Thursday, January 23, 2014

The New Egyptian Constitution

No one is paying very much attention to Egypt. That includes President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry. Now you know why Egypt’s situation is improving.

Happily for Egyptians, even Timesmen Friedman and Kristof have better ways to occupy their time. Again, less attention from those putative foreign policy wizards seems to be a goodthing.

You know and I know and everyone else should know that the liberal media and left leaning politicians are horrified at the fact that political and economic progress in Egypt should have come about as a result of a military coup.

Given a choice between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Egyptian military, the Obama administration and its enablers have always preferred the ideologically fanatical Brothers to anything that resembles the martial culture of a military organization.

Every conservative’s favorite liberal, Kirsten Powers has the story. In her USA Today column she reports on recent events in Egypt:

Egypt made history over the weekend. For the first time, this ancient society has a constitution that protects the rights of women, bans religious discrimination and provides the framework for a government with more secular values. This stands in stark contrast to Egypt's previous constitutions.

The country's elections commission announced Saturday that the groundbreaking constitution was approved by 98.1% of voters. Presidential and parliamentary elections are slated to be held in the coming months. What should be a moment of celebration by Egypt's friends has instead invited withering criticism and calls to abandon this important U.S. ally at a critical moment in their history.

Obviously, the election results are a bit too good to be true. Powers adds, however, that the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters were boycotting the elections and that the turnout was comparable to that of the election that empowered Mohamed Morsi.

She notes:

The Washington Post editorial board recently blasted Egypt's "bogus democracy" for the constitution's alleged failure to sufficiently diminish the power of the military. They then demanded the U.S. cut off all aid. Secretary of State John Kerryinsinuated that the vote in favor of the constitution involved fraud, though none has been proven. His complaint ignores the Muslim Brotherhood's boycott of the referendum, which might explain the lack of opposition in the results as well as the lower-than-expected turnout. Thirty-nine percent of eligible voters came out; slightly more than the 33% who voted in the referendum for President Mohammed Morsi's 2012 constitution.

Amr Moussa, the president of the committee that drafted the new constitution, expressed frustration with how the historic nature of this referendum is being ignored in the West. He told me in an interview, "This is the first time that women have full political, social and economic rights and can hold all government positions. The right of belief is now absolute. The right to express yourself freely [is protected]. This is all new."

These rights are fundamental to democracy and were absent in the previous "democratic" Morsi constitution.

Dr. Mona Makram-Ebeid, a former member of Egypt's parliament and a professor at the American University in Cairo, told me, "Women are making history in Egypt. This referendum propelled women into the mainstream of political life. For the first time it says in the constitution there is equality between men and women. It condemns any violence against women, which includes domestic violence."

As always, it boggles the mind. Egypt affirms a constitution that gives women more rights than they ever had before. It votes for a constitution that guarantees the right to worship as you choose and to express yourself freely. And it votes for a constitution that takes steps to tamp down the epidemic of violence against women.

Left thinking politicians and media outlets are scandalized. They prefer an elected Mohamed Morsi, a candidate who would have done everything in his power to oppress free expression and women’s rights.

Yes, Powers continues, the new constitution gives more power to the military. And yet, as former Obama administration envoy Frank Wisner told Powers, the Egyptian people prefer order to chaos. They do not want to become like Libya, Syria and Yemen.

Obviously, the best way to accomplish these goals is to keep Secretary Kerry’s mind on other problems.


Sam L. said...

Multi-culti and Islam weigh more than women's rights do, on the Left.

Anonymous said...

"Egyptian people prefer order to chaos."

Wow, the Egyptians are so unique in this regard.

Lefties get so excited about transformation, revolution and "living in the moment," but most people recognize that chaos leads to a lot of rather bad things. So the editorial boards carry on about how it's "not enough," perpetuating the chaos.

That's how Chile got Pinochet, who then became the cause of so much gnashing of cognoscenti teeth for decades. You elect a radical lunatic like Allende, or Morsi in Egypt, and look what happens. It's not complicated: People want things to work. The Left wants to reinvent everything to create heaven on earth, and it never quite works out that way.