Egypt’s autocratic regime is being weakened by economic crises, growing political opposition, and the pressures of globalization. Observers now wonder which way Egypt will go when the country’s aging president, Husni Mubarak, passes from the scene: will it embrace Western-style liberalism and democracy? Or will it become an Islamic theocracy similar to Iran? Egypt after Mubarak demonstrates that both secular and Islamist opponents of the regime are navigating a middle path that may result in a uniquely Islamic form of liberalism and, perhaps, democracy.
Bruce Rutherford examines the political and ideological battles that drive Egyptian politics and shape the prospects for democracy throughout the region. He argues that secularists and Islamists are converging around a reform agenda that supports key elements of liberalism, including constraints on state power, the rule of law, and protection of some civil and political rights. But will this deepening liberalism lead to democracy? And what can the United States do to see that it does? In answering these questions, Rutherford shows that Egypt’s reformers are reluctant to expand the public’s role in politics. This suggests that, while liberalism is likely to progress steadily in the future, democracy’s advance will be slow and uneven.
Essential reading on a subject of global importance, Egypt after Mubarak draws upon in-depth interviews with Egyptian judges, lawyers, Islamic activists, politicians, and businesspeople. It also utilizes major court rulings, political documents of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the writings of Egypt’s leading contemporary Islamic thinkers.