(Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has sparked angry protests and global criticism over a decree that expands his powers and reduces judicial oversight of his actions. Critics call it a power grab while Morsi’s supporters say the move is necessary to protect the democratically elected government from a judiciary loyal to ousted President Hosni Mubarak. We discuss recent events in Egypt and how the U.S. should respond.

Guests:
Steven A. Cook, senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and author of "The Struggle for Egypt: From Nasser to Tahrir Square."
Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, foreign correspondent for NPR based in Cairo, Egypt
Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat professor for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland and senior fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution.

  • Peter

    Could the guests clear something up about the Muslim Brotherhood’s past?

    Michael Krasny said on this program last year: “Sadat was probably assassinated by the Muslim Brotherhood who are now coming into power in Egypt once again.” [1]

    Earlier last year, Joel Beinin, an expert on modern Egypt at Stanford and the American University in Cairo, said in an interview: “The last time that the Muslim Brothers were accused of committing a violent act was 1954.” [2]

    Whose history, Krasny’s or Beinin’s, is closer to the reality?

    Sources:
    [1] KQED Forum, Dec. 20, 2011, hour with Rabbi Michael Lerner, http://www.kqed.org/a/forum/R201112200900 in the audio at time 29:45
    [2] Stanford Magazine, May/June 2011, “After the Revolution”, http://alumni.stanford.edu/get/page/magazine/article/?article_id=28323

  • EllaineR

    I’m visiting Egypt in less than 10 days with a group tour. I was informed that the sites we’ll be visiting are faraway from the protesters such as Tahrir Square and should be safe enough. Do you think its safe to travel at this time?

  • Rufus

    If you look closely at the NDAA, Obama’s perpetrating a power grab too.

  • TrainedHistorian

    Egypt went about getting a constitution the wrong way, holding elections first and then forming a constitution committee based on who won that first election. Having done it that way, the committee is drafting a constitution that favors the goals of that political party and (in Egypt’s case because it’s so overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim) the religion which happens to be the majority at the time of that election, leaving minority religions, the non-religious and possibly other political parties permanently without basic equal rights.
    .
    You need a constitution that is neutral with respect to political party and religion from the very beginning. Through elections, majority parties & majority religions will still have more influence, mainly about fiscal matters. But consitutions which are supposed be about basic rights & government structures, should not from the get-go define law in terms of the majority religion’s law, or the goals of a particular party (in this case making Sharia “a basis” of Egyptian law).

    The framers of the Constitution could have defined canon law explicitly as “the basis” of America’s law on the grounds that in 1789 the overwhelming majority of the US population was Christian. Instead they were fair enough on that issue (though not on gender & race) to adopt something like the First Amendment, precluding the government from elevating the majority religion’s law over everyone else’s. Egypt needs something comparable.

    And Sirhadi-Nelson obfuscates the importance of these issues by with her assertion that Egyptians aren’t interested in these constitutional details and will take some authoritarianism in exchange for economic stability. History (e.g. the experience of Latin America & Eastern Europe, other Middle Eastern countries) reveals that if you opt for short-term political and/or religious authoritarianism in the long-run you won’t get economic stability either.

  • EIDALM

    THANK MICHAEL FOR THE SHOW ,BUT HIS GUEST SORAYA SAID LOTS OF MISINFORMATION . THE TRUTH IS EGYPT LEGAL SYSTEM FOLLOWS THE FRENCH LAW. . MOST EGYPTIANS DO NOT WANT THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD . EGYPT HAS BEEN A SECULAR COUNTRY AND WILL REMAIN SECULAR. I BELIEVE SORAYA EITHER DOES NOT KNOW HER FACTS, OR SHE HAS A HIDDEN AGENDA,

  • EIDALM

    Please go to Facebook ,my brave niece back in Egypt has a Facebook page with the name SASO SO,,,,,her Facebook page post lots of pictures that represents how most Egyptians feel toward Morsi, includindg a photo of him with the headline……WANTED.FOR CRIMES AGAINST EGYPT….

  • A Malik

    I am not sure if it was on this piece, but during reports today (Tuesday 11/27/12) the term ‘ Islamist President Morsi’ is rather loaded. Shuld we then not refer to Mr Obama as democrat President, or Nethanyu as the Likud PM? Lets keep ‘labels’ like this out.

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