Opinion: U.S. can't force democracy on Egypt
August 20th, 2013
03:02 PM ET

Opinion: U.S. can't force democracy on Egypt

By Anthony H. Cordesman, Special to CNN

Editor's note: Anthony H. Cordesman holds the Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Follow CSIS on Twitter.

(CNN) - There are no good or easy solutions for U.S. policy toward Egypt, and short-sighted arguments about military aid miss the broader issues entirely. America is relearning the lesson of the 1950s post-colonial period: Democracy depends on stable and experienced political parties and leaders, a willingness to compromise rather than conspire and to share or give up power until the next election.

FULL STORY

Filed under: Egypt • Muslim Brotherhood • Security Brief
soundoff (39 Responses)
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    August 22, 2013 at 9:19 am | Report abuse | Reply

    August 22, 2013 at 8:23 pm | Reply
  2. Yhhhj Bghhhj

    there is a marked increase in N-I-G-G-A- behavior of late its obvious that the behavior exists for the purpose of destroying White bloodlines & is working with great success in mirror with the Army of Islam...but I'm not spying on on colored's or the sudo religious...of course...

    August 22, 2013 at 2:17 pm | Reply
  3. Dfgjhjh Rhhjjjk

    no wonder america has such resistance to trains for citizens mass transit

    August 22, 2013 at 1:28 pm | Reply
  4. Dfgjhjh Rhhjjjk

    HOW IS THE RECONSTRUCTION OF THE GERMAN GAS CHAMBER/OVENS WITH TRAIN TRACTS HEADING TO THEM GOING

    August 22, 2013 at 1:25 pm | Reply
  5. Dfgjhjh Rhhjjjk

    you mean isreal killed ect. At least three illegal alian types said out loud when I was infront of them Jesus & or God help me in the past few days...they all had M.E./English dialects.

    August 22, 2013 at 1:23 pm | Reply
  6. john smith

    America is the root of all terror. America has invaded sixty countries since world war 2.
    In 1953 America overthrow Iran's democratic government Mohammad Mosaddegh and installed a brutal dictator Shah. America helped Shah of Iran to establish secret police and killed thousands of Iranian people.
    During Iran-Iraq war evil America supported Suddam Hossain and killed millions of Iranian people. In 1989, America, is the only country ever, shot down Iran's civilian air plane, killing 290 people.
    In 2003,America invaded Iraq and killed 1,000,000+ innocent Iraqi people and 4,000,000+ Iraqi people were displaced.
    Now America is a failed state with huge debt. Its debt will be 22 trillion by 2015.

    August 22, 2013 at 1:35 am | Reply
    • Working to finance the Middle East military welfare machine

      We've sure missed you John Smith! Thought you got a life or fell off the planet's edge or something useful like that!

      August 22, 2013 at 10:01 am | Reply
  7. Hutdhjt Ktrew

    in a few years obama will be out of office and there will be no one left in the free world too listen to people in the M.E. personal problems

    August 21, 2013 at 10:24 pm | Reply
  8. Hutdhjt Ktrew

    the more things change the more things stay the same protest all you want your talking to yourself

    August 21, 2013 at 10:12 pm | Reply
  9. TheThresh.com

    The US has remarkably little pull in Egypt over current events. It can't use the purse-strings to gain influence for important reasons. See here:

    http://thethresh.com/2013/08/21/influence-in-egypt-weve-got-it-just-not-the-it-we-want/

    August 21, 2013 at 9:58 pm | Reply
  10. Sfthn Eryjn

    democracy is asperational it can be written and then practiced

    August 21, 2013 at 9:42 pm | Reply
  11. Sfthn Eryjn

    can anyone in the M.E. explain what the Arab Spring is

    August 21, 2013 at 9:08 pm | Reply
  12. Sfthn Eryjn

    prohabition in D.C... after all what is D.C...

    August 21, 2013 at 8:54 pm | Reply
  13. Towel Heads

    Towel Heads is what Towel Heads do.

    August 21, 2013 at 5:01 pm | Reply
  14. Joe

    Democracy what is that, someones term for fasicism.

    August 21, 2013 at 3:41 pm | Reply
    • John McKane

      It appears that you're right, Joe. In Washington these days, we have Fascism by the barrel loads! It's the M.I.C. that now controls the government by owning both the White House along with 90% of Congress!

      August 21, 2013 at 7:33 pm | Reply
  15. Hhfgtu Dhjdh

    Who invented the "Arab Spring"

    August 21, 2013 at 2:46 pm | Reply
    • John McKane

      The bureaucrats in Washington, most likely!

