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Why the EU shouldn't intervene in Egypt

Rainman05

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Hello.

So last night I was thinking about democracy in the wake of so much news about Egypt on dw.de (a very good news site) or euronews (if you have 5min/day to watch the news, pick euronews)... Westerwelle says that Egypt may be on the brink of civil war... etc.

So as a history buff I started thinking about the history of democracy in Europe, because you know, this is the continent where democracy was born, died, and was reborn at various stages in history. The Athenians fought countless wars with other hellenistic civilizations to preserve their democracy, which was the best thing ever at that time. They fought wars with others and wars between themselves too. The Roman republic was shattered and reforged countless times and there were numerous civil wars for power. Until Augustus Octavian put the final nail in the republican coffin, the senate kept re-emerging after the threat or after being overtaken by very ambitious individuals.
Not counting the numerous wars between the various city states of Italy during the dark ages and the middle ages, of which some were republics... well, they weren't monarchies at least and some democratic ideas flourished (Milan is a prime example), you have the worlds' foremost examples of well established democracies born and reborn through civil war.

The american war of independence was a civil war between englishmen, and when one side won, they called themselves Americans. And then they had a civil war.

The french had one civil war to get rid of the absolute monarchy... when that was finally galvanized they had a revolution in 1848, when that eventually collapsed 4 years later (the bonapartes had a knack for overturning republics)... and when the second empire collapsed because Napoleon III f-ed up in Prussia, what was the first instict of the French people? To form a new republic, the third republic. Which got defeated by the nazis... then you had the 4th republic which had to reinvent itself to suit European integration and became what is now, the 5th republic. So we see the French had multiple attempts and reinvented their democracy over and over again through chaos and problems.

The British had multiple problems with their first go at improving democracy by giving more powers to the parliament and taking them away from the monarchy, a remarkable triumph was the English civil war between the royalists and the roundheads, which the roundheads won.

The swiss had about 3 civil wars in order to define exactly what kind of a democracy they wanted until they ended up having what they got today, the confederacy.

So these are just a handful of examples. There are of course, many more. But this does raise an interesting point. Are we not, by interfering, denying the Egyptian people the chance to truly appreciate democracy? After all, the aforementioned nations and many others, who have democracy, usually have it at a cost of blood and lives. As tragic as it is today, do we not hold the democratic freedoms we have today due to that sacrifice dearer? Do we not appreciate democracy more because many died for it, teaching us a lesson that democracy is worth dying for? If everything would be done sanitary and insulated from all harm, then wouldn't that diminish the appreciation of something? If it comes easy. if it comes with "help". Surely if the desire of the Egyptian people is strong enough to want a democracy, they will have it. And the deaths of the people who fight for it will consolidate the democratic legacy that follows for centuries. They're allowed to stumble, they stumbled once. Others stumbled more times. Let's let them make the sacrifice they need to make to create a prosperous future for themselves in a democratic setting. Let's not intervene.

At least that's what I thought waking up this morning. This was pretty much my train of thought.
 

Northern Light

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That's a lovely sentiment and all, but intervention is already happening. If you think the U.S. and Israel are going to sit by and just let Egypt be taken over by leadership that is not compliant with either of their foreign policies, think again. Our diplomats and intelligence services are working full time to direct the course of events to something more favorable to us.

How do I know this? Because we always do Europe's dirty work. If Europe is in there then it means the U.S. is also in there. They don't do anything without us because we are the bull dog.

Don't kid yourself... Egypt is under watchful eyes. I'm not saying I support it, but it's just the political reality of what's happening.
 

joG

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Hello.

So last night I was thinking about democracy in the wake of so much news about Egypt on dw.de (a very good news site) or euronews (if you have 5min/day to watch the news, pick euronews)... Westerwelle says that Egypt may be on the brink of civil war... etc.

.....g..... Are we not, by interfering, denying the Egyptian people the chance to truly appreciate democracy? After all, the aforementioned nations and many others, who have democracy, usually have it at a cost of blood and lives. As tragic as it is today, do we not hold the democratic freedoms we have today due to that sacrifice dearer? Do we not appreciate democracy more because many died for it, teaching us a lesson that democracy is worth dying for? If everything would be done sanitary and insulated from all harm, then wouldn't that diminish the appreciation of something? If it comes easy. if it comes with "help". Surely if the desire of the Egyptian people is strong enough to want a democracy, they will have it. And the deaths of the people who fight for it will consolidate the democratic legacy that follows for centuries. They're allowed to stumble, they stumbled once. Others stumbled more times. Let's let them make the sacrifice they need to make to create a prosperous future for themselves in a democratic setting. Let's not intervene.

