Totten won't characterize the interview, only saying that he will let it "speak for itself." Unlike most Western journalists, Totten actually stands up to Erian's misguided missives against the US. Fortunately, Totten's intro is somewhat comforting on Egypt's future:
The range of political opinion right now in Egypt is much wider than it was before. The January revolution really broke this place open. It’s physically and culturally the same country I visited before, but it’s politically unrecognizable as the Egypt I knew.So the Egyptians got that goin' for them. Which is nice.
Everyone outside Egypt wants to know more about the Muslim Brotherhood, though, so I’m going to start by letting you read the entire conversation Armin and I had with one of its most prominent figures. Be careful, though. Don’t assume this man represents Egypt’s political center. He doesn’t. The Muslim Brotherhood speaks for itself and represents only a large minority.
It was the largest and best organized opposition group during Hosni Mubarak’s rule, but that was partly a function of it being the only sizeable organization that was semi-tolerated by the regime for its own reasons. Now that Egyptians are free to go their own way, there are roughly 40 different political parties. The Muslim Brotherhood isn’t the only available “protest vote” any more. I’ve already met people who have abandoned the Muslim Brothers to join liberals and leftists, partly because they’re tired of rigid old men, but also because more liberal options are finally viable. And the Brotherhood itself is rupturing into relatively moderate and reactionary fragments.
It is still a powerful force, though, powerful enough that the United States government thinks it might be a good idea to establish contacts with the party. And the Brothers will no doubt have an impact on regional politics even if they do end up, at the end of the day, smaller (and therefore with a harder core) than they recently were.
And good, because that interview is bad, bad, bad.