Secretary of State John Kerry went all the way to Pakistan to finally clarify – if that's the right word – the US position on the coup in Egypt. He basically said that it wasn't a coup because the ouster of President Morsi was supported by a good deal of people. I really don't know why he would make that assertion in Pakistan of all places, a country that has been plagued with coups and certainly cheers the idea that now any military takeover that is popular in some quarter is now no longer considered a coup, but what Kerry said is bizarre anyway. A military ouster is almost always a coup and whether its popular has nothing to do with it. After all, its about the principle of constitutional order.
Here is what is so bedazzling. The United States is obligated under law not to offer any assistance to a country that has suffered a coup, hence the tussle. But the George W. Bush administration faced a similar dilemma after 9/11 in Pakistan, Musharraf, after all, had come to power through a coup himself. The Bush administration wanted to cooperate and did the only thing it could, it looked for a Congressional waiver, which it received. It upheld the rule of law, did not have to torture the English language and still got to do what it wanted in Pakistan. Why the Obama administration is not doing the same in the case of Egypt is a mystery, since it would almost certainly receive this waiver and naming it a coup would probably even add to the US leverage over Egypt. Anyway, here is my latest piece on Egypt over at the North Africa Post.