February 20, 2011 | Ronda Jambe

Walk like an Egyptian

Or a Libyan, a Tunisian, a Bahraini or a Yemeni…but don’t get shot. True colours of both governments and populace are now being revealed. The US is back-pedalling on support for repressive Mid-Eastern regimes.

But shouldn’t they be crowing, as their avowed aim was to promote democracy? Well, perhaps not on the people’s terms, but tables are turning. The true turning point will be when US military spending actually starts to drop in real terms. Call it Peak Guns. We already seem to have reached Peak Butter.

One can perhaps look forward now to the downfall of the Saudi regime, whose princes make up the numbers that a legitimate government might equal (although their take is somewhat grander)

‘Let them eat bread!’ to paraphrase a lady with big hair. Even Hollywood movies now are touting the theme of food security and peak oil. The latest offering with Liam Neeson, Unknown, has that underlying thread.

Look to the price of wheat for a crystal ball on future strategic alliances.

Taking seriously the CSIRO predictions for climate change wouldn’t hurt, either.

Point is, we are not immune to the viral desire for justice, adaptation and remediation for ravages of extreme weather events, and above all, food security.

Look also to BHP’s profits, and see how many in our own government have the courage to walk like an Egyptian. My spouse has just reminded me that even my humble online savings account may be invested in unsavory or unsustainable practices. I may have to take to the streets myself.

Posted by Ronda Jambe at 1:17 am | Comments (3) |


  1. As Treebeard in Lord of the Rings was wont to say “don’t be too hasty”.

    The American revolution lead to a carefully thought out democracy but the one in France lead to the Terror. It prompted Alexander Hamilton to write that the anarchy that follows the overthrow of a repressive regime can easily turn to despotism, rather than democracy. He suggested that the simplistic view of democracy, majority rule with out checks and balances, without minority rights, is a sure fire recipe for things going from bad to worse.

    There is a danger of that happening in the Middle East. Unfortunately, the US, which should be a force for guiding people to proper democratic understanding, seems to be a force in the opposite direction.

    Comment by Danny Stevens — February 20, 2011 @ 3:32 am

  2. Right you are, Danny. Immense potential for chaos and further despotism. climate change, peak oil and the ensuing food security are complicating factors – good luck to them all.

    Comment by Ronda Jambe — February 20, 2011 @ 7:10 am

  3. Danny,

    The US supports dictators because free and fair elections in most ME countries would result in regimes hostile to Western interests and far from democratic in governance. So, the US has little incentive to guide people to democratic understanding even if it had the resources. A recent Pew poll indicated that a majority of Egyptians support ‘democracy’– however their version of democracy includes Sharia,segregated work places and stoning for ‘adultery’. I’d bet that the attitudes in other ME countries would be similar.


    I don’t know if you’re referring to Niall Ferguson’s theory that predicts imperial collapse when the cost of debt servicing equals the level of defence expenditure.

    Comment by Russell W — February 21, 2011 @ 4:21 am

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