Egypt: A Muslim Brotherhood President Does Not Prove That We Are All 'Chimps'
None of these people were experts but they listened to the better experts, at times went over the heads of the mass media to look at what the Brotherhood really said, and also had a basic sense of reality that guided them correctly on this issue. Equally accurate was every article written on the subject in PJ Media. To admit this, however, would require the hegemonic forces to accept that these people who were being demonized and despised might be right on other issues as well.
Meanwhile, the New York Times correspondent is still telling readers:
"...many in the West have a lot of mistaken impressions about the Brotherhood. It is at its base a religious revival group committed to a bottom-up and gradual approach to moving the culture in a more Islamic direction. Their platform carefully avoids any hint of restrictions on personal behavior or liberties. Rather, it seems to suggest the Brotherhood would try to nudge Egyptian culture in a more conservative direction by public and private example. For instance, the Brotherhood would not restrict the content of films but it might subsidize films that expressed traditional Islamic values. And it would allow Islamic charities and religious groups more freedom to spread their own messages.
"Its leaders are not clerics or religious scholars. Almost all have advanced degrees in medicine or the natural sciences. (Mohamed Morsi, the presidential candidate, got his PhD in materials engineering at the University of Southern California.) They are politicians. Under Mubarak, the Brotherhood played a growing role as an elected bloc of the Parliament, and unlike the ruling party its lawmakers acted like real politicians — they sought the views of their constituents, studied the issues and introduced legislation, and over time moved toward the middle. They are committed to democratic elections and the peaceful rotation of political power, which usually means moving to the middle."
Actually, the Brotherhood's leader is a cleric and who cares about the degrees other leaders received--Hamas leaders include all sorts of professionals--degrees that did not require them to learn anything about Western humanities or social sciences? Moreover, it is completely false to say they were moderate in Mubarak's parliament. See here on that point and also here, two articles that explained how the Brotherhood was radical and likely to take over Egypt written in 2006 in my MERIA Journal by Egyptian authors.
But to say that nothing has been learned by the "best and brightest," here's the same New York Times reporter writing on Libya:
"In an unfolding contest here over the future of the Islamist movement, Mr. Hasadi’s vision of peaceful change appears ascendant. For the West, his success may represent the greatest promise of the Arab Spring, that political participation could neutralize the militant strand of Islam that has called thousands to fight and die in places like Iraq and Afghanistan."
So the New York Times thinks that Hasadi is a man advocating "peaceful change" who the West should support. Regarding Hasadi, here's what I wrote nine months ago:
"According to Al Jazeera...Abdul al-Hakim al-Hasad...was formerly head of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, an al-Qaeda affiliate....The group was still designated as terrorist by the U.S. government. Here it is on the terrorism list (number 26, in alphabetical order) released by the State Department last May."
So what evidence is there that he's changed his views? None that I'm aware of. Do the words--which also apply to Syria--"here we go again" occur to anyone?
If we assess honestly what has happened, it would require us to conclude that the aggressiveness of revolutionary Islamism and the weakness of the U.S. response to this challenge have been the principal problems in the Middle East and must be addressed seriously or things will get steadily worse, more violent, and more oppressive. Yet if we are all equally "chimps," one can ignore all of the lessons of the last eighteen months and, thus, continue to make more terrible errors in the months to come.
But what should we make specifically of this most recent event, the certification of al-Mursi’s victory? Certainly, it is another step forward for the Brotherhood toward capturing the most important Arab country. A confident Hamas (which has now officially joined the Muslim Brotherhood’s international network) has launched a war against Israel by firing dozens of cross-border rockets from the Gaza Strip and other means which the “international community” and democratic West are ignoring, to set one more terrible precedent in the war—one-sided as far as they’re concerned—with revolutionary Islamism.
Even now the “chimps” refuse to acknowledge the extremism of the Brotherhood, the most significant anti-American, antisemitic group in the entire world today. They ignore the fully documented fact that al-Mursi campaigned on a basis of hatred for America, fundamentally transforming Egypt into a Sharia state, going to war with Israel, and spreading revolution throughout the region. At this very moment, for example, the U.S. government is supporting a Brotherhood-led puppet group as the leadership of the Syrian uprising and arming its forces.
Yet within Egypt itself the outcome is not clear at all. There are as many options as there are rumors in Cairo. Remember that there is no Egyptian constitution, no parliament, and no timetable for electing a new parliament. The powers of the president are not defined.
So al-Mursi is going to govern the country or, which seems more likely, the rulers will continue to be the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, and al-Mursi will be a figurehead. It seems likely that this situation will prevail for at least one year. Will the military make some deal with al-Mursi and the Brotherhood which trades limited power for accepting limits on their power? Here's an article by Eric Trager, who has also consistently been right on Egypt, writing about how hard-line al-Mursi is personally and the likelihood he will follow the instructions of the Brotherhood's jihadist supreme guide, al-Badi, in his decision-making.
Will, as seems less likely, the Brotherhood embark on a campaign of armed resistance or, more probably, just continue demonstrations in Tahrir Square in Cairo? Here we can see the difference between all of the nonsense spoken in 2011 and reality. If the army wants a “revolution,” there will be a “revolution”; if the army wants to resist, then it will remain in power. It is important to note, however, that the Salafist groups will not take this lying down. There will be a lot of violence.
Finally, there is a question of Western policy toward Egypt. What should happen is realpolitik, survival response. The military is saving Egypt from catastrophe. That doesn’t mean its rule is wonderful, democratic, or terribly competent. The army is not going to solve Egypt’s problems, but neither is anyone else.
Yet probably what will happen is that the U.S. government will condemn on some level the military, stamp its foot ineffectively, and spout words like “turnover of power,” “transparency,” “rapid action,” and so on. In effect, of course, they are insisting that Egypt be turned into a totalitarian state, the sooner the better.
Of course, the Brotherhood did win the election—three elections in fact, upper and lower house of parliament as well as the presidency—and so if that is one’s sole criterion then they should take power, just as Hamas and Hizballah won elections. It is time, though, to start thinking of U.S. interests.
It is also worth noting that what one could call the Islamist vote sank from almost 75 percent in the parliamentary elections to 52 percent in the presidential ones. Perhaps the military calculates that in a year the support for revolutionary Islamism might be still high but not a majority. We will have to follow the events in Egypt closely. It is advisable to start listening to the non-chimps and their analysis so that the West, and the United States in particular, don't end up as chumps.