The would-be president travels to London, mouths platitudes, gets called "substantial."
Sebastiano Tomada Piccolomini's photos of the men who will take over a war
The best defense I can muster for Team Obama's pathetic response to the events of the last month in Egypt is that the men and women in charge of American foreign policy simply don't mind looking foolish. No, really: Obama has espoused the generally astute opinion that the immediate reaction of the American president is not the most important aspect of every worrying development on the planet. Not all problems can be fixed by a show of American strength or outrage or willpower.
When I interviewed John McCain a couple weeks ago for the latest issue of The New Republic, he was candid about his opinion of Egypt's new military leader, General Abdel Fatah al-Sissi. Here was the exchange:
These are excerpts from a report today from Amnesty International of mass killings of civilians by the Syrian regime:Last weekend 13 members of the same family in al-Baydah were killed, with the bodies of three brothers found with bullet wounds just outside their home and four female relatives and six children between the ages of two and 13 found dead inside the house. The killings took place shortly after pro-government forces clashed with opposition fighters close to the family’s home.
Good news! Egypt’s military rulers, who had held former President Mohamed Morsi incommunicado since July 3, have finally explained why. Morsi, according to one of the military’s friendly judges, has been charged with espionage. A president who committed espionage? Here’s the tortured explanation by way of the Egyptian Middle East News Agency:
In the two weeks since the Egyptian military has overthrown Mohamed Morsi’s government, it has initiated a campaign of repression against the former officials and the Muslim Brotherhood aimed, it appears, at eliminating the Islamists as a party in Egyptian politics. Amnesty International has issued a report detailing the military’s actions.
If there is one underappreciated aspect of the chaos in Egypt, it is the startling amnesia with which the country's majority has greeted this month's coup. Most of the media commentary over the last several weeks has described a battle between Islamists and the military, with the country's secularists embracing the latter. Whether this strategy will actually bring forth the results that the protesters want remains to be seen. But it's nearly impossible to read about the subject without feeling astonished by the history the protesters have chosen to either ignore or repress.
Throughout last week, rumors percolated that an explosion in Latakia, Syria, was the handiwork of the Israel Defense Force. Then, over the weekend, U.S. officials confirmed that Israel, acting as it has said it will do and as it already has done several times this year, blew up weapons it deemed threatening—in this case, anti-ship cruise missiles.
It's been interesting to watch American politicians and commentators respond to the coup in Egypt, largely because the reactions have not conformed to ideological categories. Conservatives, especially, seem split: David Brooks wrote a pro-coup column, and Robert Kagan penned an excellent case against the military's move.