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Egypt and the Philippines: From People Power to People Blunder

February 19, 2011

The Egyptians kicked Mubarak out and were ecstatic. Just like the Filipinos being ecstatic about ousting Ferdinand Marcos.

Even as the celebrations of Mubarak’s ouster continues – Egyptians Say Military Discourages an Open Economy.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/18/world/middleeast/18military.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

CAIRO — The Egyptian military defends the country, but it also runs day care centers and beach resorts. Its divisions make television sets, jeeps, washing machines, wooden furniture and olive oil, as well as bottled water under a brand reportedly named after a general’s daughter, Safi.

From this vast web of businesses, the military pays no taxes, employs conscripted labor, buys public land on favorable terms and discloses nothing to Parliament or the public.

Since the ouster last week of President Hosni Mubarak, of course, the military also runs the government. And some scholars, economists and business groups say it has already begun taking steps to protect the privileges of its gated economy, discouraging changes that some argue are crucial if Egypt is to emerge as a more stable, prosperous country.

“Protecting its businesses from scrutiny and accountability is a red line the military will draw,” said Robert Springborg, an expert on Egypt’s military at the Naval Postgraduate School. “And that means there can be no meaningful civilian oversight.”

Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, the minister of defense and military production who now leads the council of officers ruling Egypt, has been a strong advocate of government control of prices and production. He has consistently opposed steps to open up the economy, according to diplomatic cables made public by WikiLeaks.

And already there are signs that the military is purging from the cabinet and ruling party advocates of market-oriented economic changes, like selling off state-owned companies and reducing barriers to trade.

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Paul Sullivan, an expert on Egypt and its military at Georgetown University, said the military leaders were farsighted enough to see that stability would now require continued economic as well as political liberalization. But he also acknowledged the possibility of a return to the past. “There is a witch hunt for corruption, and there is a risk that the economy might go back to the days of Nasser,” the apex of centralized state control, he said.

Egypts Generals are the present day Egyptian oligarchy – and are still in control.

No different from the Philippines – still under the Philippine oligarchy.

I hate to burst the Egyptians bubble, but it looks like they will be headed for tougher times. And like the Philippines, become the Sick Man of the Middle East. From People Power to .. as ChinoF puts it.. people blunder.

From → World History

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