Expert reactions: John Hulsman on Egyptian revolution 2013

Raleigh Addington
Raleigh Addington
editor at Chartwell Speakers

Dramatic developments in Egypt as Mohamed Morsi is ousted and the constitution is suspended. We spoke to John Hulsman, a leading expert on the political economy of the Middle East, about what we should make of these events. Here are his take home points:

“This amounts to little more than rearranging deck chairs on the titanic: The army couldn’t deal with Egypt’s huge economic and social problems, and neither could the Muslim Brotherhood; Why would anyone think a bunch of technocrats, with the army pulling the strings behind and no legitimacy of any kind, has any chance to do better?”

“The media have made this into a parlor game – who’s up, who’s down – in reality what it demonstrates is the entrenched nature of Egypt’s calamity. Look for even stormier days ahead.”

“Analytically, in most cases revolutions have made things far worse, not better. Bet on countries that grow slowly, frustratingly, organically. Betting on revolutions, since Edmund Burke, is a loser.”

“The gloomy history of revolutions is that the almost always the most organised group ends up in power: France- Jacobins, Russia- Bolsheviks, China- Maoists, and in Egypt- The Army. Groups who are disciplined, unafraid of violence and willing to seize power will have an advantage irrespective of if they have a majority. If you want to know which way Egypt will turn, keep your eyes firmly on the army (CNN swooning about the twitteraty to the contrary).”

As this latest stage of the Egyptian revolution¬†proceeds we’ll bring you more reaction from global experts.


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John Hulsman
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