53 Responses

  1. well a good thing has happened and now it’s wait and see what the Army does and what Amerika does.

  2. Dr. Cole, are you justifying this coup by adding the word “fundamentalist” next to Morsi?

    Yes, he is what he is. He is probably a bad president and failed one, but no legitimately elected official should ever be pushed by a military junta. This is a coup, and this will end badly.

    • Legitimately elected, yes, but he lost that legitimacy with his suspension of democratic process to run through a seriously flawed constitution. He’s been on borrowed time since.

    • One might observe that since there are humans involved, there’s no alternative to “this ending badly.” It’s just a matter of degree, how much blood and treasure lost and stolen.

      And “legitimately elected?” Isn’t there some dispute about that? And what a cramped notion that “democracy,” pro forma, is a sine qua non of a “good state…”

      • No, there is no dispute about his election. All independent observers reported that the elections for free and fair.

        To the question of an elected losing popular support: So, if Obama approval rating gets in the 20s, should we go out there and demand that he leaves office before the end of him term? Should we call on General Dempsey to depose Obama? How about the French president, Holland, whose approval rating is in the low 30, should they depose him as well?

        Democracy is nothing without the respect of its institutions.

        • Right, and the fundamental one, the constitution, was foul from its institution because of the profoundly undemocratic process by which it was written and run through. That’s your democratic insitution.

        • Morsi had spent the previous 6 months bulldozing his way through much of the democratic process in Egypt. Had has had endless opportunities to backtrack and accommodate others. Even if he acknowledged a mistake for once, something, any type of compromise…

          It’s just hypocrisy to blather about democratic institutions now, after the farcical events of his ‘term’.

          I don’t like the coup either, to be honest. I would have far preferred that Morsi eventually capitulate on his own.

          Perhaps after three weeks of 24/7 protests, gradual collapse of his own support, and realising eventually that the army is keeping him prisoner… he would resign like Mubarak.

          The army obviously thinks the country doesn’t need that three weeks of violence and strife. It certainly shows them in an honorable light.

          But people generally say that the Pentagon calls the shots for Egypt’s military, and it’s hardly surprising that the US would back a coup against the Muslim Brotherhood.

          Obama can waffle about democratic process in public, but the long-term agenda of the US is what matters behind the scenes. This coup fits in pretty well with US interests, I would think.

    • I cannot agree strongly enough with this. I believe that Morsi has largely been a failure as a president, but a military coup in this situation is about as justified as the one against Salvador Allende.

    • Unless that elected president unilaterally rewrites a constitution and puts himself above the law and judiciary. The removal is six months too late.

  3. I was flipping American news channels like CNN, FOX MSNBC & BBC also, as events unfolded in Egypt. Everyone was saying aloud & in a surprised way that a democratically elected government was over thrown, it is a military coup.

    Every time I heard that from American channels & BBC, I really burst into laugh, as if it has happened for the first time.

    So many other countries images were going through my mind where democratically elected governments were over thrown by American & British government. Replaced by dictators, supported by USA & UK for years. Those dictators killed hundreds of thousands of people. So called the free media of USA & UK never pointed their finger, what our government is doing in our name.

    Pinochet is quite frequently in American news media regarding his atrocities in Chile, but free news media never says a word who brought him in power in the 1st place.

    But, today’s events in Egypt are so surprising for the free news media of USA & UK, the way it being covered that as if it is happening for the first time, how an elected president is ousted by the military of the country.

    • Of course it’s a military coup d’etat that brought into power a military junta. But they are afraid to call it a coup because they would force Congress to suspend foreign aid to Egypt.

  4. Will Jonathan Steele’s predictions likely come to pass?

    Egypt’s coup: a ruinous intervention
    Those who believe the Egyptian army’s priority is to preserve freedom will soon be disappointed

    link to guardian.co.uk

  5. Will the Administration call what is happening a “coup” — or will it play semantic word games as usual?

    The military ouster of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi Wednesday places the Obama Administration in a difficult situation: If President Obama accepts that a coup has taken place, U.S. law will force him to cut off American military and economic aid to one of America’s closest Middle East allies.

    link to swampland.time.com

  6. The worst thing you could do to the Brotherhood is to teach them that peaceful election results and victories will/can be overthrown by the military. If you are MB what on earth would convince you to go along with a peaceful election strategy in the future. Algeria of the 90’s, here we come!

