Egypt is on the way to becoming Iran

Remember back in June when, in a post called “Egypt is doomed,” I predicted that the election of Mohamed Morsi of Egypt, the candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood, foretold the creation of an Islamic state in Egypt?

Several commenters promptly admonished me for crying wolf. One, for instance, said this:

Jerry, calm down. The office of president in Egypt has very little real authority, and Moursi does not have a mandate from the people, so you can forget about Egypt becoming Iran-lite. The military, who are incredibly powerful, are violently anti-Muslim Brotherhood and extremely attached to secularism, so I do not expect Islamic law to be instituted there. What happened was simple: due to the way the elections work there, the two top candidates go to a run-off if no one wins an outright majority, and it happened to be Moursi against Ahmed Shafik, a former Mubarak cabinet member who promised a return to authoritarianism. Think of Moursi’s win as a blow struck against the old order rather than an endorsement of Islamism. I also think Egypt has way bigger problems right now than this mostly inconsequential election that most Egyptians seem to be fairly disgusted with.

And there were other comments of the same ilk.

I don’t want to gloat, because people are dying now in Egypt to defend secularism, but I think I was right. Egypt, it seems, is going down the road toward a theocracy like Iran or Saudi Arabia.

It turns out that, backed by his Muslim Brotherhood minions, Morsi has power after all, is trying to push an anti-secular constitution and, in fact, is striving to expand his own powers. This is, as you know, leading to riots and bloodshed in the streets of Cairo. Dozens have been injured, and at least four killed, in last week’s rioting.

The cause, is, of course religion: the desire of the Muslim Brotherhood to run Egypt under sharia law, and turn it into a theocracy. Of course they deny that, saying that they favor “democracy,” but that’s a lie. The whole issue is summed up in a statement reported by the New York Times reports (link above):

In a city square on the Islamist side of the battle lines, a loudspeaker on the top of a moving car blared out exhortations that the fight was about more than politics or Mr. Morsi.

“This is not a fight for an individual, this is not a fight for President Morsi,” the speaker declared. “We are fighting for God’s law, against the secularists and liberals.”

This is what religion does when it gets power over a state. When are people going to believe that radical Muslims mean what they say about jihad?

Goodbye, Egypt. Who’s next—Turkey?

72 Comments

  1. Posted December 6, 2012 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    Arab culture is not ready for democracy.

    • jose
      Posted December 6, 2012 at 9:00 am | Permalink

      It was in Iran before you destroyed their democracy in the 50s.

      • pktom64
        Posted December 6, 2012 at 9:11 am | Permalink

        Iran has nothing Arab about it.

      • whyevolutionistrue
        Posted December 6, 2012 at 9:20 am | Permalink

        I didn’t do anything to destroy their democracy; I was just a kid. And I doubt that my readers had much to do with it. So please stop being snarky and specify what you mean by “you.”

        • Rhetoric
          Posted December 6, 2012 at 9:53 am | Permalink

          He is referring to the US’ involvement in the Middle East post-WWII. Specifically the Iranian coup in 1953 – where we helped overthrow a democratically elected government in favor of authoritarianism so BP could make more money (and give us a good price ;) ). Wikipedia gives a good summary.

          Similarly to how we used to happily support Mubarak and Qadafi until the most recent uprisings. It is like Iraq: you can’t have a really messed up country, for decades, and expect everything to magically get better in a year.

          Now, decades later, we wonder why that region may be not in favor of heavy US involvement. Maybe we will sanction them into oblivion like Iran to fix things, because that doesn’t help foster radicalism, or anything.

          • jose
            Posted December 6, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

            Thank you.

            Extreme conditions for the people make them turn to extremism in desperation. Why do you think a freakin Nazi party is on the rise in Greece? Not just some fringe extremist group, no: the Nazi.

            Desperate people are being bamboozled by the muslim brotherhood which promise them sovereignty and identity and incite hatred against foreign invaders and declare themselves as the only shield standing between the nation and a subservient puppet government like Mubarak’s.

            • John Scanlon, FCD
              Posted December 7, 2012 at 8:11 am | Permalink

              That’s surprising about Greece, given that the modern nation’s proudest moment, celebrated annually, is when they told the Nazis to fuck off.

              But when were nations ever consistent?

      • Posted December 6, 2012 at 9:29 am | Permalink

        I didn’t have anything to do with destroying democracy in Iran.

        The fact is, that democracy is hard. It took a long time to take root. And even now, the religious right in the USA are trying to destroy it.