      August 21, 2013 at 7:35 pm | Reply
    • Working to finance the Middle East military welfare machine

      CIA and MI6 did. That's all I can say because the NSA is listening to my thoughts, and the store is out of heavy duty aluminum foil!

      August 22, 2013 at 10:00 am | Reply
  16. Hhfgtu Dhjdh

    what about people in the failed state of egypt

    August 21, 2013 at 1:32 pm | Reply
  17. Hhfgtu Dhjdh

    what is in the hearts and minds of people of the failed state of egypt

    August 21, 2013 at 1:30 pm | Reply
  18. Hhfgtu Dhjdh

    has anyone figured out what kind of gov. exists in the country formaly know as egypt...today.

    August 21, 2013 at 1:24 pm | Reply
  19. Hhfgtu Dhjdh

    Democracy is "a" solution in the ME... people of the region should not stop trying... if people in the ME agree... why not...at the very least... agree with themselfs ...

    August 21, 2013 at 1:16 pm | Reply
  20. Working to finance the Middle East military welfare machine

    The US should take a hands off approach to the entire region to allow it to stabilize on it's own. If you stick you hand in a bucket of water, any movement no matter how slight causes a disturbance in the water. If you remove your hand from the water, the surface stabilizes, and all the underlying currents smooth out. Why, because it doesn't belong there just like we don't belong there. How many more billions are we going to throw into the Middle East to aid a populace that just wants us out of there for regional political gain? It makes me crazy!

    August 21, 2013 at 10:30 am | Reply
  21. StanCalif

    The whole ME is no where near ready for "democracy", why keep pushing this concept? They all NEED dictators! Saudi Arabia is NO democracy! Who was is that caused 9/11? All Saudis! Yet good ole GWB and his oil greedy sidekick, Dick Cheney, chose to blame 9/11 on Iraq! Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, but they have oil!!! Afghanistan and Pakistan are two worthless countries which will never conform to our idea of democracy!
    As for Egypt, our puny "contribution" of $1 billion+/year is far over shadowed by the rich Gulf oil states pumping in over $12 billion!!!
    Other news, the US is on the way to becoming energy self sufficient. However, today we are actually EXPORTING oil!!! Does this make any sense? US oil should be completely prohibited from being exported! Why do we export our oil, then have to replace it with Saudi or Venezuela oil???? This is capitalism run a muck!!!!
    Every time you fill up your gas tank, you contribute to worldwide terrorism!

    August 21, 2013 at 7:38 am | Reply
  22. World Chaos News

    Reblogged this on World Chaos News.

    August 20, 2013 at 10:11 pm | Reply
  23. USAPeasant

    Very interesting article (See Full Post), and I think the author has some excellent points. Unfortunately though it seems the Middle East really just isn't interested in democracy. I myself was hoping 3 years a go that many countries ruled by dictators would throw off the chains of oppression and gain an equitable democracy and human rights such as we in America enjoy. However after 3 years of the Arab Spring it has become abundantly clear that this isn't what will happen.

    The foundation of all government is the Consent of the Governed. Democracy is a government elected by and representative of the People. What we have seen with the Arab Spring is the Consent has been revoked, the people no longer consent to be ruled by dictators. On the other hand though the successive governments begin to look more like old representatives of their various old special interests rather than representatives of their People. This is why we are seeing an Arab Spring 2.0 as Consent is then revoked from the Successors of the Spring.

    This is of course something that is not new to the Middle East Region, nor to any of the various countries therein. Chao abd Chao. Out of Chaos comes more Chaos. It was a valiant enough effort to try to bolster democracy in the early days of the Arab Spring, at least we did legitimately try to help these people. However, now that we are 3 years deep into this new era we have to learn that this is going to continue for a while and that it will quite frankly probably get even more violent. Not only is it getting more violent, but all ready America has been pulled into that violence via the attacks and threats on our numerous embassies

    The best course of action is to stop giving out weapons to belligerents whom will either turn these weapons on their own people (thus making those people hate America) or will give these weapons to people that all ready hate us and will betray us once their current sideshow is over. America cannot force others into Democracy, but America should not support the Forces that are killing Democracy.

