Monday, February 27, 2012

Left Behind: Egypt's Hopeless Socialists

The self-appointed leftist guardians of the Egyptian “revolution” are as naïve as they are intellectually bankrupt. Their vast overestimation of their evidently limited appeal, combined with their patently inadequate political capabilities, have allowed for Islamists to manhandle the social and political scene.

Tired defenses of adverse domestic and foreign agendas are made even more redundant when the Left tries to conjure up an excuse for an economic agenda. They resist acceptance of IMF loans at a fraction of the rate of domestic borrowings, while campaigning to “drop Egypt’s debt” (note to the uniformed – Egypt already has benefitted from unmatched and massive rounds of debt relief from supposedly evil Western creditors, negotiated under the watch of Egypt’s supposedly debt-crazed past governments). They now oppose the prospect of a free trade agreement with the European Union, Egypt’s largest export market, because “local shoemakers and cobblers will be out of jobs, which will set back the economy far more than the few cents consumers save buying the foreign made shoes.”

Charm City

Baltimore, Maryland:  eclectic, electric America.

The land of Poe.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Surprise, Surprise: Obama's US without Friends

Blowing it
After blindly championing a policy of trying to look popular and ignoring the consequences of undercutting a leadership nurtured over decades, and then pursuing a hopelessly flawed accommodation with regressive Islamists, the U.S. Government finds itself desperate to find friends in Egypt.  With the years of dominant U.S. military, political and economic presence, this is nothing short of outrageous.

So what does Team Obama do next?  It carries on with its amateurish attitude of getting into highly publicized tiffs with junior ministers over peripheral issues, and acts with a chip on its shoulder through a self-defeating policy of turning international financial institutions against Egypt.   

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Young Africans v Zamalek - Football (and Normality?) Returns at Last!

Egypt for too long has been in in a state of fear, mourning and pessimism.  The causes of this are numerous, ranging from the depressed economy to inflated revolutionary expectations to ominous signs of further curtailments of already meager individual rights to the worrisome stream of criminal activity.  There are some -- both of the "revolutionary" and "counter-revolutionary" variety -- who see value in chaos, instability and a general lack of normalcy.  For the rest of us, however, we want to live our lives, and life for the tens of millions of us means having our football back.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Zambia Wins! Inspiration from Humility

David overcometh Goliath
Against all the odds, Zambia pulled it off.  In the very country where their entire national team was killed in an airplane tragedy nineteen years ago, this undersized squad of no-names with a funky Chipolopolo moniker overcame one favored adversary after the next, culminating in the triumph over the most star-studded sides of them all, the annoyingly francophone Côte d'Ivoire.  The storyline is awesome and inspiring in its goodness, and reinforces belief in the power of sport in general, and its most beautiful game in particular. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Islamic Patriot Bonds: Another Band-Aid Solution

The Pound is sinking
After maxing out on internal borrowings that are crowding out domestic lending capacity and issuing sovereign bonds at junk rate yields, the economic brain-trust has come up with another novel solution:  trying to sucker Egyptians living abroad into lending them money at below market rates.  While appealing to patriotism and religion (they will be “Islamic” bonds; i.e., effectively exactly the same as non-Islamic bonds, only the interest coupons are instead deemed as rental payments), the missing feature is the fact that Egyptians – whether within Egypt or residing abroad – are not suckers.  They, like any other investors, will conduct due diligence and invest where returns are in line with what the market dictates.

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Jellyfish of Port Said

The events that unfolded at the Masry-Ahly match were tragic and depressing, even if unfortunately not totally surprising. The subsequent reaction has been outrageous. Keep politics out of sports. Revolutions, counter-revolutions, phantom revolutions or whatever the hell else they are, they do not belong in or around a game that brings passion and pleasure to tens of millions of Egyptians who simply want to support their team for 90 minutes and forget about their daily struggles. Your battles can be fought in parliament, esoteric constitutional debates, talk shows, tweets, street demonstrations or wherever else. Leave the rest of us alone.