20 June 2012

Pushing Egypt into the Abyss

The crowds in Egypt's Tahrir Square have returned in response to the military controlled Supreme Constitutional Court's decision to disband the parliament.  But who are these protestors? They are supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, the organization that was banned under the dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak, and pro-Islamists. They want to see Egypt turned from a relatively pro-western, secular state to another Islamist one.

The United States is considering withholding 1.3 billion dollars in military aid to Egypt if the democratic process is not respected. But why? It was not secular groups that were elected into power, rather the Muslim Brotherhood and other fundamentalist groups. Even the office of the presidency looks like it has gone to the Brotherhood as well. Is the United States pushing Egypt toward the abyss of Islamic rule?

It's a general rule in the study of political science that democracies do not go to war with each other. While this may hold true in western democracies with similar values, it does not for Islamist states - where war with infidels is expected. We find this in the democratically elected Gaza Strip, where Hamas was their party of choice. At this moment, at least 99 rockets have been shot into southern Israel just over the last three days. It doesn't seem to matter to Hamas that Israel is a democracy as well.

The concept of western style democracy - respect for differing views, opinions and religion - does not exist in the Islamic world. Why is the United States forcing the military to give up power to the Islamists? Are we so blind to think that an Islamic definition of "democracy" is the same as ours? To paraphrase a teacher of mine, "The Middle East is certainly not the middle west."

I do suppose that the United States is being consistent. We helped unseat Hosni Mubarak after he kept the peace in the region for 30 years in the name of democracy. It's only fair to make sure that under free and fair elections, the Islamists that were properly elected be allowed to take power - but democracy for the sake of democracy is a dangerous road to travel, and not one I'd want to take.


Anonymous said...

Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting what to have for dinner. Freedom is a well-armed sheep disputing the vote. Please don't confuse "democracy" with a constitutionally-limited republic. How could Mubarak reign for 30 years in a "democracy?" It was a dictatorship, not a democracy. If people advocate for Egyptian democracy, they better be prepared to accept what they get.

Anonymous said...

Democracy and/or freedom cannot happen when Islam is the religion of choice. It does not lend itself to either. The United States is the ONLY nation conceived on laws which cut across religious lines and yet do not affect an individuals choice of faith. Let's not fool ourselves that any Islamic nation has the ability to give its citizens the life of freedom which we in the the United States enjoy.

Shira said...

True democracy is what you're describing - two wolves voting to have the sheep for dinner... the US doesn't seem to understand that - they figure it's better to have an Islamic "democracy" than a stable dictatorship under Mubarak or someone like him. I'd rather a relatively pro-US dictator in power than have democracy for democracy's sake.

Thanks for the comments!