Posts Tagged democracy

New Book On Political Islam

From Macmillan Books:

As a wave of popular unrest toppled autocratic rulers across the Middle East and North Africa, many in the West watched with growing concern as Islamists came to power. The continued prominence of Islam in the struggle for democracy in the Muslim world has confounded Western democracy theorists, who largely consider secularism a prerequisite for democratic transition. In Political Islam in the Age of Democratization, Kamran Bokhari and Farid Senzai offer a comprehensive view of the complex nature of contemporary political Islam and its relationship to democracy. With a useful theoretical framework, classification of Islamists, and rich historical context, this book is a compelling and insightful analysis of Islamism and the role that religion is likely to play in any future Muslim democracy.

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Egypt and the Idealist-Realist Debate in U.S. Foreign Policy

Egypt and the Idealist-Realist Debate in U.S. Foreign Policy is republished with permission of STRATFOR.

By George Friedman

The first round of Egyptian parliamentary elections has taken place, and the winners were two Islamist parties. The Islamists themselves are split between more extreme and more moderate factions, but it is clear that the secularists who dominated the demonstrations and who were the focus of the Arab Spring narrative made a poor showing. Of the three broad power blocs in Egypt — the military, the Islamists and the secular democrats — the last proved the weakest.

It is far from clear what will happen in Egypt now. The military remains unified and powerful, and it is unclear how much actual power it is prepared to cede or whether it will be forced to cede it. What is clear is that the faction championed by Western governments and the media will now have to accept the Islamist agenda, back the military or fade into irrelevance.

One of the points I made during the height of the Arab Spring was that the West should be careful of what it wishes for — it might get it. Democracy does not always bring secular democrats to power. To be more precise, democracy might yield a popular government, but the assumption that that government will support a liberal democratic constitution that conceives of human rights in the European or American sense is by no means certain. Unrest does not always lead to a revolution, a revolution does not always lead to a democracy, and a democracy does not always lead to a European- or American-style constitution. Read the rest of this entry »

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“That rifle on the wall of the laborer’s cottage or working class flat is the symbol of democracy. It is our job to see that it stays there.” – George Orwell

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