What do you make of the Egyptian coup?

Two overarching themes are emerging from Egypt. The overthrow of the democratically elected leader Mohamed Morsi by the military is a blow to the potential of democracy in the region, but others contend Morsi and the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood overreached and abused their power.

More from the New York Times:

From Benghazi to Abu Dhabi, Islamists are drawing lessons from Mr. Morsi’s ouster that could shape political Islam for a generation. For some, it demonstrated the futility of democracy in a world dominated by Western powers and their client states. But others, acknowledging that the coup accompanied a broad popular backlash, also faulted the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood for reaching too fast for so many levers of power.

The Brotherhood’s fall is the greatest in an array of setbacks that have halted the once seemingly unstoppable march of political Islam. As they have moved from opposition to establishment after the Arab spring revolts, Islamist parties in Turkey, Tunisia and now Egypt have all been caught up in crises over the secular practicalities of governing like power sharing, urban planning, public security or even keeping the lights on.

Brotherhood leaders — the few who have not been arrested or dropped out of sight — have little doubt about the source of their problems. They say that the Egyptian security forces and bureaucracy conspired to sabotage their rule, and that the generals seized on the chance to topple the Morsi government under the cover of popular anger at the dysfunction of the state.

Their account strikes a chord with fellow Islamists around the region who are all too familiar with the historic turning points when, they say, military crackdowns stole their imminent democratic victories: Egypt under Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1954; Algeria in 1991; and the Palestinian territories in 2006.

Today’s Question: What do you make of the Egyptian coup?

  • Sue de Nim

    The coup in Egypt shows that their constitution wasn’t working. Maybe it had insufficient checks on the president’s power, allowing him to muck things up as badly as he did. That said, it’s unfortunate they couldn’t find a way to reform things within constitutional processes. Military coups are never good (though on occasion they can be less bad than allowing a tyrant to stay in power– would that one of the plots against Hitler had succeeded). BTW, the New York Times omitted from their list of examples the U.S.-backed coup in Iran that reinstated the Shah and led eventually to the revolution that put the current regime in power.

  • James

    I’ve been to Egypt. It’s a basket case. Life generally sucks for all involved. I can’t imagine any sort of stable govenrment unless until someone who actually cares about improving things for the masses gets in power.

  • PaulJ

    It is an example of how a large, cohesive, and radical minority can undermine democracy in much the same way gangsters can undermine a community.

  • JQP

    the Egyptian military is a defacto separate “community”. The political structure was and is an entrenched community of corruption. Until proven otherwise – Islamic religion was vaunted as the “pure” means by which average people could aggregate and attain self rule. That myth was exposed over the last year. Islam is co-opted by sham political groups.

    In reality – Egypt, by and large, functions on a cultural process of “little deals”, haggling, bargains, idle-threats and long-term memories of slights, favors and outcomes. The “bigger” you are — the larger a thing you would call a little deal.

    The misfortune is that everything – including national leadership – is now treated like little deals. they have lost the ability to run anything in their country with open and overt honesty. The fear is that the people won’t react well to open exposure of the problems and their solutions.

    I’d say that’s true.

  • Gary f

    Reaffirms my opinion we should be staying out of Syria.

    Were any of the folks outraged over a YouTube video?

    What was our Secretary of State doing during all of this?

    • Hillary

      The SOS was playing with his dinghy! What difference does it make?

  • Beth P

    I was thinking about Egypt’s situation on Thursday morning as I listened to our Declaration of Independence being read. To quote: “…Governments are instituted among Men,
    deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That
    whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is
    the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new
    Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its
    powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their
    Safety and Happiness…. But when a long
    train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object
    evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their
    right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide
    new Guards for their future security.”

    The Morsi government did not seem to work for the best interests of the Egyptian people. I’m far from convinced that the military’s actions this week were for the better, but there were (are) a lot of Egyptians unhappy enough with the Morsi government to protest it vigorously.

    It also seems to me that the new constitution and the process by which it was adopted left quite a bit to be desired.

    We’ll have to see what comes of the Chief Justice as president and the newly appointed prime minister.