The sad truth about the Cairo 'coup'

Fireworks light the sky as opponents of Egypt's Islamist President Mohammed Morsi celebrate in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, July 3, 2013. A statement on the Egyptian president's office's Twitter account has quoted Morsi as calling military measures "a full coup." (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

Here’s the tragic truth about the Egyptian military’s apparent takeover in Cairo. While millions of Egyptians may cheer, the fall of President Morsi won't help Egypt's democracy or economy to revive.

President Mohammed Morsi, and the Muslim Brotherhood movement to which he belongs, made big mistakes, acting as if his 50.7 per cent election victory entitled him to ignore the wishes of the other half of the country.

But his political opposition is hardly more democratic. Sharply divided between liberals (a small minority), leftists, remnants of the Mubarak regime, and a disaffected plurality dissatisfied with Morsi’s failure to revive the economy, the opposition has never produced clear leaders or a coherent economic or political program.

The youth leaders who made the first Tahrir Square revolt, and others like them, have proven their talent at rallying millions to the streets, but have failed to produce any coherent political movement. They have been unwilling or unable to organize strong political parties. And, suspicious of the Brotherhood’s intent, they have opposed any economic initiatives undertaken by the Morsi government.

Even if Morsi goes – at military behest – that won’t stabilize a country or an economy that is in a state of collapse. Nor will it provide a formula to rally all Egyptians, including the third that still support the Islamists, behind a new government.

So while non-Islamist Egyptians may be happy if/when Morsi goes, the country will remain in turmoil until both sides mature enough to cooperate on a program that saves the economy and precludes military rule.