Secretary of State John Kerry gestures during a statement on the situation in Egypt. (Evan Vucci/Associated Press)
Secretary of State John Kerry gestures during a statement on the situation in Egypt. (Evan Vucci/Associated Press)

According to news reports, the U.S. administration has quietly cut off aid to the Egyptian government. But it’s not announcing it. Huh?

Aside from the penchant for non-transparency, this is entirely self-defeating — just as U.S. Ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson’s public support for the Morsi government was. In both cases we leave Egyptians to believe we back their oppressors. Heaven forbid we should tell anyone we’re finally doing the right thing.

Moreover, on what basis did we cut off aid? The president insists it wasn’t a “coup,” yet the administration refuses to follow the statute– insisting on doing the same thing by executive fiat. Go figure.

Since Saudi Arabia is stepping up to the plate, does a cut off of U.S. assistance matter? Yes, because we’re not Saudi Arabia. The Saudis are interested in decimating the Muslim Brotherhood, but also in crushing democratic progress (they don’t want Saudis getting any ideas). We on the other hand have a different role in the world and different objectives. The decision to cut off aid (if, of course, we told anyone about it) is meant, one would hope, to be the beginning of a sustained policy of diplomacy and economic carrots and sticks aiming to end the killing and move the country away from serial dictators.

The president’s policy is so hopelessly muddled that we have to rely on leaks to figure out what it is. That’s no way for a superpower to behave.

 

Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.