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There has been a military coup in Egypt, overthrowing the democratically elected President.

By law, the U.S. must cut off aid to Egypt until a democratically elected government has taken office.

Here's the relevant law, from the webpage of Senator Patrick Leahy:

Coups d'Etat

Sec. 7008. None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available pursuant to titles III through VI of this Act shall be obligated or expended to finance directly any assistance to the government of any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup d'etat or decree or, after the date of enactment of this Act, a coup d'etat or decree in which the military plays a decisive role: Provided, That assistance may be resumed to such government if the President determines and certifies to the Committees on Appropriations that subsequent to the termination of assistance a democratically elected government has taken office: Provided further, That the provisions of this section shall not apply to assistance to promote democratic elections or public participation in democratic processes: Provided further, That funds made available pursuant to the previous provisos shall be subject to the regular notification procedures of the Committees on Appropriations.

The plain meaning of the law is clear. U.S. aid must be cut off until there is a democratically elected government. The only exception is aid "to promote democratic elections or public participation in democratic processes." If someone wants to argue that U.S. military aid to Egypt - which is the overwhelming majority of U.S. aid - falls under this exception, let them put that argument forward for all to see.

Some people would like to claim that a coup is not a coup if there were demonstrators in the streets calling for the removal of the democratically elected President.

This argument is, of course, nonsense. By this standard, the coup against the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende in Chile in 1973 was not a coup; by this standard, the coup against the democratically elected government of Manuel Zelaya in Honduras in 2009 was not a coup; by this standard, the coup against the democratically elected government of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela in 2002 was not a coup; by this standard, the coup against the democratically elected government of Mohammad Mosaddegh in Iran in 1953 was not a coup. By this standard, the word "coup" would have no objective meaning, except perhaps "overthrow of a democratically elected government that we like by people that we don't like."

Middle East scholar Marc Lynch correctly noted, as reported in the New York Times:

"Military coups are often driven by popular mobilization and received by popular acclaim, but this does not change what they are," said Marc Lynch, a Middle East scholar at George Washington University. "It is possible, of course, that this will be the sort of coup which 'resets' the political arena and quickly restores civilian rule. The military can't help but to have learned the lessons of 2011, when their direct rule went so badly. But it's still a coup." [My emphasis.]
In addition to the importance of adhering to the rule of law - not a small thing in its own right - there are other good reasons to cut off U.S. aid to Egypt.

The Obama Administration says that it wants to use the threat of an aid cutoff to pressure the Egyptian military to quickly restore democratic rule and to not repress supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood.

But a key question hangs over the Obama Administration: is it wielding a credible threat?

It is widely believed in Egypt that the U.S. is not capable of following through on the threat to cut off aid.

Cutting off U.S. aid would prove that this belief is wrong. Cutting off some part of U.S. aid (at least) would be a start. And aid could be restored once a democratically elected government is in place - exactly as the law says and exactly as the Obama Administration says it wants.

If U.S. aid is not cut off, it will set a bad precedent elsewhere. Every military in the world that receives U.S. aid will know that in this case, U.S. law was not enforced. This will be an invitation to others that are tempted to overthrow democratically elected governments: how can we make our coup be like the coup in Egypt, and thus escape the legally mandated aid cutoff?

If we cannot cut off aid to Egypt when an aid cutoff is mandated by U.S. law, under what circumstances could we do it?

Robert Naiman is Policy Director of Just Foreign Policy.


The Obama Administration should cut off U.S. aid to Egypt until a democratically elected government has taken office, as required by U.S. law.

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Comment Preferences

  •  That is of course why we are seeing (11+ / 0-)

    all the frantic efforts to spin the situation into being something other than a coup. The African Union has suspended Egypt calling it a coup. They have certainly had a lot of experience in that line.

    •  re: African Union suspends Egypt on military coup (4+ / 0-)

      yes, it's nice to see that some people have principles...

      here's AP:

      African Union suspends Egypt over president ouster

      here's Reuters:

      African Union suspends Egypt over Mursi's ouster

      •  The AU must not (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ColoTim, gulfgal98, koNko

        be looking for a check in the mail from Washington.

      •  Except when a government the US doesn't like (0+ / 0-)

        ... is elected, like Hamas.

        Please, do elaborate the principles involved there, I'd be quite interested in your take on that.

