Cliff May

President Obama wants to keep aid to Egypt’s new military rulers flowing. So does Republican former ambassador John Bolton. Democratic (and Muslim) congressman Keith Ellison wants to cut aid to Egypt. So does Senator John McCain, often labeled an interventionist, and Senator Rand Paul, characterized as an isolationist. In other words, the crisis in Egypt is making very strange bedfellows. I don’t find myself comfortably in the sack with anybody.

Take the Working Group on Egypt, more than a dozen smart scholars and experienced foreign policy experts from both parties. A statement they released last week begins: “Despite the mistakes committed by former president Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood over the past year and despite the incitement and violence demonstrated by some Brotherhood supporters . . . ”

Despite the mistakes? Are we to understand that by appropriating pharaonic powers, undermining the judiciary, jailing journalists (and even comedians), persecuting Christians, and torpedoing the economy Morsi was merely committing a few rookie errors?

Actually, Morsi made just one blunder: He was insufficiently deceitful. He could not be bothered to pretend, even for a little while, that he gives a fig about rights and freedoms, checks and balances, the rule of law, and the economic well-being of his fellow countrymen. His goal was to establish an Islamist state, a Muslim Brotherhood autocracy, with himself as supreme leader. He wanted to get that done as quickly as possible. Is that not clear to all with eyes that see?

And what does the Working Group mean by saying that “some Brotherhood supporters” have been responsible for incitement and violence? Was it only supporters — not Brothers themselves — who wielded machine guns, set churches ablaze, and humiliated nuns? Were other Brothers and supporters outraged by such behavior, signing ads in Egyptian newspapers declaring, “Not In Our Name!”?

Cliff May

Clifford D. May is the President of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.