Several high ranking Muslim Brotherhood officials have resigned from the Egyptian government on the heels of yesterday’s army-issued ultimatum, culminating most recently in the Foreign Minister reportedly stepping down. Morsi himself has remained defiant, but his ability to stay in control looks shakier by the minute.How will this all end? With fast-changing situations like this, it’s hard to say. But having more context than you’re getting from the MSM certainly can’t hurt. And as our colleague Adam Garfinkle argued yesterday in an excellent, sweeping essay analyzing the situation, not having the right context has led to some pretty silly framing of the story by the press:
This drama has never been about the fate of democracy or liberal attitudes and institutions. That was our passion play, not Egypt’s. This drama has always been about the fractionation and dissipation of traditional sources of social authority in a country that has tried and failed now at least three times since Napoleon’s 1799 invasion to come to terms with the press of modernity. There has been significant and positive social change in Egypt in recent years, but not enough of it to command the political heights–not yet. And maybe not ever, for it has now come down, in the summer of 2013, to the survival of order, any order. It has vanishingly little to do at this point with elections or constitutions or certainly with the U.S.-Egyptian bilateral relationship. American pressmen who think otherwise suffer from the standard failure of our Enlightenment-“lite” imagination.
Adam’s blog has been essential reading for any reader interested in getting a fuller understanding of what’s been going on in the broader Middle East for the past few years. Definitely go read his latest, and then spend some time surfing his archives. It will be time well spent.