American Choices in Egypt
John R. Houk
© February 2011
Pamela Gellar takes William Kristol to task because of his defense of Democracy that could lead to a Muslim Brotherhood Islamic dictatorship. I have noted before that the MB could gain power democratically in Egypt and then chip away at the democratic rule of law to form an Islamic Sharia State. I have used the examples of Hitler abolishing the Weimar Republic of Germany by slowly replacing the German Constitution with Nazi Supremacism. I also used the Iranian Revolution as an example even though Khomeini was not exactly elected but was popular as a perceived Islamic Savior he instituted a Shia Twelver Islamic Republic based on the Shia strain of Sharia Law. I could have also used the MB proxy in Gaza known as Hamas who won election by the popular Gaza vote only to take full control by violently ridding Gaza of the more secular yet more politically corrupt Palestinian Authority.
Gellar also takes Neocons like Kristol and Krauthammer to task for their criticism of Glen Beck who has spent a considerable amount of FOX News time in exposing the nature of the Muslim Brotherhood as compared by Leftist, Muslim Apologists and those Republicans who have been duped to believe the Muslim Brotherhood is a nonviolent Islamist movement. The words “nonviolent” and “Islamist” used as equals in the same sentence is definitely an oxymoron.
I must add a full disclosure moment: I consider myself a bit of a Neocon; however on the issue of the MB I whole heartedly disagree with Kristol and Krauthammer on the nature of the MB’s political aspirations. Now if Kristol is saying that the MB might be a political player that the US might be forced to deal with, then that is a realistic geopolitical outcome that might indeed need some diplomatic give and take to keep Egypt out of Iran’s orbit. The Sunni Muslim Brotherhood and the Shia Twelvers of Iran are natural enemies. Most Islamist Sunnis consider Shias a heretical version of Islam. There has been much Muslim blood spilled between Sunnis and Shias similar to Christianity’s Reformation days when Catholics and Protestants went at each other in religious wars. The difference in inter-religious war among Muslims is that Shia actually represents only about 10% of all Muslims. The other 90% are Sunnis. The percentage disparity is not so large between Catholics and Protestants. For percentage purposes, the ratio between Catholics and Protestants in 2011 (excluding Orthodox and other Christian sects) is 56% Catholic and 44% Protestant (if you group Anglicans with Protestants).
America has been pretty good with the short term strategy of playing rivals against each other to the benefit of American National Interests. In the decade of the 1980s America pitted Saddam Hussein’s Iraq against Iran just fresh off holding American diplomats hostage for about a year.
Unfortunately American clandestine favor toward Iraq probably set the stage for two American wars with Iraq that resulted ultimately in the deposing of Saddam Hussein as well as the Iraqi novice government’s execution of the overthrown dictator. The weakening of Iraq reinvigorated regional the aspirations of Iran.
The direction of Egypt’s future is also important to American National Interests. The American government will be involved with some difficult choices in trying to influence Egypt’s future to the benefit of American National Interests. We do not have a good track record in supporting the correct despots in long term stratagems in the Middle East. Yes I said despot in relation to Egypt. Even with free elections in Egypt, no matter who wins will ultimately shore up their political victory into the eventual central control of the Egyptian government. That central control will be despotic regardless of who wins unless the Egyptian military manages to be the balance of power keeping the politics inline. Turkey is an example of this form of Islamic democracy. However, even in Turkey, Islamists have been effective in placing their adherents into the Turkish Military. There is the actual possibility Turkey may enter the realm of Islamist despotism with the aid of Islamists in the Turkish Military.
I understand the Egyptian Military is willing to play that Turkey Military style balance of power, but it begs the question. How many Islamists – meaning the MB – are in the rank and file of the Egyptian military? Wrong American choices can come back to bite America’s butt which clearly would threaten Israel’s existence which possibly could be another stepping stone to another World War.
JRH 2/11/11 (Hat Tip: Tony Newbill)