      • Pray Hard
        Posted December 6, 2012 at 10:31 am | Permalink

        Islamists destroyed Iranian culture. They might have ridden in on the coattails of Jimmy Carter’s stupidity, but they did it, not us.

        • Chris
          Posted December 7, 2012 at 4:52 am | Permalink

          Well, the UK & US helped overthrow the democratically elected government of Mossadegh, and supported the Shah’s dictatorship from 1952 onwards. See Operation Ajax. Oh, and the CIA also helped train his secret police, which was nice of them.

          The problems with UK and US meddling were there well before Carter, it was his luck that they blew up under his administration.

      • Marella
        Posted December 6, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

        I sure as hell didn’t have anything to do with, I wasn’t born and I’m not American either.

      • helian48
        Posted December 7, 2012 at 5:45 am | Permalink

        The idea that we “destroyed” democracy in Iran is one of the great CIA yarns of the 20th century. The CIA had some dilettante buffoons there who paid for some political cartoons in the papers and were paying a few Iranian stooges who acted mainly as bystanders. It’s really a gross insult to the Iranian people to suggest that they’re sufficiently stupid that a few amateurs on a shoestring budget could alter their form of government at will. I’ve written about this at Helian Unbound (just Google “helian, Iran), but don’t take my word for it. You can read the declassified CIA account here:

        http://www.nytimes.com/library/world/mideast/iran-cia-intro.pdf

        Unless you happen to be a NYT reporter, it should be obvious from the document what a hare-brained scheme it really was. The CIA guys were actually sitting around commiserating with each other about their failure when the coup was going on. Of course, when it was successful, they claimed credit for it after the fact, creating a myth that perfectly fit the agenda of ideologues the world over.

  2. Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    Posted December 6, 2012 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    I am not too surprised by the problems to go directly to democracy. This is after all what happens in most cases, what happened in Iran after US instated the Shah dictator through a military coup, and what happened when Africa et cetera throw off the yoke of Colonization.

    I won’t say Egypt will fail to achieve democracy eventually. I won’t say that democracy is inevitable. Mostly because I don’t know nearly enough to be able to form an informed analysis on any of that.

    And I won’t say that religion is without blame or isn’t dangerous.

    But the importance here, as I see it, is that Egypt got to choose for once.

    Hopefully it will get to choose often.

  3. Kevin
    Posted December 6, 2012 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Syria.

    When the current dictator is overthrown, the result will be an Islamist government.

    Period. We should not be rooting for the rebels. Sadly, it’s either the rock or the hard place for Syria. There will be no “good” outcome. Only varying degrees of awful.

  4. Posted December 6, 2012 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Democracy can not be imposed from without. It must come from within. Those on the outside can do little but offer moral support.

    You might be tempted to sell arms on the cheap to the insurgents, much like the French did to us Yanks in our own Revolutionary War, but that results in blowback more often than not.

    b&

    • Dave
      Posted December 6, 2012 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      “Democracy can not be imposed from without.”

      Japan post-1945 might suggest that it can – but only after the preceding authoritarian system has been utterly discredited by defeat in an immensely bloody and destructive war. Not a good omen for Egypt.

      • Pray Hard
        Posted December 6, 2012 at 10:36 am | Permalink

        However, the Japanese were basically sane, intelligent people and they were only giving up a stratified, caste system society, whereas Muslims are not basically sane, intelligent people and will not give up their barbaric, seventy century ideology.

        • steve oberski
          Posted December 6, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

          Muslims as people are no more or less sane or intelligent than any other demographic, unless you are proposing some basic genetic difference between Muslims and any other group of humans.

          Muslims are indeed crippled by a bronze age dogma, but that says nothing about their basic qualities as human beings.

          • JBlilie
            Posted December 6, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

            Particularly since the term “Muslim” includes people for more or less every racial group in the world.

          • Posted December 6, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

            Well said.

            • Jiten
              Posted December 6, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

              Not well said. It’s do to with the ideas that are in their heads and not their biology. Those ideas, specifically religious dogma – and in their case an especially pernicious and evil ideology, can make you less sane and less intelligent. We’re not talking genetic differences at all.

              • Posted December 6, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

                I stick by “well said.” It’s obvious from your statements that you didn’t understand the post. But even if you had understood it, my opinion about it is valid, as all opinions are. I have no doubt your mileage will vary.

              • blitz442
                Posted December 6, 2012 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

                @ Lizbeth

                “It’s obvious from your statements that you didn’t understand the post.”

