Pessimism Justified?

So Egypt’s military has dissolved parliament and suspended the Constitution. Supposedly this is only for 6 months or until new parliamentary and presidential elections take place. And meanwhile it’s going to create a panel to revise the Constitution. I think we’ve seen this movie before, and I’m afraid they may not have cut a new ending for it.

I see no reason the military couldn’t have left the government in place while a constitutional convention was going on. I see no reason why the government couldn’t have been the ones to create the constitutional convention.

And meanwhile, the military has begun to clash with the pro-democracy protesters. The military wants them to clear Tahrir Square and get back to work. Yes, the protests are hurting the country’s economy, but that very much smacks of “we supported your protests against them, but don’t you dare protest against us.”

Fasten your seatbelts–this ride is far from over.

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About J@m3z Aitch

J@m3z Aitch is a two-bit college professor who'd rather be canoeing.
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5 Responses to Pessimism Justified?

  1. D. C. Sessions says:

    I see no reason the military couldn’t have left the government in place while a constitutional convention was going on.

    How about the fact that the current legislature was 97% of Mubarak’s party because all of the others that had a chance of getting votes were outlawed? (The other 3% are so radical that they’re the “horrible alternative.”)

    Obviously Murphy has a major role to play, but so far they seem to be doing everything as well as could be hoped given the mess that Mubarak made in 30 years. Including getting the judiciary and scholars involved right from the beginning.

    My take on the biggest danger they face: going for blood. The corruption is so extensive that they’ll almost certainly never get good evidence of crimes on most of it. That means they have a tightrope to walk between letting the guilty get away with it or resorting to kangaroo courts.

  2. James Hanley says:

    I think they would have done better to not boot out the whole parliament despite them being Mubarak’s folks. The military was still in a position to control the process, but more behind the scenes and less bluntly. Getting those other actors involved is why I still retain some (increasingly) cautious optimism, but signals matter, and I think they’ve sent, even if inadvertently, a strong signal that they’re following the traditional military coup path. Once entrenched in power, it’s easier for them to find excuses to stay in power. By dissolving parliament they’ve eliminated a check on their ability to either stay in power or totally dominate the constitution-writing process.

    I wouldn’t wager on the outcome right now–I wouldn’t put money down on either the military accepting the results of a democratic election or the military not-accepting them or not allowing such an election. If they had taken a different path I would be willing to wager a small amount on the positive outcome.

  3. Scott Hanley says:

    I’ve been wondering if the generals aren’t trying to follow a China model, which would mean retaining political control for themselves but trying to provide enough space for economic autonomy to foster development and defuse unrest. That sort of strategy takes a while to work, though, and I don’t know how much patience they’ll be given. They don’t want a revolution and they don’t want to do a Tienanmen (as far as I can tell), but I don’t think they can deliver a lot of economic improvement in the short run, either. It’s dicey.

  4. D. C. Sessions says:

    Bear in mind that unlike some armies (Burma and North Korea, to name two) Egypt’s is not top-down loyal to the regime. The generals and colonels are on the gravy train, but they’ve already found out that the lower ranks are quite willing to disobey orders if they don’t like them.

    So, as best I can tell, the senior officers are being given a chance to change sides and keep their jobs (and heads, if not fortunes.) Without the power to command the actual sharp-end troops politically, they have a lot less power than the usual junta does.

  5. Pingback: The Egyptian Military’s Incentives | The Bawdy House Provisions

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