I mean, really? Talking about the possible dangers of the political rise of the Muslim Brotherhood or the Salafists or the Ennahda Party (particularly when it comes to social freedoms) don’t have to involve saying things like “Are the sceptics who said that Arabs could not handle democracy—and would inevitably elect nasty people who would never surrender power—being proved horribly right?”
Just to point out - we rarely look at the Evangelical role in US politics as an argument for a Western inability to successfully implement and maintain a democracy, but Evangelical Christianity’s political and activist role is frequently aimed at detriment to social freedoms like the right to choose or the freedom to plan a family and to have safe sex, or to have the same rights even if you’re gay.* We absolutely need to be talking about what the outcome of Ennahda’s big win in Tunisia and the growing power of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt might mean for those populations, but we also need not to get carried away into the land of paternalistic Orientalism and start making broad decisions and evaluations of any culture’s innate ability to form a certain kind of government to our own liking, or make snap decisions for those countries about whether or not their new systems are successfully created.
Important things to remember here when talking about this: not all residents of the Middle East or North Africa are Arab or Muslim; a significant chunk of Egyptians and Tunisians did not vote for political Islam and are exerting pressures on those parties to dilute their politics, make promises about their social policies, and form coalitions with more moderate or secular parties; talking about the failure of a political transition just as it’s officially beginning is hasty and silly; not Western does not equal not successful.
*If you’re reading this and you’re Evangelical, this is not equivalent to me saying your religion is bad or that you automatically believe these things or act in these ways. I’m talking about the politicized elements seen in and wielded by numerous conservative/Republican candidates and their political influencers.