I was initially surprised by Sen. John McCain’s decision to call for a suspension of aid to Egypt until I realized that McCain is always wrong.

“We cannot repeat the same mistakes that we made at other times in our history by supporting the removal of freely elected governments,” McCain said during a public event in Prescott, Ariz…

“The president was freely elected,” said McCain, who acknowledged that he thought “long and hard” about his request, considering Morsi had “mismanaged” the county since taking over…

“…The USA must learn the lessons of history, and that is we cannot stand by, without acting in cases where freely elected governments are unseated by the military arm of those nations,” McCain said.

I think we can use the threat of suspended aid to help guide the military’s actions, with the goals of assuring a prompt resumption of representative government and limiting any human rights violations. But the last thing Egypt needs right now is more economic hardship.

The coup had the blessing of the the Obama administration, even if it wasn’t their first choice:

As President Mohamed Morsi huddled in his guard’s quarters during his last hours as Egypt’s first elected leader, he received a call from an Arab foreign minister with a final offer to end a standoff with the country’s top generals, senior advisers with the president said.

The foreign minister said he was acting as an emissary of Washington, the advisers said, and he asked if Mr. Morsi would accept the appointment of a new prime minister and cabinet, one that would take over all legislative powers and replace his chosen provincial governors.

The aides said they already knew what Mr. Morsi’s answer would be. He had responded to a similar proposal by pointing at his neck. “This before that,” he had told his aides, repeating a vow to die before accepting what he considered a de facto coup and thus a crippling blow to Egyptian democracy.

His top foreign policy adviser, Essam el-Haddad, then left the room to call the United States ambassador, Anne W. Patterson, to say that Mr. Morsi refused. When he returned, he said he had spoken to Susan E. Rice, the national security adviser, and that the military takeover was about to begin, senior aides said.

“Mother just told us that we will stop playing in one hour,” an aide texted an associate, playing on a sarcastic Egyptian expression for the country’s Western patron, “Mother America.”

And, again:

Mr. Morsi’s advisers had meetings with Ms. Patterson and her deputy as well as a phone call with Ms. Rice, the national security adviser. Mr. Morsi’s advisers argued that ousting the president would be “a long term disaster” for Egypt and the Arab world because people would “lose faith in democracy.” They said it would set off an explosion in the streets that they could not control.

And they argued that the United States was implicated: “Nobody who knows Egypt is going to believe a coup could go forward without a green light from the Americans.”

Surely, Sen. McCain knows what happened, yet he wants to punish the generals for doing what they were authorized to do.


After all, taking money out of the Egyptian economy will only exacerbate the people’s economic hardship, leading to an even more unstable and radicalized situation.

But, John McCain is always wrong. Always.

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