Egyptian Democracy: Easy Come Easy Go

Egyptian Democracy: Easy Come Easy Go

Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.

So the Egyptian military gave new meaning to political change. Having given President Morsi an ultimatum they also announced that they were not interested in governing Egypt!  As expected, after Morsi, the democratically elected President left office after not complying with the ultimatum, the military announced that while they were indeed not governing, there were overseeing the formation of a governing council to run Egypt until new elections will be held; etc. So following this logic, democracy is something the people can decide, but if the military does not like what is happening it can stage a coup and start over again; so much for constitutional democracy and the rule of law in Egypt.      

The good thing is that unlike Syria, the military is truly able to assert control over the country if it wishes to do so as it controls not only the Armed Forces in Egypt, but, according to some sources it also controls as much as 40% of the Egyptian economy. Consequently, the likelihood of a protracted civil war are unlikely, although there well could be a kulturkampf  if the Muslim Brotherhood decides to go to the mat against the military. 

It is also likely that Egypt will experience some stability once the military establishes order, but the challenges of the Egyptian people from the street will not go away. Their concerns today as they were in January 2011 remain jobs, housing, education, and health. None of these will be addressed very quickly, until a parliamentary election, a new constitution, and then a presidential election will be held.

Meanwhile for the second time during the Obama Administration’s tenure in office it appears the U.S. had no idea what was happening in Egypt and was helpless in trying to prevent the fall of the Morsi Government. As was the case with the ouster of Mubarak, America stood on the sidelines with very little idea what to do except to urge the parties to exercise restraint and to minimize the violence.

Thus is exhibited democracy in Egypt and U.S. foreign policy in Washington

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