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A Continuation of the Revolution?

4:51 PM, Sep 13, 2012 • By LEE SMITH
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Bargisi says that most Egyptians just wish the revolutionaries would go away. “Ordinary people just want peace and quiet, to get back to their lives. Someday soon, all of Egypt is going to be hoping for a police crackdown. But right now you can storm any public building and expect a medal for it.”

Morsi is unlikely to use this occasion to establish the state’s monopoly on legitimate violence. “There is no consistent policy to put an end to this once and for all. If the outcome of the ideological revolution has already been resolved in favor of the Islamists, the Brotherhood in particular, the ground level has yet to be controlled.” 

That’s coming eventually, says Bargisi, but not now, not with the Americans in the middle of it. In Arab politics, the default move is to take sides against the United States, with the most vocal and passionate taking the prize. It is the role then of American policymakers to draw clear redlines that must not be crossed—as the Cairo mob did yesterday by storming the embassy.

The question then is, what is the White House telling the president of Egypt? If the mob makes a run at the embassy tomorrow, Morsi had better provide his police force with the legitimacy it needs to protect American citizens and diplomats. If not, both Egypt and the United States may end up reaping the whirlwind that the revolution sowed. 

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