At 2/3/11 02:18 AM, Dawnslayer wrote:
So let me see if I understand this correctly: your solution for establishing democracy in Egypt is to preserve the military dictatorship the people have been protesting against for an indefinite amount of time?
Sorry, but what made you assume that I want democracy in Egypt? At the very least, I want Egypt to become a country where all of its citizens (even the women and the Christians) have a shot at a decent education, decent healthcare and a chance at getting high in government that depends only on his own merit. A democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood is not going to make steps towards such an Egypt. Democracy isn't a form of art in the sense that democracy for the sake of democracy is meaningless.
Of course, when a country has a strong, educated middle class, democracy is the best form of government to prevent corruption and bloody power transitions, and in the end, I think it would be best for Egypt to become democratic. Even now it holds that if Egypt's women (roughly 50% of the population) would simply vote out of self-interest then the Brotherhood would never win the elections. Problem is, the women in Egypt's highly conservative heartlands are very unlikely to do that, so a transitional government needs to take over until they're educated enough to know what their own interests are. And yes, I know I'm being paternalistic.
Allow me to pick this apart: your "populist general" only has to say he supports the people to secure absolute power for life.
Well, if after 10 years it becomes clear he's only paying lip service to the transition towards a democracy then the people should oust him the same way they do with Mubarak (if they turn out successful now).
Your artificial parliament is the same thing Mubarak was doing, except with a more leftist slant.
Lovely. You see, my problem with Mubarak isn't that he's an autocrat. My problem is that he's an autocrat who isn't doing anything to lift his people up to the level where they don't need an autocrat. All he cared about was making sure his son would succeed him - luckily that seems to be off the table now with Suleiman, but still.
(and depending on how you choose to educate them you could easily end up making them spiteful).
Then send in the military. You know how they handle spiteful peasants in China? Do that.
You said there would be free elections "when the time has come," but when is that, and by what measure?
I could define this is terms of literacy, strength of the middle class or political conscience, but I can simplify it all by saying that the time has come when opinion polls and expert analysis suggest that the Muslim Brotherhood won't pick up more than 25% of the votes. Right now the only doubt is whether they'll hit the 50% mark or end up just under it.
Any Egyptian will recognize this "transitional government" you have modeled is the exact same as the Mubarak regime, except farther to the left than it was before, which they might decide is even worse.
Oh, I'm not saying it can't fail. I'm just saying that it has a better chance of working out that free elections. Remember what happened in Algeria in 1991. After the radicals won the first round of elections it took a military intervention and a civil war to prevent the establishment of a Sunni Iran in North Africa. There's no point in emboldening them by granting them a poll victory.
I think it best that a fully democratic Egyptian government be instated now, while the conservative forces in the nation are still relatively moderate and well-balanced with the liberal movement.
No, dude, they're totally not. The Muslim Brotherhood is better financed (without 'dirty' cash that comes from the West), better organised, and they have leaders that can speak to the common people unlike al-Baradei. Furthermore, their Islamist ideology is powerful at the moment, being the only force that actually challenges US hegemony and the among the Egyptian population hugely unpopular state of Israel (and internationally, if the Brotherhood wins in Egypt it would embolden Islamists worldwide). And given the causes of the recent unrest (rising food prices, corruption, sense of national decline), their campaign is bound to resonate with the Egyptian people. At least more than that of the followers of a (in the Arab world) dead ideology like liberalism or socialism.
Hey, in Tunisia democracy might work. I'm sure a lot will get better but it might work. But at worst they end up in conditions similar to before the uprising. In Egypt, it will likely end in a catastrophe --- to a slight extent for us but mostly for the Egyptian people.