    The last 2 US Presidents have been accused of shredding constitutional rights and going against popular opinion by their foes. I guess you would support the Marines dislodging our President too.

  7. wait a minute.

    I thought Obama took away our Constitutional protections like the 4th Amendment in order to keep us all safe from imaginary bogeymen.
    I thought the rationalization of NSA snooping into my private life was so that Obama would KNOW ALL.

    So, how is it that the entire US federal government, from State to NSC to DOD to CIA to even NSA is caught flatfooted by this entirely predictable outcome ?
    The headline over at USA Today has Obama “monitoring the situation.” Translation: we didn’t see it coming.


    Do we (USA) even have a true Intel Community ?
    All the folks at CIA, NSA, NRO, DIA, etc. appear to be idiots, despite them constantly telling us that they are smarter than the rest of us, and based on that, feeling justified in making our key decisions for us, without any democratic input.
    The IC is the prime mover behind our slow-roll invasion of Syria, by the way.
    They put Blackwater in there 3 years ago.
    How could that possibly benefit US security ?

    Or do we call them “Intel” as a backhanded insult, making fun of their cognitive disabilities ?
    And how does massive data collection of pre-teen American girls texting about lipstick figure into any real “intelligence ?”

    We would be safer with a loyal American in charge.
    Would someone please get alexander, brennan, clapper and that clique of America-haters and Constitution-haters to move to DPRK, where they would fit in better ?
    I have a nominee to take over for Alexander. He’s sitting in a Moscow airport right now.

    • I think the coup was not quite the surprise to our elected officials. If I remember right, neither was the 1956 coup. Its history redux in some ways. Or, the more things change the more they stay the same lol. It is probably better intel than the silliness with the Bolivian president’s flight

  8. “democratic coup d’état”
    Respond to a popular uprising against an authoritarian or totalitarian regime and topple that regime for the limited purpose of holding the free and fair elections of civilian leaders.

    link to en.wikipedia.org

    • there are no examples given of democratic coups.
      Does anyone recall how the Egyptian military ruled

      • RJLYNN, you are right that the Egyptian military has no track record of holding town hall meetings. But they did cede control to Morsi in the last incarnation.

        Might the Turkish coup of 1997 be considered a democratic coup?
        link to en.wikipedia.org

        This guy argues that Egypt 2011 was a democratic coup:
        link to papers.ssrn.com

  9. Is it true that the army feared it was going to be used in Syria as I’ve read in the Lebanon Daily Star?

  10. It’s a good argument for turning Egypt’s presidency into a symbolic Head of State position with actual governmental leadership exercised by a Prime Minister and Cabinet directly dependent on a working majority in Parliament. Under a parliamentary system an unpopular failed government could be brought down by a no-confidence vote without military intervention.

    • I agree with you. Egypt is too divided to have a strong presidency. A parliamentary system would offer more political escape valves.

      Perhaps the next president will be more inclusive and cautious.

  11. Yes, this was a coup and a breakdown of democracy, and it is wholly nonproductive to cast a military intervention as a ‘revolution’. I am definitely no Ikhwan supporter but there is such a thing as due process; this was nothing more than mob rule, and will prove in the long-term a grave error.

  12. The reason this isn’t a coup and IS a legitimate transition of power is that the constitution Morsi pushed through doesn’t have an impeachment provision and even if some part of it could be construed for that purpose, Morsi “dismissed” legitimately elected representatives from parties he didn’t agree with and “stacked the deck” in the legislature that would otherwise administer an impeachment attempt.

    So this is merely the people demanding an impeachment.

    Perhaps they should have worked out a fair constitution FIRST, but hey, they’re new at this Democracy thing.

    • This is the people (except MB supporters) endorsing military rule.
      Sometimes people prefer a strongman to the alternative. Juan Peron, \astro, and Nasser were popular strongmen.

    • Many constitutions do not a impeachment process. The first constitution of the 5th Republic (France) didn’t have that institutionalized process. I think was later on (many years later) added through amendment.

      Still that doesn’t justify a coup or the intervention of the military in democratic governance. The simple definition of a coup is a coercive force transferring power from a legitimately elected official and placed it in the hands of an unelected and illegitimate official. It’s as simple as that. Everything else is lipstick on a pig.

    • The upshot there is that the MB will become radicalized and violent. Certainly this will be true to some extent, but that path is a dead end. The Egyptian military is well practiced in suppressing Islamic extremists.

