Thursday, August 15, 2013

When is a coup d'état not a coup d'état?

The facts are not in dispute. On July 3rd, 2013 troops and tanks of the Egyptian army surrounded key installations, commandos took prime minister Morsi to a Ministry of Defence building and General Abdul Fatah al-Sisi announced that he had removed Morsi from power and suspended the constitution. The army then appointed an interim president. It is difficult to think of a power change in any country that more closely conforms to the classical model of a coup d'état. If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and walks like a duck, it probably is a duck.

Yet the Obama government has refrained from using the term "coup d'état" because to do so would trigger the suspension of military aid to Egypt. This is like refusing to call a crime a crime because to do so would entail the apprehension and punishment of the perpetrator.