All Sorts of Things

Random posts on all sorts of things designed to inform and provoke.

Egypt: No Matter What Happens, the US Wins

By now everyone knows that the Egyptian military has made good on its threat and overthrown President Morsi’s democratically elected government thus plunging this North African country into further chaos.

Let’s start our analysis of this situation by considering the fate of President Morsi. It’s obvious that his current presidency is over as the majority of the Egyptian people and the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) want him to leave; the man, therefore, has no choice but to resign from office.

The chances of him working with SCAF are also quite slim since Morsi did not resign before the deadline and Egypt’s military leadership is unlikely to work cooperatively with someone who did not acquiesce to their reasonable and just order.

Morsi and his supporters, however, do not seem to have received this memo and, as of yet, continue to harbor illusions of staying in power. The belief that Allah is on their side may provide them with the needed resolve but since Ramadan is about to start, the hunger pangs may weaken their fortitude.

Therefore, it is in their best interests to resolve this crisis before the start of the Muslim holy month.

In all seriousness, however, if Morsi wants to avoid further bloodshed, he should resign and call upon his supporters to actively work towards and campaign during the elections.

The truth is that his party – and any movement aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood – is unlikely to win the next elections and their best chance is to put up a good showing and become viable and active members of the opposition i.e. make the best of a bad situation.

Forcing Morsi from power does set a dangerous precendent since it hurts not only Egypt’s march towards becoming a viable democracy but also hurts the chances of other autocratic nations changing lanes from dictatorships to democracies.

The fact of the matter is that Egypt was never going to become an Iran or a pre-World War II Germany as many of the protestors have claimed. Furthermore, if Pakistan can survive a Zardari presidency then Egypt would have survived Morsi’s term with nary a relative impact.

Regardless, Morsi is out and while we wait to figure out which domestic party will be the big winner in this game, the United States is clearly the big global winner. While its uncertain what part Washington played in these developments, its obvious that Morsi went out of his way to help America by showing his despotic tendencies early and often.

Now, the US can use the Egyptian president’s actions as examples of how Islamists actually rule when they come to power and use that to discourage further such governments.

In addition, Washington can use its massive aid to force SCAF to hold elections and select an acceptable leadership – either through judicial or extra-judicial means.

By the way, this piece purposely ignores the Egyptian people because that is what happens in democracies and dictatorships, and the faster the Egyptians learn that, the better off they will be.

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13 comments on “Egypt: No Matter What Happens, the US Wins

  1. lowestpeak
    July 3, 2013

    While you do make some good points – Morsi, by refusing to bow to the ultimatum, has very likely ruined his party’s, and any associated to it, chances at a re-election, for one -, I must contest some others.
    The protests (refering to the large-scale ones; while there had been some smaller demonstrations beforehand, they did not warrant the removal of the President) began June 30th. The army issued its 48-hour deadline the following day – why, precisely, did the army take sides so quickly? One may be interested to know that Morsi’s restoring of Parliament to its original form lessened military power. In any case, the armed forces are not supposed to be used as political instruments in a democratic setting; no matter the opinion you may hold of him, Mohamed Morsi won the elections (by 51.7%) in what currently appears to be a fair and honorable manner. Thus, he should leave power in a ‘fair and honorable’ (and democratic) manner – by losing the next elections.
    I have not set foot in Egypt, nor do I have acquaintances in the area, so I cannot speak from personal experience. He is accused of failing to fulfill his electoral promises: he has held the proverbial throne for less than a year. How can one expect him to make significant economical progress in such a short time? He is also accused of attempting to impose Islamic values on the population by changing the Constitution, amongst other things. I find this somewhat ironic, as over 95% of the Egyptian population is Muslim to begin with. In addition, the Constitution Morsi was pushing – again, I cannot speak from personal experience – appeared to protect civilians’ rights despite being tinged with Islamic values.
    However, I will admit Morsi has significantly weakened his legitimacy as elected President by passing the November 2012 decree (which rendered his decisions immune to judicial modifications). This has, true, blurred the line between democracy and dictatorship.

    For your final comment about the ignoring of civilians: I doubt this. Some democratically-chosen leaders certainly are unpopular, but even they must please the people as well (if only to insure they win the next elections).

    • AHB
      July 3, 2013

      Thank you for your comment. If you take a look at my post from yesterday, you’ll see that I was actually supporting Morsi staying in power and finishing the term for which he was elected.

      However, the fact of the matter is that the military did turn on him – for a number of reasons including those you listed – and being the pragmatic that I am, I believe its more effective to focus on what has happened as opposed to what should have happened.

      In conclusion, I agree with your points to a large extent. For example, democratically chosen leader must please the people but that only happens when they are their constituents or the election is close.

      • lowestpeak
        July 4, 2013

        To start off, my apologies if I sounded infuriated in my first comment: from what friends say, my emotions appear amplified when I write them out instead of vocalizing the feelings.
        Indeed, as the takeover cannot be undone, it isn’t very practical to criticize the move – as I have done, being rather quixotic myself. However, there is one more thing that raised an eyebrow in this post: why/how precisely would America use this event to ban/discourage Islamic election wins? For one, Obama’s administration has seemingly taken the side of Morsi (without going so far as to call the takeover a coup, on the other hand); secondly, the United States needs Muslim allies in the region. By condemning any Muslim government, it may lose those (even if some allies, such as Turkey, are secular); by condemning any religious government, it accuses itself: religion is visible, though mainly in the Republican party, and shows on what laws are passed.

