Democracy's Rorschach Test

Yuri Kozyrev / Noor for TIME

A poster of ousted President Morsi hangs from the barbed wire outside the Republican Guard headquarters in Cairo.

Was that a coup or not? That's the question people and governments across the Middle East have been contemplating since Egypt's military capitalized on a popular uprising to oust — and detain — the country's democratically elected President, Mohamed Morsi. The answer to the question has less to do with what actually happened in Cairo than with other Arabs' own views on political Islam and democracy. Across the region, governments, politicians and extremists are spinning the events in Egypt to suit their own narratives, whether it is to argue that democracy can't be trusted, or that Islamists can't be...

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