At least that's what I thought waking up this morning. This was pretty much my train of thought.



Interesting you would like Euronews and DW. I do not know DW very well. Euronews I do know and compare continuously with CNBC, Al Jazeera, RT, France24, Phoenix, BBC or ZDF. It is not my preferred network. What do you like about it?

As to the topic you rightly point out, that democracy did not appear fixed and ready ex nihilo. Peoples experimented over the centuries and slowly a number of Instruments emerged that in different combinations are considered democratic. Now, we could discuss, which mixes are more and which less effective for the citizen, which give him more goods and which mixes tend to answer the needs of smaller groups of citizens. But there are certain rules that we know quite well to work and others that always lead to problems. We watched, while the first election was carried out, though, it was totally obvious, that it was defective and had a very high probability of failure. Some developments could pose real problems for us and especially Europe. Do we really want to watch, while Egypt becomes a failed state, if there is anything we can do to prevent it?

Wilson did not force his allies to make Weimar work and the allies did not remove Hitler even though it was becoming obvious, that things were getting out of control. Those two little mistakes ran into 60 Millions Dead. Europe was thrown back by decades. I do not know. But should we sit on the fence? True. After WW2 the Germans implemented a constitution that is democratically weak in very many aspects and does a shoddy job of protecting the Bürger and is beginning to unravel. But it has kept the peace albeit with a massive US presence and until 1989 the clear and present threat of extinction should the US have left. Do you really think that intervention was without merit?
The Europeans are in the habit of waiting till the US acts. I personally do not think that this free riding can go on much longer. There is no way the US can go on paying for the semi security in the international arena.

In worst case scenarios Suez could be closed or Isreal attacked. That would be more than a pity for Europe and would cause us all sorts of malaise.

Now, I am not proposing any specific action. We should think about, what steps make sense. But I really do not think we should just let things happen.
 

joG

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How do I know this? Because we always do Europe's dirty work. If Europe is in there then it means the U.S. is also in there. They don't do anything without us because we are the bull dog.

Don't kid yourself... Egypt is under watchful eyes. I'm not saying I support it, but it's just the political reality of what's happening.

This said, the Europeans will continue to free ride the situation. I do not think that is good.
 

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This said, the Europeans will continue to free ride the situation. I do not think that is good.

It has been the unofficial policy since post-WII reconstruction of Europe. The U.S. does the dirty work and Europe tags along, and then gets to claim victory and bad mouth us afterward.

National bickering aside, Egypt is not going to come out of this as a self-governing polity. Someone's going to hold all the cards and it's likely going to be the western bloc - yet again.

With all that we are doing in the Middle East to alter the political landscape, the last thing the White House is going to allow is for the Muslim brotherhood to rule Egypt. It could actually be beneficial to the Egyptians, but it won't be beneficial to the U.S. or Israel, so it's simply not going to happen.
 

joG

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With all that we are doing in the Middle East to alter the political landscape, the last thing the White House is going to allow is for the Muslim brotherhood to rule Egypt. It could actually be beneficial to the Egyptians, but it won't be beneficial to the U.S. or Israel, so it's simply not going to happen.

I think that it could happen. **** happens. Ask Carter. But I do not think it would be beneficial to the Egyptians. Ask the Iranians. ;)
 

Rainman05

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Interesting you would like Euronews and DW. I do not know DW very well. Euronews I do know and compare continuously with CNBC, Al Jazeera, RT, France24, Phoenix, BBC or ZDF. It is not my preferred network. What do you like about it?

As to the topic you rightly point out, that democracy did not appear fixed and ready ex nihilo. Peoples experimented over the centuries and slowly a number of Instruments emerged that in different combinations are considered democratic. Now, we could discuss, which mixes are more and which less effective for the citizen, which give him more goods and which mixes tend to answer the needs of smaller groups of citizens. But there are certain rules that we know quite well to work and others that always lead to problems. We watched, while the first election was carried out, though, it was totally obvious, that it was defective and had a very high probability of failure. Some developments could pose real problems for us and especially Europe. Do we really want to watch, while Egypt becomes a failed state, if there is anything we can do to prevent it?

