´s talking about (illegal) immigration, not invasion. That´s how mexicans are taking over the southern US, including Texas. No need for weapons.

Sat, 01/29/2011 - 23:32 | 917303 Cpl Hicks
Cpl Hicks's picture

Shit, dude...you're right!

Sat, 01/29/2011 - 17:27 | 916707 savagegoose
savagegoose's picture

thats the sort of indepth  reporting you get with a multi billion dollar secret service

Sat, 01/29/2011 - 17:18 | 916686 Korbin Dallas
Korbin Dallas's picture

Egypt has had a long history of taking on then shaking off despots.  The cross-class participants and physical risk-taking of this revolution is evidence that this is not a mere Ninja, Facebook, or Twitter event.

But my comment is really about, for the sake of argument, an American-centric view.

When the Soviet Union imploded, the vassal states followed suit (Uzbeks, etc.) in due time.  The American mercantilist model has succeeded in creating vassal states that aren't necessarily close to the US geographically or even entirely politically.  Regardless, instead of labeling this as a Berlin event, this generation is taking part in an Albanian event where the motherland (America) is no longer considered a sufficiently relevant geopolitical actor nor even a trading partner with liquidity.

So yes, watch for signs of infection in other states like Saudi Arabia or Turkey but in my opinion the fact that Egypt and Jordan are having Tunisian rumbles is indicating very deep fissures that have more to do with a perception of weakened American economic and military hegemony than "radical muslims."

And no one can seriously consider the Chinese to be capable or intelligent enough to fill any fiscal or political vacuum.  Their interior focus, thug/mob-like political skills, and joke of a deepwater navy compounded with unmanaged internal cultural rifts and iron-age-educated populace means they can only compete when they're a trading partner that prints money while stealing technology.

Egypt will need to find its own solution but the West needs to help them manage the risks.

Sat, 01/29/2011 - 23:20 | 917291 Cpl Hicks
Cpl Hicks's picture

"Egypt has had a long history of taking on then shaking off despots."......

Please supply an example of this. I'm not saying it hasn't happened, mind you, I'd just like you to back that statement up.

Your comments re: China...very interesting and certainly worth consideration. I hope they are true.

Sun, 01/30/2011 - 07:11 | 917584 Korbin Dallas
Korbin Dallas's picture

The most recent example is Nasser in 1952, which overthrew the then British-backed monarchy.  Before him there was the Urabi Revolt that resulted in the bombardment by British forces 1882.  Before that there was Muhammad Ali who re-occupied Egypt as a Turkish province and in 1811 eliminated the Mamluks from ruling Egypt.  Though Muhammad Ali was an Albanian representing Ottoman rule he sought Egypt's ascendancy.

It is cultural heritage that drives people, as much ideology and ideologues.  In Egypt we'll see which hand will win of its rich history.

Re China: fundamentals will decide, as they've finally come home to roost in Japan.  The benefits of cost/legal arbitrage between China and the West will decline and we'll be left with a powerhouse or a toothless red dragon.

Sun, 01/30/2011 - 13:36 | 917919 Cpl Hicks
Cpl Hicks's picture

Thanks for the reply.

Where do you see the Egyptian government and society headed in the next 6 months or so? There's plenty of talk about the Muslim Brotherhood laying in the weeds looking for their opportunity. Are they a force to either take control of or get a piece of future power there?

Sat, 01/29/2011 - 17:09 | 916665 Fíréan
Fíréan's picture

"We're talking about badly educated poor people..."

 

there seems to be a lack of education and degree of condescention on the part of the writers here.These are well educated students, amongst others and Egypt has a good standard of education. Seems the USa is lacking in this regards from the level of comments by some here ( apart from the ability to do minus a minus maths)

Sat, 01/29/2011 - 19:02 | 916870 TBT or not TBT
TBT or not TBT's picture

Uh huh, and it was students rioting in Iran when the Shah was deposed, which led to the Ayatollahs taking power, because they had the biggest block of organisable base:  poorly educated islamic infectees.     Same setup could happen in Egypt, with oh so smart rioters working against Mubarek/military backed regime to get in place of that a Muslim Brotherhood in power.         Also, it is one thing to be clever/smart/educated and another to apply that wisely or effectively.    The system and the culture have to be there for educated people to be able to apply themselves.

Sat, 01/29/2011 - 17:03 | 916659 geno-econ
geno-econ's picture

So who is Erin Burrnet as far as an expert political observer. I do recall viewing her on assignment from Saudi Arabia kissing a camel. I guess that qualifies her----wish I were that camel

Sat, 01/29/2011 - 17:24 | 916700 Salinger
Salinger's picture

Erin and Madsen cited in the same article

Sat, 01/29/2011 - 17:58 | 916755 Leo Kolivakis
Leo Kolivakis's picture

Madsen was replaced by Engdahl who is much sharper in his analysis. As for Erin, well, we can't be perfect!

Sat, 01/29/2011 - 17:12 | 916654 Salinger
Salinger's picture

From Leo's article above

 

"I leave you with an interview with Wayne Madsen, investigative journalist at Russia Today, discussing how the US was blindsided by Egypt's unrest an what other surprises might lurk ahead"

Leo,  you are aware that you are quoting Wayne Madsen?

What are your thoughts on Madsen's theory about President Obama and Rham?

http://www.waynemadsenreport.com/articles/20100611_4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oqX2z8pnz7g   (start minute 27 of the interview)

 

Of course it goes without saying that Madsen thinks Cheney coordinated 911

http://www.rense.com/general90/911chen.htm

Sat, 01/29/2011 - 17:49 | 916740 Leo Kolivakis
Leo Kolivakis's picture

Thx Salinger, Madsen seems flaky so I replaced him with William Engdahl who is much more credible in my opinion.

Sat, 01/29/2011 - 18:42 | 916837 Salinger
Salinger's picture

you need to hire yourself an intern to do the editing, you know an aspiring journalism student/model type

Sat, 01/29/2011 - 16:24 | 916586 TBT or not TBT
TBT or not TBT's picture

Or maybe the "powderkeg" metaphor for the Middle East is dead wrong, and it more of a "powderthimble."

Our media makes much of the "palestinian situation" and "middle east peace" which is really still about the very very limited question of Israel's neighbors' bad relations with Israel.

We're talking about badly educated poor people, albeit a hell of a lot of them, infected by ideologies that cause their permanent backwardation.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!