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29 January 2011

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Patrick Lang

All

The mob is a mob. If they will not accept an interim administration that has army support then there will be anarchy and chaos that could lead to anything, anything. Baradei is nothing. He has not support except from liberal American anchors. pl

David Habakkuk

WILL,

''Preference falsification explains why the incumbent regime appeared stable almost until the eve of its collapse."

In the case of Tsarist Russia, it did not appear stable to the Tsar's more acute advisers. In February 1914 Peter Durnovo, who as Minister of the Interior had been instrumental in putting down the 1905 Revolution, wrote a memorandum to Nicholas II warning about the disastrous consequences likely to result from an alliance with Britain and a war against Germany.

In the memorandum, Durnovo put his finger, accurately, on what was to prove the fatal weakness of the liberal opposition to Tsarism:

The trouble is that our opposition refuses to reckon with the fact that it represents no real force. The Russian opposition is intellectual throughout, and this is its weakness, because between the intelligentsia and the people there is a profound gulf of mutual misunderstanding and distrust.

And, equally accurately, Durnovo anticipated the dynamics which would become apparent three years later:

That these troubles will be of a social, and not a political, nature cannot be doubted, and this will hold true, not only as regards Russia, but for Germany as well. An especially favorable soil for social upheavals is found in Russia, where the masses undoubtedly profess, unconsciously, the principles of Socialism. In spite of the spirit of antagonism to the Government in Russian society, as unconscious as the Socialism of the broad masses of the people, a political revolution is not possible in Russia, and any revolutionary movement inevitably must degenerate into a Socialist movement. The opponents of the Government have no popular support. The people see no difference between a government official and an intellectual. The Russian masses, whether workmen or peasants, are not looking for political rights, which they neither want nor comprehend.

The peasant dreams of obtaining a gratuitous share of somebody else's land; the workman, of getting hold of the entire capital and profits of the manufacturer. Beyond this, they have no aspirations. If these slogans are scattered far and wide among the populace, and the Government permits agitation along these lines, Russia will be flung into anarchy, such as she suffered in the ever-memorable period of troubles in 1905-1906. War with Germany would create exceptionally favorable conditions for such agitation.

The memorandum is online at http://www2.stetson.edu/~psteeves/classes/durnovo.html.

Phil Giraldi

My Egyptian contacts. mostly former senior intel officials, believe that Suleiman is an excellent choice to transition to elections. He is widely respected and not seen as a tool of Mubarak. Any new administration will confront an immovable object - too many people and no jobs in an economy that cannot possibly keep up with the birth rate.

The danger for us Americans is that the idiots in Washington will view this whole transition through the Israeli interest and they will proceed to make all the wrong moves. I note that Hillary just will not shut up. Let the Egyptians sort it out. They may or may not continue to be friends with Israel, but that is not really an American concern unless Israel declares war and somehow drags us into it or again attacks one of our ships in international waters.

WILL

Exactly PL, In fact Stone was the only General imprisoned by Sec'y of War Stanton, but was later re-instated. It took an act of Congress to release him!

Sidney O. Smith III

Col. Lang
You write:
Will
There were as many Union men as Confederates, Stone for example. pl
_______end of quote----

Yes, but isn’t the prevailing historical narrative one in which Confederates will not serve with people of color?

Therein lies the significance, imo of Loring et al. Their service in Africa, even for the Kedive of Egypt, would seem to shatter one of the underlying assumptions that, over the last 150 years, has created a very distorted American pathos. It is one that has given rise to American exceptionalism -- the notion we are a wholly superior people.

And the neoconservatives have brilliantly exploited the notion of American exceptionalism to their advantage. Kagan, in his book Dangerous Nation, justifies American exceptionalism as it arose after the WBS to wreak havoc around the world.

And increasingly this distorted pathos appears to be unable to process historical changes in 2011. It has created a type of arrested development -- one that was made abundantly clear when after Obama's SOTU speech, the mainstream media, led by Chris Matthews, started dwelling on American slavery in the US, instead of the fact we are facing the likelihood of conflagration in the Middle East if not the world.

If the American pathos is indeed unable to properly process historical change, then the following conclusion is drawn: to best serve the US and the American people, one must not think like those in the USG nor engage in any of the prevailing historical narratives that have given rise to a dangerous nation.

steve

Will:

"The Egyptian VP position is interesting. It is said that Abdul-Nasser picked one whom he thought was the dumbest to be his VP, to lessen the threat of succession, and used to refer to Sadat as "the donkey." Likewise, Sadat is said to have continued the tradition."