        I also checked out your previous post, and agree with the majority of what is said there: how long and to what extent should a jaded democracy be supported, as well as the military’s role – while it should not be able to force major political change (i.e. removing Morsi), it can easily be of aid in insuring there is a fair distribution of power.

      • AHB
        July 4, 2013

        You did not sound infuriated at all so no apologies necessary. I continue to believe that Islamist governments, not Muslim but Islamist, are generally threatening to the US because they are generally undemocratic, anti-Israel and implement policies counter to US strategic interests. The only exceptions are nations in the Middle East (Saudi Arabia, UAE, etc.) and that is because of a shared enemy (Iran).

      • lowestpeak
        July 4, 2013

        This may sound ignorant, but I have always assumed there were little-to-no differences between a Muslim and Islamist government – is it something alone the lines of ‘a Muslim government is one where the ruler is Muslim but does not act in accordance with this, and an Islamist government is Muslim and acts in accordance to this’?

        Otherwise, Israel is always a touchy subject, since after wiping away one’s Western bias its existence lands in a very gray moral area. Especially with the Palestineans and the religious conflict embedded in this, there is no solution that will please both sides. While I myself am against this view, it is somewhat understandable that the surrounding countries wish the dismantling of Israel – it is only completely irrational to believe it can or will happen.
        The undemocratic part, while it may be true (possibly relating to the whole ‘Sharia law’ thing), is not truly something the United States can fight against, whether or not Morsi was unfairly removed from power. Unless there will be another government-decapitating campaign (and seeing Syria, this is unlikely), the United States will likely not interfere for this any time soon.
        For a foreign government to place its own interests above America’s seems reasonable to me; it is only when the government in question begins passing legislation with no clear goal but obstructing and hampering America that it becomes iffy.

      • AHB
        July 4, 2013

        To me, a Muslim government is one where the political leadership but a government’s domestic and international policies aren’t driven by religion. Unfortunately, most Muslim countries don’t follow this path. Interestingly, the government’s that the US does/did not support (Syria/Iraq) follow the Muslim model. Unfortunately, the lack of US support had more to do with geo-politics than anything else.

      • lowestpeak
        July 5, 2013

        I see. Well, thank you for this rather enlightening discussion – I’ll be checking in on this blog in the future.

      • AHB
        July 5, 2013

        My pleasure. Good discussing this with you as well.

  2. digger666
    July 4, 2013

    Reblogged this on digger666.

  3. A Conservative Mind
    July 9, 2013

    I think you have made you point elegantly enough but I have to disagree. No matter what the U.S. loses. Obama backed Morsi and the brotherhood and made the outrages claim that they were not Islamist but moderates. As always, the administration either shows no leadership or the wrong leadership. In the end Obama is on his way to becoming the most hated American leader ever among the Arab world. With Morsi out and the memory of America’s support of him fresh in Egyptian minds the next leader will be compelled to distance himself from the west while holding the Islamist at bay as well. It is a strategic and diplomatic loss for the U.S. no matter what.

    As far as democracy is concerned, it is gasoline on a Islamist fire when it comes to the middle east. America would do well to stick to extolling the principles of Rule of Law as well as private property and individual rights, and stay away from internal politics..

    • AHB
      July 9, 2013

      I understand your point but you are making the same mistake as a number of other Egypt-watchers. Regardless of the diplomatic comments supporting the Muslim Brotherhood government, the US government – and the Obama administration – continued to fund the Egyptian military. That means that whomever the military elects as the next government will support the US government – and the Obama administration – because they did, do and will receive funds from the US.

      In theory, I agree with your point about staying away from internal politics but one cannot separate internal and external politics and policies. Therefore, if one is to affect external policies, one must be involved in internal politics.

      • A Conservative Mind
        July 9, 2013

        Aid has been given to Egypt for quite awhile, the only difference is the aid was juiced a bit with some military wish list items after private meetings meant to get Morsi their support. The truth is the aid was used as much to leverage the military to support Morsi and reward them for doing so as anything else. When the price paid in pride and their own standards exceeded the thirty pieces of silver paid by the Obama administration they bolted.

        Legally the President is bound to cut-off the aid but legality has never entered into President Obama’s calculations anyway. Consequently the aid may diminished but will not go away completely which is what the military is counting on. Complete destabilization of Egypt is something the military knows the U.S. will not risk. None the less the next administration will be one where the U.S. influence is diminished but not erased..

        As far as internal politics, there is a difference between the traditional cajoling and nudging of countries toward civilized behavior and the present naked and sometimes militaristic advocacy on a particular group or leader within a country. One realizes that foundations must be built before houses and the other ignores the construction of foundations altogether. It is also the difference between living by standards and being seen as a pariah. The present course will lead to unending wars and bloodshed not to mention America becoming the most hated nation in the world.

        Again I enjoy your articles and appreciate your insights but on this one I happen to see things differently.

      • AHB
        July 10, 2013

        This reads like a great topic for a post. 🙂

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This entry was posted on July 3, 2013 by in International Affairs and tagged , , , , , , , , .
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