Sunday, July 07, 2013

Fascism In Cairo Cheered By The Americans Who Always Cheer Fascism


Fascists love those military strongmen

There's always been a big audience-- and cheering section-- for fascism in the United States, which explains the popularity of the Wall Street Journal, not to mention Fox News and Hate Talk Radio. The other day we looked at the 1933 fascist coup attempt against Franklin Roosevelt led by Republican industrialists and financiers Irénée du Pont, J.P. Morgan, Prescott Bush, Grayson Murphy, and other prominent Wall Street figures, as well as the pro-Nazi families behind Remington, Heinz, Birds Eye, Goodyear, and Maxwell House. Roosevelt could have-- should have-- hung all the plotter for high treason, but he preferred to allow the plot to be covered up in return for their quiescence as he worked to implement the New Deal.

America's wealthy fascist families did quiet down during World War II, of course, but they've been busy beavers since then. Today, the Koch family is preeminent among the leaders of American fascism... although they try to disguise it as a kind of "libertarianism." Predictably, the Wall Street Journal is cheering the fascist coup in Egypt last week and encouraging the Obama Administration to break the law by calling it something other than a "coup." (A coup jeopardizes the billion-plus dollars of non-Sequestered aid to Egypt in general and the Egyptian military in particular. The powerful Likud lobby insists the U.S. taxpayer continue underwriting that huge burden.) They Journal editorial page has their collective fingers crossed that military Islamist Abdul Fatah al-Sisi turns out to be "as good as" Chilean neo-Nazi hero Augusto Pinochet, up there with Ronald Reagan, Ayn Rand and Ludwig con Mises in the pantheon of right-wing loons.

The Journal blames the popular protests against the democratically-elected Morsi on chronic gas and food shortages and a sinking economy without mentioning that these conditions were carefully orchestrated by the military. There are no long gas lines or shortages in Cairo today... convenient. They credit a powerful "secular business class" with saving Egypt from... democracy?
Yet a military coup riding mass protests carries its own risks to future stability. One danger is the reaction of the Brotherhood, which is still the strongest single political party. The secretive group renounced armed struggle in the 1970s. But that could change if its leaders conclude that democracy works for everyone except for them.

Adly Mansour, a judge and interim president sworn in Thursday, called the Brotherhood "part of the nation." But at the same time the military closed down pro-Brotherhood TV stations and put out warrants for the arrest of the party's senior leaders. The Brotherhood is unpopular now, but as memories fade it could return to power with a vengeance if Egypt's next rulers are also unable to fix the country's many problems.

A more hopeful sign is that General Sisi gathered prominent opposition and Coptic Christian and Muslim leaders to announce a new "roadmap" for Egypt's future. The roadmap proposes, among other steps, a broadly representative committee to rewrite the constitution and to form a technocratic government.

General Sisi is also promising new elections, albeit without a timetable. Mohamed ElBaradei, a prominent (and anti-American) secular leader, and the hardline Islamic Salafist Nour Party, a rival to the Brotherhood, have publicly backed the military plan.

The generals don't seem eager to govern directly, especially after they mismanaged the transition after Hosni Mubarak's 2011 ouster until Mr. Morsi's election. Civilians were tried in military courts and abused in custody. As crime worsened and the economy stalled, public ire turned against the generals.

It will do so again without more enlightened leadership that focuses on economic revival and a political transition to a system of checks and balances. Any transition government will no doubt seek money and oil from the Gulf states as well as an early deal with the International Monetary Fund to make up for Egypt's rapidly declining currency reserves.

America can also do more than it has. The Obama Administration has been caught trailing events at every turn, supporting Mr. Mubarak before abruptly throwing him over, and then embracing Mr. Morsi despite his authoritarian turn.

President Obama stayed quiet throughout the latest crisis, finally issuing an anodyne call Wednesday night for "a democratic political order with participation from all sides and all political parties—secular and religious, civilian and military."

Mr. Obama also requested a review of U.S. aid to Egypt, but cutting that off now would be a mistake. Unpopular as America is in Egypt, $1.3 billion in annual military aid buys access with the generals. U.S. support for Cairo is written into the Camp David peace accords with Israel. Washington can also do more to help Egypt gain access to markets, international loans and investment capital. The U.S. now has a second chance to use its leverage to shape a better outcome.

Egyptians would be lucky if their new ruling generals turn out to be in the mold of Chile's Augusto Pinochet, who took power amid chaos but hired free-market reformers and midwifed a transition to democracy. If General Sisi merely tries to restore the old Mubarak order, he will eventually suffer Mr. Morsi's fate.
Sisi and his puppet presidente were on the air calling for a free and open national discussion-- at the exact same time, his soldiers were shutting down all the TV stations they didn't control and rounding up Muslim Brotherhood leaders and arresting them for... whatever. Meanwhile, aren't New Yorkers lucky that they're not stuck having to read the reactionary Wall Street Journal! After all, they can read the NY Times instead and find out useful info, like how Egyptians seem "to lack even the basic mental ingredients" for a democratic transition.

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At 9:10 AM, Anonymous me said...

Roosevelt could have-- should have-- hung all the plotter for high treason, but he preferred to allow the plot to be covered up in return for their quiescence as he worked to implement the New Deal.

That was the biggest mistake Roosevelt made.

The second biggest was picking Truman for veep.


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