From the Washington Post, in an op-ed from Nathan Brown, a respected Egypt expert:
The U.S. message to Morsi should no longer be “We’re with you, watch out for some details around the edges.” Instead, Obama officials should be telling Egyptian leaders: We’re extremely concerned about your violations of core political and legal principles; we can’t be the partner we would like to be, and the partner Egypt needs, if you undermine the fulfillment of Egyptians’ democratic aspirations.
Putting this message into practice will require much sharper, clearer public responses by the White House and State Department to violations of basic democratic and rule-of-law norms. It will mean an end to justifying the Brotherhood’s negative political steps. And the United States should indicate that the possibility of new aid is not isolated from domestic Egyptian political realities.
This tougher line should not be coupled with an embrace of the opposition. U.S. policy should be based on firm support of core democratic principles, not on playing favorites.
Recalibrating the current policy line will require careful nuance. It has to be clear that the United States is not turning against the Brotherhood but is siding more decisively with democracy.
Earlier in the article Brown goes through the litany of Brotherhood illiberal and anti-democratic decisions. Here, he puts forward what is necessary to counter the widely believed Egyptian liberal and Coptic Christian conspiracy which says the US is ‘backing’ Morsi.
Brown’s words seek to hold on to the ideal in difficult geopolitical times. It is always best to do what is right, and call others to do the same. Messy and impractical, often, and with uncertain results. But it is always best.
2 replies on “On US Policy toward Egypt”
I would support this move. In fact, the U.S. should be doing something similar with Egypt’s neighbor, Israel. You could even reprint the same article, with just a few word changes here and there to fit the situation.
Well noted, Matt, thanks.