When someone tells you that, they know God’s precise will and further tells you with complete earnesty that they have the insight of a prophet – run in the opposite direction or, riot in the streets. The Egyptians have opted for the latter. Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi declared that a combination of God’s will and the recent democratic Egyptian elections have sanctified him and together have given him the right to seize dictatorial powers in Egypt. This move on his part says a great deal about the tenuousness of the Arab spring, the inability to rapidly democratize the Egyptian people, the Muslim Brotherhood and their goals, the rebellion against Hosni Mubarak and perhaps most important, Mohamed Morsi as an individual.
Morsi is widely credited with helping to bring Hamas to the table and have them agree to a cease-fire with Israel. It was not believed that Morsi could assume a negotiating position that his predecessor Hosni Mubarak held during his tenure as the leader of Egypt, because Mubarak, despite his iron-fisted approach to ruling Egypt, was more of an intellectual with a Western view of society. This was undoubtedly Morsi’s opportunity to see himself as a major player on the world stage and he played the position well. More important than the cease-fire negotiations was the fact that he usurped the role that could have been played by Recep Tayyip Erdogan the Prime Minister of Turkey, who as a radical Islamist has turned his country into an anti-Israel state thus, removing his credibility to be a balanced participant in the mid-East. Now Egypt is viewed as the world’s go to country in the area. So how was Morsi, an avowed member of the Muslim Brotherhood, known for historically being an Islamic radical, able to capture what appears to be the middle road? The answer is clearly that he did not. Despite the commentator’s views, Morsi is not a middle of the road type of guy. He never was and never will be. By claiming God’s will, he has shown his true radicalism, a position that he has only thinly veiled until now. Back in May of this year Turkey’s Erdogan began making a play to expand his power by calling for his position as Prime Minister to be altered to that of a “more powerful president”, a position that he ultimately plans to hold. This is after 10 years of being in power. No doubt, Morsi’s thinking is no different from his Turkish counterparts. Is this narcissism, ego-centrism to the max or simply belief in one’s own ability to make the best decisions for the masses? It is probably a combination of all three with an additional heavy dose of fervent religious fanaticism. And, Morsi is cut from this very same cloth.
Many politicians have more than a touch of narcissistic tendencies and attributes. Without this, they would likely not want to be in the public view. Those who rise to the top in the political world must have a larger measure of belief in them self, a belief that they are smarter, intellectually quicker or cognitively more gifted, and thus better able to understand the issues then those around them. Getting to a position of power requires belief in your capabilities coupled with the desire to succeed at your quest regardless of the cost and a willingness to do whatever it takes to get there. In a democracy with checks and balances, these individual traits are not as likely to create an environment that can result in anyone person’s power grab that is immutable. However, in an environment imbued with a culture of religious fervency, where the leader believes that he is God’s anointed and he has a power base that supports that notion of God’s will, the combination creates an environment that disallows any form of questioning.
I do not know enough of Mohamed Morsi as an individual, his early life, and background. I would love to get him into my consultation room and delve into his psyche. I am not bold enough to diagnose from a distance nor do I pretend to know enough about politics to predict the twists and turns of the political processes that may yet come about, after all it must be God’s will that I do not have the desire to lead a nation. What is clear are the socio-psychological patterns that radical leaders tend to follow. Mohamed Morsi is very likely to continue in this path and the Muslim Brotherhood is likely to increase its fundamentalist hold over the citizens of Egypt and its radical influence in the Middle East.