The U.S. Perception and Egyptian Constitutional Democracy

It seems odd to speak about the possibility for civility in Egyptian politics as tension turns into strife and strife turns to violence, ultimately murders. If the U.S. is to maintain strong diplomatic ties with Egypt as well as favorable military relations and aid then eventually, when the dust settles and these moments of intense passions slacken, real reconciliation will have to occur between the Egyptian military, Muslim Brotherhood, and the opposition towards an inclusive, pluralistic, and competitive democratic agenda.

The U.S. has to get comfortable with the idea of the Muslim Brotherhood as a legitimate political organization in the Middle East with aspirations/ambitions to govern. They have a right to this. What they don’t have a right to do is run roughshod over the democratic and legislative process as well as all other social forces to enforce their own agenda.

One of the clearest examples of this, outlined in Al-Monitor by Bassem Sabry, is when former president Morsi “astonishingly saw it justifiable to give himself the power to unilaterally amend the constitutional declaration. He officially declared himself, albeit temporarily until his specific purposes for the time were achieved, immune to any judicial review in an act reminiscent of cartoonish fictional takes on autocrats.

There was nothing democratic or inclusive about the Morsi administration and the Muslim Brotherhoods conduct as public servants. A grave mistake for their short-term political popularity, but not necessarily a death knell to the MB as a governing force in the long-term.

It’s too soon to tell what the real repercussions of Egypt’s second revolution will be for U.S. interests and Egyptian stability. But I think we can be certain that the United State’s tacit compliance with Morsi’s ouster will have a cost to U.S. relations with Muslim Brotherhood organizations across the Middle East and North Africa, especially if the MB is to play a real role in the political process of current or future Mid East states. If the MB is not gone for good in Egyptian politics, the Egyptian military’s role in repressing MB operational and communication houses is something to worry about if the MB is ever to regain political clout in Egypt. An entrenched bitterness and backlash against the military could poison any opportunity for national reconciliation.

The MB is likely to have some sort of role in the democratic process; they proved they could be diplomatic on key U.S. interests, particularly when the military is acting as interlocutor. So despite their ineptitude and dictatorial acts on the domestic front, the U.S. should create new and foster already established channels of communication with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, as well as across the MENA region. Not because we prefer Muslim Brotherhood government’s, but because it’s not in our power to stop them from governing, that right can only be reserved by the people.

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