The Egyptian democracy revolution sparks various debates about the organic uprising of democratic movements in the Arab world, what will happen to Israel, and what the U.S. foreign policy towards Egypt will be in the coming weeks. More or less, deciphering all these ideas can be very difficult, especially when pundits do it on the fly in an ever changing environment of social media. From what I have read, here is the myriad of theories circulating around the globe at the speed of light:
Egypt was sparked by Tunisia: The self immolation of man protesting the Egypt’s westward neighbor began a protest that would force Tunisia’s president, Ben Ali, to abdicate his duties for a luxury life in exile, allowing for a new government to take over. From this, everyone got democratic fever, going to Algeria, Yemen, Jordan, and, most notably, Egypt. I call this the domino theory of democracy, stealing back the negative rap it got during the Cold War.
Local conditions brought on the protests: A pretty self explanatory theory, probably working in tandem with the inspiration from Egypt, it says that bad economic conditions, most Egyptians live on less than $2 a day, and Mubarak’s autocratic rule for 25 years probably precipitated this response.
Iraq caused the protests: I might also label this as “The Freedom Agenda Worked.” Many neoconservatives are latching onto this theory like Apple when it releases a new product. The main point driving this argument is that with the model democracy of Iraq and President Bush encouraging democracy in the Middle East that the Egyptians saw this and started protesting.
These are the theories about what caused the protests, but the real fun begins after democracy takes affect:
ElBaradei becomes leader: A new book is now coming out about Mohamed ElBaradei’s political beliefs, written by the man of the hour himself. It mostly focuses on international diplomacy. Nevertheless, it will provide a glimpse into the mysterious mind of Egypt’s new native son. If ElBaradei rules, he will probably try and incorporate the Muslim Brotherhood and the other interests into the democratic forum. Since he has not revealed that much about himself, this option is a bit of an enigma.
Muslim Brotherhood takes over: A very diverse group of radical and moderate Muslims, the Muslim Brotherhood is called terrorist organization by some and a fun loving organization by others. Both descriptions appear to be true. Some of the Taliban came from the Muslim Brotherhood and the Muslim Brotherhood also provides care to poor areas in Egypt. Many conservatives see democracy in Egypt as a chance for radical Islam to take its course and the sequel the Iranian Revolution will begin. Since the Muslim Brotherhood is not in charge of the protests it is hard to say which way they will go if they come to power, or if they will come to power.
Democracy for everyone: If Egypt becomes a reformed democratic power it might inspire other Arab nations to do the same. Whether or not other nations can pull it off is a completely different story. Predicting domino reactions is hit and miss. No one thought Tunisia would spark the reaction that it did and Iraq hardly sparked a revolution at all. I would be careful with placing my bets on this one.
The coming Insurrection: Glenn Beck has been the proponent of this theory. He believes that radical Islam will take over in Egypt and all the protests will lead to universal Muslim Caliphate, which is a little like saying the feudal lords will return to Europe. Somehow, he also sees Marxists and Muslims working together, a very unlikely pair. I haven’t heard Marxism as a pronounced theory supporting these revolutions, but Mr. Beck sees it everywhere. Essentially, this is the end of the world as we know it scenario. I find this the most unlikely scenario and the comical of all of them, but it does have some fans.
Picking a cause and effect theory is not easy. In case you don’t fell like predicting the future, you can just watch the events happen in real time. As I said in the beginning, that is the option out of all of them.
Photo Credit: Daily Telegraph