Wilson did not force his allies to make Weimar work and the allies did not remove Hitler even though it was becoming obvious, that things were getting out of control. Those two little mistakes ran into 60 Millions Dead. Europe was thrown back by decades. I do not know. But should we sit on the fence? True. After WW2 the Germans implemented a constitution that is democratically weak in very many aspects and does a shoddy job of protecting the Bürger and is beginning to unravel. But it has kept the peace albeit with a massive US presence and until 1989 the clear and present threat of extinction should the US have left. Do you really think that intervention was without merit?
The Europeans are in the habit of waiting till the US acts. I personally do not think that this free riding can go on much longer. There is no way the US can go on paying for the semi security in the international arena.

In worst case scenarios Suez could be closed or Isreal attacked. That would be more than a pity for Europe and would cause us all sorts of malaise.

Now, I am not proposing any specific action. We should think about, what steps make sense. But I really do not think we should just let things happen.

Euronews is good. You watch the videos, get the facts quick and simple, no opinion, no nothing. Just the facts. Unless it is those opinion broadcasts they do from time to time, but the regular news where you have 1min-1min30s or so of video, just the facts. It's good.

I am not saying that we shouldn't help them out with advice. But we shouldn't intervene aggressively. If Egypt sinks in a civil war between the secularists and the islamists, though highly unlikely, we shouldn't take sides. We took sides and aided the libyan rebels, and now where is Libya? An islamist state with a sharia constitution. We congratulated Egypt last time around and look where they ended up now.
Let's not take sides. Very simple. Not on one side, not on the other, not support a third option, not as peacekeeping forces. We just keep out and when the fighting and the turmoil is over and a government is instated, if it's a friendly government that is an islamist anti-democratic govt, we should support it. If it is an islamist govt, we cut all ties to it.

islam has been the dominant religion and enforced the mainstream culture there for over 1000 years. We should stop trying to believe that we know how to fix such damage. If the people of Egypt want democracy and freedom bad enough, they'll make it and they'll get it on their own terms and if we like what we see, we can be friends. But we shouldn't intervene, just watch.

I doubt Israel would be attacked and of course, if the Suez is closed, many European countries have legitimate motives to secure the Suez channel and occupy it for the duration of the turmoil.

...unless the religious win that is!

The islamists won last time. Now, a year later, there are riots in the street and the country is on the brink of civil war.
 

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It has been the unofficial policy since post-WII reconstruction of Europe. The U.S. does the dirty work and Europe tags along, and then gets to claim victory and bad mouth us afterward.

Not this part of Europe! Tagging along such a great army may be more natural. But bad mouthing you afterwards? Nah, not us here no! Be more specific when mentioning "Europe!"
 

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The islamists won last time. Now, a year later, there are riots in the street and the country is on the brink of civil war.

Should they be left again there will be another freaking civil war a year later yet again! Religion is not meant to be in the government! That is the throne of democracy instead.
 

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-- The islamists won last time. Now, a year later, there are riots in the street and the country is on the brink of civil war.

Personally, I think Egypt is not ready for external intervention. We've all been there in some form to get democratic elections going and they elected a party with little concern for anyone outside it's ranks. The problem was democracy as understood was just getting the largest number of votes to thus hold power at the expense of everyone else.

Egypt does not have a "whole nation" ideal of democracy yet, the basic concept is still too new. The west now has the choice of supporting the military or supporting a process highly likely to see another Muslim Brotherhood candidate elected. I say we (EU) stay out until the shoots of cross religious / cross tribal politics starts to foment.

If we have to be involved in the ME, we pick our fights and ground more carefully than we did in Egypt.

-- bad mouth us afterward.

National bickering aside --

Well, you just had to get two swipes in at us first before hiding behind a self proclaimed truce. Anyhow Syria disproves your little theory.
 

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Also they can take that freaking name "Muslim Brotherhood" and kindly forget about it for good! As if Muslims throughout the world care for one another in a brotherly fashion!

Yeah, Indonesians have been responsible for the increase of sea level with their tears over what happens in Egypt! Eastern Chinese are responsible for the recent floods there for the same reason too!
 

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I am not saying that we shouldn't help them out with advice. But we shouldn't intervene aggressively. If Egypt sinks in a civil war between the secularists and the islamists, though highly unlikely, we shouldn't take sides. We took sides and aided the libyan rebels, and now where is Libya? An islamist state with a sharia constitution. We congratulated Egypt last time around and look where they ended up now.
Let's not take sides. Very simple. Not on one side, not on the other, not support a third option, not as peacekeeping forces. We just keep out and when the fighting and the turmoil is over and a government is instated, if it's a friendly government that is an islamist anti-democratic govt, we should support it. If it is an islamist govt, we cut all ties to it.

islam has been the dominant religion and enforced the mainstream culture there for over 1000 years. We should stop trying to believe that we know how to fix such damage. If the people of Egypt want democracy and freedom bad enough, they'll make it and they'll get it on their own terms and if we like what we see, we can be friends. But we shouldn't intervene, just watch.