                What did he not understand? He makes it clear that he is not talking about inherent, racially-based differences. I’m sure that the different populations in question have negligible differences in raw intelligence. However, childhood indoctrination of religious dogmas can make a members of a population behave in unintelligent ways. Witness the 40% of Americans who apparently favor the literal Genesis account of creation over the scientific understanding of natural history, particularly their geographic distribution in the US. No one is suggesting that there are inherent intellectual deficits in people in the South and the so-called fly over States compared to those who live on the coasts.

                “…my opinion about it is valid, as all opinions are.”

                All opinions may be valid in the sense that we all have, at least in democratic countries, a right to express them. But they are certainly not all equally valid in terms of their liklihood of being accurate descriptions and explanations of the world. Some opinions certainly have a greater probability of being true than others.

              • Ichthyic
                Posted December 7, 2012 at 12:53 am | Permalink

                It’s do to with the ideas that are in their heads and not their biology. Those ideas, specifically religious dogma – and in their case an especially pernicious and evil ideology, can make you less sane and less intelligent.

                but most of Egypt is NOT supportive of Sharia Law for the Government for Egypt.

                the bulk of those are moderate muslims.

                It is true that you can get a vocal and well organized minority to try and force the issue and call it “democracy” (which is what is happening now), but it is equally true, as you see, that moderates are not accepting of this and have risen up again, in protest.

                so, just like in the US, where you have a vocal authoritarian group (the religious right) that has been trying for years to dominate politics on the right and turn the US into a fascist state, there are plenty of moderates that resist this as well. It’s not xianity as a religion that drives this behavior, xianity is just the toolset used to manipulate people to begin with. Don’t believe me? go back and research how Nixon developed his “Southern Strategy”; go back and see how the neocons specifically took the words of Leo Strauss to heart and developed programs to push extreme ideology INTO rural religious areas. This stuff is recent, not old.

                this really has MUCH less to do with specific religious ideologies in and of themselves, and much MORE to do with manipulating authoritarian personalities to dominate power structures. the religious ideologies there, just like in the US, are simply used as tools of manipulation. The real problem that has to be addressed, in the end, is the desire of authoritarian personalities to gravitate to ingroups, and then demonize “outsiders”. Otherwise, you will always get extreme dogma being used to manipulate people like this, wherever you are.

                Frankly, I’m hoping that the bulk of Egypt will refuse to accept the Muslim Brotherhood that is trying to weasel sharia law into a boycotted and not-supported constitution, but if they succeed, it will be because MODERATE muslims joined in to refuse to let themselves and their neighbors rights be repressed, just like they were under the previous dictator.

                There is a large contingent of Muslims and Christians there that really do believe in the value of secular law in Egypt.

                There is both a strategic and a tactical level to the battle for rationality. Right now, we have the chance to support the tactical battle in Egypt by NOT demonizing an entire culture for the minority of authoritarians in it.

                At the same time, encouraging moderates to form a constitution that guarantees rights for ALL their citizens, will best serve the strategic goal of being able to openly talk about the very flaws in religious ideology that have lead to the manipulation of authoritarians to begin with.

    • Marella
      Posted December 6, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, look what happened in France! After selling guns to the Americans, the population decided that they could play that game, staged their own revolution and murdered thousands.

  5. Posted December 6, 2012 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    I wrote back in March of 2011 that “the revolution in Egypt will fail because the right to political and social equality for half of the population is held in contempt by the vast majority of its populace. The archaic anti-enlightenment belief directly supported by islam that women do not and should not have the same political and social rights as men has not been overthrown.”

    Democracy alone is nothing more and nothing less than mob rule. I really wish people would stop believing that ‘democracy’ is somehow a desirable alternative and a solution to tyranny. It’s not. It’s simply a vehicle for the next strongman to take power in its name.

    What is needed is for political authority to be legitimized. Turning to a god or some other top-down source for this authority is putting democratic lipstick on the tyrannical pig. Governing by consent means the consenters must be in legal possession of authority and not some other authority figure. If this essential characteristic of legitimate political authority (government by the consent of the governed) is not established as the basis for law, then the change in government by some democratic uprising is merely an intermediate step between the old strongman and the new. It remains illegitimate to rule in the name of people under a democratic facade. The pig is still firmly in place. And this is exactly what we are seeing played out in Egypt, a doomed revolution that cannot succeed until the populace wakes up and takes back their secular authority.

    My prediction is that as long as a majority of a populace holds islam in authoritative esteem, such a populace will never grow up and become an independent autonomous country because they are unwilling to take secular responsibility for their governance. They still need their daddy figure.

