Tom Friedman is the Ghost of Being Wrong—past, present, and future!
When you fly along the Mediterranean today, what do you see below? To the north, you look down at a European supranational state system — the European Union — that is cracking up. And to the south, you look down at an Arab nation state system that is cracking up. It’s an unnerving combination, and it’s all the more reason for the U.S. to get its economic house in order and be a rock of global stability, because, I fear, the situation on the Arab side of the Mediterranean is about to get worse. Egypt, the anchor of the whole Arab world, is embarked on a dangerous descent toward prolonged civil strife, unless a modus vivendi can be found between President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood and his growing opposition. If Syria and Egypt both unravel at once, this whole region will be destabilized.
That’s less than a full paragraph, and it’s already riddled with inaccuracy, inanity, and downright insanity. Is the European Union cracking up? (If not, why not?) Here’s hoping, but the bureaucrats in Brussels beg to differ—they keep doubling down. (Anyway, Europe will retain some sort of political union even if—when—it breaks its monetary union.)
And hasn’t the “Arab nation state system” (whatever that is) already cracked up—or not even close, depending on what he’s talking about (as if anyone knows)? Saddam, Mubarak, Qaddafi, that Tunisian guy—all gone. Kuwait, Saudi, and all the other oil emirates and sultanates—all fine. Only Syria is in the state of “cracking up”.
Is Egypt cracking up again? I’ll make a bet with Friedman—he shaves his mustache, I grow one—that if not Morsi, and if not the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamic government will survive this round of protests. Two-thirds of the people voted for it. How “democratic” could a Western-style liberal democracy be if no Egyptians actually want one?
Of course, his most moronic statement was for the “U.S. to get its economic house in order and be a rock of global stability”. I mean, you can only laugh.
And shake your head:
Having watched a young, veiled, Egyptian female reporter tear into a Muslim Brotherhood official the other day over the group’s recent autocratic and abusive behavior, I can assure you that the fight here is not between more religious and less religious Egyptians. What has brought hundreds of thousands of Egyptians back into the streets, many of them first-time protesters, is the fear that autocracy is returning to Egypt under the guise of Islam. The real fight here is about freedom, not religion.
It’s what they voted for, you dope! And not just by some poxy Obamajority 50.8%. The Mo-Bros and the Al-Nour Party combined for 65.3% in the parliamentary election, and 73.7% in the Shura Council elections. That “young, veiled, Egyptian female reporter” can stand in front of a tank if she wants to, like the Chinese guy in Tiananmen Square, and there is no shortage of people who would happily crush her under the treads.
God is not going to save Egypt. It will be saved only if the opposition here respects that the Muslim Brotherhood won the election fairly — and resists its excesses not with boycotts (or dreams of a coup) but with better ideas that win the public to the opposition’s side. And it will be saved only if Morsi respects that elections are not winner-take-all, especially in a society that is still defining its new identity, and stops grabbing authority and starts earning it. Otherwise, it will be all fall down.
I want him to be right, but he’s not. If Obama can behave like it’s winner-take-all, why can’t Morsi?
And why should it “be all fall down”? Most Muslims live under similar regimes, and are resigned, if not content, if not happy, to do so. Egyptians will learn to love sharia or leave it. My upper lip is counting on it.