Just as we were waiting for Belarus to blow up and rid itself of decades of old Soviet (cement)-Block tyranny, WikiLeaks documents revealed that the Imelda Marcos lookalike, Leila Trabelsi was emptying the register in Tunisia. Well, who could have predicted? Anyway, one thing would lead to another and before you know it, Egypt You-Tubed and tweeted the world from Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo, and shouted, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!” (For a account of the rise of social media, see, Here Comes Everybody, Clay Shirky or listen to Cute Cats and the Arab Spring, Ethan Zuckerman). What happened in a leader's household budget evolved into something socially and politically dynamic and which later crushed all of its original promise. This is The Law of Unintended Consequences. In regards to trying to slow COVID 19, the unintended consquence will play out in the global economy and the results may well be worse than the virus. We see such unintended outcomes when cities use rent control and zoning bi-laws and years later have housing shortages or when government legislate minimum wages and increased unemployment in the most vulnerable minorities.
The ruling Pharaoh of this ancient land was this corrupt stone-faced serial killer who sent his state security vehicles to run down innocent protesters in the street. After 50 years of Western induced constipation, Egypt needed to go. One and all were shocked at the unfolding event. Even the Egyptians. The CIA, ever a failure, knew nothing, but also the FBI, Homeland Security and every intelligence gatherer known to humankind, even the Muslim, Christian and Jewish spies were caught by surprise. How could they not know, all these paid professionals? I’m going to explain that.
If you’ve read The Scarf State or The Trouble With American Capitalism then you will come to see, it is not as if, occasionally, the events around the world catch us unawares. No, no, no! They always catch us off guard: the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Nazi invasion of France in May 1940, the Bolshevik Revolution, the fall of the wall, Perestroika and Glasnost, The Iranian Revolution, 9/11, the collapse of the English Empire after WWII, the Six Day War, The Yom Kippur War, The Oklahoma Bombing, Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution, the rise of The Counterculture of the Hippies, it was all an upheaval; over and over, surprise after surprise.
The CIA has Stacked the Odds for Right-wing Autocracies
From all Around the World
and Lived Perpetually to Regret It.
Western spy agencies could not predict change in these corrupt artificial regimes even with front-row seats. How could it predict changes in Iran, Russia or China when they’re not even allowed in, let alone half-run them? It can’t! It and other agencies of the West have continually grown larger and richer over the centuries by their inevitable persistent failures of prediction. If only the dumb-downs in elective office could see it. Instead they make plans behind closed-doors to deter famous libertarians like Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, Walter E Williams and Thomas Sowell in the hopes that they could slow the rapid fall of their dictator/partners from all around the globe instead of getting the hell out of the way of democratic and human rights activists. There is not a brutal right-wing autocracy which the West doesn’t invest in on some level. Stability is better than chaos. Egypt shows us that as does Iraq. Everybody can see it, and democratic countries are corrupt anyway, but still, compared to autocracies, we’re shining like Glenn Beck, a little bit excited, a little bit drunk and a little bit irrational. Scapegoating libertarians and individualism is second nature to the New Ancien Régime, also see Welfare Democracy.
Hosni Mubarak has looted Egypt to the estimate of 50 -70 billion dollars—for example Putin, another brutal autocrat, is now considered to be the richest person in the world—leaving behind a secret police force of one million men and many nascent democratic opposition parties to challenge his government. These spies will be their potential enemies and especially for the Muslim Brotherhood, they're everybody’s worst nightmare; they believe in Sharia law and think you should too. But hey, look at that Mubarak, what a thug! The point is: that like Reza Pahlavi (the Shah of Iran), Philippines’ Ferdinand Marcos and Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, he’s one of our thugs. We create all these guys, protected them for decades, and then, when the blood just got too thick, we disowned them; sometimes we even hung them.
If you think about it in terms I’ve described in the New Ancien Régime and understand the West as in a flux between this malignant oligarch and its libertarian ideal of frugality, limited government and social justice, (see Bureausclerosis and Demomatosis ) then the attacks in Nairobi, the USS Cole, the Twin Towers and others like it are not failures in intelligence-gathering or caused from rivalry between agencies or cracks in the spook community, but rather, in the very nature of information about human endeavors itself. Firstly and foremostly, ‘certainty’ – see, Absolute Knowledge – is not available to any human being; not by torture, brilliance or blind luck, not by research or hard work, not to the mystic, artist or scientist, especially not to the politician or his spies and doubly especially not to philosophers. It is simply unavailable to anyone. Ambiguity is not a thing the herd, (the state, collective or nation), likes anymore than they like skepticism or doubt, however, there is nothing for it, absolute knowledge is a human illusion. Secondly, Egypt’s million agent security team could not watch 80 million Egyptians anymore than East Germany’s Stasi’s 91,000 spies could watch 16 million East Germans. Neither could keep the regimes in power nor predict when their rule would blow up in their faces.
