Thanks again for an excellent in-depth look at a very complex and difficult situation.
Democracy is a difficult thing to learn. The British after their Civil War evolved a parliamentary democracy where the protestant majority had to rule in such a way that the catholic minority could accept. The US after the (American) Civil War also needed the majority northern states to rule in a way which allowed southerners to acquiesce to the situation, however reluctantly. Continental Europe had the disastrous Thirty Years War to teach them the same thing. Democracy cannot succeed if a large minority is repressed by an autocratic majority.
I think the Egyptian Army allowed the Brotherhood to win power at the ballot box with the expectation that they had learned this lesson. Unfortunately they hadn’t.
Anne Patterson may not deserve all the criticism she is taking (Senator Cruz of Texas practically accused her of opposing secular democracy) but isn’t it clear that given the contempt she is held in by millions of Egyptians, that she can no longer function effectively as the American Ambassador in Cairo?
There have been reports that Ambassador Patterson is being considered for a promotion to the position of Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs. Given the recent buffoonish behavior of Secretary Kerry, isn’t it especially important to have an particularly capable person in the position Patterson is being considered for? Perhaps the mistakes she has made recently are not as bad as they are being made out to be, but don’t they suggest that she may not be up to the new job Obama and Kerry may want to give her?
“It’s a time to get down to work.” Now precisely, how is this task to begin given Egypt’s current deficit of trust by involved actors – perhaps no more half measures or splitting every difference you think?
I laughed out loud at your “1975 agenda” line. That was great, if also kind of embarrassing for the Obama Administration. If you haven’t already somewhere, I know I would benefit from your analysis of why Kerry is investing so heavily in Israeli-Arab diplomacy and so out of the loop on the important goings on in the region. It doesn’t make any sense to me, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t sense there that I’m missing.
This article reminded me of a word that I had stumbled across last year when re-reading Herodotus for a class. “Isonomia” refers to the concept of “rule of law” or “equality before the law.” According to the Greeks, isonomia was a vital concept for governing. Without it, demokratia or “will of the people” degenerates into mob rule, as the epidemic of gang rapes in Tahrir Square has demonstrated in such a horrific manner. Elections are nice, but they are not the end-all, be-all of political reform.
Come to think of it, the United States could probably use more isonomia these days as well (think IRS scandal, MF Global scandal, etc…)