Why Egypt Was Not a Successful Revolution

Author & Political Scientist

Ian Bremmer is the president and founder of Eurasia Group, the leading global political risk research and consulting firm started in 1998. Today, the company has offices in New York, Washington, and London, as well as a network of experts and resources around the world. Eurasia Group provides financial, corporate, and government clients with information and insight on how political developments move markets.

Bremmer created Wall Street's first global political risk index, and has authored several books, including the national bestseller The End of the Free Market: Who Wins the War Between States and Corporations? which details the new global phenomenon of state capitalism and its geopolitical implications. He also wrote The J Curve: A New Way to Understand Why Nations Rise and Fall, which was selected by The Economist as one of the best books of 2006, and The Fat Tail: The Power of Political Knowledge for Strategic Investing. His latest book is Superpower: Three Choices for America's Role in the World

Bremmer is a contributor for the Wall Street Journal and writes "The Call" blog on ForeignPolicy.com; he has also published articles in the Washington Post, the New York Times, Newsweek, Harvard Business Review, and Foreign Affairs. He is a panelist for CNN International's Connect the World and appears regularly on CNBC, Fox News Channel, National Public Radio, and other networks.

Bremmer has a PhD in political science from Stanford University (1994), and was the youngest-ever national fellow at the Hoover Institution. He presently teaches at Columbia University, and has held faculty positions at the EastWest Institute and the World Policy Institute. In 2007, he was named a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum. His analysis focuses on global macro political trends and emerging markets, which he defines as "those countries where politics matter at least as much as economics for market outcomes."

Bremmer grew up in Boston, and now lives in New York and Washington, DC.

  • Transcript


Ian Bremmer: We should not go looking at Egypt as if it’s a successful revolution.  It’s not.  It’s a managed transition.  Mubarak is gone.  The military is still there and it will be the most powerful player in that country for a long time.  There will be a democratically elected government and that’s a good thing.  But it will be a weak government.  It will have weak political parties.  It will probably form weak coalitions that will have a very hard time actually getting meaningful political and economic reform done.  

So is Egypt a success story?  Well it’s not like Iran where the demonstrators were brutally repressed, but it’s also not like Georgia where you ended up with a complete shift of regime so great on the political economic and security front that the Russians invaded them a few years later.  Now that my friends is a successful revolution.  Egypt is a managed transition.  It’s kind of right in between the two and in the United States the media, Time Magazine has faces of Egypt’s revolution and they look beautiful and they speak English and all that.  It’s wonderful, but it doesn’t really reflect the reality on the ground of what has actually happened across the entirety of Egypt and as we move from the CNN to the C-Span phase of Egypt, which is the phase that nobody actually watches and it gets a little more boring, but where governance actually gets done we’re going to find that the transition in Egypt is a little less dramatic than what was being reported in the early days.