When both the Egyptian military and supporters of the country's ousted president are accusing the United States of betrayal, it's tempting to think that the Obama administration must be doing something right. But in fact, the breadth of the discontent may simply be a reflection of the administration's inconsistent and sometimes incoherent policy, both before and after the military deposed
Last week U.S. Secretary of State
That the U.S. would continue its annual infusion of $1.5 billion in mostly military assistance to Egypt was never in serious doubt, given the role the aid plays in bolstering the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt. Even so, Kerry's comment was unjustified and offensive; previously the U.S. had treated Morsi's removal as a fait accompli but had stopped short of accepting its legitimacy.
Ironically, in an interview in the
The administration understandably feels whipsawed between these two complaints. But both have some validity. The U.S. should have been more vocal in criticizing Morsi's highhandedness, not only because he was violating democratic norms but also because it was obvious that his actions were tempting intervention by the armed services. Once Morsi was removed, the response of the U.S. — that it was "deeply concerned" by his overthrow — was short on the appropriate indignation. The administration further undermined its credibility when it reacted with muted criticism to attacks on protesters in which scores of people were killed.