Egypt: A Review

1416 words - 6 pages

Introduction:
This paper will answer the following ethical question: Does the United States or international community have a moral obligation to intervene using soft or smart power given that a democratically elected government was deposed harshly in Egypt? For the purposes of this paper, I will define soft and hard power using the Wilson’s framework: hard power is the ability to coerce an actor to do something you want them to do, because it pertains to your national interests, either through military intervention, economic sanctions, or coercive diplomacy. Nye defines soft power as the ability to get what you want through persuasion and attraction rather than coercion. I will examine ...view middle of the document...

Some posit this was a popular revolution; others viewed this action as a gross injustice to the democratic process. The Egyptian military, known more commonly as the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF), deposed Morsi after the country became erupted in widespread protest over a lack of improvement and concerns over the Muslim Brotherhood. Morsi supporters saw this as an unwarranted attack on the Muslim Brotherhood party, an Islamist party, and President Morsi, who identified with the party. Just a year prior the Egyptians held elections and elected President Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood party, and at the outset, the military was hostile to this popular decision. In order to understand the motivations behind the military’s intervention, we need to look at the evolution of SCAP.
The evolution of Egypt’s military can be described in three phases. The first was the military as an economic authority. Under Mubarak, Egypt’s leader for 30 years from 1980 to 2010, the military took on the role of improving public infrastructure, and producing inexpensive civil goods for the middle and lower classes. They did this by creating the National Service Productions Organization. The second phase took shape in the 1990’s and consisted of an expansion of their economic role. The military established new companies, built new factories, and expanded farms. The last phase was the integration of the military in the existing bureaucracy: “A district class of military administrators and managers grew in the bureaucracy, the public sector, and the military enterprises, and they received their pensions from military
sources in addition to high salaries form the government.” The precedence set during the Mubarak years left the military extraordinarily powerful both economically and politically.
The Egyptian military’s resistance and disdain for Islam can be seen as early as 1981 with the assassination of President Anwar Sadat. Egypt grew increasingly concerned over the possibility of the spread of Islamic extremism, even within the ranks of Egypt’s armed forces. Mubarak knew that the only institution capable of a violent overthrow of the existing regime was the military so he ordered a review and study of the armed forces to assess the growing threat of Islamist infiltration into the armed forces post Sadat’s assassination. In 1986, an investigation yielded a plot by mid ranking and junior army officials to overthrow the Mubarak regime. Those found responsible for the plot were aligned with Islamist jihadists. The institution that maintained security and protection to the Mubarak regime continued to grow stronger as paranoia surrounding increasing Islamic influence in the armed forces grew.
Eventually Hosni Mubarak was ousted as the leader of Egypt in 2011. Protestors insisted that Mubarak step down because of, “habitual police brutality, emergency laws, corruption, lack of free press and meaningful elections, and high unemployment and food prices.” ...

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