        400ppm : what about my daughter's future?

        by koNko on Sat Jul 06, 2013 at 01:08:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  re: Hamas election (0+ / 0-)

          I think the U.S. response to the Hamas victory in the 2006 Palestinian legislative elections was a Spectacular Fail in terms of principle.

          A lot of people, including me, saw the response of the Obama Administration to the election of the Muslim Brotherhood candidate as President of Egypt - accepting the outcome of the election - as a hopeful, welcome, positive change in U.S. policy in the region, a break in the line that went from the cancelling of the election in Algeria to the attempts to overturn the results of the 2006 Palestinian election.

          Unfortunately, for many people in the region Egypt is now joining the Algeria-Hamas sequence of "the West thinks elections in our region are fine so long as the Islamists don't win."

          Trying to turn this perception around is a big challenge for U.S. policy right now, and that's a key reason why it would be a very good thing for the U.S. to be publicly perceived as putting serious pressure on the new Egyptian government by cutting off (at least some) U.S. aid - as required by U.S. law.

    •  The AU has leeway to declare whatever they want. (0+ / 0-)

      The US, on the other hand, will be condemned either way.  If the US declares it a coup, and therefore cuts off all aid, the far left bashes the US for not supporting a "peoples' movement" and "supporting" the MB.  We saw the US condemned for "supporting" MB already as it is (and that was just for trying to establish friendly relations with the democratically elected government).

      If the US doesn't declare it a coup, then the US gets condemned by the far left for not actively (as opposed to just rhetorically) opposing the action taken by Egypt's military.

      I would prefer to cut off all aid to Egypt, and Israel, remove all troops form the Middle East, and wash our hands of the whole thing.  Let Israel and Palestine broker their own peace settlements, let Europe and Japan deal with securing free passage of oil out of that region.  I'm tired of being involved there at all.  And we get condemned no matter what we do anyway, so just leave.

  •  Just curious if you have any interest (7+ / 0-)

    in how Egyptians view this, or any clue about what led to Morsi's win, or have considered tens of millions Egyptians in the streets demanding he resign.

    Because, as usual, the average American's perspective on this far outweighs those of the average Egyptian.  

    This is how Bush flailed in Iraq.  No idea what the political complexities were, no interest in what the citizens wanted, just an arrogant American determination of good versus bad.

    I spent two weeks listening to Egyptians speak on the issues.  They may have strong personal views but even they seem to understand it's complicated.  We just spout slogans.  A Morsi Cabinet member who resigned last weekend was vehement about not calling this a coup.  He considers it closer to our revolution.  Morsi. Cabinet. Member.

    I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

    by I love OCD on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 02:23:12 PM PDT

    •  I addressed your claim (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Richard Lyon, Addison, Paleo

      The fact that demonstrators in the streets called for Morsi's ouster does not make it not a coup. See above.

      •  Not quite. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        You refer to it, ignoring the harsh realities on the ground, but enjoying the scent that armchair generals love as their fireplace glows nicely, adding to the lovely aroma of cognac in the large crystal snifter.

        The Brotherhood was a menace, a danger and a threat. I could never understand our quick hugging of those anti-American, anti-women, and anti-western thugs.

        the only reason that the Botherhood won was because the rest of the country was disorganized. It would be like a revolution here in Chicago, and all semblence of society seeping away, leaving the Gangsta Disciples as the only organized party running for Prime Minister of Chicago. Sure, they may win the initial election, and gather control of many positions and offices. But, is it the best for Chicago? hell, no.

        Why did this happen? Because we fucked up. WE pushed for earlier than later elections, leaving a bunch of disorganized folks without the means, the experience, or the time to organize - fighting among themselves, and facing a very organized minority party - the effing Botherhood.

        In many ways the TeaBuggers of Congress remind me of the Botherhood. Both contain wild and possibly insane members who do not care about the general welfare.

        What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

        by agnostic on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 03:30:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  And other Egyptians DO call it a coup... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Richard Lyon, Robert Naiman, Paleo your point undermines itself.

