Egypt: Political Schizophrenia
Unthinking people glibly say that Middle Eastern countries like Egypt and Iraq should hold democratic elections as though that is the end all be all solution.
Is that really the answer? Replace the current autocracies with democratically held elections?
But what if those countries have no traditions of democratic values ie freedom of the press, freedom of religion, open elections, freedom of speech and of assembly , separation of powers, civilian control of the military, independent courts? What then?
Egypt! That is what you get.
A year ago Egypt held democratic elections. They elected Mohammad Morsi President and put the radical Muslim Brotherhood into power.
Fools in the West watching this process cheered along. “Democracy may be messy” they argued “but it works”.
So how did that democratic election work out?
Not so good most would agree. Most especially the Egyptians
And so the crowds, now many millions strong, are back in Tahrir Square in Central Cairo and the military has overthrown this democratically elected government and the Obama administration now has egg all over its face and banners are everywhere condemning Obama and his ambassador for his support of this, to be sure, duly elected, radical Islamist government.
The military has long been the real power in Egypt going back to the time of Gamel Abdel Nasser in the 1950s when he, a colonel in the Egyptian army, led a coup that overthrew the regime of King Farouk.
And so the military has now taken over in Egypt and installed Adly Mansour, the Chief Justice of what is their Supreme Court, as the interim President. Free elections have been promised but no word as to when.
So Egypt experienced a year of a democratically elected government and what did it get them?
Chaos prompted by the religiously motivated policies of their president who put a radical theology ahead of economics and basic human rights.
Included in the leadership of that Morsi government were those who advocated cleansing Egypt of all semblances of idolatry such as the sphinx and traces of the Pharaohs.
Blow them up just as like minded radical Islamists did in Afghanistan in 2001 when they dynamited two 1700 year old Bamiyan statues of the Buddha and tried to do again in 2007 in a remote village in Pakistan where they tried to dynamite a carving of the Buddha on a mountainside. In this act they were unsuccessful.
So it is not far fetched to believe that the Morsi government might have given the go ahead to radicals in their party for the blowing up of the sphinx? There was actually serious talk of this. And what would that have done to the local economy that employs thousands when the tourists no longer came?
Luxor is another Egyptian tourist mecca. I have been there. A radical group called Gamas Islamiya launched an attack there that resulted in the deaths of 58 tourists in the grand temple of Queen Hatshepsut in 1997.
President Morsi recently appointed as governor over Luxor, a man connected to that same group. This new governor to be of Luxor was going to implement policies that would have killed the tourist economy there such as strict adherence to Islamic dress codes for women, no alcohol, no mixing of the sexes. The locals, fearing the repercussion from the tourist trade , objected and the man dropped out.
And what of the Coptic Christians of Egypt?
They have lived under a cloud of fear for the past year, experiencing brutal oppression under the democratically elected Morsi government. A headline in the Los Angeles Times reads (4/12/13) “Egypt’s Coptic Christians Live in Fear of Islamic Extremists”.
Samir, an Egyptian Coptic High School Philosophy teacher was interviewed for this article while praying in a significant little Coptic Church, north of Cairo on the banks of the Nile. He said. “I feel unsafe ….they set a Christian man on fire the other day…seven Copts and one Muslim have died in clashes in recent days.”
(An aside: What of that church? I have actually visited there. Local tradition claims that the Holy Family stayed there during their flight from Herod into Egypt following the birth of Jesus. In fact locals will show you a very old tree that they claim provided shelter from the sun for the Holy Family. Interesting tradition.)
The Times further reports that “Scores of Copts have been killed in sectarian violence since early 2011 including 24 worshipers who died in a church bombing. Another Copt reported that “Copts are facing organized oppression and forced immigration ………..Islamist radicals want to get rid of Christians across the Middle East”.
So what are America’s interests in this situation? I would remind you that countries do not have friends. They have interests.
I refer you back to an article I wrote several days ago, the Ugly face of Radical Islam. that you can find in this blogs at in which I argued that countries do not have friends. They have interests. Those forces that contribute to stability in Egypt are in our interests.
Written by Dr. Robert Grant 7/4/13

Dr Grant has been traveling to the lands of the Middle East for about 46 years and has been there over 125 times hosting holy land tours for his friends. As a result he has been designated the holy land guru by some.