    August 20, 2013 at 7:59 pm | Reply
    • StanCalif

      We, the USA, keep preaching "democracy". What we absolutely fail to understand is that "holding an election" does not create democracy!
      We insisted that the Palestinians "hold elections". Great, Gaza voted for Hezbollah, which we immediately failed to recognize.
      We insisted on elections in Afghanistan! Come on! Can illiterate people with no access to media know what they are voting for? They vote how the tribal elders tell them to vote. "Secret ballot", doesn't exist. Vote wrong and suffer the consequences. "Free elections" in Iraq? Again, who really knew what they were voting for? In Egypt, same result. People voted with no intelligent information.
      The Egyptian military had no choice. The "elected" government of Morsi immediately began to erase any ideas of freedom, democracy or justice. With no established parliament, the citizens of Egypt had no legal means to remove Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood gang! The Egyptian military acted appropriately! In the aftermath, the military was again correct. There was no way to restore order and keep their economy from total collapse. Egypt depends on tourists, what the MB chose to do scared away ALL tourists! Will the MB go on to destroy Egypt's historical museums and archeological sites like the idiots did in Iraq???
      Support Egypt's military!!! The only sane voice today! Will MB supporters begin to destroy the Sphinx, the Pyiameds, the great Egyptian museums and libraries? Remember, this has happened before!

      August 20, 2013 at 11:15 pm | Reply
      • marco1

        The only intelligent comment I have read about Egypt in weeks.

        August 22, 2013 at 8:35 pm |
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    August 20, 2013 at 7:24 pm | Reply
  26. George patton

    The only kind of "democracy" that interests the right-wing thugs in Washington is the "pseudo" kind that they can enforce by assuring that those who win will be loyal stooges for Washington like that Noor al-Malaki of Iraq or better yet, like all the current leaders of Europe!!! They'll never let an independently minded person gain office who may not automatically carry out orders from Washington D.C.

    August 20, 2013 at 4:12 pm | Reply
    • George Patton-2.01

      first let me make it clear phunnie boy, I have installed a brand new version of GP-2.01 on my computer, so my analysis is more accurate. Now let's talk about your analysis based on older version of GP; it recommends an independently minded person to run the country, which is not advisable in ME or any muslim country. Your recommendation is false and misleading. My system says we should install a team player like Mubarak or Abdullah II or III or IV.

      August 20, 2013 at 7:44 pm | Reply
      • USAPeasant

        "My system says we should install a team player like Mubarak or Abdullah II or III or IV."

        Lol then your plan is to repeat a mistake. Not too sure if you're aware about what happened to Mubarak, but his own people threw him into a cell. I suppose that's what happens when you detain and torture your own people for thought crimes. Fact is Mubarak's terribad government lead Egypt to this point.

        Morsi, the strong independent minded leader also proved to be no good since even though he wasn't an international puppet he still was unable to represent his People and of course like all self-centered "independent leaders" he tried to enforce his radical muslim ideology onto his country to try to angle himself and his Brotherhood into a position of dictatorship/oligarchy instead of crafting an open and democratic society. He too is now languishing under arrest.

        There is no easy answer for Egypt, quite frankly they will probably just end up killing eachother for a while, get a new dictator, get cracked down on for decades, and then repeat the whole process again.

        August 20, 2013 at 8:14 pm |
      • George Patton-2.01

        @USAPeasant,

        I am waiting for the SP3 patch; I am hoping this Service Pack would fix all Middle Eastern bugs. But meanwhile, what is a temporary fix for the Egypt issue? You can't trust Morsi with his hidden agenda, and we can't let our friendly Egyptian army kill own people? Can we just declare Egypt an integral part of the United State? The amount of money we spend over there every year, we might as well buy the Egypt !!

        August 20, 2013 at 9:22 pm |
      • Pete

        @George Patton2.01,I thought this foriegn aid was buying Egypt all along for over 30 years worth of military hardware,right to make Egypt what they are today ,a force in the ME to be reconed with..Remember it's this foriegn aid that bribes Egypt into being Isreals allie or did you miss that point too on your new intel... And this aid gives us a reserved lane in the Suez canal as well!!Remember if it weren't for us most of these middle eastern countrys would be militarily naked as jay birds and be easy prey to any countrys superior militarily force against them especially if they are rich in crude or natural resources as most of them are ..Remember for example who helped Afghanistan out against Russia,wasn't the fairy godmother was it dropping weapons into rebels hands the ones they use against our military today or again did you forget that nasty fact Reagan,Rumsfield or Texas Charlie Wilson gave us with Iran Contra deal as well,thanks again CIA for screwing that up too!!

        August 20, 2013 at 10:35 pm |
      • George patton

        @George Patton-2.01. It appears that you'll get your way about Egypt. Today, they let this goon Mubarak out of jail and tomorrow, thanks to the C.I.A., he'll probably return to power! Is that really what you want? It is self evident that the so-called "Arab Spring" is a complete failure!!!

        August 21, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
  27. George Patton-2.01

    and who told you Mister they are looking for democracy in Egypt? Democracy is against Islamic principles, any attempts to bring democracy in muslim world is insane; stable government can only be bring in Egypt by letting one group completely wipe out the other.

    August 20, 2013 at 3:38 pm | Reply

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