Will Egypt Turn Out Like Pakistan?


by Zack Beauchamp

Michele Dunne and Shuja Nawaz [NYT] worry the military will come to dominate politics in Egypt in much the same, dysfunctional fashion as in Pakistan. Ayesha Chugh counters:

[T]here is some comfort in the fact that the Egyptian military lacks the same incentives and circumstances that have driven Pakistani politics. Historically speaking, Egypt has never faced substantial threats to its sovereignty or existence, and has not been defined by a narrative centered on fears of an external enemy. Of course, Egypt has had tensions with its neighbors, such as its ‘cold peace’ with Israel and a vacillating relationship with Libya, but its ties with both countries have improved over time. It also benefits from a more ethnically and culturally homogenous population and a more secure border situation than Pakistan. With Egypt’s external threat perception less of a burden, the military’s incentives to manipulate the political process should be expected to differ from those of the Pakistani military.

(Photo: A masked Egyptian protester runs after picking up a tear gas canister fired by riot police during clashes near the interior ministry in Cairo on February 4, 2012. Protesters faced off with police in the Egyptian capital for a third day in deadly clashes sparked by anger at the failure of Egypt's military rulers to prevent football-linked violence that left scores dead. By Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images.)