      But regardless: there's a definition of the word coup in the English language. This event is the definition of that definition. It's a coup. A complex coup? One with complicated and subtle causes and consequences? Sure! Yes! We should all learn more about the attributes of this particular coup.

      it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses

      by Addison on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 03:33:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Fortunately Egyptians don't require English (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sandbox, Angryallen, 6412093, Lawrence

        as the national language.  Nor do they care how armchair warriors across the globe think their fate should be decided.  All we know so far is that millions of citizens objected to Morsi's  push to create an Islamic state while showing little interest in providing water, electricity, or jobs.  He did not win a mandate, he won by default.  He ignored rising protests until they became potentially dangerous.  The smart folks I listened to weren't any too fond of the military taking control but seemed to find it preferable to allowing Morsi 4 years to get his religious cops in place.  None of the people I heard were thrilled, most of them wanted a secular, modern state and regretted than Morsi was intransigent.

        I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

        by I love OCD on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 04:14:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Egyptians are both pro- and anti-Morsi. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Richard Lyon

          it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses

          by Addison on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 04:26:00 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  In any case... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Richard Lyon

          ...the question at hand is about an American law. Guess what language that law is written in? So your point is irrelevant. We're talking about American law governing American aid, and the definitions are in English.

          it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses

          by Addison on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 04:27:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Because that's so much more important (0+ / 0-)

            than actually spending some time figuring out the most sensible course of action.  Military Coup!  Bad!  Cut them off!  is kind of silly considering how complex the situation is.  

            I'm kind of jealous Americans don't take to the streets when the American Taliban is gutting our democracy.  

            I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

            by I love OCD on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 04:43:32 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well, sorry then... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Richard Lyon, Robert Naiman
              Military Coup!  Bad!  Cut them off!  is kind of silly considering how complex the situation is.  
              Sorry you think the rule of law is silly. I am in favor of changing the law. But I am not in favor of ignoring it.

              it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses

              by Addison on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 04:47:04 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Who's determining that it's a "genuine" coup? (0+ / 0-)

                My understanding of law as it's commonly practiced is that there's room for some interpretation, even in fairly simple situations.  So far it seems to be pundits who have ruled on this, and few have asked Egyptians what they think.  

                It's a fake drama to fill all those cable hours during the silly season.  I'm guessing Obama and his cabinet are discussing this at more complex levels.

                I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

                by I love OCD on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 05:51:46 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  re: the rule of law (0+ / 0-)

                bravo to you. I disagree with you that the law needs to be changed, but I greatly appreciate the fact that you're saying that although you think the law needs to be changed, so long as it is the law, we should follow it.

                that's a good advertisement for respect for the rule of law.

                we could use some more of that around here these days (I mean, in US political discourse, not Daily Kos specifically), and not only on this issue, by any means.

      •  I think it's a coup, but we should do (0+ / 0-)

        whatever is best from a diplomatic standpoint, we can't worry about what the dictionary says.  If declaring it a "coup" would have bad ramifications, the we shouldn't do it.  If it would have good ramifications, then we should.  I don't have a position either way on if it would be good or bad to declare it a coup, but we can't be bound by Webster's.  We need to be more flexible and strategic than that.

        If we weren't involved in Middle East affairs (which is my preference), then it wouldn't matter.  Then we could just go by Webster's definition of coup and declare it as such, because our declarations wouldn't matter, just like the AU's don't really matter and the end of the day.

        The other problem is that I fear tat there is going to be a civil war, starting with a small insurgency by MB and growing into guerilla warfare.  In that case, I'd rather that the US not officially side with either party.  Declaring this a coup and cutting off aid would implicitly side the US with the MB and the MB insurgency, if one were to arise.

    •  What does that have to do with U.S. law (0+ / 0-)

      and U.S. determination of whether there was a coup?

      by Paleo on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 04:38:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Mostly an avoidance of typically (0+ / 0-)

        arrogant American pronouncements on the internal affairs of other nations.  Why does this need to be decided today?  Because it's a good way to direct attention to what Obama might do, and avoid any attention to what's really going on.  It's slogans in place of policy.

        I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

        by I love OCD on Sat Jul 06, 2013 at 12:48:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, we need to listen better (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      I love OCD

      On the other hand, the diarist was talking about US law, which in this case is fairly simple, unlike the situation in Egypt.

      Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

      by Dogs are fuzzy on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 10:21:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Laws are for chumps (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Richard Lyon, gulfgal98, RUNDOWN, TJ

    They can be ignored when inconvenient.  Haven't we learned this by now?

  •  It is clearly a coup (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    but it is just as clearly yet another step in a long and complicated ongoing revolutionary process, the outcome of which is far from certain.  One way or another Morsi was going to fall, and the military intervention arguably allowed that fall to occur more quickly and with less immediate bloodshed than could have otherwise been the case.

