Economics drive politics to be sure, and while the Islamic movement remains a political force in Egypt, matters of the wallet and pocket-book will always rule the day. The Egyptian culture is as diverse as any, and they are a proud people. Hosni Mubarak knew this and maintained his grip on power for 29 years because he embraced the need for individual profits as a means to keep a lid on dissention. Some would argue (including me), that his promotion of private over the public sector brought about Egypt’s best days. It was not until there was economic strife such that it allowed light to shine on more problematic issues like human rights and police brutality under his rule, that Mubarak’s hold on government was finally compromised. The latest and now former Egyptian President forgot this basic principle out of the gate, and while he won more votes in a popular election, Egypt’s young and middle class working stiffs quickly tired of “hope and change Morsi style”. Sharia Law is the last thing on the mind of a parent without enough food for their children to eat.
Ironically, the Muslim Brotherhood is now in the unenviable position of defending the very thing they hate most in the world, Democracy. Moreover, the Obama Administration’s often ambiguous at best approach to the turmoil in Egypt has left few on the international scene confident the United States has any leverage left in the Middle East.