Michael Neumann, Professor of Philosophy (emeritus), writing at his personal blog “Insufficient Respect,” has put together an unusually thoughtful and balanced discussion of the Egyptian situation: “Has Morsi overthrown the rule of law?” Neumann explains the fundamental constitutional problem in clear terms (without relying on references to controversial German legal philosophers), and also notes in passing the contradictory positions and conduct of the self-styled liberal democratic forces – the proponents of rule of law and consensual decision-making who have responded to Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood with vitriol, maximalist demands, and the torching of political offices.
Forcing or persuading Morsi and his movement to compromise will not by itself solve the Egyptian problems. It may however help to constitute a new Egyptian sovereignty along broader lines than purely Islamist ones, supply the deficits in the Islamist theory of the modern nation-state, and preserve a liberal democratic opening.
The key point from the Schmitt in Cairo perspective is adduced by Mustapha Ajbaili, writing in Al Arabiya: In between the polarizing views, lies the reality that many choose to ignore. The Muslim Brotherhood is the most organized and powerful…
One could easily – the liberalist Twitterati have shown little hesitation on this one – compare Morsi’s assumption of the right to rule by decree with acts by Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, or a wide range of autocrats including Morsi’s immediate predecessor. If inclined, however, to support or excuse Morsi, one might instead invoke Franklin Roosevelt after or even before the 1941 American Declarations of War, or Abraham Lincoln suspending the Constitution to save constitutional order: Each was called tyrant, traitor, dictator by his political enemies, even amidst undoubted states of emergency. Now they are, generally but not universally, called “great.”
So, yes, a larger number of people died, and many more were injured, and a lot of time and money was wasted protecting a fighting retreat, because the political-military risks of an attempted immediate retreat – both within Afghanistan and far beyond, and for many years – were unacceptable, just as the decision for it, given the real existing correlation of political interests and forces in 2009, was actually impossible. Instead, the Afghan Surge worked – politically. Politically, it was a tremendous success. Militarily, it never had very good prospects, but its narrowly military-political failure – its inability to transform Afghanistan into Japan at bargain prices – has the further benefit of removing further illusions about what is and isn’t possible even for the best data-driven school-building expeditionary killing machine the world has ever seen.
Posted in War
Tagged with: Afghanistan
It must be serious business, this empty escapism.