19 August 2013

Is Egypt Paralleling the Weimar Republic?

I'll leave it to guys like Rex and Volko to dig through the nitty-gritty of how accurate the comparisons are, but Reilly's article contrasting Egypt’s military to the inaction of the Weimar Reichswehr in 1933 is at least quite thought-provoking. To me, one of the keys in the 'rush out of totalitarianism is nicely encapsulated below. Essentially, when political opposition is outlawed, it is the religious opposition that becomes the organized, structured, and mobilizable when political competition becomes acceptable.

Bernard Lewis predicted this mess when he said that the rush to early elections after the fall of Mubarak would lead, as did similar events in the Weimar Republic, to the ascension of the most dangerous elements society – meaning victory for the Muslim Brotherhood. In an interview with David Horowitz in the Jerusalem Post (February 25, 2011), Lewis cautioned that the discourse in Egypt is still “religiously defined” and that “the language of Western democracy is for the most part newly translated and not intelligible to the great masses.” How many Egyptians, for instance, actually believe that Copts and Muslims, men and women, believers and nonbelievers, are equal—to say nothing of Jews and Muslims? Pressing for elections now, he warned, could lead to catastrophe, as only religious parties are well enough organized to take advantage of them. (Lewis preferred first to see the development of local self-governing institutions.) Therefore, he said, “I don’t see elections, Western-style, as the answer to the problem. I see it rather as a dangerous aggravation of a problem. The Western-style election…has no relevance at all to the situation in most Middle Eastern countries. It can only lead to one direction, as it did in [Weimar] Germany, for example.” He was right. True to form, once in power, the Muslim brotherhood and Morsi went methodically about trying to monopolize power. Morsi assigned himself powers that a Pharaoh would have envied.

By: Brant

No comments: