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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 23-Nov-2011
23-Nov-11 World View -- Massive protests continue in Egypt

Web Log - November, 2011

23-Nov-11 World View -- Massive protests continue in Egypt

Euro collapse now seems inevitable, as Franco-German rift grows

This morning's key headlines from

* Egypt's military leader responds to mass protests
* Massive protests continue in Egypt
* Euro collapse now seems inevitable, as Franco-German rift grows
* Another savior for Europe: The Federal Reserve
* Wild-eyed hyperbole addicts

Egypt's military leader responds to mass protests

 Mohamed Hussein Tantawi on nationwide television (Al-Jazeera)
Mohamed Hussein Tantawi on nationwide television (Al-Jazeera)

Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, the head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which has been ruling Egypt since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, appeared on nationwide TV on Tuesday, hoping to quell the growing protests. Some excerpts:

"In the great 25 January revolution, the people rose up to demand freedom, democracy and social freedom. The armed forces, which are an indispensable part of the people, have taken a national decision that they should be appreciated for siding with the people, embodying unity between the army and the people and being a role model for world revolutions to follow.

The SCAF [Supreme Council of the Armed Forces] has borne the responsibility of running the country during this transitional stage which followed the former regime. A series of reform measures have been started on a path towards democracy. We have pledged repeatedly that the armed forces will not be an alternative to the legitimacy sought by the people.

We did not have the ambition to ascend to the throne of power and we did not seek this, but we realised beforehand that politics entails differences in viewpoints... We have been and we are still implementing our first decision since the 25 January revolution as we did not fire one bullet at the chest of any Egyptian citizen. The ancient Egyptian military has an established doctrine that it is an inherent part of the Egyptian people whose task is to protect the nation. We cannot allow standing against the people. ...

Running the country during the transitional period has not been as easy as some people might think... It's easy to talk, but less easy to act. The Egyptian economy is noticeably declining. Whenever the situation moves towards stability, something happens that drags us backwards. But we in the armed forces - the school of patriotism - are used to confronting hardships and we are trained how to be patient until we reach our goal by thorough planning and determination to succeed. Some people tried to drag us to confrontations and we bore hardships, offences and defamation. We did not respond to such attempts and we have been and we still are committed to self-restraint to the maximum degree. ...

The SCAF does not seek power and places the higher interest above any other consideration, and is ready to immediately hand over authority and return to its original task to protect the homeland, through a public referendum, if that is what the people want and if that is what is needed."

Tantawi promised to turn the government over to civilians by July of next year, but the size of the crowds of protesters makes it unlikely that anyone will believe him. In fact, the brutal tactics that the security forces have used against the protesters, resulting in dozens of deaths, have almost completely discredited the army leaders. BBC

Massive protests continue in Egypt

There were large protests in Egypt again on Tuesday evening, this time numbering over 100,000 in Cairo and Alexandria. The young protesters had high hopes in February, when Hosni Mubarak was ousted, and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) took over governing. At that time, they had a fantasy that overthrowing the government would actually improve their lives. Now that it hasn't they're ready to overthrow the government again. They're demanding that the army leaders "return to their barracks," and turn the government over to civilians. But beyond ousting SCAF, the protesters have no idea what they want to accomplish. Al-Jazeera

Euro collapse now seems inevitable, as Franco-German rift grows

There are two major ideas to "save" the euro. One is the creation of a "eurobond" which is backed by all the countries in Europe, so that individual countries won't be affected by bond panics. Germany, with memories of the 1920s hyperinflation, sees this as a new path to hyperinflation, and is against it. The second is that the European Central Bank (ECB) "print money" and use it to buy up all the bonds issued by troubled countries, a form of quantitative easing. The ECB is opposed to that for much the same reason - fear of hyperinflation. And anyway, either of these plans would only provide a few months' relief, just as all the previous plans have done. However, it's possible for some idea to change from "politically impossible" to "politically unavoidable" in a matter of days. so we shouldn't yet count out one of these plans. The "Kick the Can Theory" says that something has to be tried, and that something may well be one or both of these. AFP

Another savior for Europe: The Federal Reserve

If German Chancellor Angela Merkel is opposed to the eurobond, and ECB chairman Mario Draghi is opposed to quantitative easing, then perhaps Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke can help out. The U.S. Federal Reserve has been pumping billions of dollars into the European banking system in recent weeks in an attempt to help stabilize the continentís financial crisis. And while the effort remains small, it is likely to grow in coming days as Europeís banks struggle to find lenders willing to help them service their dollar denominated debts. Time

Wild-eyed hyperbole addicts

According to Katie Martin in the Wall Street Journal:

"A few months ago, predicting the breakup of the euro was the preserve of wild-eyed hyperbole addicts, braying europhobes and professional cynics."

Hmmmmm, let's see. No one's paying me, so I'm not a professional cynic. I don't know if I bray, but I'm not a europhobe. So that must make me a wild-eyed hyperbole addict. I've been making wild-eyed hyperbole addictive predictions of this type for almost ten years, based on Generational Dynamics theory, and they've all turned out to be right or are trending in that direction. Meanwhile, I recently quoted former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan as saying, "All the econometric models failed in 2008 - across the board," and I pointed out that they've been failing for a lot longer than that. So maybe there's a market for wild-eyed hyperbole addicts after all. At least the number of people calling me a sociopath has decreased in the last couple of years. Wall Street Journal (Access)

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 23-Nov-11 World View -- Massive protests continue in Egypt thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (23-Nov-2011) Permanent Link
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