Shhhhhh! We’re Suspending Aid to Egypt

Josh Rogin has an exclusive at The Daily Beast that Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT) told him that President Obama has quietly suspended military aid to Egypt, although without finding that there was a coup.  But we are acting, at least temporarily, as if there was a coup.

I have no problem with sending a message by delaying aid briefly, just as we would send a message by recalling our ambassador temporarily.  But I think overall we should support the military.

Neither side reflects our values, so we need to go with the folks who represent our interests, and that is clearly the military.

Just as I oppose political Christianity here, I oppose political Islam there.  The Muslim Brotherhood is awful for the 10% of Egyptians who are Christian, awful for women’s rights, and awful for the many, many Egyptians who are Muslim, but want a modern, secular goverment.

After waiting for 85 years to take power, the Muslim Brotherhood did a miserable job.  Morsi refused to reach out and run an inclusive government that tried to represent all Egyptians, he refused to be bound by the Constitution, and basically steered the country more and more toward a theocracy.  I’m sure the military did all it could to “help” him fail, but he did a pretty spectacular job himself.

It would have been better to postpone elections until moderate, secular forces had an opportunity to organize, but that didn’t happen.  After Mubarak was overthrown, there was no Jeffersonian alternative waiting in the wings.  If the choice is between autocracies, and right now it is, I’ll go with the secular one, thank you very much.

It makes no sense that much of the GOP has been criticizing Obama, other than that whatever he does, they automatically feel obligated to oppose him.   I can’t help but believe that if Obama had immediately taken a hard line against the military and called for the reinstatement of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, the right would have asked, “What do you expect from our Muslim, terrorist-supporting President?”  They would have been yelling and screaming about the threat to our fly-over rights, to our ability to jump the line at the Suez Canal, to Israel’s security.   Instead, you had the bizarre spectacle of John McCain and Lindsey (“Butters”) Graham defending Morsi against the military.  Do they really believe Egypt is better off in the seventh century?

We Knew This Was Coming

As expected, the Egyptian military is clearing out the pro-Morsi demonstrators in Cairo.  There are reports of hundreds killed and wounded.  They have also declared a state of emergency, which imposes a curfew and means that people can be arrested and held without charges.

Counter demonstrations are occurring all over the country.

The Obama Administration has condemned both the violence and the state of emergency.

Isabelgate

Once again, our friends on the right are having a hard time distinguishing forests from trees.

The Egyptian military’s ouster of President Morsi and the future of Egypt in particular and political Islam in general are not this week’s Big Story for them — no, it’s all about John Kerry’s spending part of July 4 on his yacht, the Isabel, in Nantucket.

I know, the visuals of his being on a 76′ yacht in that elitist bastion are hard to resist because you get a twofer — he’s out of touch both with the events in Egypt and the lives of normal people, but Isabelgate is another stupid “gotcha” diversion that makes the GOP look silly rather than statesmanlike.

Military Killing Morsi Supporters

The Egyptian military is dealing harshly with pro-Morsi demonstrators, with at least five killed so far and many more wounded.

I’m no fan of the Islamists and would like to see more secular elements in charge (just as I would in our own extremist-filled House of Representatives and state houses!), but they did win an election, and it seems to me the military should deal as gently with them as possible, since protester deaths only create more fury and bitterness.

Morsi Out, Military In

The military has taken over Egypt again, as they did in the transition between Mubarak’s overthrow and Morsi’s election.  By the time they left, they were extremely unpopular, as Morsi is now.

Morsi is in an “undisclosed location.”  I hope the military is protecting him, since the last thing they want to do is make a martyr of him.

The military has suspended the new constitution and installed  the chief justice of the Egyptian Supreme Court as acting president.  They say “technocrats” will run the government until new elections are held, but obviously they are pulling the strings.

Egyptian Military Plan

Egypt’s military plans to suspend the new constitution and dissolve the Islamist parliament.

If new elections are held soon, as President Obama is urging, there still aren’t strong secular, democratic parties waiting in the wings.

The better-off, educated Egyptians who are protesting Morsi’s and the Muslim Brotherhood’s Islamism are joined by poorer, less educated Egyptians, who are far, far more numerous.  But they are protesting more about the lack of jobs and economic progress than about a lack of pluralism and religious tolerance.  There’s unity against Morsi, but not unity for anything or anyone.