Thursday, November 29, 2012

Don't Stick A Fork In It – Yet

As we approach the holidays here in the United States, it's usually a difficult time for those of us in the political media. Political stories are often either ginned up hype - like the continued bogus and pathetic attacks on Ambassador Susan Rice - or inevitable procedural stories, like the "fiscal crisis/cliff" story.

For the record, our sources all say the same thing about the pending tax and budget deal. Either Congressional Republicans will wise up before the holidays - or their hand will be forced just after New Year, when the 113th Congress is sworn in. Either way, even the most committed conservatives are now admitting that taxes on rich Americans will have to go up, because that's really what Americans want.

The lack of substantive political news in 'The States' is one reason we've got our eyes trained on what's going on in Egypt. The other reason is that we simply don't trust Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi entirely, especially after his decrees last week. We've seen it happen far too often in history, in other nations around the world. People give up their lives fighting to reset their nation's political table for democracy, only to have the first person they elect steal democracy out from under the noses of the people.

If you only pay partial attention to U.S media coverage of Egypt, we can understand how you might get the wrong idea about what's happening there right now. You might think their relatively new President, Mohammed Morsi, is babbling incoherently about the 'Planet of the Apes' movies, that there's a 'second revolution' already underway, or that the Egyptian protests are turning into a cyberwar.

Frankly, if all of those things were true, we could understand some of the attitudes we've heard from our fellow Americans, that we should just "stick a fork" in Egypt's current government, that its days are numbered.

Thankfully, we have contacts in other parts of the world not subject to the U.S. media hype machine, who have a much better view of the situation.

To start with, what the Egyptian people are doing right now is something Americans went through over two hundred years ago - "learning to be free" as President Morsi told Bobby Ghosh in an interview on Wednesday.

While Egypt is still a key nation in stabilizing the Middle Eastern region, it's a nation that does not even have a Constitution right now. The assembly writing Egypt's constitution wrapped up its final draft on Wednesday, and will vote on their constitution today.

Yes, protests have erupted throughout Egypt, and the judges in Egypt's court system have even gone on an unprecedented strike, based on actions President Morsi recently took to temporarily expand the power of the Egyptian presidency.

Still, for all the apparent turmoil, many in the Middle East still see Egypt as a stable place. International investment is still being made in Egypt. It's still generally considered a safe country too, where refugees from war-torn nations like Syria continue fleeing for safety.

We agree that there is reason to be watchful and wary of what's going on in Egypt - and we will be watching carefully today as President Morsi addresses his nation. Hopefully, he'll present a new Egyptian Constitution to his people that may have just been ratified by the Assembly that nullifies any questions about his intensions.

As much as we might fear a power grab by Mr. Morsi, the Egyptian people don't seem to be completely ready to stick a fork in President Morsi or their fledgling democracy.


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