Cairo : “For too long, many nations, including my own, tolerated, even excused, oppression in the Middle East in the name of stability... We must help the reformers of the Middle East as they work for freedom, and strive to build a community of peaceful, democratic nations.”—President George W. Bush in a speech to the U.N. General Assembly, Sept. 21, 2004
Almost a quarter-century ago, a young American political scientist achieved global academic celebrity by suggesting that the collapse of communism had ended the discussion on how to run societies, leaving “Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.”
In Egypt and around the Middle East, after a summer of violence and upheaval, the discussion, however, is still going strong. And almost three years into the Arab Spring revolts, profound uncertainties remain.
That became shatteringly clear on July 3, when Egyptian generals ousted the country's first freely elected president, Mohammed Morsi, installing a technocratic government in the wake of massive street protests calling for the Islamist leader to step down. He had ruled incompetently for one year and badly overstepped his bounds, they argued. A crackdown on his Muslim Brotherhood has put more than 2,000 of its members in jail and left hundreds dead, and a court has ordered an outright ban on the group. Although new elections are promised, the plans are extremely vague.