What’s been happening in Egypt this week is as important as the revolution that overthrew the old regime almost two years ago. A new dictator has arrived, and while the Muslim Brotherhood’s overturning of democracy was totally predictable, Western policymakers walked right into the trap. They even helped build it.
President Mursi has now declared his ability to rule by decree. The key concept is that he can do everything to protect the revolution. In doing so, he is defining the revolution — as the Iranian revolution of 1978-1979, which was made by a broad coalition of forces, soon after became defined — as an Islamist revolution.
One could call the Islamist strategy a short march through the institutions. Once Islamists take power — in Iran, the Gaza Strip, Turkey, and perhaps too in Syria — that is only the beginning of the story. They systematically do a fundamental transformation.