Just two years after the overthrow of long-time President Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s new president, Mohamed Morsi, has been forced out of power, exhibiting the resiliency of a country that desires a true leader. Though the elections last year were legitimate, Morsi proved to be a religious leader not fit to guide a nation in need of a political overhaul.
Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood allies rushed the drafting of a Constitution that was laced with Islamic influence. Furthermore, in a desperate attempt to pass the Constitution, Morsi overstepped his executive power by “exempting his decrees from Judicial Review until ratification of a Constitution.”1 In other words, Morsi gave himself supreme power over the Judicial branch and therefore control over the drafting of the Constitution. After this gross overreaching over power, Morsi called a two-part referendum where about 64% of the population approved the new Constitution.2 Although that constitutes the majority, a good percentage of the population disapproved of the Constitution.
Morsi never fully recovered from this debacle and the rift between the old authoritarian members of government and the new Muslim Brotherhood leaders expanded. Even if we just look at the state of the country and not the internal politics, we see a looming disaster. Whether it is the lack of foreign investors or Morsi’s inability to keep the electricity running; whether it is the soaring unemployment rates matched with the plunging inflation rates or whether it is his intolerance of any form of opposition, Morsi had no future as the leader of Egypt.3 His presidency, The Wall Street Journal editorial page concurred,“had descended into incompetence and creeping authoritarianism.”4
Now that Morsi is out of power, two momentous questions remain: Will the military peacefully hand over power to Morsi’s successor and should the United States continue to provide Egypt with $1.3 billion of aid a year? I say yes and no. Though the military has a power-hungry, self-serving reputation, they have no interest in a radical-Islamic government and “favor regional stability.”5 As long as they sustain their power, they will be happy to sit on the sidelines and allow a democratically-elected president to run the country. Secondly, this change in power is a perfect time to shift our strategy regarding aid to Egypt. Because of Egypt’s strategic geopolitical position, it is imperative to the US that they sustain an amiable relationship with the Egyptian government. However, throwing money at the country while it is trying to develop a democracy will not help anybody. The US should watch the situation develop and re-access what Egypt really needs. Even if Egypt receives the money at the beginning, a plan in which Egypt slowly becomes less dependent on US aid should be devised.
It will take years before Egypt has a fully developed democracy, but the removal of Morsi was the first step of a long and tedious process that will culminate in freedom for the Egyptian people.
Photo Credit: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2013/06/reporters-notebook-millions-march-in-egypt-protests/