January 28, 2011

Egypt's last-minute democracy

There are limits to what the United States or any outsider can really impact in a country like Egypt. Egypt has been the indispensable Arab nation (pre-Arab, in fact) in war and peace, and in economics, for thousands of years.

President Hosni Mubarak has long played a double game with his Western sponsors. On the one hand, he pleads for more support because the stakes are so high and his regime is threatened. But when admonished to increase political participation, he says there's no need for drastic measures...

Mubarak has had 30 years to incorporate organic forces of change and reform, but he has remained static, like the temples of Luxor, channeling the flow of the Nile and the arc of the sun. He has manipulated Egyptians and Westerners by freezing out all non-extremist opponents, leaving only the Muslim Brotherhood as the unpalatable alternative to his continued despotism.

So now, in the absence of meaningful institutions of civil society and  are we faced with the possibility of a popular overthrow and turbulent aftermath, and/or a genuine military takeover with even greater repression than before. Or life will return to normal. Predicting the future is still so challenging.

No comments:

Post a Comment