My column this weekend is about Egypt and the failure of Western progressives to distinguish between legitimate democracy and what they call “democratic legitimacy.” Speaking of which, Senator McCain is back in the news.
Before the Muslim Brotherhood came to power in Egypt, The Maverick told Der Spiegel that the Brothers must be excluded from participating in the post-Mubarak Egyptian government. But what about the will of the people? McCain was unmoved because, he reckoned, the Brotherhood was an “anti-democratic” organization. As I recount in Spring Fever:
Senator John McCain of Arizona … insisted, during an interview by the German newspaper Der Spiegel, that the Muslim Brotherhood was “a radical group that, first of all, supports Sharia law; that in itself is anti-democratic – at least as far as women are concerned. They have been involved with other terrorist organizations and I believe that they should be specifically excluded from any transition government.” Around the same time, McCain’s oft-time side-kick, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, chimed in that he was suspicious of the Brothers’ “agenda” and that “their motives are very much in question.”
Of course, the Brothers’ motives were never in question. They are Islamic supremacists whose agenda, first, last and always, has been the implementation of Islam’s totalitarian sharia system — which is actually even worse and more anti-democratic than McCain suggested. Moreover, McCain and Graham made their dour observations before the Brotherhood took power. Once the Brothers were in control of the government, they did exactly what McCain said he feared they would do: work to install sharia law, make life miserable for women (among others), and promote terrorism (backing Hamas, calling for the Blind Sheikh’s release, etc.). McCain was right (so rare to type those words): the Brothers should have been excluded from participating in the Egyptian government because they are anti-democratic and thus ill-suited for democracy.
So now that the military has finally done what McCain said should have been done in the first place, what does McCain want to the U.S. to do? Why, cut off American aid to the Egyptian military, of course. After all, “the military has overturned the vote of the people.”
Man, Republicans sure are shrewd to keep taking their cues from this guy.