January 30, 2011

9 on a scale of 10 sphinxter response


First, an updating of the Riddle of the Sphinx: what walks on four legs in the morning, two legs at noon and struggles on three wheels as it fights for lift-off in the afternoon? Answer: Hosni Mubarak, as a child, as an adult and then as a deposed dictator trying to flee in his Lear with most of the country's gold reserves.

With that out of the way, about this situation in Egypt: first, it's damned inconsiderate of the Egyptian masses to carry on this way because it forces the U.S. government to come up with some way to make glad noises about freedom, self-determination, et cetera, while hoping against hope that in some way or other we can keep our corporate-friendly thug in power so the real business of America, business (Calvin Coolidge said that, I think, or maybe it was Hoover) can proceed as planned. I watched the outgoing Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs, writhe and squirm for about a half hour yesterday trying to find different ways to say "we're monitoring the situation," including "monitoring closely," "following the situation closely," "in regular contact with the situation," and other similar filler. Nevertheless, no one seems to think Hosni is going to survive this uprising, so Egypt's version of Dr. No, Mohammed El-Baradei, is being warmed up in the bullpen so we have someone we can control when the dust settles. You'll recall Ahmed Chalabi, Iraq's embezzler/carpetbagger/Friend of Cheney, who was going to be installed by the Neocons after the fall of Saddam. The best laid plans of mice & men aft gang aglay...

This thing with Mubarak is pretty dicey. You can probably recall President Barack Holograma's speech in Cairo a couple of years ago when he limned the sorry tendency of America to be on the wrong side of history in the Third World, usually siding with the resident Thugocracy instead of the uncontrollable masses. Thus, going with the Shah in Iran instead of their constitutionally elected president, pulling the same trick in Iraq before Saddam, and like that. I remember Charles Krauthammer, he of the train-tunnel-sized nostrils and haughty manner, questioning in the Washington Post whether Mr. Obama was actually fit to be President when he harbored such anti-U.S. sentiments. Now the Egyptians themselves, the very people the O-Man was talking to, are presenting a test of the sincerity of the statements therein expressed.

Iraq was easy compared to this. George W. Bush could sincerely celebrate "freedom on the march" there because Saddam was seriously contemplating getting into oil deals where the euro would replace the greenback as the reserve currency for settling Iraqi petroleum sales. This little move threatened the very lifeblood of American hegemony. Almost any puppet regime, and most certainly Dr. No, a sympathetic crook, was preferable to letting that trend gain traction. Plus, W reasoned he could go the prissy GHW Bush one better by finally toppling Saddam once and for all, and with that cakewalk under his belt (sorry, that's a mixed metaphor worthy of Thomas L. Friedman - well, it is Sunday, and there's no Tom to read because of his book leave) W's reelection would be assured. Imagine W's consternation when it almost cost him the whole deal, but fortunately, George was running for reelection in the United States of America, where scarcely 40% of the populace believes in science. So how hard was it to convince about 79% of them that Saddam had personally planned 9/11 on his Compaq Presario? More cake under W's Lone Star belt buckle. (If Friedman doesn't come back, I think I'm ready to take over.)

Back to the Land of the Pharoahs. Egypt presents a different kind of Pyramid Scheme from the one the Wall Street gangsters (and the U.S. Treasury) have perfected here at home. As the Egyptian riot police fire American-made rubber bullets and American-made tear gas cannisters at the rebels (all this ordnance helpfully stamped with its place of origin, the better to display on Al Jazeera), Obama and his team of corporate insiders feverishly look for just the right way to remain publicly noncommittal while quietly hoping that Egypt, home to half the world's Arabs, settles back into a nice, quiet, dependable tyranny, where a friendly guy who manages to win 99.9% of the vote every few years, and has been doing so for 30 years despite the overwhelming opposition of the electorate, can find a way to hang in there until this whole thing blows over, the way it did in Iran. Because now things are beginning to heat up in Jeddah, and while losing Egypt to democracy could probably be folded into our globalist scheme, the idea of the Ghawar reserves, the longest-tusked of all the Elephant Oil Fields, falling into hands other than the bony grasp of the gerontocrats who rule Saudi Arabia (described by one Berkeley prof as "less a country than a family-owned filling station")...is just too much to bear. The world is at oil equilibrium about now, no doubt we're at peak, and any sizable disruption (and the Saudi contribution would certainly be that) would expose the terrible miscalculation of the federal government in not switching to a non-oil-import paradigm for American transportation a long, long time ago...about when Jimmy Carter gave his famous speech about energy independence.

Things could get very interesting indeed if that happens, and it probably will. Do we then invade Saudi Arabia to save a dictatorship? If we don't, are we all going to wind up walking...like an Egyptian?

No comments:

Post a Comment