Final Word from Thursday, February 10, 2011

Step back from the TV screen for a moment and look at the protests in Egypt fromthe viewpoint of spheres of influence. Few doubt that the turmoil there "could reshapeU.S. foreign policy for years," to quote the NY Times. But almost no one isspeaking about the possibility that Egypt will slip more into China's realm. Chinais already the largest investor in Africa, and its position in Egypt was increasingat U.S. expense even before the recent upheaval. Urged on by the media, Czechs,Americans, Germans and others are cheering the end of one era without realizingthat they could be helping to bring about a geopolitical shift that will ultimately beto their detriment. This isn't a defense of Mubarak or of the U.S. On the contrary, it'sa criticism of allowing bad decisions - whether in foreign affairs, economics or socialpolicy - to fester for so long that there is ultimately no good solution to them.

Glossary of difficult words

turmoil - a state of great disturbance, confusion or uncertainty;

realm - a field or domain of activity or interest; sphere;

upheaval - a violent or sudden change or disruption in something;

detriment - the state of being harmed or damaged;

to fester - to become worse or more intense, esp. through long-term neglect or indifference.


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