It’s official: More than 11 weeks after Gen. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, commander of the Egyptian Armed Forces, led a coup against a Muslim Brotherhood government led by President Muhammad Morsi, the Egyptian government has banned the Muslim Brotherhood and confiscated its assets. Are the interim Egyptian government’s actions fair? No. But are they right? Yes.
In the current issue of National Review, I argue that the policy of the United States should be to roll back the Muslim Brotherhood and see its defeat not only in Egypt, but also in Gaza, Sudan, Tunisia, Yemen and Turkey. Expanding democracy’s reach should still be a guiding principle of US foreign policy, but sometimes democracy as a result stands a better chance of taking root when there is less democracy in the initial process.
It is certainly true that a wave of Sisi’s magic wand will not will the Brotherhood away—the group has a well-established cell structure and will simply revert to its role as an underground organization. And those more sympathetic to the Brotherhood will note that what goes around, comes around. But the fact that the Brotherhood will never surrender is no reason to hand it victory, especially when the Brotherhood’s ideology and beliefs make it incompatible with democracy. And to wring hands about Sisi’s actions encouraging the Brotherhood to act undemocratically is to confuse the chicken and the egg.