    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted December 6, 2012 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      +1

      • beyondbelief007
        Posted December 6, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

        +2

    • Ichthyic
      Posted December 7, 2012 at 1:01 am | Permalink

      “the right to political and social equality for half of the population is held in contempt by the vast majority of its populace”

      this is simply not true. In fact, the majority of the people of Egypt DO believe in secular law, and Egypt has a long tradition of support for it.

      Hence, this is why the Judges groups have boycotted the referendum on the constitution, and actually DID dissolve the first constitutional group as being unrepresentative of all citizens of Egypt.

      it’s why there are HUGE protests against Morsi now.

      what you perceive as a majority, is actually a much smaller minority that is simply much more cohesive, and thus can act faster and more decisively, than the liberal opposition.

      does that sound familiar?

      if not, you might want to review the last 40 years of politics in the US.

      • Posted December 7, 2012 at 6:56 am | Permalink

        Oh , but it is true, Ichthyic. You confuse what you believe to be ‘secular law’ with what I’m talking about: equality rights in law. These rights are simply not respected by anything but a minority fraction of the populace and the reason is directly attributable to the belief by 85% of the population who have a positive view that islam plays an important and beneficial role in politics. This religious belief stands in direct conflict with achieving equality rights in law, and this is the unfortunate truth: root secular principles are considered subordinate to islamic authority.

    • Mark Erickson
      Posted December 7, 2012 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

      -10. How do you explain Indonesia? And what other means than democracy (sure it’s a mob – meaning a lot of people) are the people supposed to give their consent to be governed?

  6. Dave
    Posted December 6, 2012 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Not much to be optimistic about, but the fact that these clashes and demonstrations are taking place shows that a significant number of Egyptians don’t want to be railroaded into a theocracy. I don’t know enough about the country to judge what proportion of the population that is, and whether they have the numbers to thwart Morsi et al.

    And if the Muslim Brotherhood do get their beloved Islamic State, I’m afraid the Egyptians will just have to learn the hard way that praying, cutting off the hands of thieves and forcing women into sacks won’t solve their country’s problems. And Egypt does have huge problems. They have an exploding population, declining water and food resources, massive unemployment and an economy dependent on foreign aid, which will dry up if they go down the Islamist route.

    Someone above said that Arab culture isn’t ready for democracy. I think they can manage democracy just fine – it’s the values of pluralism and secularism they don’t seem able to grasp. And for as long as they keep using the democratic process to vote religious extremists into power it’s unlikely that things will get any better for them.

    • Ichthyic
      Posted December 7, 2012 at 1:04 am | Permalink

      “Not much to be optimistic about, but the fact that these clashes and demonstrations are taking place shows that a significant number of Egyptians don’t want to be railroaded into a theocracy.”

      this is exactly right.

      it’s that the liberal opposition is composed of a wide variety of people with very varied beliefs, but they all at least support the idea of rights for all egyptian citizens, and the long tradition of secular law that egypt has had.

      the minority shia muslims supporting concepts bordering on sharia law are simply better organized, which is why they won the first election.

      • Posted December 7, 2012 at 7:03 am | Permalink

        You’re doing it again, Ichthyic: assuming that modernizers are in support of the idea of rights for all Egyptian citizens. This is factually incorrect. For whatever reasons people may have to protest Morsi’s government, it is NOT due to a sudden and massive landslide in popular support for respecting individual rights. Far, far from it.

      • Mark Erickson
        Posted December 7, 2012 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

        The Muslim Brotherhood is as Suni as it gets.

    • jiten
      Posted December 7, 2012 at 7:18 am | Permalink

      You seem to be saying that there are only two groups at play here and that they are the only determinants in the struggle to lead Egypt, namely the MB and the Moderates. But as we well know from past well doucmented cases, the CIA might be a player here too – looking after American interests. They have meddled in Chile, Iran and Guatemala in the past and even in Egypt too. Look at the documentaries of John Pilger for instance.

  7. darrelle
    Posted December 6, 2012 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Time will tell, but it seems that there are more people in these Middle Eastern / North African countries that want a more egalitarian society, like they see in many other countries around the world. And many of them seem more willing to do something about it, even if just to say so to other people.

    Turmoil and change go together. Whoever governs, these days it is becoming more and more difficult to isolate a population from the rest of the world.