That is sort of like letting riots in slums run their course and supporting Big Mean as legitimate mayor, when he wins.
 

Rainman05

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That is sort of like letting riots in slums run their course and supporting Big Mean as legitimate mayor, when he wins.

Only if the slums in the city are part of a tribal society. If there is a rule of law where such behavior is illegal, then no, the riots are contained and disbanded.

But civil war is, as stupid as this may sound, a war. It doesn't play by the rules and especially not by the rule of law. And in the case of civil war, yes, the biggest and best equipped "mob" wins. That's the reality of things. Lets just hope that it doesn't come down to it. So far, it's just protests, and some protests that turn bloody. Protesting is, as funny as this may sound, is in principle, a good thing. The fact that people died may be bad... but it all matters what happens next.

As long as there will be protests from citizens who have no guns, there won't be a civil war. When they do get guns... it won't be a protest anymore.
 

Rainman05

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Personally, I think Egypt is not ready for external intervention. We've all been there in some form to get democratic elections going and they elected a party with little concern for anyone outside it's ranks. The problem was democracy as understood was just getting the largest number of votes to thus hold power at the expense of everyone else.

Egypt does not have a "whole nation" ideal of democracy yet, the basic concept is still too new. The west now has the choice of supporting the military or supporting a process highly likely to see another Muslim Brotherhood candidate elected. I say we (EU) stay out until the shoots of cross religious / cross tribal politics starts to foment.

If we have to be involved in the ME, we pick our fights and ground more carefully than we did in Egypt.

Well, you just had to get two swipes in at us first before hiding behind a self proclaimed truce. Anyhow Syria disproves your little theory.

If we have to be involved in the ME it should be for national interest. Like if the Suez channel gets closed, the EU should form a military coalition and intervene to keep the channel open. And all profits and revenue from the channel should be stored so when Egypt finally figures out what it wants in life, said money goes to them to help them out. Other than that, there should be no intervention in Egypt. Yes, we should diplomatically support a secular government based upon western principles of democracy, free speech and freedom of expression, freedom of religion, separation of powers in state and so on and so forth. But we shouldn't put our finger to tip the scale. If they adopt it, they adopt it. If not, they don't. Not our business and I don't think we are competent enough to understand exactly how deep the rabbit hole goes there.

Should they be left again there will be another freaking civil war a year later yet again! Religion is not meant to be in the government! That is the throne of democracy instead.

They have the right to overturn their government as many times as they see fit. Religion is not meant to be in the government, I agree with you. I think Egypt should have a secular government and keep islam out of politics. But it's up to them, the people of Egypt, to do this. It's not up to america, israel or europe. I believe that if we intervene, bad things will happen.
 

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They have the right to overturn their government as many times as they see fit. Religion is not meant to be in the government, I agree with you. I think Egypt should have a secular government and keep islam out of politics. But it's up to them, the people of Egypt, to do this. It's not up to america, israel or europe. I believe that if we intervene, bad things will happen.

Like what?
 

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Only if the slums in the city are part of a tribal society. If there is a rule of law where such behavior is illegal, then no, the riots are contained and disbanded.
....
As long as there will be protests from citizens who have no guns, there won't be a civil war. When they do get guns... it won't be a protest anymore.


This is conventional rational and would be ok. If we were going to be the single Superpower for the rest of time, we need have no skin in their game. Even if we were going to have a bi-polar structure like before 1989 all would be more or less okay. But relative power is shifting and for that reason conventional wisdom is not the way to go. On US prodding the UN realized this in the years running up to 2005, when they changed the norms for members' behavior for this reason.
 

Rainman05

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No problem. I meant what kind of bad things are you concerned with?

anti-western sentiment deepening. Al-qaeda and other extremists will bet on that to gain power, credibility and a recruiting base. New resurgence of islam supremacism. Pro-arab propaganda press in European countries has a field day condemning western imperialism, even if it's complete bollocks. Propaganda doesn't need validation, just a big mouth. Look at the posts the people who are protesting are holding up. Both the MB and the secular people are holding up posts demanding that the USA and European powers stay away. They don't want us there. Nobody wants us to intervene in their internal affairs. Whether they don't because of one reason or another, it doesn't matter.
 
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