How Egypt’s Michele Bachmann Became President and Plunged the Country Into Chaos

Juan Cole in Truth Dig:

ScreenHunter_231 Jul. 03 13.47Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi may or may not survive Sunday’s massive protests, organized by the youth Rebellion (Tamarrud) Movement. They are, nevertheless, a milestone in modern Egyptian history and a warning to him about his arrogant and highhanded style of governing from his fundamentalist base. Morsi, from the Muslim Brotherhood, represents the equivalent of the American tea party in Egyptian politics—captive to the religious right, invested in austerity and smaller government, and contemptuous of workers and the political left. In his first year in office, the nation’s first freely elected head of state has squandered Egyptians’ willingness to give him the benefit of the doubt. He has acted like the president of the somewhat cultish Muslim Brotherhood, rather than like the president of the whole country. Here are the major errors he has made, which have polarized Egypt and created a severe crisis that some observers worry could turn into a civil war.

On taking office in summer 2012, Morsi did not appoint a government of national unity. He named no politicians from other major parties to important cabinet posts, nor did he reach out to the revolutionary youth. Although he made a neutral technocrat, Hisham Qandil, his prime minister, he put members of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party in charge of key cabinet posts. He thus created the impression that he was trying for a “Brotherization” of the government.

Despite Egypt’s sagging economy, Morsi did not make stimulating it his first priority, and instead tried to please the International Monetary Fund with austerity policies, rather on the model of the Mariano Rajoy government in Spain.

More here.