    Iran is a good example. A sizable percentage of the population, especially the younger generations, want a secular democratic society, and were by many estimations damn close to achieving it. If we, the US, (or rather the Bush Admin.)had not been so stupid and arrogant in our dealings with Iran after 9/11 they may have achieved it by now. Especially if we had helped them instead of treating them like shit when they offered to help us. In any case I think the Ayatollahs’ days of governing are already numbered because the people, with modern communications, can so easily see what is going on in the rest of the world.

  8. Christopher
    Posted December 6, 2012 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    As far as I am concerned, I am deeply suspicious of any political leader who is head of a ‘religious’ party, or indeed any politician that is proud to boast that their faith plays an active part in their policy decisions. It is simply asking for trouble; then we get people that are shocked when it does!

  9. Occam
    Posted December 6, 2012 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    At the time, I wrote “Another case of ‘careful what you wish for’ .” Never made an easier prediction.

  10. JBlilie
    Posted December 6, 2012 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    My guess is that all these nations of the “Arab Spring” will go this way. There are many Al Qaeda splinter groups dedicating themselves to that outcome.

    Like you said: “When are people going to believe that radical Muslims mean what they say about jihad?”

    Or even non-radical muslims …

  11. Posted December 6, 2012 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    Depressing. As I watch Islamic thugs take over a country I am reminded of the takeover of Germany by the Nazis. Unfortunately democracy at root simply means that whatever the majority wants, they get, even if the minority is crushed in the process. It’s very important to have a founding document (constitution) that clearly delineates what a government is permitted and not permitted to do. And the people and the country’s judicial system must respect this document. Easier said than done, I know, but the US did it and continues to hold the line on its constitution (in spite of attacks from the religious right, at least to date).

    • Posted December 6, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

      This is in no way similar to the rise of the Nazis.

      • Greg
        Posted December 6, 2012 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

        Although I also frown upon this commenter’s frivolous, rhetorical allusions to Nazis, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the situation in Egypt is “in no way similar to the rise of the Nazis.” Both situations involves ideological governments stigmatizing certain groups and laying the foundations for eventual persecution of these groups. For this, both modern Egypt and Nazi Germany deserve criticism. Let’s not lose sight of this.

        • Posted December 7, 2012 at 7:17 am | Permalink

          You seem to be largely agreeing with me but feel it necessary to characterize my comment as a “frivolous, rhetorical allusion”. Why is that?

          • John Scanlon, FCD
            Posted December 7, 2012 at 8:21 am | Permalink

            Because Godwin?

            • Posted December 7, 2012 at 10:36 am | Permalink

              Well I learned something today. I Googled “Godwin” and found what your comment refers to. I had never heard of this. But I had no intention of playing Nazism as some kind of trump card. I do think there are manifest parallels though I’m sure there are differences that can pointed to as well.

    • Mark Erickson
      Posted December 7, 2012 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

      I’m not aware of any successful attacks on the constitution by the religious right. Hell, they don’t even know what’s in it. However the admins of both W and O have been steadily degrading the 4th and 5th amendments since 2001.

  12. Prof.Pedant
    Posted December 6, 2012 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    The cause, is, of course religion: the desire of the Muslim Brotherhood to run Egypt under sharia law, and turn it into a theocracy. Of course they deny that, saying that they favor “democracy,” but that’s a lie.

    Religion is the original example of the importance of what the meaning of ‘is’ is. Generally I would believe a member of the Muslim Brotherhood when he says that he likes democracy, just as I would believe that he means what he says when he talks of jihad. However, in believing that he means what he says I would remember that he is using the words in ways that are meaningful to him, and that – just as in religion – I am supposed to ‘understand his meaning’ instead of referring to an objective reality or even an agreed-upon subjective reality in order to understand what he is attempting to communicate.

    From what I’ve read the Muslim Brotherhood ‘understanding’ of democracy is that the (male, Muslim) people should support Sharia Law and make decisions about those things that Sharia Law does not clearly speak on. That places their love of democracy in a ‘Falsesque’ category, the kind of claim that if you squint at carefully it technically has a semblance of truth to it, although it remains a complete crock of crap.

    (An example of a ‘meme’ with protective mimicry? The advantage conferred by the ‘meme’ would be that the semblance of democracy makes it easier to hold repressive beliefs despite the secularizing pressures of the modern world? Which would suggest that the best way to combat that ‘meme’ would be to show its inconsistency and hypocrisy….I need more coffee.)

    • morkindie
      Posted December 6, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

      +1

      Well said.
      There are many forms of democracy. Some of them, are no better than a dictatorship. There are many forms of dictatorships as well.

