Monday, June 25, 2012

Egypt: A Muslim Brotherhood President Does Not Prove That We Are All ‘Chimps’

"I just can’t do what I done before
I just can’t beg you anymore
I’m gonna let you pass
And I’ll go last
Then time will tell just who fell
And who’s been left behind
When you go your way and I go mine."
Bob Dylan, "Most Likely You Go Your Way and I'll Go Mine"

By Barry Rubin

Muhammad al-Mursi, the Muslim Brotherhood candidate, has become president of Egypt. But what does it mean to be president of Egypt? That’s the current question. Let me divide the discussion into two parts: What does this tell about “us” and what does this tell about Egypt and its future?

First, what does it tell about the West? The answer is that there are things that can be learned and understood, leading to some predictive power, but unfortunately the current hegemonic elite and its worldview refuses to learn.

What could be more revealing of that fact then the words off Jacqueline Stevens in the New York Times: “Chimps randomly throwing darts at the possible outcomes would have done almost as well as the experts.” Well, it depends on which experts. Martin Kramer, one of those who was right all along about Egypt, has a choice selection of quotes from a certain kind of Middle East expert who was dead wrong. A near-infinite number of such quotes can be gathered from the pages of America's most august newspapers.

These people all share the current left-wing ideology; the refusal to understand the menace of revolutionary Islamism, the general belief that President Barack Obama is doing a great job; and the tendency to blame either Israel or America for the regions problems.  So if a big mistake has been made it is that approach that has proven to be in the chimp category.

Having written about the Middle East for almost forty years, I’ve seen the power of the “chimps” that repeatedly make the same mistakes over and over again. Their power has waxed and waned, falling to the lowest points, for example, just after the 1991 Kuwait war and just after September 11, 2001. But they keep making comebacks and in the last two years their influence has been at an all-time high.

In early October 2010 I wrote an article based on actually reading what the Muslim Brotherhood leaders were saying. It was entitled, “The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood is Declaring Jihad on America; Will Anyone in America Notice?” And they were signaling a change in their traditionally cautious strategy to go for revolution. Why? They told us: President Husni Mubarak was on his last legs, the regime seemed uncertain, America was weak, and their assessment was that the revolutionary Islamist forces were advancing everywhere....

If we assess honestly what has happened since, it would require us to conclude that the aggressiveness of revolutionary Islamism and the weakness of the U.S. response to this challenge were the principal problems and must be addressed. But if we are all chimps one can ignore all of the lessons of the last eighteen months and, thus, continue to make more terrible errors in the months to come.

But what should we make specifically of this most recent event, the certification of al-Mursi’s victory?

To read the entire article click here: http://pjmedia.com/barryrubin/2012/06/24/5479/

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