There is No State!
Only Individuals Exist!
All intelligence-gathering is guessing. All investing strategy is gambling; see Cleveresque. The CIA is an unnecessary institution in a free society and a real threat to individual liberty. A policy of isolation and fair trade would provide much more safety in the world to the West and its citizens than a hundred Homeland Security agencies. If Islam is the current fascism, the Global Military Complex at the heart of the New Ancien Régime is imperialism for the new millennium.
Let’s say that I was a CIA agent and I had correctly predicted an upcoming event like 9/11, but when I presented my findings to the agency, no other agents concurred. (I am guessing that there are over one million employees collectively in the Central Intelligence Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, Department of State’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Army Intelligence, the FBI and the National Security Agency costing well over 500 billion dollars a year). Indeed, to my utter dismay as an agent, there was only a gigantic shrug from the intelligence community. I’ll tell you why. Nobody dismissed my claims or theories out of hand, but many other equally experienced and good agents had their own findings of what was about to be blown up next. In fact, my claim sounded a little bit far fetched compared to others. My bosses dragged their feet on it no matter how much I showed certainty and confidence in my findings. Like everybody else competing with me, I had no smoking gun, only some meager facts and grand theories. Eventually they put some manpower into it, and later, concluded that the threat was real. I started to dig around peoples’ lives with a team of field agents. I dug up a story about an Al Qaeda cell of Islamic American citizens living right inside America in a Midwestern state, building a dirty bomb to detonate in downtown Chicago.
Would that knowledge really prevent an attack? My answer is regrettably . . . probably . . . no. A cop on the street, with vigilance, might luckily stop such an attack, like the attempted car bombing of Times Square in 2010. It was foiled when a mounted New York City Police Department officer discovered the car bomb after two street vendors had alerted him to it–they had spotted smoke coming from the car. In this case, the bomb had failed to go off. Often we’re saved not through diligence but through sheer dumb luck. It is not to ignore due diligence, not at all. Many fine people work for the security agencies throughout the world, but intelligence, dedication, and tenacity have nothing to do with it. The history of surprises happening under the noses of the intelligence gatherers – and almost everything is a surprise – demands some superior explanation, and it is that the variables for any event (as for instance, the Egyptian uprising which occurred in the last weeks of January and first ones of February 2011) are so complicated, that it is, and likely always will be, unpredictable. At any rate, the Egyptian state now seems to be settling into its usual autocracy mode.
We know, for instance, that under the Austrian Classical Economics model that lack of liquidity will force the West into some upcoming financial catastrophe, but we don’t know when nor what form that disaster will take (although likely we'll spend billions trying to guess). Likewise, we know that with the rising middle-class in China and its government’s commitment to increasing an independent judicial system to underpin business contract law, that the Communist Regime will someday fall. We don’t know when nor whether it will be peaceful or violent. We know that there is going to be a horrible terrorist attack somewhere in the West if corrupt regimes like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kuwait, Qatar and others don’t stop getting Western support. However, we cannot predict any of these coming events with any reliability that would be worth paying any money. If Egypt – 80 million people strong – were to ever become, even marginally, a democratic nation like Turkey, I believe, it would change the world, but when and where we’ll see this change, no agency in the world will correctly predict, or at least forecast it in a manner to impress our collective need for certainty. The conclusion? We’re paying for information that can not be certified: we pay for educated guesses and a false sense of security. That’s all! And in this, we throw good money after speculation and illusion. The solution? Stop doing it! Iranian Theocracy and Jesus Marx are articles also in this vein.
George Bush Jr., went into Iraq without a long-term plan and destabilized the whole Middle Eastern region. The Neo-Cons thought democracy could be grafted onto a culture. The so-called Arab Spring was the perfect opportunity for all the Islamic Muslim extremists to crawl out from the woodpile which had been growing since the end of the Second War World and start an out-of-control fire, ISIS. This had been kept from engulfing the entire area by ruthless, even brutal Machiavellian despots like the Saudi Lah-de-dahs and the Khadaffi ducks. Now chaos rises supreme and the people will surely panic and reconcile for some lame Stalin or Khomeini like demagogue and get a more terrible tyrant than ever who will make Hussein and al-Assad look akin to human right advocates. Always the old political lurch between Hobbes and Locke is at the forefront of any debate on what should happen, but when civil order fails, primordial fears brings out our worse. In just this manner order trumps liberty not despite democratic liberalism, but because of it. For why open societies have such a poor track record in the spook business see the chapters on Cuban and Russian spying in, Talking to Strangers.
© 2021 - E. A. St. Amant