  13. Posted December 6, 2012 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Does Islam have a real chance to avoid Islamism?

    Even Indonesia looks to be slipping down the slope:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/22/opinion/no-model-for-muslim-democracy.html?_r=0

    • Mark Erickson
      Posted December 7, 2012 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

      That article was about minority rights, not democracy. The fact is that if there are lots of creepy buggers in a democratic country, they will has some political power. (see Sam Brownback) The US still struggles with minority rights, but more with color than faith.

  14. CJ
    Posted December 6, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Sorry Jerry, this is a little off topic, but i’m curious. On a scale from Pollyanna to Cassandra, where do you come down on the future of humanity? To me, you seem like a “glass is half empty” kinda guy.

    • morkindie
      Posted December 6, 2012 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

      The glass is always full.
      Half water, half air.

  15. MadScientist
    Posted December 6, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    With any luck the military in Egypt will indeed step in – but I doubt it. Turkey has always been precarious with a dependence on the military remaining secular and enforcing a secular government. Don’t forget that Egypt was officially an islamic state, but apparently not True Islam as far as the salafis are concerned.

    • Chris
      Posted December 7, 2012 at 4:57 am | Permalink

      The army or the Islamists. Not really a choice that you want to have to make..!

  16. Kevin
    Posted December 6, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    “The cause, is, of course religion”

    No it is not.

    • Posted December 6, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      Exactly. The excuse is religion.

      • morkindie
        Posted December 6, 2012 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

        They want to use religion as an excuse to install a theocratic government?

        Maybe the men organizing all this, but what of their backers who have no aspirations of personal power?

  17. Posted December 6, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    Is there any country on the planet which isn’t run by angry, deluded men?

    • dale
      Posted December 6, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

      Iceland

      • Posted December 6, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

        Ah. Thanks. But it’s cold and dark there, and I don’t like fish. Drat.

        • Cents
          Posted December 7, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

          Try Australia

        • Mark Erickson
          Posted December 7, 2012 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

          What a terrible slander against Iceland! Obviously you’ve never dined on a local steak near the hot springs and volcanoes during the 18-hour daylight in summer.

    • Posted December 6, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

      India. The most powerful politician in India right now is a very non-angry woman, with a rather mild-mannered man coming a distant second. However, although Sonia Gandhi is known for her support of increased social spending by the government, she has also gotten a lot of deserved criticism for her inaction on very serious corruption allegations against people in her family. So you might still be correct about the deluded part.

  18. Marella
    Posted December 6, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    I never imagined for one second that the Arab spring wouldn’t lead to religious dictatorships all across the Middle East. I hoped I was wrong but I wasn’t. Just like I knew the fall of Russian power would lead to chaos in parts of Europe and other Russian ex-colonies. A bit of history and the outcome is obvious.

    • Ichthyic
      Posted December 7, 2012 at 1:07 am | Permalink

      “I hoped I was wrong but I wasn’t.”

      why not wait and see what actually happens, first?

      Most Egyptians DO NOT want sharia law.

      • Marella
        Posted December 7, 2012 at 4:49 am | Permalink

        Well if you say there is still hope I will still hope, but I’m not confident.

  19. Hempenstein
    Posted December 6, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    Besides the evidence of considerable opposition to the MB in Egypt, it’s worth noting that Morsi has a degree in Material Science from USC, so at least on the surface he’s not exactly another Ayatollah.

    • K E Decilon
      Posted December 7, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

      meh.
      Mitt Romney has a degree in business administration from Harvard, and he believes that god lives on a planet called Kolob.

  20. Mark Erickson
    Posted December 7, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    You’re still not right Egypt is becoming a theocracy – which is still a crazy thing to say. For instance, I wasn’t aware President Morsi had any religious credentials. So even if he is becoming dictatorial, Egypt will not become a theocracy until he’s gone and a religious leader takes over.

    For instance, W was a crazy religionists who steamrolled the legislature, stacked the Supreme Court with extremists, and ran roughshod over the Constitution. Was he a theocrat?

    And as for the dictator bit, you have to remember that Egypt is only just started their revolution. The judiciary is all Mubarak cronies. The state apparatus is still largely the same. Morsi might not last, there will be a definite Islamic character to the government, but theocracy? You don’t know what you’re talking about.

  21. shazam
    Posted December 7, 2012 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    Hitchens said something like this (paraphrasing):

    Give muslims a democratic vote and they would no sooner vote to remove their democratic rights and freedoms

    Can anyone identify it for me?


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