It’s an irony wrapped up in … an even bigger irony. A block of liberal political parties in Egypt issued a “strongly worded statement” on Saturday telling the U.S. to stop putting pressure on Egypt’s military to hand over power to the Muslim Brotherhood’s presidential candidate Mohammed Morsi (who is widely believed to have won a majority of the vote). Implicitly, they would prefer that the old-guard Mubarak-era candidate, Ahmed Shafiq, take control. These Egyptian liberals and secularists would seem to possess a strong conviction that while leaving things in the hands of the military and its favored presidential candidate at least still holds out the possibility of hope, putting power in the hands of the Islamists would doom Egypt to an even darker Dark Age than the one it’s been going through. The U.S. State Department seems to have different ideas. Who should we think is in the better position to judge?
Addendum: Now that Morsi has finally been announced as the winner, the question turns to whether the Egyptian military will allow him any real power to rule before an expected new constitution results in fresh elections next year. And, for the U.S., the question is what level of influence to assert in any effort to force the Egyptian military to grant Morsi that real power.