Sunday, January 30, 2011

Krugman Finds an Analogy for Egypt

This bit from Paul Krugman's NY Times blog seems to me to be dead on:
I’m a bit surprised not to see anyone drawing the parallel that has jumped out at me (maybe because I spent time in the Philippines in 1990 and 1991, working for UNDP): the People Power revolution in Manila in 1986. This has some of the same feeling: a dictator who’s a long-time US client, a mass popular uprising that’s more about the perceived corruption of the government than about any particular ideology; El Baradei seems to be playing something like the Corazon Aquino role.

Obviously the fact that this is taking place in the Middle East makes it a lot more fraught, but the script does seem similar.

The Philippine example may also serve as a useful model for what to expect if the revolution succeeds. The Philippines didn’t turn into Sweden; there was still plenty of corruption, democracy remains imperfect, etc. — none of which changes the fact that getting rid of Marcos was a very good thing. Egypt won’t turn into Sweden either, but maybe, just maybe, something good is about to happen.
I'm hoping something as good a Corazon Aquino happens for Egypt. I can image a lot of worse outcomes. It is hard to credibly believe something better than an Aquino outcome is possible for Egypt.

Knowing a little history is very helpful for understanding the world around you.

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