Director, Commonwealth Policy Center

I woke up this morning to the latest news of violence in the streets of Cairo, Egypt.  NPR reported that Egyptian security forces attacked pro-Morsi camps, killing as many as 60 protestors. With that kind of news off the bat who needs coffee to jumpstart the day?

It’s a bit strange that our federal government has claimed that the July 3 ouster of Egypt’s democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi, was not a coup. Really it was just a friendly game of Gin Rummy.  Capturing a president and suspending the constitution are just fun things that people like to do when they are bored. But don’t call it a coup. That would not even be in the ballpark of what really happened.  Especially when $1.5 billion a year in U.S. foreign aid is at stake. Translation: it’s really about influence and control.

Just to be clear the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act, prohibits aid to “any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup d’état.” There is not provision for a presidential waiver, and stipulates that aid can only be restored when “a democratically elected government has taken office.” According to a senior advisor to Barack Obama “we will not say it was a coup, we will not say it was not a coup, we will just not say.” The other unnamed advisor relied on the Humpty Dumpty reference manual for politicians and said "when this administration uses words, they mean just what we choose them to mean — neither more nor less."

In case the Obama administration has confused itself with the court of Ramses the Great, the president is not above the law. Nor does he have the right to twist the meaning of words for political purposes.  Pres. Obama shouldn’t expect any pyramids to be built in his honor. Nor should American citizens be expected to engage in mental contortions of acquiesence to a defiance of the law and reality