The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


July 10, 2013

Geoff Caldwell, guest columnist: Egyptian military did not act in vacuum

JOPLIN, Mo. — This time last week Americans were reflecting upon the sesquicentennial of the bloodiest battle in our history and the battles that birthed a nation eight decades before that. 

This time last week millions of Egyptians were cheering in the streets as their military stepped in and removed Egypt’s first democratically elected president in its thousands of years of history.

In the seven days since, there has been a growing sentiment among some in the media to paint ousted President Mohammed Morsi and his terrorism-tainted Muslim Brotherhood party as innocent victims of a military coup d’etat. 

While there is a more than solid case that the United States and other nations are playing word kabuki with the meaning of “coup,” there is also much evidence that Morsi’s rule was anything but democratic.

Egypt’s ambassador to the United States, Mohamed Tawfik, summed it up this past Sunday in an interview with Jonathan Karl on ABC’s “This Week”: “Morsi was elected democratically, I agree. I supported him. I did my best to help him to succeed. Like millions of other Egyptians, I really wished he had acted like a president to all Egyptians. But then, in the past two months, you have had a massive reaction from the Egyptian people. Fifteen million people in the streets saying ‘This cannot go on.’ President Morsi did not act in the interests of the vast majority of Egyptians. He only looked at his own clique. You can’t be a democratically elected president and act that way.”

What those now decrying the “downfall of democracy” in Egypt are not talking about are the abuses of power that Morsi had made the norm rather than the exception.

He scrapped an interim constitutional structure, attempted to give himself uncontested powers, shoved through an Islamist constitution, dismantled the judiciary and oversaw a year of human rights abuses that left an untold number of Egyptians dead.

Any objective review of Morsi shows a man far more concerned with amassing his own power and installing a Muslim Brotherhood Islamist regime than allowing the Egyptian people to live in a peaceful, secular, democratic state.

The outcry to restore Morsi is to be expected from his Islamist allies, but the rest need to have their heads examined if they’re joining that chorus.

The idea that Morsi should have been removed at the ballot box is all well and good for us folks in established democracies, but it’s absolute fantasy to expect such in Egypt today. In but one year in power, Morsi had already so rigged the system in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood that if he was not removed now, there would be no return. After all the bloodshed, after all the sacrifice, the only thing the Egyptian people would have gotten out of their Arab Spring was trading one dictatorial government for another.

In all Egypt’s thousands of years, only the last one had anything approaching democracy. Did anyone believe it would not have growing pains? Didn’t we, the United States of America, undergo our own civil war before we fully worked it out?

The only truism of a democracy is that it is not one vote for one man for one party for all time. There is no perfect formula to establish it, and each nation must find its own way. 

The Egyptian military did not act in a vacuum. Rather it was responding to those millions upon millions who stood up and said, “No more.”

Those so eager to denounce the Egyptian military today should ponder a time not that long ago when another democracy was trying to find its way — it was just 80 years ago this spring that one Adolf Hitler saw the Reichstag dissolved and his reign of terror begun. 

Is there anyone who does not wish now that the German military had acted then?

Geoff Caldwell lives in Joplin.

Text Only
  • Our View.jpg Our View: Lone holdout

    Missouri continues to be the only state in the United States that won’t allow a prescription drug database to be established.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Anson Burlingame, guest columnist: Much has changed in U.S. over 14 years

    Does anyone recall the major economic argument during the 2000 presidential campaign between George Bush and Al Gore?

    July 22, 2014

  • Our View: Vote no on Amendment 1

    Proponents of Amendment 1 — the Right to Farm Act — have not made their case. We’ve met with advocates of this amendment to the Missouri constitution and listened to their arguments, but we don’t believe they have adequately answered the central question: Who is it protecting, and from what?

    July 13, 2014

  • Your View: Amendment 5 is deception of the highest order

    Amendment 5, sponsored by Missouri Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, “relating to the right of Missouri citizens to keep and bear arms” provides that “any restriction on these rights shall be subject to strict scrutiny.”

    July 21, 2014

  • Other Views Other Views: No time to turn away

    With the shooting down of a commercial airliner over Ukraine and fighting that has now escalated to a ground war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, it would be easy for most U.S. citizens to throw up their hands and turn their backs.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Your View: Power to defend

    The Globe’s editorial ‘More guns not the answer’ (July 15) was saturated with classic progressive blather.

    July 21, 2014

  • Your View: Thanks for the generosity

    Generally, all we hear about is the bad news, and obviously, there is plenty available. Our church felt this event worthy of public knowledge.

    July 21, 2014

  • Your View: How to upgrade your business

    Let’s see now. When some folks wish to improve the exterior of their properties and have other taxpayers pay for the improvements, they create a community improvement district.

    July 21, 2014

  • Our View.jpg Our view: Street smarts

    If your daily commute has been shortened because you no longer have to wait at 26th Street and Connecticut Avenue for a train to pass, thank your own tax dollars.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Other Views Other Views: Decision fails test

    With the announcement that the State Board of Education has decided not to release individual school test results because of cyberattacks and other problems this spring, educators are scratching their heads, as are taxpayers who footed the bill.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

Local News
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter

A state lawmaker who is one of two doctors in the Oklahoma Legislature is insisting that unaccompanied immigrant minors being housed at Fort Sill be quarantined. Do you think those kinds of measures should be taken?

A. Yes.
B. No.
     View Results
NDN Video
Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Raw: First Lady Says `Drink Up' More Water Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City Diplomatic Push Intensifies to End War in Gaza Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment