Friday, 11 February 2011

Fish, Leviathan, Mubarak and Obama

"Big fish eat little fish" according to Darwin. However, whales are not democratically elected as no vote is casted under the sea level.

Democracy and elected governments are a more complex matter as they may degenerate in "big fish eat small fish" with losses for all parties involved but a few corrupted executives. However, the status quo may still be justified or simply tolerated at home and abroad. An example is Egypt and its support by the USA for decades and up to a few weeks ago.

The withdrawal of the support by the USA to the Egyptian president and the refusal by its president Mubarak to step down have puzzled the public opinion and perhaps embarassed the government in the USA.

Such puzzle is easily solved by looking underwater for a key assumption that supported the Egyptian government. Here is where the Leviathan , is a rather big fish that is referred to in the Bible, belongs to.

An inspring book by Thomas Hobbes, "Leviathan or The Matter, Forme and Power of a Common Wealth Ecclesiasticall and Civil" , exploits the powerful image of the biblical monster to argue that Leviathan-type governments are necessary to avert chaos and civil war, "the war of all against all" in Hobbes' words.

The assumption is uncovered in Egypt and the support that Egypt obtained abroad: the Egyptians needed a Leviathan to behave in an orderly and peaceful fashion (Israel is out of temporarily out of the picture but I bet it will come back in the press as the government changover in Egypt unfolds). The recent popular, orderly and peaceful uprise may make such an assumptions less tenable in 21st century Egypt than it was in the early 20th century. (Recent history in Egypt and the international disputes over the Suez canal will be dealt with separately.) Additional evidence to support this are the deprecable tortures by the Egyptian secret police

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