This rather gorgeously written and stated analysis of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood appeared in the December 24 & 31, 2012 New Yorker, in the Talk of the Town section. It is the end of a short piece called “Brothers’ Keepers,” by Peter Hessler:
The Brotherhood has “a huge ability to withstand negotiations that never reach anything,” Gaber Gad Nassar, one of the most prominent members who quit the constituent assembly, said last week. Nassar is a professor of constitutional law at Cairo University, and his analysis could be seen as either deeply pessimistic or perversely optimistic, depending on the tone of your inshallah. “They are extremely keen to take over power and use it,” he said. “However, the biggest problem they face is the lack of talent qualified to do that.” Critics have always made this point—that the worst thing that could happen to the Brotherhood might be a rise to power, because then their weaknesses would be exposed. But this is a small consolation in Cairo. The world is full of bad regimes that survive just because they hurt others more than they hurt themselves.
That last sentence just kills me.