The Corner

The Utter Chaos of the Obama Administration’s Egypt Policy

Consider the following three events. First, on May 10, 2013, the Obama Administration elected to waive human rights restrictions placed on American military aid to Egypt, freeing up $1.3 billion for the Muslim Brotherhood regime’s military without the required showing that the “Government of Egypt is supporting the transition to civilian government, including holding free and fair elections and implementing policies to protect freedom of expression, association, and religion and due process of law.”  

In other words, the Morsi government could keep funding the military even as it brutally oppressed dissent, including Egypt’s embattled Coptic Christian community.

Fast-forward to Monday, July 1, 2013. The corrupt, oppressive Muslim Brotherhood government had just faced what some were counting among the largest public protests in history. And here’s our president:

On Monday, the US president, Barack Obama, indicated that Morsi had not yet lost his backing. “We don’t make those decisions just by counting the number of heads in a protest march but we do make decisions based on whether or not a government is listening to the opposition, maintaining a free press, maintaining freedom of assembly, not using violence or intimidation, conducting fair and free elections,” he said.

Wait. What? Do you not remember that you just waived those very same human rights requirements not even two months ago? How much could you possibly care about these basic liberties?  

Now fast-forward to today, July 3, when we learn that the Administration does actually care:  

Officials have also warned the Egyptian military that a military coup [against the Muslim Brotherhood] would trigger U.S. legislation cutting off all U.S. aid, which totals about $1.5 billion per year.

For those keeping score at home, the Obama Administration waives human rights requirements when the Muslim Brotherhood is in power but then threatens to impose those very same waived requirements when the military — our decades-long ally within Egypt — threatens to assert control.

I erred in the title of my post by calling the policy “chaos.” It’s not chaos. It makes perfect sense in context with Administration actions from the Green Revolution to the “Arab Spring.” Allies are thrown under the bus with alacrity, enemies are wooed with money and weapons — and through it all, radicals prosper and Christians die.

David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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