On September 11, 2012, US embassies in Egypt and Libya were attacked. While the world watched videos of youths scaling embassy walls and burning American flags, the governments of Egypt and Libya chose to respond in quite different ways. The first response of the govenrment of Egypt, led by President Mohamed Morsi, was to denounce the anti-Muslim film produced in the United States and call for the United States to prosecute the filmmaker. In contrast, the first response of the government of Libya, led by the General National Council, was to unequivacably condemn the attackers of the embassy.
The puzzle is this: why did the governments react in such different ways?
Answers to our last Puzzler:
Our last puzzler asked why the United States bothers with presidential debates, given that they have little effect on elections’ outcomes. Reader kerokan suggested that debates persist because incompetent candidates likely to perform poorly cannot back out of them because declining to debate would be an even stronger signal of their low quality; competent candidates see the debates as an opportunity to demonstrate their high quality. Roderick focused on the legitimizing effect of the debates, arguing they “give a form and appearance of legitimacy to democratic governance.”