It’s not a coup; so move on, US tells world about Egypt
After weeks of crumbling and stumbling about the military’s ouster of Egypt’s Islamist President Mohamad Morsi, the United States has finally spilled the beans and thrown its full backing behind the generals and their civilian rulers amid the ongoing pro- and anti-Morsi showdown in Cairo.
Giving the strongest backing yet to the military-backed government in Egypt, John Kerry, the top U.S. diplomat, unveiled the “best judgment” of Washington by saying that the military heard the deeds of Egyptians fearing that their country would be further dragged into chaos under the Morsi governance.
He went on saying that the military did not take over; instead it started restoring democracy in Egypt.
Despite the fact that the now jailed Morsi had brought on the military intervention by taking steps that would eventually create a new pharaoh in Egypt; calling a coup, which is clear as day, an effort to restore democracy would be a distorted deliberation about the recent crisis in Egypt, which aimed at giving a self-denial picture of the political situation.
And, Kerry is not that naïve and his remarks clearly gave signals of a swing in the U.S. policy about the country. The sub-text in his remarks about Egypt has its messages for many in the region, including Turkey – a vocal Morsi supporter – but the main idea is in fact crystal clear: Washington wants an end to the so-called “Arab Spring” and moves for reaching its goal.
The U.S. has been at odds with the self-proclaimed “breeze of change” in the Middle East since its very beginning after seeing its loyal allies’ overthrown in Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen. But Washington avoided taking a side against the upheavals for more democracy and freedom given its self-declared status of “being the main beacon and guardian of human rights and democracy.” And when the “breeze” has arrived in Libya and Syria, its support became dominant for anti-regime forces.
Soon later in Egypt, the revolt has been hijacked and, the United States has returned to its passive aggressive, reluctant stance crystallized by President Barack Obama, wait for the moment of truth. A coup came over and Washington kept its low rise volume together with its European allies.
Up until the U.S. administration decided that the instability in Egypt would no longer linger on since it has been having difficulties to who trust on as ally in a country next to its closest ally, Israel. Therefore, Kerry’s remarks purifying the coup in Egypt came as no surprise. Washington could care no less about the fate of the “Arab Spring” since it wants a strong and clear ally in Cairo.
However, its blessing for the military takeover in Egypt is surely spelling trouble for its ties with another on and off ally, Turkey, under the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, which has been waging a wave of diplomatic salvos on the new Egyptian rulers after their same-minded ally Morsi lost his powerful post.
Senior Turkish officials were quick to criticize Kerry’s statement but the echo of their voice is in doubt since Washington would not put its ties with Ankara into an ultimate jeopardy over Egypt and Ankara would avoid a direct confrontation even if they’d continue their salvos on the anti-Morsi camp and even on Kerry.
Still, Kerry’s legitimatization of the military coup in Egypt is not only the killing of slim hopes for a Morsi return in Cairo but yet another blow to Turkey’s neo-Ottomanist foreign policy in the Middle East.
Having said that, Kerry’s words are surely not a remedy for Egypt and they will not be considering that the ongoing faceoff between rival camps. With the recent efforts by EU’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, the United States will also push for a negotiated solution.
But what is evident today is that Washington made its final judgment about the coup: that it was not a coup, and what is left for the world, and that includes Turkey, even if it sometimes fails to realize it, is to move on.