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Posts Tagged ‘Egypt’

Egypt: Elections Do Not Make a Democracy

July 8th, 2013


An election is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for democracy.  That’s the takeaway from the continuing upheaval in Egypt.

Last year, Mohamed Morsi became Egypt’s first freely elected president.  Morsi won with 51.7 percent of the vote — slightly more than the 51.1 percent that Barack Obama won in 2012. Morsi was the candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist organization that had been banned and persecuted in Egypt for 60 years.

Morsi’s overthrow last week put the United States on the spot. Could Washington support the removal of a democratically elected government, even one we did not like?

The Morsi government may have been elected, but there are other requirements for a democracy. A democratic government has to guarantee minority rights. It has to accept the opposition as legitimate. It has to be willing to abide by the rules. And the truest test of a democracy: The government has to give up power if it is defeated at the polls. Read the rest of this entry »

Obama: Politics vs. diplomacy

February 7th, 2011


This piece was originally published in Politico.

Diplomacy is subtle. Politics is not.

President Barack Obama is under pressure right now to pursue a subtle, delicately nuanced diplomacy in trying to influence the course of events in Egypt. That can be politically hazardous.

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Gaza’s place in the West Bank “miracle”

April 9th, 2010


This piece was originally published in Foreign Policy.

Last year — in stories from the Wall Street Journal to the New York Times — we saw the emergence of a narrative that Palestinians in the West Bank are living through an economic miracle. One very important missing piece of this puzzling story is Gaza and its desperate state of affairs. While this may seem like a small story in the context of much larger conflict, the economic well-being of West Bank residents has taken on increasing importance as leaders on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian divide are banking on economic growth as a route to a viable two-state solution, while simultaneously ignoring the situation in Gaza. If there is one thing the Palestinians certainly aren’t buying, it’s this “West Bank economic miracle” narrative.

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