In any event, informed by these themes, I’ve been arguing for almost two years that the so-called Arab Spring, far from an outbreak of democracy, is actually the ascendancy of a new form of authoritarianism: namely, Islamic supremacism. It is more totalitarian than the dictatorships it is replacing. The Middle East uprisings feature democracy only cosmetically: there is the adoption of some procedures — mainly elections and constitution writing — that are used in democratic societies (as well as in non-democratic societies). There is no democratic culture, nor any realistic near-term prospect of it. As the “Arab Spring” plays out, “democracy” is just a means of getting Islamists into power. Once in charge, they are certain to adopt policies rooted in classical sharia and supremacist Islam’s totalitarian nature. The results will be the very opposite of democracy.
The Left and other “Islamic democracy” project enthusiasts have either missed or obscured this inevitability; the Obama administration provides a great example. After facilitating the Muslim Brotherhood’s takeover of Egypt, President Obama first preposterously claimed there was no reason for concern because the Brotherhood really didn’t have much of a following there. The Brothers, of course, proceeded to win elections by 4-to-1 margins (on constitutional amendments and for parliament). So we further heard from the administration that the Muslim Brotherhood (you know, the “Allah is our objective, the prophet is our leader, jihad is our way, dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope” Brotherhood) is really a “largely secular” organization — something that was so laughably absurd that National Intelligence Director James Clapper, who read his statement to Congress from prepared notes, had to retract it within hours.
Soon came Version 3: Don’t worry about the Brotherhood’s going too crazy with all that sharia stuff because the Egyptian military is really pro-American and they’re the ones that run the country — they’ll never let it go to hell in a handbasket. Alas, as I’ve pointed out several times (see, e.g., here, here, and here), the Egyptian military, in which almost all able-bodied men serve, is a reflection of Egyptian society. In its rank-and-file, it is substantially Islamist, just like Egypt. Its history, moreover, is to follow the program of the dictator of the moment, not to lead. I’ve argued that the Egyptian military would be a pushover for the Brotherhood compared to the Turkish military, a more formidable force (in the sense of affinity for the West) that took Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan nearly a decade to tame. But I admit to thinking it would take Morsi at least a few months — it’s only been a few weeks, and he’s already cleaned house.