Symposium 2012: Will Egypt revert to a dictatorship

Cartwright: Hasn’t it already? Look, here’s the reality. Many people in many countries throughout the world have been ruled by kings or pharos or dictators for much of known history. These people don’t know democracy, and while it’s an admirable goal to spread democracy, it just isn’t feasible. These people can’t handle it. They need the strong arm of a ruler. We’re seeing that in many places. 

Democracy in Afghanistan is fragile, but they’ll eventually revert to Taliban rule. It’ll probably be in the next five years. Look at what has happened in Egypt and Libya since the dictators have been deposed. You’ve got managed chaos. These people aren’t going to be able to handle democracy. They’ll eventually revert to having a dictator.

But consider this. Egypt and Libya were relatively stable places when Mubarak and Gaddafi were in power. Yes, they weren’t the best of people, but there was stability. We didn’t have to worry about those countries being hijacked by the terrorists. The United States had Egypt in check, and after we gave Muammar the ultimatum after 9/11, he pretty much fell in line as well. Now, we have Egypt that is going to take a hard turn towards Islamist rule of law and Libya is likely to do the same thing. And we run the real risk of either one of these nation’s becoming the first al-Qaeda state. Now, there’s absolutely nothing we can do about it. We can thank the Obama people for that. The whole Arab Spring while a good concept in theory just isn’t a good reality.

Do I think Egypt is going to revert to a dictatorship? Yes, it’s just a matter of time. But this time, we’re going to have hardline Islamist radicals in charge that will destabilize the region even further and will probably become more hostile to Israel. And it’s real frightening that the hardline Islamist radicals that will run Egypt will have control of the Suez Canal. I don’t really think anyone understands how powerful a tool that is. Want to economically cripple the West? Close the Suez Canal and watch the price of oil surge. Higher oil prices leads to higher gas prices and higher prices for goods and services and then inflation and a rapid economic descent. Think it can’t happen? Just watch.
RMC3: We’ve really opened a Pandora’s Box with the whole Arab spring. Hosni Mubarak wasn’t a saint, but he brought balance and stability to Egypt and the region. He did out bidding, and we paid him for that. Were billions of dollars misappropriated? Yes, but that happens here in the United States everyday as well. Did he oppress the people of Egypt? Yes. Did he support al-Qaeda? No. Was there a risk of Egypt and Mubarak working with al-Qaeda? No. Could we count on Egypt if we needed help in the region? Yes, they would begrudgingly help us.

Fast forward to today. Is Egypt a stable place? No. Are the Egyptian people better off today than they were when Mubarak was president? Doesn’t look like it. Is there a risk that Egypt will side with terrorists? Yes. Can we consider Egypt an ally in the Middle East now? No. Will Egypt end its peace agreement with Israel? Yes, within the next few years. Is Egypt going to revert to a dictatorship? Yes, it’s just a matter of time. Will it be a democratically elected dictator? Of course, aren’t they all democratically elected by an overwhelming majority of the people?
Michigan: For 30 years we didn’t hear much about Egypt. We kept the money flowing to them and let them take care of their own problems. Along comes Arab Spring. The U.S. backs Morsi, and he is elected. Now, because of his actions to put the country back together many citizens feel he is too harsh. I think Egypt may revert back to a dictatorship. Some countries need this type of government. U.S. aid to Egypt has averaged $2 billion a year since 1979. Will we cut this aid off? I doubt it. We have been given special treatment with the use of the Suez Canel, we don’t want any problems there.
Sydney: Despite new Egyptian President Morsi’s claims that he wants to institute democratic reforms he is acting more and more like his hated predecessor and as such it seems likely that Egypt will revert to a dictatorship. Morsi has already given himself unprecedented powers placing him above any oversight. He has also ignored the actions of his supporters when they attacked peaceful protestors outside his palace. It appears likely that Morsi will enact reforms designed to further entrench his rule and stifle or persecute any opposition. A lot has been made of the fact that Morsi is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. There were fears before the Presidential election that Morsi would seek to institute Sharia law and create a Muslim state, something that he and other members of the Brotherhood were at pains to deny. It seems likely that the Brotherhood heavily influences Morsi and as a result those pre-election concerns may be well founded. The fact is that Morsi won the election and he views this as a mandate to implement any changes he sees fit. Worryingly, this appears to include unstated aims. The so called Arab Spring seems to be giving way to a harsh winter.

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