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 like 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.
Secretary of State John Kerry spent most of his recent visit to the Middle East focusing on the establishment of a Palestinian state. This failed policy is a sideshow and irrelevant to the turmoil throughout the region. The Obama administration is calling for an "inclusive" political process in Egypt, which would include a role for the Muslim Brotherhood. But the Muslim Brotherhood's radical religious outlook and earthly agenda are the problem, not the solution. Why should the United States expect a different government if a different "brother" is elected, or if Morsi is somehow re-instated?
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?
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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