Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Analyzing Egypt through a Western Lens

One of the best DU professors I took classes from has an op-ed about Egypt's coup, which has been widely celebrated by some Westerners even though it sets an extremely dangerous precedent for democracy development in the Middle East. I recommend reading the whole piece in the Christian Science Monitor. Money quotes below:
The modernization experience of the Arab-Islamic world has been qualitatively different from the Western one. For complex reasons rooted in the failures of the post-colonial state, modernization has produced strong religious-based opposition movements and weak secular groups in deeply polarized societies....As many had predicted, the Brotherhood’s first attempt at exercising power highlighted its incompetence. Morsi made one bad decision after another and his party’s popularity plummeted. The Brotherhood was headed for certain defeat in the coming parliamentary elections. This would likely have led to a period of soul-searching and internal debate. A more inclusive and moderate offshoot might have emerged. Now, we will never know....What Western liberals fail to appreciate is that integrating Islamists into formal politics is an essential part of the struggle for democracy in the Arab-Islamic world. The prospects of this happening have now been dealt a serious blow. The lesson that Islamists will learn is that respecting the rules of democracy do not matter, because when they win elections, their opponents do not respect the same rules. It is now likely that a process of radicalization will poison the politics of Egypt and the broader Islamic world for years to come.

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