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Yes.

But now that you mention it, I have a hard time working out how to get there.

A re-distributive program with popular support but without a popular revolution needs the support of the military (or at least not active resisitance from them). The higher echelons of the military will be hit by a re-distributive program. Someone they trust could convince them that it needs to be done, so an officer (like Peron) or a security establishment figure (like Putin) would be a candidate. So far so good.

But since Egypt is import dependent I think the real issue is what the US finds acceptable. And I think a populist figure that performs redistribution would not be, while a conservative figure that does the same might be.

In a bit of a longer run, import substitution could lessen the trade dependency, today Egypts main exports are:

crude oil and petroleum products, cotton, textiles, metal products, chemicals, processed food

So by focusing agriculture more on feeding its own population and electrification and renewables (solar+wind, they already have plenty of hydro for balance) to decrease dependence on foreign hydrocarbons, they could make themselves less dependent on world trade, and thus get more liberty to choose direction. But that takes time that no government is likely to have.

Or that is as long as things stay relativly stable and Tahrir is the pivotal point in deciding government. If the military splits over a coup attempt, civil war could lead to a faction gaining power with social justice, economic independence, and political sovereignty on the agenda (as wikipedia describes Peronism). Probably also wrapping themselves in religion. Having won a civil war they would probably not hesitate to use tanks on Tahrir if poeple gets restive while they suffer sanctions and waits for the programs to give results.

Of course, that goes the other way too. If there is a civil war and a conservative side wins, their military would also use tanks on Tahrir. Unlike Mubarak's commanders on the ground they would not refuse orders because they would see demonstrators as on par with the enemies they had just defeated. Pinochet style terror follows.

So tanks or Bismarck (if the US accepts it). Not any good options there.

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by A swedish kind of death on Sun Jul 14th, 2013 at 05:39:08 AM EST
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