A long running theme in my work is the slow evolution of the United States into something vaguely reminiscent of the old Ottoman Empire. The basic notion is 21st Century Los Angeles writ large, with its continuing influx of people from the Near East and the ex-Soviet Union: that America, being desirable and expensive, will fill up with people from places where the populations (at least their upper reaches) aren`t untalented, but tend to lack civic virtues. These folks can make a fair amount of money in America, but whether they will sustain the civic and institutional capital that helps make America a desirable destination is one of those interesting questions that are too interesting to discuss.
Now, the Ottoman Empire wasn`t the worst place of all time, but it wasn`t exactly what Thomas Jefferson had in mind, either, so it`s going to take some getting used to. One difference is that Americans tend to dismiss conspiracy theories, while the inhabitants of the ex-Ottoman Empire cherish them, and not just for aesthetics, but for Occamite reasons as well: of course conspiracies are how things get done. So, to help sensitize Americans to aspects of our multicultural future, here`s an informative article from the NYT:
Sudden Improvements in Egypt Suggest a Campaign to Undermine Morsi
By BEN HUBBARD and DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK
CAIRO — The streets seethe with protests and government ministers are on the run or in jail, but since the military ousted President Mohamed Morsi, life has somehow gotten better for many people across Egypt: Gas lines have disappeared, power cuts have stopped and the police have returned to the street.
The apparently miraculous end to the crippling energy shortages, and the re-emergence of the police, seems to show that the legions of personnel left in place after former President Hosni Mubarak was ousted in 2011 played a significant role — intentionally or not — in undermining the overall quality of life under the Islamist administration of Mr. Morsi.
And as the interim government struggles to unite a divided nation, the Muslim Brotherhood and Mr. Morsi’s supporters say the sudden turnaround proves that their opponents conspired to make Mr. Morsi fail. Not only did police officers seem to disappear, but the state agencies responsible for providing electricity and ensuring gas supplies failed so fundamentally that gas lines and rolling blackouts fed widespread anger and frustration.
“This was preparing for the coup,” said Naser el-Farash, who served as the spokesman for the Ministry of Supply and Internal Trade under Mr. Morsi. “Different circles in the state, from the storage facilities to the cars that transport petrol products to the gas stations, all participated in creating the crisis.”
Working behind the scenes, members of the old establishment, some of them close to Mr. Mubarak and the country’s top generals, also helped finance, advise and organize those determined to topple the Islamist leadership, including Naguib Sawiris, a billionaire and an outspoken foe of the Brotherhood; Tahani El-Gebali, a former judge on the Supreme Constitutional Court who is close to the ruling generals; and Shawki al-Sayed, a legal adviser to Ahmed Shafik, Mr. Mubarak’s last prime minister, who lost the presidential race to Mr. Morsi.
But it is the police returning to the streets that offers the most blatant sign that the institutions once loyal to Mr. Mubarak held back while Mr. Morsi was in power. Throughout his one-year tenure, Mr. Morsi struggled to appease the police, even alienating his own supporters rather than trying to overhaul the Interior Ministry. But as crime increased and traffic clogged roads — undermining not only the quality of life, but the economy — the police refused to deploy fully.
White-clad officers have returned to Cairo’s streets ...
Despite coming to power through the freest elections in Egyptian history, Mr. Morsi was unable to extend his authority over the sprawling state apparatus, and his allies complained that what they called the “deep state” was undermining their efforts at governing.