Monday, August 05, 2013
Five Lessons from Egypt and the Arab Spring
Via Vanderleun; Sultan Knish
1. Don't Believe Anything You Hear
Egyptian liberals allied with the Muslim Brotherhood to overthrow Mubarak and challenge the military. In those heady Tahrir Square days, they ridiculed the idea that the Muslim Brotherhood was part of the protests and that Mubarak's overthrow would benefit it.
Now those same liberals have teamed up with the military to take down a Muslim Brotherhood government that they told us would never come to power. But don't be surprised if a year from now, after the military develops too crushing a grip on power, they don't run back to the Muslim Brotherhood and Tahrir Square repeats itself a third time with the banners and fireworks and chants about the will of the people.
2. It's Not Democracy, It's Permanent Chaos
Democracy in the Middle East is just another means of political change. It's not any different than mob action, a coup or an invasion. It's just a way that one government replaces another.
3. Everyone Will Always Hate America
The one thing that everyone in Egypt can agree on is that they hate America. And this time around they almost have a valid reason. The Muslim Brotherhood hates America. Period. Not for anything we've done. This hatred is widely shared in Egypt. It will always be widely shared in Egypt. Denouncing America is one of the safest political positions to take. It's the Egyptian equivalent of motherhood and apple pie.
4. Fanatics and Democracy Don't Mix
One of the fondest myths of democracy promotion is that bringing terrorists into the political process moderates them. It doesn't. Fanatics don't compromise because their goals require purity. They feint compromise only long enough to get to power. And then they turn on their former allies.
5. The Muslim World Has No New Ideas
The Muslim Brotherhood, the organization that so many Western diplomats and journalists invested their hopes in, has a lot of modern polish, but underneath is the same old message that Mohammed came roaring out of the desert to deliver.
Despite the social media and memes, the Arab Spring unrest was part of a familiar cycle that begins when empires, whether it's Rome or Great Britain, withdraw from the area leaving the local fanatics, intellectuals and military men to begin squabbling over how to put their perfect society into place.
There's no progress being made. All the new things that were injected into the process come from outside and are used to serve ancient goals. The election machine and the social media account are new tools being used to settle old scores.