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Typical of discourse in the US.  Two journalists with no particular depth of knowledge on a subject (That includes you, Engel.  Other than your four years in Cairo, you've been an embed your entire career, and in Cairo, 99% of your "contacts" were the usual that would be found in expat markets, cafes, and hotels.  You grew up on the Upper East Side, for God's sake!), pontificating away.  Richard Cohen may be the worst barrel of whale dreck writing for a supposedly legitimate paper.  As for Thomas "Captain Pornstache" Friedman (who actually manages to be the lesser of the Friedman Twins, Milton being far more evil), it's hard to say just what he is, other than a fraud.  Or an intellectual and journalistic prostitute.

This exchange is a nice display of our rampant ignorance of history as well.  The Big Three Revolutions (US, French, and Russian) became  political but started for economic reasons.  In both the US and France, the lower and middle classes viewed themselves on the brink of destruction because of government economic policies favoring the upper class.  More to the point, the February 1917 riots in St. Petersburg were caused by food shortages.  The uprisings in Egypt and elsewhere follow suit: too little access to life's necessities, and too little chance for change.

How deep does this go?  For several decades, developing nations have been severing their populations from the land to create cheap resources and labor.  They have a good model: the US.  That has been the de facto policy here since at least the start of the 20th Century and the de jure policy since the ens of the Second World War.  My grandfather used to say, "I'm afraid of the way things are going.  At least in the Depression we could feed ourselves.  There isn't more than a quarter of the population now that can."  The percentage is lower now, and the US is a net food importer.  Man may not live by bread alone, but it certainly starts there

by rifek on Sun Feb 6th, 2011 at 01:41:41 PM EST

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