The Failed State of Egypt?

CAIRO – The aggrieved supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and the jubilant protesters who pushed the military to remove him have divided Egypt into two irreconcilable camps, both reflecting and reinforcing the country’s deeper problems. Indeed, Egypt is now largely an ungovernable country that subsists on generous foreign handouts.

Morsi never appreciated his tenuous position. Though elected democratically, he chose to govern undemocratically. He was bent on purging the judiciary and the public prosecutor’s office, claiming that they were aligned with the protesters opposing his government and their military backers, who had been overthrown in 2011. Morsi brooked little opposition in pushing through a controversial draft constitution. In doing so, he neglected to focus on the structural problems that propelled a docile society to pour into the streets two and a half years ago to bring down his predecessor, Hosni Mubarak.

Just as damaging as Morsi’s governing style was the Muslim Brotherhood’s go-it-alone mentality. Decades of persecution have instilled in its leaders the belief that the world is aligned against them. Assuming power only stoked their paranoia.

The Brotherhood’s leaders believed that the United States and Egypt’s elite were bent on ensuring their failure. For this reason, they refused to reach out to their secular opponents to offer them a piece of the political pie. Even members of the more puritanical Islamist Nour Party were not invited to join the government.