"When Mr. Mubarak was removed after nearly 30 years in office in 2011, the bureaucracy he built stayed largely in place. Many business leaders, also a pillar of the old government, retained their wealth and influence.
"Despite coming to power through the freest elections in Egyptian history, Mr. Morsi was unable to extend his authority over the sprawling state apparatus, and his allies complained that what they called the “deep state” was undermining their efforts at governing.
"While he failed to broaden his appeal and build any kind of national consensus, he also faced an active campaign by those hostile to his leadership, including some of the wealthiest and most powerful pillars of the Mubarak era."
If this report is accurate, there may be less instability inherent in Egypt's situation than what is being described by commentators.
"It is difficult to welcome a military overthrow of democratic results. It is, however, more difficult to regret a prophylactic coup against the exploitation of democratic success to adopt measures inimical to the development of a democratic culture.
"Tyranny comes in many flavors. Some are much worse than others because they are more comprehensive and potentially durable. The tyranny portended by Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood promised no separation of politics and religion, hence the impossibility of pluralism, and a hostility to modernity that guaranteed economic incompetence. Theologized politics, wherein compromise is apostasy, points toward George Orwell’s vision of totalitarianism — 'a boot stamping on a human face — forever.'"
"In the Middle East, leaders almost never admit that they made mistakes: doing so would bring shame...on them. Shame in the Middle East is about what others say about you -- not what you think of yourself. While to some extent this is true in Western culture, in general Westerners are more susceptible to feelings of guilt, rather than shame. The Western concept of compromise -- each side conceding certain points to the other side in order to come to an agreement -- does not exist in the Middle East. What is paramount is preserving one's honor...People will go to any lengths to avoid shame; they are prepared to go to jail, risk death, and even kill family members (usually females) to uphold what they perceive as their honor and that of their family. The consequences of dishonor are always permanent and always collective, often extending to the entire family and even the entire clan.
"This battle to avoid shame at all costs indicates why Morsi, Erdoğan, Saddam, Assad, Arafat, and Abu Mazen – when they either have painted themselves into a corner -- or have been painted into one -- can never back down.
"If our policy-makers could understand this cultural imperative, they might better be able to understand why we constantly fail to achieve our policy goals, and how better to achieve them.
"The same holds true for the Palestinian Authority's current leader, Abu Mazen, to whom, later, Israeli Prime Minister Olmert offered an even better deal than had been offered to Arafat. Condoleezza Rice, like President Clinton, also looked on in amazement at Mahmoud Abbas's reaction...
"The same condition continues to hold true today. Why Secretary of State Kerry and the Obama administration believe they can persuade Abbas sign an agreement guaranteeing Israel's right to exist in any form is astonishing. These leaders can lead only so long as they are not perceived as a shamed sell-out and traitor."
Please share this far and wide, my friends, with people who require this education -- particularly decision-makers.
What galls me is why people such as Clinton and Rice, who experienced astonishment at the PLO intransigence, do not stand up now and tell Americas -- leaders and electorate -- that negotiations are just not going to work. Bill Clinton, in particular, is a duplicitous enabler, smiling at his wife when she was secretary of state, and at Obama, when in truth he knows better. Terribly naive, I guess, to expect honesty, forthright pronouncements for the sake of the nation. They just play the game. Let's pretend, and let's pressure Israel.
Rhode mentions Erdogan as one of those unable to back down. Remember the Netanyahu "apology," which distressed many of us when it was made? It had been predicted that this would bring a normalization of Israeli-Turkish relations. It has not happened and is not likely to happen.
And now Erdogan is struggling with his own (relatively low key) unrest.