Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced today a new US government position on Egypt, calling for a ‘transition to a democratic regime.’ This was also the old US government position on Egypt.
As this blog has pointed out, the “transition” word is a much-used device to appear to be in favor of democracy while in fact taking no position whatsoever. The democracy scholar Thomas Carothers is one who first pointed out the emptiness of the “transition” paradigm, noting a USAID description of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2001 as a country in “transition to a democratic, free market society.”
In this rhetorical make-believe, EVERY country is allegedly in “transition” to democracy, even if a dicatator is the status quo. Dictators are just a temporary delay, or even maybe themselves gradually “transitioning,” since the “transition” jargon leaves completely open WHEN democracy will arrive, or HOW SLOWLY the dictatorship will imperceptibly fade away.
Sorry, Hillary, you haven’t actually said anything yet, please let us know when you get a bit more enthusiastic about people demanding their own democratic rights.