Does Joe Biden come to mind?

Patrick Lang

steve

Omar Suleiman is no Joe Biden. pl

Chazz

It looks like El-Baradai has taken the protests as an invitation to broker some form of transition, an act of courage at this moment I think. What is still unclear (to me at least) is who engineered this protest. Some news reports suggest that it is non-denominational students or "young people, perhaps modeled after the Chinese Tienanmen Sq. movement.

The Muslim Brotherhood appears to have been caught off-guard here, and simply stepped into the vacuum, once the protests were well underway. They obviously see it as an opportunity to implement changes they have advocated for the past decades.

My question is whether those (if they exist) people who planned these actions have a Sam Adams in the wings. If they just planned on igniting the spark and then seeing where the chips fall, then I guess that's a moot point.

OTOH I think clarification about the "religious" background of these "groups" and any comparison to Iran is required. The Iranian students were obviously religiously inspired, and had the ayatollah in the wings waiting to fill the power vacuum. That does not seem true in Egypt now.

Also, the religious make-up of Egypt is not as homogeneous as Iran was and is. Some studies suggest that many in Egypt are Salafists with a strong Sufi world-view. I believe that this is why the protesters have tried to keep the protests as peaceful as they can, given the pacific nature of Sufism.

At the same time, should the situation resolve itself into a smooth transition, this part of the population will steer any government away from an extreme Islamist state.

steve

Mr. Smith:

Historical ignorance--I recall a Chris Matthews segment from a few months back. Someone was arguing that the "slavery debt" has yet to be paid by the US. Regardless of the veracity of that point, Matthews immediately chimed in claiming that in the North, particularly his native Pennsylvania of course, slavery had been virtually non-existent, that no one of note had slaves.

Now, I felt like screaming at the TV: "You dolt! You idiot son of Philadelphia! Ben Franklin owned slaves!" I doubt he knew that.

And no, this post is not meant to justify southern slavery, sorta, kinda, because the north had slavery as well, but just to point out Matthew's ignorance.

To Philadelphia's credit--and I could be wrong in my own historical ignorance--but I do believe that Philadelphia had the oldest organized abolitionist society in the world, older than even London's.

Doubt if Matthews even knew that though.

steve

Colonel,

No, of course he's not. My point was a joking reference to Nasser's alleged comment, not Suleiman's appointment.

Patrick Lang

chazz

"Some studies suggest that many in Egypt are Salafists with a strong Sufi world-view. I believe that this is why the protesters have tried to keep the protests as peaceful as they can, given the pacific nature of Sufism."

This is dangerously over simplified. You will have to explain to me how Salafism and tasawwuf (Sufism) are reconcilable since sufism represents an evolution of Islam beyond the original practise of the Ummah. i have not noticed any specifically sufi manifestations until the Abassiya. Perhaps the Sufis make claims in that direction? Sufis are necessarily pacifist? I think not. the followers of Shamil the Avar and all those sufis who fought Russians and Soviets would differ from that description. pl

WILL

"Yes, but isn’t the prevailing historical narrative one in which Confederates will not serve with people of color?"

See the Cleburne Proposal which RE Lee ultimately supported but J Davis nixed until too late to make a difference.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrick_Cleburne

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confederate_States_Army

Lysander

"

All

The mob is a mob. If they will not accept an interim administration that has army support then there will be anarchy and chaos that could lead to anything, anything. Baradei is nothing. He has not support except from liberal American anchors. pl"

Col Lang,

The MB has announced they support El Baradai to Negotiate a transition with the regime. Other opposition groups also expressed their support.

Baradai is speaking to the crowd at Tahrir square right now. We will see how he is received.

I'm not sure I like or trust El Baradai. But he has more public support than any other potential individual.

Suleiman simply has no public support whatsoever. The generals on top can't order the army to shoot protesters. There will be a total breakdown of discipline if they do. Neither Mubarak, nor Suleiman nor the top generals control the situation.

In short, Suleiman wont be anything more than a nominal president for a couple of days. Maybe not even that.

Sidney O. Smith III

Hi Will

Shelby Foote speaks very, very highly of Pat Cleburne -- the Irishman from Arkansas and his tragic death under Hood in TN.

