There’s no chance of restoring Egyptian democracy

Noah Feldman in Newsday:

ImageIn case you still thought Egypt's coup was leading to democracy, the violent destruction of Muslim Brotherhood protest camps and the appointment of 19 generals as provincial governors — occurring more or less simultaneously — should cure you of that appealing fantasy.

When generals come to power, even if they are initially motivated by the ideal of restoring democracy, the attraction of remaining in power for as long as it takes to establish a military order tends to be decisive. When a regime that generals have deposed was democratically elected, as it was in Egypt, the odds of restoration are even more remote.

Western democrats want to love the Egyptian liberals who bravely helped bring down Hosni Mubarak and then misguidedly followed the same playbook to sink the legitimately elected Mohamed Mursi. But the emerging reality poses a puzzle about those Egyptian liberals and their country's future: Why in the world did thoughtful believers in democracy think that it was a good idea to stage protests that would invite the army to take out Mursi? And what, if anything, can be done now to get democracy back on track in Egypt?

More here. [Thanks to Vali Nasr.]