Obama makes right decision on the inappropriate US-Egypt joint military exercises
Teetering between a lasting next generation military coup and a faltering democratic transition with lethal violence filling the streets, Egypt is in political crises; therefore, its military and government should not be focusing on the Bright Star American-Egyptian joint military exercises that were scheduled for mid-September. On the one hand, supporters of President Morsi have a legitimate right to peacefully protest the ouster of their leader as he was democratically elected and the military’s actions can easily be interpreted as anti-democratic. On the other hand, elections were probably held too soon for truly representative political parties to form, which seems to be the reason the Muslim Brotherhood had such a disproportionately unrepresentative victory, and Morsi was abusing political power to impose his ideology on a vast majority of Egyptian, which would have stripped away the People’s human rights and basic civil liberties while precluding the future exercise of their democratic rights; therefore, the military probably had a legitimate reason to remove Morsi. That said, the region and the world does not need another Myanmar or, worse, Syria, so the military and interim government need to suppress their impulse to respond violently and pursue a path of political reconciliation.
Meanwhile, the US cannot allow itself to be further framed as anti-democratic, anti-revolutionary. If these military exercises had been allowed to go forward, they would have served as a regional symbol that blacklisted America as a force against the freedoms and interests of the Peoples of the Middle East. Cancelling these exercises was the right decision and a right step toward recalibrating our stance on Egypt as well as the region. (That said, this action does not make up for the hypocrisy on the Snowden/NSA controversy.) America needs to be more faithful to our democratic roots and more consistent in how we support those values, whether dealing with friend or foe, wealthy or poor country.
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