Ask Michael Hanna Anything: Morsi’s Failure To Govern

In our second video from Egypt expert, he explains how Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood neglected to pursue reform and reconciliation following the 2011 revolution, and thus have only themselves to blame for their downfall:

Earlier this week, Hanna further detailed these failures, including how Morsi screwed up his response to the June 30 protests:

An honorable exit for Morsy would have been a recognition of reality. A crippled executive with a tenuous grip on authority who could not govern effectively — even at the peak of his popularity — was no longer in a position to fulfill his role. A negotiated safe exit would have also preserved the Muslim Brotherhood’s political gains and ensured its participation in the design of the transitional stage and upcoming elections. Such an exit would have also reversed its disastrous decision to renege on previous pledges and contest the presidential election, thereby relieving the organization of the enormous strain of governing Egypt during this tumultuous period.

Such a decision would have required Morsy to undertake a thorough assessment of his errors and an objective appraisal of the country’s current dynamics. As difficult as such steps would have been, they were Egypt’s only way out. Instead, the country has chosen one poison over the other.

But in the end, no functional political order can emerge, let alone a democratic transition, without the free, fair, and full participation by the Muslim Brotherhood. With Morsy now incommunicado and presumably filled with rightful indignation at his fate, he can still help bring Egypt back from the brink. To do so, however, will require him to be a real leader and make a painful concession — placing his country’s future first.

Michael Wahid Hanna is a Senior Fellow at The Century Foundation, where he works on issues of international security, international law, and US foreign policy in the broader Middle East and South Asia. He appears regularly on NPR, BBC, and al-Jazeera. Additionally, his Twitter feed is a must-read for anyone interested in Egyptian politics. Our full coverage of the current events in Egypt is here. Our Ask Anything archive is here.