Roger Cohen was among the worst of the delusional dreamers about the nature of the Islamist uprising in Egypt.
I frequently have quoted this prediction by Cohen on February 3, 2011:
Already we hear the predictable warnings from Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu: This could be Iran 1979, a revolution for freedom that installs the Islamists. But this is not 1979, and Egypt’s Facebook-adept youth are not lining up behind the Muslim Brotherhood, itself scarcely a band of fanatics.
As well as this one on February 15, 2011:
In the Middle East you expect the worst. But having watched Egypt’s extraordinary civic achievement in building the coalition that ousted Mubarak, having watched Tahrir Square become cooperation central, and having watched the professionalism of the Egyptian army, I’m convinced the country has what it takes to build a decent, representative society — one that gives the lie to all the stereotypes associated with that dismissive shorthand “The Arab Street.”
In fact, post-Tahrir, let’s retire that phrase.
The rise of Islamist dictatorships and anti-Americanism were predictable and were predicted by me and others:
Everything which is taking place this week in the Muslim world was forseeable in February 2011 on the streets of Tunis, in the sexual assault on Lara Logan just after Cohen’s column (chanting Jew! Jew!), in the million people who greeted an anti-Semitic cleric in Cairo, and in the rapid elimination within weeks of the Google Guy from the revolutionary stage.
As Mohamed Morsi solidifies his power — having taken out the military leadership and now the judiciary, Cohen continues his delusion:
Morsi’s self-anointment decree a mistake and won’t fly. The new #Egypt will rein him in.
— Roger Cohen (@NYTimesCohen) November 23, 2012
The “new Egypt” is hard core Islamist. Cohen still cannot accept that reality
Whether Morsi backs down on this latest aspect of the coup, the trend is clear. In just months the Muslim Brotherhood has dramatically increased its stranglehold on the nation.
The Obama administration told Hosni Mubarak he had to leave “yesterday.” No such directive will be given Morsi, and it probably would not be effective even if given.
These responses to Cohen’s tweet have it right:
@nytimescohen Meet the new boss, he’s the same as the old boss. – The Who
— Dave McNulla (@dmcnulla) November 23, 2012
— stylelistroom (@cookingstyle) November 24, 2012