Friday, February 04, 2011

US History Means What To Egypt's Situation

I've been hearing a lot lately about what is happening in Egypt and the US Revolution and our democracy. I'd like to know how somebody can make those comparisons and act as though they know something about history. "Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it" has a lot of truth, but it also involves comparing history to something that has some congruence and making statements that also reflect what happened in history.

Now talking about how we succeeded in forming a government ignores a bit of something - the date of the Constitution. The government that came out of the Revolution was The Articles of Confederation and it failed. The great Constitution a bit over a half century later was sorted out by a bloody Civil War and in some respects is still not sorted out. Does somebody really think a good resolution of Egypt's current situation would be a conflict like our Civil War?

What happened in the US in response to our Revolution comes out of centuries of English evolution of government and Western European thought on governance. Egypt's experience with Western history involves colonialism from a dissimilar government and the economic/militaristic colonialism of also radically dissimilar governments. Whatever other issues the new and continuing US had with its former ruler their was a cultural and political sympathy between the two.

However corrupt English rule of the colony now the US was, it was more distant and of considerable lower degree. What exists in Egypt as corruption is within blocks not across an ocean and the results are more dramatic in their severity. Whatever context the US support of Mubarak is held in, there are not US soldiers standing in the streets enforcing the corruption and authoritarianism of the Mubarak government as there were Redcoats in the colonies.

I don't know where the Egyptian revolution is headed or what it will reach - I do know that using the US as a context is ludicrous.

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