Elliott Abrams’s April 26 op-ed, “A Pinochet in Egypt?,” raised a troubling question about Egypt’s course. In debunking the positive spin that Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi might follow Chile’s Gen. Augusto Pinochet in taking the path of modernization, Abrams implicitly questioned the appropriate analogy for Egypt. The appropriate analogy may not be Chile but rather Argentina under the junta.
When Gen. Jorge Videla overthrew Isabel Perón in 1976, the military regime he established put Argentina on a temporary path to economic recovery from the depredations of Perónism. But it also built Argentina into a military power that, under Leopoldo Galtieri, challenged Britain for control of the Malvinas/Falklands. Military defeat restored civilian rule to the country, but civilian rule proved to be no panacea. Indeed, Argentina has proceeded on an increasingly downward and leftward path ever since.
So, which path will Sissi take? Will he, as Pinochet did for Chile, guide Egypt onto the path of modernity, or, as Galtieri did for Argentina, take Egypt on a quest for military conquest? Given the upheaval in and around Egypt, with its attendant dangers and opportunities, the odds are loaded heavily in favor of the latter.
Source: Washington Post