    Military intentions at the moment appear dark, and most troubling are the rumors that the gasoline and electricity shortages that helped spark the popular uprising have dramatically eased since the coup.

    It's still too early to tell where things are going, and which of the competing popular movements (the secularists who overthrew Mubarak and the Islamists who elected Morsi) will win out.  Or whether the military will simply move on to consolidate its power and clamp down on the impending civil war.

    On the question posed in the diary, yes the US should cut off aid.  But it didn't do so in Honduras, and I doubt it will do so here.

    When the union's inspiration /Through the workers' blood shall run /There can be no power greater /Anywhere beneath the sun /Solidarity Forever!

    by litho on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 02:43:06 PM PDT

    •  actually, the U.S. did cut aid to Honduras (0+ / 0-)

      actually, the U.S. did cut off some aid to Honduras.

      LAT, September 04, 2009:

      U.S. cuts off $30 million in aid to Honduras

      Therefore, I think folks should not be so dismissive about the possibility that the Obama Administration will cut at least some U.S. aid.

    •  I don't think that the less (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Robert Naiman

      immediate blood shed part is a certainty. Morsi's supporters are getting shot today.

      •  I'd say the jury is still out (0+ / 0-)

        on the immediate bloodshed.

        The number of fatalities I saw for today on TPM a little while ago was seventeen, which is about equal to the number of dead over two days in the pre-coup demonstrations.  The concern before the coup was that full-fledged street battles would break out throughout the country, which could have led to hundreds or even thousands of dead per day.

        What is not clear yet is how organized a military resistance the Brotherhood will be able to put up against the coup.  If they can organize a successful resistance, a Syria-style civil war is not completely out of the question -- though in Egypt it would be between secularists and Islamists, not between Sunni and Shi'a.  In that event, the coup could truly be judged a failure.

        If there are no early elections also, the coup would have to be judged a failure.  The question now, as it has been since the beginning, is how strong the secular popular movement can be.  It did succeed in bringing down Mubarak, but it needed strong help from the military to do so.  It could not stop the Brotherhood in the elections, but was able to mobilize successfully to bring him down.  But, again, it was unable to deliver the coup de grace and needed military intervention to finish the deed.

        Will the secularists be able to hold the military to account in order to insure a quick return to democracy?  Will they be able to win new elections and write a more democratic constitution?

        The future of the Egyptian revolution rests on the answers to those questions.

        When the union's inspiration /Through the workers' blood shall run /There can be no power greater /Anywhere beneath the sun /Solidarity Forever!

        by litho on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 03:59:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Morsi's supporters are throwing people off of (0+ / 0-)

        buildings and bashing in heads, too.

        I think the US needs to think in terms of what is in our interests. I don't see any way it's in our interest to empower the Muslim Brotherhood, or even to feed perceptions that we are out to empower the Muslim Brotherhood. John Kerry waived requirements that Morsi show certain kinds of progress towards democracy only about 6 weeks ago and signed off on a $1.3 billion aid package. If we take a hard line now, what message does that send?

  •  All your examples of coups overthrowing (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo, Richard Lyon

    democratically elected governments were supported or even orchestrated by the US. I don't think these are arguments to convince the MIC to cut funding. The coups may have been ill-advised and caused huge blowback, but, really, mission accomplished. The unfettered flow of weapons continues.

    •  re: all the examples (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Richard Lyon

      well, the Obama Administration is just one of my targets.

      Another of my targets is so-called progressives who have suddenly decided that military coups are not so bad.

      I would like to remind them of coups that they didn't like that could be justified according to the same arguments that they are using to justify the coup in Egypt.

      •  It's not like progressives have (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Richard Lyon

        anything to do with military funding. The funding, after all, is a continuation of the aid sent for years to a dictatorship. We also have a law that prevent munitions being sent to countries that use them against their own citizens. That law gets ignored too.

  •  Sounds good in theory (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wilderness voice, Be Skeptical

    But practicality is another matter - since most "US foreign aid" is either in the form of weapons, fuel, industrial products, low or no interest loans, or food and medicine.

    Cutting off industrial goods "aid" hurts our economy, cutting humanitarian aid is counter productive.

    I imagine the biggest problem with cutting US aid is loss of influence over the current government (such as it is), and the nation's people, and driving them "into the arms" of alternate benefactors - like China or Russia (who have no such qualms).

