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Egyptian democracy and the wisdom of Omar Suleiman

February 7, 2011

Here are some key points from Daniel Greenfield, who has a great piece on his blog Sultan Knish, about why democracy in Egypt or in any country which isn’t culturally ready for it, can be detrimental:

The United States has freedom due primarily to its culture. Those freedoms were an outgrowth of the rights of Englishmen and the Enlightenment. They cannot be exported to another country– without also exporting the cultural assumptions that produced them.”

“Egypt’s period of greatest liberalization was under British rule. Since then its cosmopolitan nightspots have been torched and it has drifted closer to Islamization. Even Egypt’s current level of human rights under Mubarak is above that of most of its neighbors. And the reason for that is Mubarak’s ties to America. The more democratic Egypt becomes, the more its civil rights will diminish. Its rulers will see social issues as an easy way to compromise with the Muslim Brotherhood. As Egypt’s cultural ties to the West diminish, so will its freedoms.”

“The Islamists understand this far better than the neo-conservatives. That is why they campaign so ruthlessly against Western culture. They understand that it is cultural assumptions that dictate behavior, more than any law. While we try to export institutions to the Muslim world, they export Muslim culture to us. And they have had far more luck changing us, than we have had changing them. Institutions are shaped by culture, but cultures are not shaped by institutions. Export every aspect of American government to Egypt, and it will run along Egyptian lines, not American ones. And within a year, Egypt’s government will run the same way it does today. Only the window dressing will be different.”




It’s one thing to hear this from a westerner, it’s quite another to hear this from a secular vice president of a soon-to-be Islamic theocracy.

When Egypt’s Vice President Omar Suleiman was asked by the extremely gullible Christiane Amanpour what he thinks about the internet-savvy young people all across the Middle East who clamor for freedom, he had the following to say:

(skip to the 3:20 mark)

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