A coup has taken place in Egypt today, and please use this as an Open Thread to address any topics related to that. The Orange County angle of the story is this: Congressman Ed Royce has apparently declared a coup of his own and has taken over United States Foreign Policy. From CNN, which is updating the story today at a brisk pace:
[Updated at 4:42 p.m. ET, 10:42 p.m. in Egypt] The chairman of the U.S. House foreign affairs committee has weighed in:
“It is unfortunate that Morsy did not heed popular demands for early elections after a year of his incompetent leadership and attempting a power grab for the Muslim Brotherhood,” U.S. Rep. Ed Royce, R-California, said in an e-mailed statement. “Morsy was an obstacle to the constitutional democracy most Egyptians wanted.
“I am hopeful that his departure will reopen the path to a better future for Egypt, and I encourage the military and all political parties to cooperate in the peaceful establishment of democratic institutions and new elections that lead to an Egypt where minority rights are protected. But make no mistake about it, Egypt is in for very difficult days.”
OK, switch the party roles for a moment. Pretend that Condoleeza Rice is the current Republican Secretary of State. The Democratic Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee — let’s say that it’s Alan Lowenthal (who in real life is on the committee) suddenly emits trash talk regarding a military coup (or whatever the military claims it is instead) of a major, major U.S. ally. He tells the previous President to get stuffed, at a time when despite appearances it is not yet entirely clear how things are going to turn out, and says that that country “is in for very difficult days.” This comes at a time when the actual foreign policy establishment — the one in, you know, the Executive Branch — has cautiously avoided public comment. In fact, let’s imagine that Rice’s statement as of last night was a lot like Kerry’s last statement towards the Egyptian government: forceful exhortation but not threatening, let along celebratory.
What would Republicans say about Bizarro World’s Alan Lowenthal’s trenching on the foreign policy decisions of that world’s Condoleeze Rice? Because whatever it is, they should be saying it right now about Ed Royce. If he were a rank-and-file Congress member, that would be one thing — but he’s the leader of the relevant committee for one house of Congress. That’s why it’s on CNN — as he clearly hoped.
While few Americans celebrate Morsi’s policies, his view represents a large segment of the world — not only pro-Muslim but also pro-democracy and anti-coup — areas in which the U.S. has earned the world’s suspicion in the past. (Sorry if any readers don’t know that; you were supposed to learn it in high school.) Times like this call for finesse and diplomacy — so as to, among other things, not stoke the hatred of U.S. hypocrisy that helps to fuel terrorism.
Regardless of whether or not one agrees with Royce on the merits, the last thing that this country needs right now is a highly placed loose cannon. One wonders, though, if Royce has made the political calculation that, as a political bomb-thrower himself, terrorist attacks on U.S. interests are “good for business.” How else do you explained his leaping forward — at a time when doing so was unnecessary and unwise except perhaps as a personal political calculation — to jab his fingers into a fresh wound of another country that, justified or not, is sure to generate rage?
And, just before I post, here’s more from CNN:
The U.S. Embassy in Cairo has ordered the mandatory evacuation of all nonessential personnel, CNN’s Jill Dougherty reports, citing a senior administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Hey, Darrell Issa! Do you suppose you could investigate whether Ed Royce comments, broadcast around the world before the U.S. embassy was even evacuated, might eventually get any Americans killed? Thanks!