      Some portion (I expect the overwhelming majority) of the MB will continue to be political players. Their brand, shall we say, has been damaged, so they will be diminished, but still important.

      • I am not saying that everyone in the MB will radicalize. I am saying that the radical wing which has been defeated and dominated by the moderate of the party will be free now and will revert to the old narrative of “we told you so….”

        This will split the party badly. It will have its 40 years in the desert, but they will come back. Their organizational and mobilizing structures are too perfected to disappear overnight.

  13. In the midst of a worldwide economic recession, the impatient youth of Egypt could give only one year to the man they democratically elected for a full term. They demonstrated and gave give the army the pretext it needed to take power.

    There is no doubt that Morsi was not the ideal president but a regime based on a coup d’état by the army does not bode well for the people of Egypt. By the way, this is the same army that held power and was reviled repeatedly by the same demonstrators during the year immediately following Mubarak’s fall and preceding Morsi’s election.

    The people and leaders of virtue gave their bay’ah (oath of allegiance) to Morsi to be their leader, and now they have betrayed him by interrupting his term of office.

    The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used very strong words to insist on the necessity of supporting the legitimate leader so long as that leader’s actions are not contrary to Allah’s law:

    “Whoever gives his oath of allegiance to a leader and gives him his hand and his heart, let him obey him as much as he can. If another one comes and disputes with him (for leadership), kill the second one.” (Narrated by Muslim, 1844)

    In this case, there was no pretender; the people simply betrayed the leader to whom they had sworn allegiance and let the army take over.

    The demonstrators and the army (not the Muslim Brotherhood government) are the real extremists and they may have sealed their own fate by their intemperate actions this week.

  14. Much of the commentary here by the commenters is entirely misplaced. People, this isn’t about America; it’s about Egypt and the Egyptians. Save your pet conspiracy theories and biases for another day.

    Right now, the question is whether Egyptian civil society will be able to repair itself after the blows suffered over the last several years. I am not optimistic about Egypt’s future but sometimes history surprises us pleasantly. We’ll need to see how the Islamists respond. Will they resign themselves to the new status quo or will it be something along of the lines of Algeria, after the military takeover sparked a bloody civil war.

    Throw in an already fragile – and bloated – economy with an at best mediocre bureaucracy and I’d say the Egyptians have their work cut out for them.

    Ah well, maybe they’ll take a page out of Turkey’s AKP party and blame the Jews (link to thinkprogress.org)

  15. Today was not revolution; today was counter-revolution.

    Have “secular” and “liberal” Egyptians altogether lost their minds? Why did they even bother in 2011, since they have merely traded Mubarak for Sisi!

    Sisi is inferior to Mubarak in all respects: less intelligent, less honest and less courageous.

    Morsi won a free and fair election by a wide margin. Given the almost insuperable problems he faced in office, his popularity would have declined and in all probability he would have lost the next election. All Morsi’s so-called “secular” and “liberal” opponents needed to do was to watch and wait.

    Instead, they put the lie to their own supposed “secularism,” by clinging in superstitious awe to a military junta. Indeed, these “secular” people are more gullible and naive than any of the fundamentalists whom they scorn!

    They put the lie to their “liberalism,” too. Where is the “rule of law” these “liberals” so often claim for themselves? What self-respecting liberal would cheer a dictator?

    But perhaps, seeing what strange authoritarian diseases have infected “secular liberalism” in the Western countries, one should not be surprised by the manifestation of like symptoms among Western-influenced people elsewhere.

    • Who’s cheering a dictator? The army has facilitated the transfer of power to another agent who will attempt to write a constitution that’s a sound foundation.

      Great mistakes in the ruling part, many wrong and inconvenient laws, and all the slips of human frailty will be borne by the people without mutiny or murmur. But if a long train of abuses, prevarications, and artifices, all tending the same way, make the design visible to the people, and they cannot but feel what they lie under, and see whither they are going, it is not to be wondered that they should then rouse themselves, and endeavour to put the rule into such hands which may secure to them the ends for which government was at first erected, and without which, ancient names and specious forms are so far from being better, that they are much worse than the state of Nature or pure anarchy; the inconveniencies being all as great and as near, but the remedy farther off and more difficult.

