Those very cool, detached and intelligent observers at 'Nightwatch' have summed up current affairs in Egypt with admirable precision:
Unofficial results tallied from reports announced by the judges in the various Egyptian governates during the weekend and relayed via Twitter also indicate the Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Mursi won the presidential election by a significant margin. The governate results are incontestable that a majority of Egyptian voters voted for an Islamist government leader.
There are two problems with this outcome. The turnout was so low that it bordered on embarrassing. Less than 25% of registered voters thought voting was more important than anything else they had to do on a weekend. This minority decided the immediate political future of Egypt. This must be interpreted as the will of the people, as Cicero wrote, "cum tacent, clamant.' [when they are silent, they cry]
Well, the can 'cry' all they like but for the immediate future Egyptians will have to put up with rule by the army who give every indication of refusing to yield power to a bunch of religious nutters. From the West's point of view - and what other view is worth wasting time on - we must all hope the army has what it takes to smack the Muslim Brotherhood round the ear and send it home to Allah. As 'Knightwatch' puts it:
One clear lesson of the Egyptian elections is that Egypt was not and is not ready for democracy in any modern or western sense. Egyptians now have voted twice - in the parliamentary and the presidential elections - to use the procedures of democracy to vote out democracy and elect an authoritarian, theocratic government.
This is the paradox of democracy - the electorate can vote away its right and power to vote. The Egyptians have now done this partially twice. This is not the Egypt that the US governing elites are familiar with.
The one thing we in the West must ensure is that the Suez canal is not controlled by Islamists. And Israel needs to do all it can to ensure that it does not have a militant anti-Jewish state on its southern border.