The saving grace in Egypt, King Abdulla of Jordan said, was that Mursi seemed too unsophisticated to successfully pull off his vision. “There’s no depth to the guy,” he said of Mursi. The king compared him unfavorably to Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Islamist prime minister of Turkey. Like Mursi, the king asserted, Erdogan was also a false democrat, but one with patience. “Erdogan once said that democracy for him is a bus ride,” Abdullah said. “Once I get to my stop, I’m getting off.”
Unlike Mursi, however, Erdogan was masterful at manipulating a system that didn’t trust him, the king said. “Instead of the Turkish model, taking six or seven years — being an Erdogan — Mursi wanted to do it overnight.” Recent events in Turkey, including the government’s miscalculated response to mass protests, have shown that perhaps even Erdogan isn’t an Erdogan anymore.
Had the military not intervened, though, the Muslim Brotherhood may have tried, over time, to make sure that Egypt’s first free and fair election was also its last. A number of Egyptian friends have written me in the past day, arguing that what the Egyptian people did — or, more to the point, what the Egyptian army, responding to the will of the people, did — was to forestall the rise of a new Hitler. If the Germans, who chose Adolf Hitler in a democratic election, had turned on him a year later, well, you know the rest. The analogy is overdone for so many reasons, but it is absolutely true that the Muslim Brotherhood is a totalitarian cult, not a democratic party.