    • Wide margin? 51.7% to 48% for number 2, with just over 50% turnout. Only 30% turnout for the constitutional referendum. He pushed this country towards civil war and this is a bad solution to a bad situation. Early US governance was atrocious; we’ve now had 225 years under our second constitutional arrangement and I think only a few would argue that it’s working well today, much less ideal. Chillax, as the vernacular says, and let the Egyptians learn to walk their new path with all the trips, falls, and spills that are inevitable.

    • I agree. In January 2011, some chanted “the people and the army are one”. Now they’re carrying Army men on their shoulders. In the interim, when the military was in charge, they detained, beat, and tortured lots of protesters.
      Maybe this naivete is a legacy of Nasserism, in which secularism, modernism, and socialism were entirely divorced from liberal democracy.

      • That same chant was on the lips of French (and Germans) in the runup to the conflagration that catalyzed a lot of what’s still happening, back there in the early days of the 20th Century.

    • It seems like the tipping point is that people can’t eat or make a living.But what are such things when compared to the glories of Islamic rule??

  16. Morsi might be a fool, but those standing with the generals and asking for military to get involved are even bigger fools. In today’s Middle East, there is no integrity, everyone is busy using others to further their own narrow interest mindless of how they, themselves are being used. Egypt’s problem is in fact its army, no matter how many presidents they flip. The fact is the army is dependent on forging aid and mutated with politics and business when it should be on the field bettering the life of the poorest of Egyptians with a few hours of giving back, regardless of politics, ethnicity or religion, a shining example to future generation of Egyptians and would be presidents. Now the problems will continue only with multiple of magnitude.

  17. I read a book by Prof John Calvert about Sayyid Qutb who was one of the MB’s prime thinkers and from what I understood from Qutb writings is that a “liberal, secular” regime in a Muslim country CAN NOT deliver social justice and economic development, by definition. Only an Islamic government in an Islamic state can do that. Those forces acting against the Islamic movement are aping degenerate Western forces and so they must be resisted because they are condemning the Egyptian people to regression and taking them further away from what is actually good for them.
    I am aware that many people, particularly in the West tend to believe that ultimately all political and ideological movements to social and economic forces, saying that Egyptians voted for the MB in parliament and Mursi for President NOT because they wanted an Islamic state but as a protest against the old regime or because the MB provided social services. I think the MB and many of its supporters agree with Qutb and so this coup could be interpreted as a coup against Islam, and possibly in the service of hostile foreign forces and so the MB and their supporters might not take this lying down. If that is the case, Egypt could be in for an Algeria-like experience.

    • The mainstream Muslim Brotherhood repudiated Sayyid Qutb from the 1960s forward and you can’t use him to damn them.

  18. US TV media seem baffled on how to deal with Egypt. As for coups, how about the rammed-through theocratic constitution, packing of the parliament, breaking of MB promise not to run a candidate, lack of coalition forming. What was in progress could easily be seen as a slow-motion coup of nascent democratic institutions by an Islamist movement determined to rule alone and to impose its will on Egyptians. In my view, it is extremely unlikely that an Islamist movement can govern democratically, at least as Islamist movements are not constructed. A similar situation is evolving in Turkey, although with their much longer history of democratic institutions, the outcome is less clear.

    • Add to your list the packing of mid-level officers in the army with Islamicists.

      The MB blew it! That said, I’m not opposed to the idea of political Islam. I’ll grant them a mulligan, just like the liberals have now been granted a do-over. Maybe some day Egypt will elect a wiser MB politician. All sides have behaved badly and need to learn from their mistakes. Egypt is really no different than most fledgling democracies.

  19. Okay people, it’s perspective time.

    In the 2012 Egyptian election, Morsi won with only 51.7% of the popular vote and a voter turnout of 43%. In the U.S. in 2012, Obama won with an even smaller margin of 50.4% of the popular vote and a turnout of 57%.

    I hope no one in the U.S. would approve of Republican supporters organizing mass demonstrations against Obama and accepting a military coup d’état to remove him from office.

    The whole point of fixed terms followed by general elections is to maintain order and stability but still give the people a way to remove a leader who cannot deliver the goods. It seems a significant number of Egyptians prefer mob rule followed by military dictatorship instead of genuine democratic institutions.

    • If Obama was arresting Jon Stewart for insulting him, and if the Republicans could bring 150 million people onto the streets in protest, yes, I would support a revolution to restore democracy.

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