[ by Charles Cameron — a short course in my own ignorance, plain, simple — and having to do with Egypt ]
Nathan Brown writes with humility (“I do not know what Egyptians should do”), and a lucidity that Lewis Carroll himself might admire in What’s Next in Egypt? A roadmap for backseat drivers:
Egyptian legal disputes could only have been diagrammed by M.C. Escher
And that, I’d say, is just the beginning of a very tangled web.
Spiders and dewdrops
Spiders and dewdrops do a pretty convincing job of portraying a certain level of complexity in this node-and-edge diagram of the global situation.
When, say, Castro hands over power to his brother, or Musharraf has to give up control of the Pakistani army, it’s like snipping a couple of threads in that spiders web — and the droplets fall this way and that, carom into one another, the fine threads they’re on swing down and around until a new equilibrium is reached…
That’s something I wrote a while back, as you can see — but drop in a few different names and places, and it’s still good to go today.
I mean — can you imagine? Let’s use me for a guinea pig — or you can try it for yourself.
Mentally assign as many factors in the present situation as you can find to the various dewdrops on the spiders web — in such a way that cutting a given thread would nudge and budge, tear relationships apart and form new partnerships, until the whole thing settles into that new equilibrium — or even skip the Egyptian part, just imagine one of those threads snapping in the spider’s web itself, or a gust of wind shaking it, and the systemic shifts that would result…
Here, in full, are my own lab notes from that experiment:
Well, how about those better informed than I?
Morsi was living in Egypt, I’m not. Morsi speaks Arabic, I don’t. In addition to what anyone on the Cairene street might know, Morsi had access to whatever secrets could be derived from the Brotherhood apparatus, and from the Mukhabarat and sister services. He had a powerful position as President, and presumably preferred to keep it rather than going back to his old professorship at Cal State Northridge or languishing in Mubarak-like confinement.
He made his decisions with a view to aligning events in his favor. And voilà, he got what he not wanted.
I, of course, was not blinded by his particular lust for power, nor endowed with the perspective that researching and writing a dissertation on High-Temperature Electrical Conductivity and Defect Structure of Donor-Doped Al2O3 would give one… I just got dizzy at some point, wandered off and listened to Grimaud play Bach instead — but surely Morsi should have been able to figure out the future of Egypt, eh? Or Mubarak, perhaps? You’d have thought Mubarak at least must have had his finger on the pulse..
And Hilary Clinton? What with NSA hoovering, or better, dysoning up all the world’s communications, secret and otherwise, she must have seen both Mubarak’s fall and Morsi’s a mile off, eh? — and switched out Anne Patterson months ago, right? So we’d be well-placed for the turmoil that now ensues?
My sources for the DoubleQuote:
And here, finally, for your consideration, is another tweet I liked:
Anyone who claims to be an Egypt expert is kidding themself. We've been covering, living, breathing Egypt every single day & we all disagree
— Deena Adel (@deena_adel) July 4, 2013