I’m not convinced that ElBaradei is a liberal reformer, since he has Brotherhood backing, but I have made the same point on several shows recently about an ostensibly secular democratic regime possibly coming to power soon in Egypt, only to be followed by an Islamic supremacist Sharia regime.
“Beware the Islamists in the wings: Will liberal reformer Mohamed ElBaradei ultimately play Kerensky to an Islamist strongman when the Muslim Brotherhood seizes power?,” by Tim Rutten in the Los Angeles Times, February 5:
From the American perspective, the transition now underway in Egypt confirms John Kenneth Galbraith’s famous appraisal of politics as a choice between “the disastrous and the unpalatable.”
What the Obama administration must dread is not the prospect of Cairo repeating the disaster that was Tehran in 1979 but St. Petersburg in 1917, when one revolution — its leadership democratic but hopelessly divided — was followed within months by a second, its leaders murderously disciplined and malevolently focused. In other words, will Mohamed ElBaradei or some other liberal reformer ultimately play Kerensky to some as-yet-obscure Islamist strongman when the Muslim Brotherhood seizes power, as the Bolsheviks did from the parliamentary democracy to which the czar handed power when he abdicated?
That possibility arises because a democratic or more broadly based Egyptian government inevitably is going to include the Muslim Brotherhood, which was founded in 1928 and is the world’s oldest and largest Islamist organization. History suggests that political liberalization, no matter who wins it, sets off its own revolution of rising expectations. And whoever succeeds Hosni Mubarak will have a hellish time satisfying the needs of a country where more than 30 million people live on $2 a day or less, and where the population includes more unemployed university graduates than any other in the world….
What’s more, the Brotherhood will exploit that poverty, ascribing it to disobedience to Allah and prescribing Sharia as the remedy.