This is good from Seumas

The Arab world is now riven by the menace of sectarianism and breakup into smaller states. It\’s afflicted by polarisation between secularism and Islamism, the wealth and influence of reactionary Gulf autocracies and the constant military intervention and presence of western powers.

A democratic 21st-century Nasser, able to straddle the religious and secular camps, could be the unifying force to confront those challenges.

What Egypt needs is a military dictator. As long as he\’s democratic that is.

17 comments on “This is good from Seumas

  1. How about the Arab world does split up into smaller states? Some places become 14th-century hellhole Islamic theocracies, complete with stoning for rape, some places become advanced liberal, democratic places where homosexuality and blasphemy are enfrorced. And everywhere in-between. And everyone gets to choose at the outset which one they move to.

    It seems the only way to keep everybody happy. Just that the Islamists get to enforce their narrow world-view on a slightly narrower part of the world, and they might have ambitions beyond that.

  2. JamesV,

    I’m all in favour of a different states with different cultures, including “14th-century hellhole Islamic theocracies” for those who want that sort of thing. Unfortunately that idea falls foul of political correctness.

    The PC view is that Islamic theocrats who don’t like their DIY hellholes should be allowed to migrate to the West and enjoy what the West has to offer, while turning the West into Islamic hellholes.

    And any disagreement with the politically correct will be interpreted as “inciting racial hatred”, so watch it.

  3. Given Seamus is an old fashioned Communist, I think he means ‘democratic’ in the ‘GDR’ sense of the word, i.e. not at all democratic.

  4. It’s not so much the conclusion I object to (as I have no clue what is possible/desirable), but the idea that he has any idea what Egyptians want or would tolerate.

    Tomorrow he will solve the Israel/Palestine problem, and Friday it will be the Congo. After a weekend’s rest, he will find a solution to the truly difficult problem of scrum collapses. Any lack of experience of rugby will not be a drawback at all.

  5. The Egyptians have been comprehensively discrediting a series of fondly held Western delusions: the idea that oppressed people need hold laudable beliefs; the idea that revolutions need be emancipatory; the idea that democracy can sweep across the Middle East; the idea that Islamists are a progressive force…

    Sheamus Milne’s declaration that Egypt needs a contradiction in terms, who is able to achieve something that is so hard to do that he offers no suggestions as to how it might be done, might at least be evidence that Western people are realising that no one has very good ideas for the region.

  6. Ralph>

    The ‘pc idea’ you refer to is more that 14th (or, to be more accurate, 16th-17th) century-style religion is strongly correlated with 16th-17th century levels of wealth. Those who come here have better things to do.

    You can quite clearly see this in action, because the hardcore Muslim extremists in this country say the same things as those in Pakistan and so-on, but don’t actually do anything about them. The most extremely religious Islamic areas in this country are commonly only a few minutes drive from some of the most Jewish areas in the country. Do they ever get in their cars and drive down to start their religious war? Meanwhile, can you imagine a similar Jewish community surviving unharassed in a poor part of Pakistan?

  7. To add to BenSix’s list, one meme which has gone awfully quiet since the Egyptian revolution and the Syrian civil war is the that whereby Israel is the sole cause of all unrest in the Arab world. The left would never admit it, but it might slowly be dawning on some of them that the place would still be fucked up if tomorrow Israel was relocated lock, stock, and barrel to New Mexico.

  8. @ Tim Newman
    Just wait a few weeks and we shall have lefties explaining that Bashar Al-Assad’s repressive dictatorship is due to the aggression of the Israelis occupying the Golan Heights after his father innocently used them to subject the vicious agricultural kibbutzim to continuous artillery shelling.

  9. Isn’t the problem in these places that they set up that’s heading towards being a westernish democratic constitution, hold an election, and promptly elect another dictator?

    It’s why for all the jibes about being bound to the will of dead white men I’m quite keen on constitutions that can’t be amended by a simple majority.

    Further, this being Egypt, one is reminded of Ian Smith’s regrettably astute observation that democracy in Africa means “one man, one vote, one time”.

  10. @ JamesV
    Democracy means that the voters (often a minority of the people) choose a government. The Egyptians chose Morsi. Not my first choice, but their’s (and there was no evidence of the terrorism in Egypt that there was in Southern Rhodesia/ Zimbabwe that stole the election for Mugabe). So I am all for waiting until the next election rather then a military coup.
    Ian Smith was right about Mugabe, but several African countries have held free elections

  11. Anything out of Ho Chi Milne’s mouth is vitiated by the fact that he is an unrepentant communist. Given that we’re nearly at the hundredth anniversary of the October Revolution with all its subsequent horrors, anyone who still cleaves to such a barbarous ideology has no more business commenting on politics than a pederast does on nursery care.

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