The military coup that ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi marks another failure in U.S. foreign policy over several administrations, which have erroneously promoted the notion that American-style democracy in Islamic lands will produce a nation more like ours.
The founders wrote a Constitution. When properly read and obeyed, it guards against pure democracy and makes “we the people” subject to laws that cannot be abolished by popular vote. Benjamin Franklin properly called what the founders wrought a “republic.” Representative government would guard against the passions of a majority. No such safeguards apply in Egypt, or for that matter throughout most of the Islamic world.
George W. Bush famously said that freedom beats in every human heart. To paraphrase Bill Clinton, it depends on the meaning of freedom.
Definitions are important. To a radical Islamist, Sharia law defines freedom. Constitutions guaranteeing equal rights for all, including religious minorities such as Coptic Christians in Egypt, multiple parties and free speech are mostly absent from societies where Islamists rule. And so majorities, often followed by the mob, and then the army, rule.
How can Egypt have a stable government when the Brotherhood claims to be doing the will of God at the same time the military says it carried out God’s will by removing Morsi and secularists say they don’t want Islamists governing Egypt?
American policy in the Middle East has failed during many decades because of false assumptions, especially when it comes to Israel. While often treating that tiny land as a weed that ought to be dug up, rather than a flower in the desert to be nourished, U.S. policy has focused on placating Arabs and Muslims, many of whom wish to destroy Israel and America.
Perhaps now that the United States is rapidly headed toward energy independence (enhanced if the opposition to the Keystone pipeline and fracking can be overcome), this and future administrations won’t feel the need to bow to Middle East dictators and will push a “reset” button that has a better chance at succeeding than the one that for too long has been stuck and inoperative.
Email Cal Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org.