CSPAN aired a 3 hour in depth interview with Shelby Foote on 9.2.2001 -- ironically nine days before 9.11. Foote had a little age on him on then, but I found it riveting. If you haven’t seen it, you may enjoy it as well.

http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/165823-1

Again, I just don’t think the prevailing historical narrative in Kagan’s dangerous nation is serving us well (including American blacks). Increasingly, this type of national identity appears to be built upon false historical assumptions.

But what fascinates me to no end is how some on the left have interpreted the recent uprisings in Egypt. Their perceptions appear, at least to me, to rest upon the same underpinnings that gave rise to Michael Ledeen’s concept of “creative destruction.” This suggests a common intersection among some on the progessive left and neoconservatives (including the majority of Southerners), and it may have something to do with “the rest of the world wants to be just like us”

If we are not careful, this concept may more closely resemble “creative self destruction” based on a failure of seeing reality.

Stu

Mubarak's reign was nearing its end anyway. The likely successor to Mubarak was going to be his son Gamal (a former investment banker). This engineered "uprising" changed that. Maybe we didn't trust Gamal. He may have bitten too much of the apple to be a reliable "partner" that his father was or maybe we deduced he is took weak to rule. Whatever the reason, we are now trying to find ourselves another Mubarak. Instead of waiting, it is apparent the decision was made to control the succession process. All this talk about freedom and rights are for the gullible public.

alnval

Col. Lang:

Thank you for the post. Your direct knowledge and assessment of OS is a welcomed counterpoint to the memes of the MSM. With apologies to Candide I continue to hope that their reluctance to accept the internet as a legitimate source of information could soften to the point where the two might interact.

Ken Hoop

I notice that Hillary today, demonstrating both the increasingly transparent incompetence and unwanted imperialism of the US ruling class, said that Mubarek's VP appointment was a very positive step in bringing the kind of democracy to Egypt the US has been admonishing Hosni to do for past decades.
This,well after its abundantly clear the Egpytian street considers the appointed VP part of the problem not the solution.

Jake

Unfortunately for you,the broad Mideast street, save for Israel, believes "isolationism" is what America should be about, after the past few decades of wanton destruction it has brought there.

So, Mr. Lang, re imperialism, you're a fan of right wing non-interventionist historian Harry Elmer Barnes?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Elmer_Barnes

Patrick Lang

Ken Hoop

"So, Mr. Lang, re imperialism, you're a fan of right wing non-interventionist historian Harry Elmer Barnes?"

Never heard of him before this. I thought the hasbara school taught you not to be so obvious in guilt by association ploys.

having read the wiki, he seems just another simple minded academic nut. have made it clear that the Shoa is very real to me having visited Dachau as a child. pl

J

Phil,

Why is Hillary flapping her gums the way she is? Who is pulling her strings, is it AIPAC, or the White House, or a combination of the both?

J

Phil, Colonel,

Have either of you seen this one yet?

The Torture Career of Egypt's New Vice President: Omar Suleiman and the Rendition to Torture Program

Fred

David Habakkuk, thanks for the insight and link. Another piece of history to learn from.
Do you think there are any parallels in Tunisia and Egypt to this?:

"The Russian opposition is intellectual throughout, and this is its weakness, because between the intelligentsia and the people there is a profound gulf of mutual misunderstanding and distrust."

rjj
"...between the intelligentsia and the people there is a profound gulf of mutual misunderstanding and distrust."
Doesn't this gulf exist everywhere, at all times, evolving in form and grade?

When I read that quote about the Russian opposition I immediately thought of Conrad's Under Western Eyes. It's worth a re-read.

I trust Conrad's send-up of the Russian intelligentsia was as accurate as it is entertaining. Writing fifty years later he could easily have cast these same characters as Objectivists -- Randroids.

Tyler

Had to listen to someone from the Brookings Institute on NPR today wring their hands about how Suleiman was not "acceptable" because he was accused of various nasty acts against "pro freedom democracy protestors" or some such.

Amazing the bubble that people who have all this education can put themselves in.

Leanderthal

Col,

Your positive appraisal of Omar Suleiman is surprising in light of his reputation as the CIA's go to guy for rendition and torture, Egypt style.

Leanderthal

Patrick Lang

Leanderthal

What do you want, for a virgin to lead Egypt out of this mess? pl

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