Behind the Oil Curtain: Why Egypt is America's Poland
For one so long prepared, and still possessing courage,It was in center of the shipyards in old Danzig where the Soviet Union first felt its Warsaw Pact herniate. A young trouble-making electrician from Chalin came to work there in the late 1960s and founded the USSR's first and only trade union. The emergent union promptly struck in 1970, just after the government decreed an increase in food prices; their strike was put down in the traditional Soviet manner and 30 of its members were killed.
as must be so in a prince granted such an estimable city,
steadfastly grip a port-hole now and force yourself to listen,
forswearing any plaintive or coward-wrought entreaties.
Dwell instead on these reveries, dwell on their sweet choruses,
dwell on dazzling tunes borne aloft by strange and fantastic processions.
Dwell mightily, and give proper farewells to the Alexandria you're losing.
Suppressing the shipyard union then became the secret police's top priority. Despite a standard arsenal of techniques, they failed to quell Solidarity's membership or expunge its widely circulated underground weekly newsletter. When the next food-price hikes occurred in 1980, the shipyard's strike rippled across Poland, inspiring the government to officially recognize Solidarity and cave to their demands. Moreso, the government soon fell, martial law was declared, and interim rule passed to General Jaruzelski. I and others sent the Poles bars of soap, that being their most common aid request. Lech Walesa, Solidarity's founder, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983. He later became Poland's president following its first free elections in 1990.
The regimes in remaining Warsaw Pact nations either experienced revolts or simply sued for divorce, collapsing the Soviet Union. The Soviet defeat in Afghanistan is widely perceived as a primary catalyst of disintegration, but consistently wasteful, inflexible, inequitable and incompetent policies that generated determined internal resistance may well have had much stronger influenced on the demise's timing. Determined internal resistance is hereby mentally noted, as illustrated in the pic above the title.
Egypt's narrative arc may differ from Poland in aspects. Its ongoing revolt can genuinely be argued to spring from generational, technological, ideological, demographic and unemployment angles; but Egypt revolted because of high wheat prices, not the existence of Twitter. It's the same desperate anger that began to blaze under the keystone of Russia's Cold War strategy against the West, Poland, and heat and gravity pulled down the Warsaw Pact like dominoes. They were the Poles, Czechs, Serbs, Rumanians, Estonians, Ukrainians, Estonians, Albanians, and Cossacks who were second- or third-class subjects of the Kremlin, or even its designated enemies. This same exact process of too much heat and gravity on populations, on peoples denuded by predatory centrally planned regimes, who are now contemplating even grimmer futures than they became accustomed to, and whose leaders have long answered to foreign powers giving less than a toilet flush about them, is now resounding throughout Egypt and the rest of the countries shrouded behind the Oil Curtain. Hopefully world history will not remember this time very well, as that will mean it didn't devolve into a major war.
The Oil Curtain. That phrase has been ringing in my head for awhile, soon after Obama inhabited the White House, and it became immediately clear his main goal was not to "change the culture in Washington" but to simply keep the plates spinning and the vomitoreum going. Obviously I'm drawing a comparison between the Soviet Union and the United States some readers or family members may not be comfortable with. Unfortunately, the analogy fits all too well, and it won't take very long to fit even better. In a Part II I'd like to discuss why the US is not likely to intervene directly in Egypt, but will feel forced to nearby.