Kinsman: Can the Egyptian revolution be counted a success while the Armed Forces remain in power?

By: /
14 November, 2011
Jeremy Kinsman
Former ambassador to the European Union and high commissioner to Britain

No way. Military subordination to civilian authority is a sine qua non of democratic governance. Tahrir Square wasn’t only about electoral democracy but it certainly was and is a cardinal goal. The successful opposition to Mubarak didn’t do it just to help the military dump an elderly leader who had become a loser.

But lasting arrangements need some time and preparation. Successful transitions to democracy from military-security rule have been “pacted” between old and new orders – Spain, Turkey, Greece, Chile. The Egyptian military is waiting until a Constitution is adopted and a President (with whom they can pact) emerges.

The military has serious institutional stakes in the Egyptian economy but more important, is a generally trusted guarantor of overall security at an unsteady time. So, the jury judging success should stay out, watch the military carefully, and wait until all the evidence is in.