Democracy In Egypt

Andrew McCarthy is one of the best authorities on the Muslim Brotherhood and how the Middle East works. He posted an article at National Review yesterday about the latest developments in Egypt.

The article reports:

Al-Ahram is reporting that Haze El-Beblawy has been appointed Egypt’s interim prime minister.

Andrew McCarthy then goes on to explain that after Hosni Mubarak was ousted Haze El-Beblawy was deputy finance minister and, later, finance minister, under the government led by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.

The goal of the military currently in charge of Egypt is to establish a stable, functioning government that writes a constitution that will insure rights for all religious groups and then move to elections. Because the elections were rushed after Mubarak was removed, the only really organized political party was the Muslim Brotherhood. They wrote the constitution, ran a candidate for president (after promising that they would not do that), and took over the country. The idea this time is to move more slowly, allow other political parties to get organized (which should be interesting, since the Brotherhood removed a lot of the opposition leadership), and have an election after the rights of minorities have been guaranteed by the new constitution.

So what are the chances?

Andrew McCarthy comments:

There is a good chance that it won’t work. After all, this is Egypt and, given the opportunity, Egyptians have repeatedly shown that they will vote by lopsided margins for anti-democratic Islamic supremacists over pro-Western democrats and progressives. As Mark trenchantly observed yesterday, “Egypt is imprisoned less by its passing dictators than by its own psychoses.” Nevertheless, what’s done is done, and the present course is the best chance some semblance of democracy has to take root. We should be cautiously encouraging it. 

…So now, as the mosques stoke opposition to the transition government against a background of shooting on the streets and an economy in ruins, there will also be a vivid sense that the leaders elected by the people have been shoved aside in favor of politicians decisively rejected by the people. This is going to be very uphill.

Democracy only happens with well-informed, rational voters. If the culture is not leaning in the direction of freedom (or if freedom is being denounced from the pulpits of the mosques),  the chances of establishing a democracy are reduced drastically. Until the voters in Egypt can get past the idea that voting for their own freedom is a betrayal of their religious beliefs, there will be no freedom in Egypt.

Watching the unfolding of the “Arab Spring” gives me a whole new appreciation of the gift to America that the Founding Fathers were. The wisdom and selflessness of America’s Founding Fathers is the only reason America has lasted as long as it has.


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