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Sunday 13 February 2011

Egypt And (No) Democracy

Barack Obama and George W Bush could agree on one thing: the concept of democracy is universal. This, they both asserted, was the inspiration for any country, anywhere in the world. But some in the USA are beginning to wonder.

Maybe this hesitation is because of what happened in Gaza: the US wanted elections, so elections there were, and Hamas got elected. This was not the result the US wanted, and emphatically not first choice for the Israelis. Now, with free and fair elections promised for Egypt, some are seeing dark forces, so dark that the concept of democracy should be put on hold.

At the forefront of those seeing dark forces, as I noted the other day, has been the increasingly wayward Glenn Beck, “star” of Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse). Beck reiterated his misgivings on Bill O’Reilly’s show last Friday, but Bill-O was not convinced. Problem is, many on the US right side with Beck on this one, and not O’Reilly.

This was underlined by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, whose show aired just after O’Reilly’s, and whose line-up would have been decided rather earlier. In a montage of conservative talking heads, it is remarkable just how many of them are on the same message, which is that Egypt is somehow not ready for democracy.

As Maddow put it, maybe some on the US right are against democracy for Egypt because they instinctively have to be on the opposite side to Obama. But it is disturbing that those who talk up democracy would rather it not apply in countries where the result of that democracy might not be “the right one”.

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