The Egyptian Coup

Speaking for myself (Professor Abdelaal and I will do some more posts as events warrant), I think that the coup d’etat in Egypt will not end well.  This isn’t because of some abstract thought that “democracy” means that the overthrow of a civilian leader by the military is always wrong.  This is a transitional period for much of the Arab World, and things rarely work out so neatly.  (Ask the French how their Revolution went.)

My thought is more practical.  Why should any Islamist political party participate in constitutional democracy now?  Basically, the message (in Algeria in the 1990s and in Egypt now) is that the military or other elites will not accept that victory.  So why bother?  It’s funny to watch General Fill-in-the-Blank say that he wants to include all parties in rewriting the Constitution while the police are arresting various leaders of one of those parties.  Now, if I thought that this would lead to a better outcome, then I’d say fine.  But I don’t think that it will. Basically, there’ll just be a large segment of the population that does not accept the government as legitimate, with all sorts of nasty consequences.

UPDATE:  I’ll add one other thing.  David Brooks, whom I normally like reading, penned an absurd column today defending the coup.  It could have been written by a mandarin of the British Empire in 1925.

You may also like...

6 Responses

  1. Joe says:

    If a non-Islamic party won and the same things transpired, more or less, the army would have acted differently?

  2. Ken Rhodes says:

    @Joe (and Gerard): When a regime, put in power by democratic processes, becomes oppressive and totalitarian, destroying the democratic process that put them in power, the Army is usually their instrument of control and enforcement. Think of Hitler.

    There are convincing arguments that the Muslim Brotherhood would be likely to disable the democratic process that put them in control. In this case, it may be unusual that the Army was the instrument of revolution, rather than the instrument of oppression.

    What remains to be seen, of course, is where all this leads. Is it to a military junta running the country, or is it to a return to democratic institutions, but with a more rigidly enforced separation of church and state.

  3. Joe says:

    I am aware of the use of the army, though in modern history, the military in some countries serve a somewhat different role at times as a sort of (flawed) elite honest broker, but a comment was made regarding “any Islamist political party.”

    If some other political party with populist support etc. took over and did the various things done by the Islamist MB and it resulted in similar popular unrest etc., there is something of an implication that they would have been treated differently. That something about “Islamists” in particular cause the military to treat THEM differently.

  4. Shag from Brookline says:

    Query: Does the Egyptian Constitution (which may now be suspended) include provisions similar to our Second Amendment and our First Amendment’s religion clauses?

  5. Joe says:

    Don’t see a RKBA/militia provision, it expressly favors Islam but does protect exercise of other religions (“divine religions” cited … appears to be the Abrahamic faiths) to some degree.

  6. It’s pretty hard to call this one. But when the military gets involved and takes sides in a democratic country it does not bode well for its people. But we shall see how this all plays out.