Turkey Coup: Why Can’t Democracy Exist in the Muslim World?

This is what people don’t understand about governance in the Muslim world. It is not that Western liberal secular states provide people more freedom to protest and create opposing political factions. It’s not that Western civilization just understands the meaning of “freedom” and “democracy” better than backwards Muslims.

It’s just that Western states aren’t under constant threat of military coups and social upheaval. Western secular states have been far more successful in consolidating power and are therefore in a position to allow the little people some semblance of protest and even political opposition within a narrow range of acceptable opinion because those activities pose no threat to the entrenched structures of power and control. And even then, there are some forms of protest that these secular government brutally repress. Look at what happens to whistle blowers in the US or how Occupy Wall Street and even #blacklivesmatter are hindered by militarized police action. Look at how Obama’s drone program has been used to justify the assassination of American political dissidents. And the list goes on. But those political scientists and liberal legal theorists in the academia, pining for democracy and believing it to be a panacea for all this strife close their eyes to the violent repression that happens in the West, or at best, frame it as an exception to the rule — when in reality, that is the rule.

But in the Muslim world, power has not been consolidated at all, so even those regimes that claim to be even somewhat democratic are forced to overreact to any display of political resistance, or otherwise face the threat of coup and political takeover from one of the many different vying factions. This is what we saw from Erdogan’s regime over the past few years. In Egypt, too, the fact that Morsi was slow or unable to enact similar policies of control is why he was so quickly and easily deposed.

This is not a question of secular vs non-secular, democracy vs. non-democracy. This is the nature of state power and no amount of window dressing will change that underlying reality.