Thursday, 3 February 2011

Egypt,, Arabia and "the West"

In the mid 1970s the UK experienced one of its regular financial crises and had to ask the IMF for stop-gap help. That's what the IMF, set up by Keynes, was designed for and there was nothing exceptional about the application, but even so it caused considerable embarrassment and resentment that the IMF, with its US (and now monetarist) majority could tell our sovereign nation how to organise its finances. The resentment cost Labour the next election (even though by them all the temporary loan had been repaid) and it was another 18 years before they had gained enough credibility to win another.

If this relatively routine financial transaction could cause such embarrassment and loss of face in Britain, what on earth is going to be the effect of the unsolicited, patronising and condescending "demands" from Western politicians on the feelings of equally sovereign nations in the Middle East? The Egyptians are grown up people, many well educated with, if it is relevant, a recorded heritage and history far longer than ours. Since the Americans have bankrolled the Mubarak regime throughout its rule they have, perhaps, a legitimate interest in making their views known, though preferably in private. Cameron et al, with enough problems of their own to solve, should shut up and let these sovereign nations sort out their own problems. Preaching from the former colonial power will only serve to generate further resentment and hostility from which ever side of their divides the nationals find themselves.

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