by Ujjal Dosanjh
Egypt has gone through momentous changes in the last three years. There was the popular overthrow of Hosni Mubarak. The elections resulted in the Muslim Brotherhood regime of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi. Many secular democrats did not like it. President Morsi, did not at all try to appeal to those that did not support him. He was beholden to his Brotherhood base. The minorities were worried about the Islamist agenda. Some like the Coptics actually suffered violence at the hands of the some elements who may have felt Morsi and his supporters would implicitly support a Coptic exodus.
The economy suffered as Morsi failed to give a positive direction and leadership to Egypt. Tourism dried up. Most people realised very quickly that Morsi and his Islamist cohorts were the wrong people to lead the country. The Morsi crowd failed to understand one important thing. Most Egyptians had irrevocably changed. They were not going to tolerate authoritarian Islamism of the Brotherhood after having shed blood, sweat and tears to overthrow the much hated Mubarak regime.
Egypt has changed forever. In a traditional democratic system as we know it, the governments are not usually forced out by popular show of strength on the streets. That is done at the polls. In Egypt a popularly elected government that was not governing for all Egyptians has been sacked by the Military because of the popular opinion turning against it.
There is the question of the ultimate direction and nature of any future government in Egypt. I believe it has been settled for now that no Islamist government could or would be allowed to rule Egypt. It is clear that the military and a large section of the population have formed an unofficial alliance to chart a non-Islamist course for the country.
How should we react? The U.S. had supported Morsi as and when he won what was a reasonably fair election. Now the U.S. is probably going to support the change as the Egyptian military is largely financially supported by the $2 billion a year aid. And despite the noises made and support given by the West to the anti-President Bashar al- Assad rebels there is a very real fear of another Islamist regime if Assad leaves as a result of being defeated by the current rebels. Under those circumstances the U.S. and the rest of the West would welcome what has just happened in Egypt. A stable Egypt is indispensable for a stable Middle East.
No theistic democracy
I for one will not shed any tears for the Morsi regime. Morsi failed to protect minorities. He remained a pawn of Islamists. As a secular democrat I believe a theistic state can never be really democratic.
Ujjal Dosanjh is a former Liberal federal Cabinet minister and also has been premier of B.C. This comment is adapted from his blog at ujjaldosanjh.org