As Jeffrey Goldberg writes,
So here’s a question that’s nagging at me as we watch millions of Egyptians express their loathing for Mohamed Mursi, their hapless, power-grabbing president, and for his Muslim Brotherhood movement: How exactly did the U.S. come to be seen by Egyptian secularists and liberals as the handmaiden of a cultish fundamentalist political party whose motto includes this heartening sentiment: “Jihad is our way, and dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope”?Well, here is one of the ways that our bumbling policy conveys the impression that we don't care about human rights in Egypt - the Obama administration declared that they didn't care.
I mean, how did the U.S. fail to formulate a strategy that would advance both American interests and American values in the largest and most crucial Arab state? Within a span of just a few years, Egyptians have somehow convinced themselves that the U.S. has been an ally of both Egypt’s former dictator, Hosni Mubarak, and Mubarak’s main enemy, the Muslim Brotherhood.
Consider the following three events. First, on May 10, 2013, the Obama Administration elected to waive human rights restrictions placed on American military aid to Egypt, freeing up $1.3 billion for the Muslim Brotherhood regime’s military without the required showing that the “Government of Egypt is supporting the transition to civilian government, including holding free and fair elections and implementing policies to protect freedom of expression, association, and religion and due process of law.”That's some smart diplomacy right there, folks.
In other words, the Morsi government could keep funding the military even as it brutally oppressed dissent, including Egypt’s embattled Coptic Christian community.
Fast-forward to Monday, July 1, 2013. The corrupt, oppressive Muslim Brotherhood government had just faced what some were counting among the largest public protests in history. And here’s our president:On Monday, the US president, Barack Obama, indicated that Morsi had not yet lost his backing. “We don’t make those decisions just by counting the number of heads in a protest march but we do make decisions based on whether or not a government is listening to the opposition, maintaining a free press, maintaining freedom of assembly, not using violence or intimidation, conducting fair and free elections,” he said.Wait. What? Do you not remember that you just waived those very same human rights requirements not even two months ago? How much could you possibly care about these basic liberties?
Now fast-forward to today, July 3, when we learn that the Administration does actually care:Officials have also warned the Egyptian military that a military coup [against the Muslim Brotherhood] would trigger U.S. legislation cutting off all U.S. aid, which totals about $1.5 billion per year.For those keeping score at home, the Obama Administration waives human rights requirements when the Muslim Brotherhood is in power but then threatens to impose those very same waived requirements when the military — our decades-long ally within Egypt — threatens to assert control.
And our present Secretary of State seems to think that this is the moment to focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict leading John Podhoretz to wonder how stupid John Kerry is.
Of course, would we expect more from a department that spent over $600,000 last year to get more "likes" on their Facebook page? I don't think they understand that "likes" ginned up that way don't exactly represent approval of the State Department's policies?