Saturday, June 16, 2012


Two elections this weekend are getting a lot of attention.  One is in Egypt, the other Greece.  What’s going on in both countries is confusing to say the least.  Not only is there no clear cut favorite in either election, no matter who wins there is no certainty about what the victory will mean – for the Egyptians, for the Greeks, for the rest of us.

In Egypt things have come unglued – big time.  The promise of the Arab Spring last year in in the toilet.  On the surface it looked OK.  A Parliament was elected in January.  Presidential elections were being held.  Soon a constitution would be written.  Mubarak was convicted of doing bad things.  Like that.

But behind the scenes the Islamists and the secularists were struggling for power.  The military was still running things.  The various secularists couldn’t agree on a candidate for president and so their vote was split.  In the end a Muslim Brotherhood candidate was to face a guy who was in the Mubarak regime in the bad old days.  Then a court ruled that Parliament had to be dissolved, the military leaders imposed martial law and on the eve of the election the country was left trying to figure out what was happening.  It looked and sounded and smelled like a return to the way it was before the Arab Spring. 

Maybe they should call on the Sphinx to sort things out.

In Greece, the country is polarized.  People on all sides can agree on only one thing – the place is a mess and no matter who wins the election, prospects for the future are dismal.  The right wants to endorse the deal made with the European Union to bail Greece out of its economic disaster.  The left wants to reject the deal.

Will Greece leave the Euro zone and resurrect the drachma?  If they do what will happen to the other 16 countries that use the Euro?  And the rest of the European countries?  And the economies of the rest of the world, including ours?  No one knows.

And if they retain the Euro what will happen?  How much outside support will they need?  How much will they get?  Who will provide it?  And in the end will it do any good?  And then what about Portugal and Spain and Italy and other Eurozone countries that are in trouble?  What about them?  No one knows.

So no matter who wins the election this weekend, it is only one event along a road to nowhere.  It’s time to call on the Oracle of Delphi.  But she tells me she’s not available for this one.  


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