    “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” ... Voltaire

    by RUNDOWN on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 02:46:21 PM PDT

    •  re: sounds good in theory (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      you are certainly right that there are a lot of political obstacles to cutting U.S. aid.

      when the Egyptian government was cracking down on US-supported "democracy promotion" groups, there was a discussion about cutting U.S. military aid. And some Members of Congress were like, whoa, there's a company in my district that benefits from that.

      Still, there was hard right-wing pushback on the Obama Administration over Honduras, and they still cut some U.S. aid there, so I would say that at least cutting some U.S. aid is not beyond the realm of possibility.

      And, I think it's important to call for cutting it off, because 1) that's what the law says 2) it's the right thing to do 3) the only pressure on the Obama Administration shouldn't be coming from the right and the military contractors, etc. If they only get pressure from the right and/or people who want them to ignore the law, the outcome is not likely to be good.

  •  So how often *have* we cut off aid (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Richard Lyon, artisan

    to countries where coups d'etat have overthrown legitimately elected governments? especially when we sponsored the coups d'etat?

    Not saying we should or shouldn't in the present case; there are arguments both for and against both courses of action.  I'm just asking for background.

    Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

    by corvo on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 02:56:26 PM PDT

  •  Morsi had assumed illegitimate power (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Argyrios, sandbox, Lawrence

    never granted to him.  By decree he put himself above judicial review and revoked the constitution - so he was the author of his own coup.  The military has now disbanded his illegitimate government and is moving to restore democracy.  

    Flame away.

  •  Ya know (0+ / 0-)

    I'm not down with seeing the world as black and white. Or being gung ho about "law & order." Too often, laws are written by those in power to defend their own activities. If your only reason for doing something is because it's the law, I'm not sure that's a sound enough reason. So I am not a big fan of the title of your diary.

    I also know that the Muslim Brotherhood did a ton of stuff right before the election which calls into question the whole election process in Egypt, particularly considering the fact that several politicians who were part of the MB deliberately ran as not being part of it then switched as soon as they got into office. This was done so that the MB would completely control the legislative government, even though the Egyptian people seemed to want a much more politically balanced group of people. That's not democracy. How do you think Americans would react if a huge number of people in the Democratic Party got elected to the House or Senate, immediately switched to the Republican Party, and then it was found out that they had been planning it the whole time? You don't think there would be massive protests and the legitimacy of the entire election called into question?

    However, you did list some other reasons which actually make sense. The only problem I see with why the US should withhold money, in terms of trying to make sure oppression of the supporters of the MB does not occur, is that I'm not sure how much withdrawing aid will make the military behave rationally. People tend to behave quite irrationally during a crisis.

    Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

    by moviemeister76 on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 03:19:19 PM PDT

    •  re: the title (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sandbox, moviemeister76

      the title was an attempt to be a little bit humorous. It may not work for people below a certain age.

      In the salad days of my youth, there were public service ads encouraging people to observe the newly introduced 55 mile an hour speed limit. An announcer with a police-authority sounding voice said: "55 miles an hour: it's not just a good idea, it's the law."when I was in grade school, this made a big impression on us, and it became kind of a meme.

      When I was in college, physics geeks would wear t-shirts that said, "186,282 miles per second: it's not just a good idea, it's the law." that, of course, being the speed of light, which, according to traditional physics, is the max speed anything can go.

    •  re: cutting aid might not work (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      "The only problem I see with why the US should withhold money, in terms of trying to make sure oppression of the supporters of the MB does not occur, is that I'm not sure how much withdrawing aid will make the military behave rationally. People tend to behave quite irrationally during a crisis."

      I would be the first person to concede that cutting U.S. aid, or threatening to cut U.S. aid, might not achieve such goals as stopping the repression of Muslim Brotherhood supporters. I would be the first person to admit that the U.S. is not all-powerful in Egypt, and that Egyptian political actors might do whatever they want regardless of the U.S.

      [Furthermore, I actually think that under the circumstances, the Obama Administration's policies in Egypt have actually been more reasonable than much of the criticism of its policies.]

      But the standard for judgment isn't: what's guaranteed to work. The standard is: in what direction should the U.S. be pushing. Now the U.S. should be pushing back hard, with whatever leverage it has, against military rule and against repression, and in favor of real political inclusion. That's going to be very hard right now, but that's the direction that the U.S. should be pushing.

