Chicago Tribune: When Egypt’s military leaders in July removed the nation’s first democratically elected president, Mohammed Morsi, the country’s allies may have deployed self-delusion to mask reality.
The generals said they had to force Morsi out to save democracy. They said their assertion of authority would be brief and elections would come soon. The U.S. and other nations wagged fingers, but largely tempered their reactions. The generals seemed trustworthy.
The brutal storming this week of peaceful protest encampments ends the brief era of world delusion over Egypt and its generals. The violence also may end the brief era of democracy in Egypt. The military has used tear gas, heavy armor and rooftop snipers to disperse peaceful Muslim Brotherhood protesters seeking the release of Morsi, who has been in government custody since he was pushed from power. Hundreds of people have been killed.
Egypt, it seems, faces one of two untenable futures: a return to military dictatorship or a civil war. It’s hard to see how elections again could be held.
Morsi alienated millions of people by monopolizing power and moving Egypt toward Islamist government. He wouldn’t compromise. He couldn’t govern. But the best option for Egypt was to keep holding elections and remove him.
Instead, the military lost patience, lost confidence in its citizenry, and may lose Egypt.