Nature abhors a vacuum, or what will come out of Egypt’s current turmoil?


Seems like the strongest contender vying for power in Egypt right now is the Muslim Brotherhood, or al-ikhwān, a transnational “conservative” Sunni organization based in Egypt. They must view this as a divine opportunity, and if they do gain power in post-Mubarak Egypt, it will be a tectonic shift the Middle East, with potential disaster for Western nations and Israel.

Unfortunately, the back story to my novel Shift Tense has the MB firmly in control of Egypt, providing weapons and intelligence support to a particular Islamic faction in a Somaliland civil war as part of a larger strategy to regain global affluence and influence for fundamentalist Islam. Someone asked me where I get my plots and backstory ideas from; from history and the news, so it’s not like I’m claiming the gift of prescience. If history shows anything it’s that factions and demagogues come out of the woodwork during times of upheaval and uncertainty. (*Side note: as vitriolic as our elections campaigns get, our government transitions are actually quite smooth and peaceful when viewed in a larger context) I’m just sad to see the product of my cynical imagination start to take shape.

Here’s a couple questions:
A. From what you know of history and current events, do you believe Egypt will rise to the challenge of reform and democracy, or will they resort to the strait-jacket certainty of fundamentalist Islam?
B. Does the United States have a responsibility to intervene (I’m talking substantively, i.e.militarily) if it appears fundamentalist Islamic groups are subverting self-determination and forcibly taking control of the Egyptian government?

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