      •  Yes I agree (0+ / 0-)

        I've been reading my Twitter feed today, and right now, I genuinely worry about the possibility of...well, not civil war. The supporters don't have the firepower for it, but it can't be good if a huge percentage of the country genuinely believe that they have been robbed of a democratically elected official - even if it's bs. People have been willing to die for less.

        Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

        by moviemeister76 on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 06:41:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Change the law (0+ / 0-)

    I know it's sketchy as hell, but they need to change the law. It was 100% a coup (the Orwellian redefiners and deniers aside), but we can't stop aid to Egypt at this point in time without risking both our national security and the stability of the Egyptian nation (i.e. the lives of Egyptians).

    The Egyptian army did a stupid, impetuous thing -- for reasons we may agree with, and we may hope will lead to a good outcome -- and now they have a nascent civil war on their hands.

    Now is not the time to defund them, which over and above the money issue would take them totally outside our orbit of control and unleash them to do truly abhorrent things to supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood.

    Change the law to include language that exempts Egypt, whether "popular support" (even though it would still be a coup, you could carve out "acceptable" coups) or giving them a timeframe for return to democratic processes (90 days).

    it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses

    by Addison on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 03:31:36 PM PDT

    •  But, but, but (0+ / 0-)

      If we did that the rest of the world might lose respect for our system of perfect democracy.

      •  Well, it IS a messy solution... (0+ / 0-)

        ...but given the messy problem, I don't see another way out. Unless the government just totally lies and says it's not a coup. Which would be a better outcome than totally defunding the Egyptian army, even if it's predicated on a lie.

        it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses

        by Addison on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 03:44:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The US government has extensive (0+ / 0-)

          experience in lying about such things.

          •  A test they've crammed for, and can ace! (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Richard Lyon

            it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses

            by Addison on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 03:48:39 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  actually, there's a "better" solution (0+ / 0-)

              ... which is more likely, I think.

              what they did in the Honduras case - and what I suspect the Obama Administration will do in this case and receive significant Congressional support for doing so - is not officially declare "coup" or "not coup" but review U.S. aid as it comes up - there was a big disbursement of U.S. military aid to Egypt in May, so a cutoff wouldn't have an immediate effect on that - and start to block things from going out if the Egyptian military isn't 1) making concrete progress towards handing over power to a democratically elected government, hasn't announced a date, isn't putting things in place for that 2) isn't refraining from repressing supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, hasn't allowed MB media to re-open, etc.

              It's not an ideal solution - it certainly was not ideal in the Honduras case - but it's certainly much better than not cutting U.S. aid at all.

    •  Don't change the law (0+ / 0-)

      It's not only morally right but creates an incentive for the military to step back.

      As for the timing, there's wiggle room so the end to aid doesn't have to be immediate.

      by Paleo on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 04:33:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Not so simple (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lawrence, Dogs are fuzzy

    Morsi used a slim win in the elections to justify what was essentially a coup overthrowing the constitution and the new Egyptian democracy. The largest demonstration in human history -more people then voted for Morsi demanded his resignation, new elections and a return to the path to a democratic pluralistic society.

    Morsi had already staged an undemocratic and illegal power grab. It was no longer a democratic government that was being deposed. This is an ongoing revolution. The military is one of many forces that include the Muslim Brotherhood and the vast anti-Morsi forces that are taking part. Best for the US not to appear to be intervening in something Egyptians must sort out.

    •  The Orwellian attempt to redefine "coup". (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Richard Lyon, Paleo, El Mito

      Morsi's actions were not a coup. He was in power, coups can't be carried out by the person in power by definition.

      Some of Morsi's actions (specifically annulling Constitutional amendments unilaterally) were un-Constitutional and tending very much toward authoritarian. Yes.

      The military's action, including the SUSPENSION OF THE CONSTITUTION (literally the most un-Constitutional action possible) regardless of the justification, was a coup.

      A coup deemed by you to be good and necessary is still a coup.

      it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses

      by Addison on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 04:06:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  he wasn't elected grand ayatollah (0+ / 0-)

        It was a coup against the judicial and legislative branch which he was not elected to. Neither did his election empower him to dismantle democracy. Morsi was usurping not just executive powers but legislative and judicial powers he was not elected to. So he was elected to the presidency not as supreme ruler of all three branches of government.

        Morsi was elected because the army stood with the people instead of Mubarak.

  •  I'm sure the coup was approved in advance (0+ / 0-)

    by the Empire.  The aid thing is just window dressing to make it all look like the real thing.

