Think Egypt

Egypt is an Opportunity

By Herbert E. Meyer

The lid has finally blown off the pressure cooker in Cairo.  And as the Director of National Intelligence is apparently just now starting to notice, there are a few more pressure cookers on the stove that are beginning to make odd noises.
Alas, in the real world there is no rewind button.  So while it’s tempting to dwell on how ineptly the President and his team have coped with the unfolding revolution in Egypt — and God knows it’s fun, given the breathtaking combination of arrogance and stupidity this administration has displayed — our nation’s security requires that we focus on the future.  More precisely:
  • Where are we now, in Egypt and more broadly in the Mideast?
  • What is likely to happen next, and then down the road, in this volatile and vital region?
  • What do we want to happen?
  • How can we tip the odds in our favor?
Where We Are Now
Managing a revolution is like leaping across a chasm; it’s best to reach the other side in one hop.  When the old regime falls and is immediately replaced by a popular new regime — which is what happened in countries including Poland and Czechoslovakia at the end of the Cold War — that country’s future usually is stable.  But when the old regime falls and isn’t immediately replaced by a new regime capable of quickly forging a new political structure, that country’s future is up for grabs.  This is what happened in Russia in 1917, when in February the Czar was overthrown and replaced by Kerensky and his (fairly decent) Social Democrats, who then fumbled in the Duma and lost control in October to Lenin and his (murderous) Bolsheviks.
In Egypt the House of Mubarak has collapsed, and the country’s army is dutifully holding things together until a new political structure can be erected.  So while the jubilation in Cairo’s Tahrir Square is understandable, Egypt hasn’t had a revolution.  It’s had half a revolution, which means the country’s future is in play.
What Lies Ahead in the Mideast
In today’s world of mass communication and social networking, the uprising in Egypt is likely to spread throughout the region.  Indeed, the uprising in Egypt itself was triggered, at least in part, by the recent popular uprising in Tunisia.  And now there may well be popular uprisings in Jordan, Yemen, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and perhaps Iran. There could be popular uprisings in Lebanon, Syria, and even in Gaza and the West Bank.  And since information moves around the globe literally at the speed of light, it wouldn’t be surprising to wake up one morning, turn on the television, and see scenes of mass unrest in Havana.  (And if we do see a popular uprising in Cuba, wouldn’t it be nice if the CIA got its act together — fast — and tossed a few banana peels under the Castro brothers’ feet….)
In short, we have suddenly entered one of those rare moments in history when the world is about to be remade.
Source: American Thinker

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