published Friday, June 22nd, 2012

Egypt's descent

OK, so is everybody happy now about what is happening in merry ol' Egypt?

Just to recap, the Arab Spring and the removal from power of strongman Hosni Mubarak were supposed to usher in a time of peace, liberty and representative government in Egypt.

But let us consider what has actually happened there recently:

• Judges aligned with Mubarak and the powerful Egyptian military have dissolved parliament.

• A member of the radical Muslim Brotherhood, a group that was linked to the assassination of former Egyptian leader Anwar Sadat in 1981, won the recent presidential election.

• The military more or less gave its OK for that candidate, Mohammed Morsi, to assume the presidency, but it says it will retain all meaningful powers. It will write a new constitution for Egypt, and it will control the country's budget.

• The Brotherhood refuses to recognize the dissolution of parliament or the legislative control seized by the military.

So what's next? The Muslim Brotherhood is happy to have won the election, but it is not happy that the president will be reduced to figurehead status.

So is Egypt on course for civil war? And what if the Brotherhood gains real power in Egypt? That's hardly better than military control.

Maybe the United Nations should step in and solve things.

Oh wait, the U.N. can't even deal with nearly civil war-level violence in Syria, where the government has murdered protesting civilians by the thousands.

To quote The Associated Press, "[T]he U.N. said its 300 observers based in Syria were suspending all missions because of concerns for their safety after fighting intensified over the previous 10 days."

So perhaps a big U.N. intervention isn't exactly what Egypt needs.

For that matter, maybe nobody knows exactly what Egypt needs. But what becomes painfully clearer day by day is that freedom, representative government and respect for the rule of law did not take root during the absurdly hyped Arab Spring.

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Easy123 said...

Respect for "rule of law" would mean living under a dictator forever.

Egypt is rebelling. They don't want to be oppressed anymore. Remember the Revolutionary War? Or the French Revolution? That's how people gain freedom. It's Egypt's turn now.

I guess you folks at the Free Press don't understand that concept.

June 22, 2012 at 12:05 a.m.

You'd rather we kept a merciless dictator in power because you're afraid of the outcome?

Way to guarantee things will never change.

Though seriously, you seem to be suggesting the UN actively intervene to topple a government? What are you saying? Are you supporting some kind of New World Order?

Have you thought about the meaning of your words?

PS: 300 observers? Demonstrating a big intervention doesn't work? I know geography may not be your strong suit, but anybody should be able to recognize how 300 observers aren't a big intervetion force.

June 22, 2012 at 12:09 a.m.
nucanuck said...

The Egyptian people have spoken at the ballot box...by more than 900,000 vote victory for Marsi. The world should now respect that decision, even if we are uncertain of the direction of the new government. Democracy means that we let the majority rule. Odds favor Egypt developing a moderate government, somewhat like Turkey.

The US favors the military strong men to retain power because we own them to the tune of $1 billion per year. We will do everything possible, behind the scenes, to make sure the election does not go to the winner of the election or, at least, the power doesn't go to the winner.

It would be a welcome change to see the US government express support for the popular choice of the people rather than crony dictators.

June 22, 2012 at 1:07 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

Gee what a sarcastic, snarky editorial. Reads like it belongs in a student newspaper. C'mon, Free Press, you can do better.

June 22, 2012 at 6:43 a.m.
mymy said...

Obama is!

June 22, 2012 at 9:31 a.m.
Rickaroo said...

"But what becomes painfully clearer day by day is that freedom, representative government and respect for the rule of law did not take root during the absurdly hyped Arab Spring." - FP editor

So, what are you saying? Because their revolution did not transform immediately into a perfect system of government it was just wasted blood, sweat, and tears? That it was nothing more than the wild impulse of a bunch of idealistic, anarchistic hooligans daring to have their way? That it's better to respect the existing rule of law, even if it is oppressive, than to deal with the messy and ugly stuff of revolutions?

The French Revolution ushered in its own form of tyranny for a long period following the immediate uprising of the masses. It was a long drawn-out bloody affair but in the end it gave birth to a much more socially just and truly representative form of government.

Our own revolution did not immediately produce a perfectly working democracy (actually we've never really attained that “perfectly working” part of it). Even though our Declaration of Independence was crafted in the midst of it, it would be several years after the end of the war before our Constitution would come into being and before a more democratic and representative government would take shape.

I'm not really sure what point you are trying to make here, Mr. Editor. You seem unclear yourself. I don't know which is worse: when you omit crucial facts and data and distort the truth, as you often do, or when you write with such ambiguity that nobody really knows what you're trying to say

June 22, 2012 at 12:08 p.m.
gngriffin said...

To echo the comments above, I think it's worth noting that in the period between the Declaration of Independence (1776) and the ratification of the Constitution (1789) the United States weathered several rebellions, the Whiskey Rebellion and Shays' Rebellion among them.

I think you would be hard-pressed to find any historical example of a quick, bloodless transition from an authoritarian regime to a representative democracy that didn't involve years of uncertainty, military coups, or regression into authoritarianism before democracy took hold. The author of this editorial might be well-served by more historical perspective.

That being said, the Arab Spring, which the author discounts as as being "absurdly over-hyped," began with an act of self-immolation by a fruit vendor in Tunisia. Today, Tunisia is well on its way to becoming a functional, secular, and representative democracy.

June 22, 2012 at 12:29 p.m.
LibDem said...

It's disturbing when a religious sect takes over the government of a country...or a county.

June 22, 2012 at 1:45 p.m.
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