Is Egypt experiencing a military coup?
The days of coups d'état around the world are over, or so many observers have told us in recent years. Militaries have been domesticated, the people will not tolerate martial law, national stock markets would swoon if officers toppled civilians, and the opprobrium of the international community would be intense.
All these factors were to have made the sight of tanks and troops in the streets the stuff of grainy old photos of a bygone era. Indeed, coups have been relatively rare with perhaps the exception of places in Africa and tiny islands in the South Pacific.
Yet the Egyptian military's recent constitutional decree indicates that when the interests of the officers dictate, they are more than capable of using a combination of coercion, prestige, and their own sense of national duty to undermine legitimate governments and political processes.