Last night I wrote a worst-case, ‘doom-and-gloom’ scenario for the unrest in Egypt (see link below). This morning, I’m going to provide you with a best-case, ‘happy-slappy’ scenario. It may be difficult for many of us in America to fully understand and appreciate the situation. Consider this basic fact, since 1953, Egypt has only had four presidents. The first taking power after Egypt became a republic, Muhammad Naguib, served for less than a year before being replaced by Gamal Abdel Nassar. Naguib did have a second term, very briefly, in 1954, but after that, Nassar held power until his death in 1970. He was followed by Anwar El Sadat who ran the nation until his death in 1981. Since then, the current president, Hosni Mubarak, has been in power.

Mubarak has been ‘re-elected’ several times, but for the most part, these elections were shams. Sometimes he ran unopposed, in 2005 there were two other ‘candidates’ but Mubarak claims to have received over 86% of the vote. So what we have here, as we have in many, many nations across the world, is the classic tale of despotism and totalitarian regimes.

Corruption and brute force lie at the heart of Mubarak’s power base. If you are a member of his clique, then you and your family get the good jobs and make a decent income. About 40% of the people live in poverty. About 70% of the labor force earns less than $4 a day. The demographics of Egypt are also ripe for revolt. A third of the people are children under 18 and 60% of the population is 30 years old or younger. So a majority of the citizens have only known one man as the nation’s leader.

Hosni Mubarak is 83 years old and has been reluctant to cede power to his son, Gamal. There apparently was a ‘plan’ to transition power to Gamal, but with events unfolding, that is no longer a viable option. With a government based on corruption, cronyism, and staying in power with harsh laws and an equally harsh secret police force, is it any wonder why hundreds of thousands of Egyptians have taken to the streets to protest?

Many are pointing to Noble Prize winner Mohamed El Baradei, former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency as a potential leader for a new government. El Baradei has called for reforms and was taken into custody and placed under house arrest upon his return from Europe two days ago. While he may seem like the right guy, an educated wise-man, with good intentions, it should be noted that the Islamic-Fascist group, the Muslim Brotherhood, began to publicly support El Baradei last summer.

As I described in my article last night, the unrest in Egypt is just the latest of a series of revolts brewing throughout Northern Africa and the Middle East. In addition to the usual problems of corrupt, totalitarian regimes, the current global economic situation has changed the landscape from bad to worse. Much of the reason due to us here in America.

What initiated unrest in Algeria and Tunisia was a sharp rise in food prices, coupled with high, persistent unemployment. The same is true in Egypt, although their unemployment rate, still high at 9.7%, is considerably better than say Tunisia’s 20%. Egypt, which once fed itself and the Roman Empire with grain, now imports a good deal of it’s food from the United States. Corn, wheat and soybeans are all essential commodities, and the price of each has risen between 25-30% here in America. Overseas, the same commodities in Tunisia, Egypt, etc, have shot up 60% in just the past few months.

Food supply, globally, is becoming a bigger issue. Consider our policy of using corn for producing ethanol. Roughly 30% of all corn grown in the U.S. goes to making ethanol to supplement our gasoline supplies. The EPA has recently raised the allowable ethanol percentage from 10% to 15%. So it is very likely that in the very near future, 45% of all corn grown will go into our gas tanks instead of the world’s bellies.

Hungry mouths make for unhappy fists. Add to that the rise in price of nearly every other basic commodity, especially oil, and the general lack of economic growth and we have a situation brewing for global unrest. In the United States, bad government administration and policies have resulted in the Tea Party movement. A peaceful and patient popular uprising which made it’s voice heard this past November and promises to do so again in 2012. So, could what we are seeing now in Egypt and elsewhere be a sign of not a radical-Islamic revolt, but instead, one geared more towards the cause of individual freedom?

This, of course, was one of the goals of the Bush-43 administration. To counter radical Islam with a pro-democracy movement. An interesting development to this was a recent decision by the Penguin publishing company. They have begun to release their complete line of classic literature in Arabic. Imagine the impact of the best fruits of Western Civilization finally reaching the minds of an entire people for the first time!

Do not discount the potential for a positive, ‘Great Awakening’ to occur throughout the Arab world. While the protests in Egypt may have begun led by angry youth, since yesterday, the crowds are including a growing number of older, middle-aged and middle class people. They are just plain fed up with the Establishment. Some interviewed by Western journalists talk not about hating America but about wanting a better life, a better future for their children.

The old Chinese ‘curse’ of ‘may you live in interesting times’ is in full swing as we watch another day of mass unrest unfold in Egypt. President Hosni Mubarak’s days in power are clearly numbered. While there is a potential for things to get very ugly should the Muslim Brotherhood seize control, there is also a chance that a real, live, genuine pro-democracy movement may take hold. For all of the criticism that George W. Bush received for trying to initiate such in Iraq and Afghanistan, perhaps with the help of Penguin books and other sources of inspiration, this unrest could be the end of the beginning of fundamentalism. It certainly appears to be the end of the Establishment.

Related Articles:

Obama Doomed as Egypt Teeters on the Brink

Are We Witnessing the Start of a Global Revolution?

Anger in Egypt