    "America is the Terror State. The Global War OF Terror is a diabolical instrument of Worldwide conquest."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 03:53:16 PM PDT

  •  already paid (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dogs are fuzzy

    Heard on NPR that this year's installment of the support money was paid to Egypt in May.  The next one is not due until next May. So I assume if they hold another election before then, all will be forgiven.

  •  Timing matters (0+ / 0-)

    One of the reports I read (BBC? can't recall) said that the US normally sends its annual aid package in May. Kerry was there in April and met with the military leadership, and I would have to assume gave them the green light. Then the money was sent per normal, ostensibly to the Morsi government but really to the military.

    So there may not be a decision required until next May -- and Obama is obviously hoping that long before then, there will be a new elected government (other than the Muslim Brotherhood).

    It ain't pretty but that's how this game works.

  •  Yes, the was a coup, and US (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    law requires an aid cutoff. I think Congress should enact a waiver in this case and President Obama should sign same so that aid may continue to flow.  I expect this will occur.

  •  facts on the ground (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The New York Times is reporting that at least 30 protesters in Egypt have been killed today, apparently at the hands of state security forces. From the images I've seen the protesters seem to be unarmed civilians. One man was shot through the head for trying to put up a photo of Morsi in front of  a group of soldiers, and the entire episode was caught on video. This, combined with the mass arrests of Muslim Brotherhood leaders, does not look like any sort of step toward asserting legitimate democratic control over governmental functions. I think the U.S. should consider cutting off all aid at this time.

  •  NJ Star Ledger: Cut Egypt aid over military coup (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Richard Lyon
  •  Morsi turned himself into a pseudo dictator with (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sandbox, Lawrence

    his Nov'12  decree arrogating to himself more power than granted by the voting population.

    November 2012 declaration
    Main article: 2012–13 Egyptian protests

    On 22 November 2012, Morsi issued a declaration purporting to protect the work of the Constituent Assembly drafting the new constitution from judicial interference. In effect, this declaration immunises his actions from any legal challenge.... Liberal and secular groups walked out of the constitutional Constituent Assembly because they believed that it would impose strict Islamic practices, while members of the Muslim Brotherhood supported Morsi.

    The move was criticized by Mohamed ElBaradei who said Morsi had "usurped all state powers and appointed himself Egypt's new pharaoh."

    Therefore, the code you quoted was no longer applicable to his case.

    Besides, why are you apparently favoring Islamists (and thus Jihadists) over what seems to be a popular secularizing movement? This overthrow may well prove to be a turning point in the history of Islam, proving that people can come together and overcome fundamentalist forces.

  •  Posted without comment (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Robert Naiman

    Former Ambassador Martin Indyk's piece in Foreign Policy on why we should be working with the Egyptian government.

    Cynicism is what passes for insight among the mediocre.

    by Sky Net on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 09:27:41 PM PDT

    •  re: Martin Indyk's piece (0+ / 0-)

      I don't disagree with Indyk that we should be "working with" the new Egyptian government, at least in the sense that "taking our ball and going home" is not a plausible option. We need to engage with the new Egyptian government, in order to try to have maximum leverage to push them in the direction of good things and away from bad things.

      But note this:

      "We should be communicating to them through private, not public, military channels that they need to put quickly in place a credible transition to civilian, democratic rule because, without that, U.S. law dictates a cut-off of American aid to coup-makers."
      1. Note that Indyk isn't contesting the central point of my piece: without civilian, democratic rule, U.S. law dictates a cut-off of American aid to coup-makers.

      2. This again points to the question: does the U.S. have a credible threat of cutting off aid? This suggests that a) cutting off aid must be on the table and b) if the new government doesn't move, the U.S. needs to start cutting things to show that it's serious.

  •  Has everyone forgotten what the "aid" is for? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sky Net

    It's our bribe to them for not attacking Israel. Has been for years and years.

    Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

    by Dogs are fuzzy on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 10:29:36 PM PDT

  •  If a Nazi Party were narrowly voted into office (0+ / 0-)

    in some country and then the citizens rose up and managed to kick the Nazis out, would we want to hurry and cut off aid to them?

    I do see the concern about a military coup, but I have to seriously question -- do we want to make it hard for the Egyptian people to throw off the Muslim Brotherhood? Shouldn't we be looking for a way to help them while respecting our own laws?

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