The world Often confuses plebiscites with democracy, as if the two were synonymous.

Democracy’s Dog Days by Victor Davis Hanson. August 26th, 2013

We all want democracy to thrive and flourish, but can it?

The Obama administration was quite pleased that the anti-democratic Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood had come to power through a single plebiscite. That confidence required a great deal of moral blindness, both of the present and past.

Like other once-elected authoritarians who believe that democracy is similar to a bus route — in the words of Mr. Erdogan of Turkey, once you get to your stop, you get off — Morsi had no intention of fostering the sort of consensual institutions so necessary for republican government. Almost immediately he gave a de facto green light to cleanse the government of his opponents, to Islamicize a once largely secular society, and to persecute religious minorities.

. It appears that the Turkish Erdogan government and the Islamic Brotherhood utterly hoodwinked the US State Department and Obama into believing a rather threadbare lie, about their support of broad base elective government.

But more basically, only fools believe that good government is simply about elections. We spout ‘democracy!’ and yet our own nation is a republic not a pure democracy and is vastly better off because of that difference. You have to believe in government by and for the people before plebiscites, elections, voting, matter much. Our nation has evolved towards more direct elections over centuries, decades, years, and it is clear some of this is good, but even in our highly stable elective system it is not clear all direct ‘democracy’ is good

Missionary Creep in Egypt by Adam Garfinkle

The American Interest: Missionary Creep in Egypt by Adam Garfinkle
Simply stunning, a revelatory blog on the why the US struggles to make head or tails of what is going on in Egypt and the Middle East. It’s long and has a couple of longer links but it’s well worth it because it explains our bias so clearly, explains the Muslim middle eastern ‘socio-political-theological’ context and then shows the incompatibility of means and ends that have made such a mess of the last decade or more. If you are interested/frustrated by the unfolding mess read this article it’ll give you new context, though it won’t solve the frustration.

The American Interest // Egypt, we have no idea…

The American Interest /July 1, 2013 / Adam Garfinkle / Abdel Fattah al-Sisi—Memorize That Name
Read more at:
Lots of deep insight for those who want it, along with a bit of ‘I told yo so.’

This was an interesting passage and a key to why this whole region is so utterly foreign to many of us who wish for better things:

Years ago a clever and truth-telling fellow named David Lamb devised what he called the IBM syndrome to describe political culture in Egypt and the Arab world. The “I” stands for “inshallah“, may God will it: in other words, fatalism. The “B” stands for “bokr“—tomorrow morning, or just tomorrow: suggestive of an extremely elastic, pre-modern perception of time, vaguely akin to some uses of the Spanish word mañana. The “M” stands for “malesh“, which is untranslatable, but which kind of means “whatever”, “never mind” or “fagetaboutit”: not my job, someone else will take care of it, or not, who cares? What difference does it make?

It is also a bit frightening to realize that there are examples of this sort of mindset in ‘the west’ and that it’s a plague…