'Egypt Is a Mess' —but It's a Good Mess

Nicholas Kristof: Young democracies are always bumpy
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 31, 2011 1:38 PM CDT
'Egypt Is a Mess' —but It's a Good Mess
Egyptian activists demand reform at a rally in Cairo on March 27.   (Getty Images)

Nicholas Kristof checks in on Egypt weeks after the fall of Hosni Mubarak and pronounces it "a mess." Protesters are still taking to the streets, the military-backed government is making noises about crackdowns, and army thugs are still beating up critics. "Yet for Americans, what is unfolding is perhaps a reassuring mess," writes Kristof in the New York Times.

For one thing, fears of Islamic extremism taking root are off base. If anything, the entry of the relatively moderate Muslim Brotherhood into government is a rebuke to al-Qaeda and its all-violence approach. Kristof's guess is that "post-revolution Egypt will look a lot like pre-revolution Egypt, but moderately less repressive." The army will still be in charge, and abuses will occur, but people will be more apt to complain in public. In the meantime, let's be patient. "Yes, Egypt is messy," writes Kristof. "A young democracy almost always is." (More Egypt stories.)

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