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Developments in Egypt raise suspicions that coup may have recently occurred

Amidst fierce street battles, protests, and a growing number of deaths in Egypt, speculation is said to be growing within U.S. policy circles that the July 3 coup that removed democratically-elected President Mohamed Morsi from power was in fact a coup and not instead a new and new cutting edge type of democratic election, as President Obama had originally believed.

Amidst fierce street battles, protests, and a growing number of deaths in Egypt, speculation is said to be growing within U.S. policy circles that the July 3 coup that removed democratically-elected President Mohamed Morsi from power was in fact a coup and not instead a new and cutting edge type of democratic election, as President Obama had originally believed.

Just because the military forcibly removes the leader of a country and subsequently imprisons him doesn’t mean you can just walk around throwing the word “coup” all over the place. If you did, of course, you might be legally compelled to halt deliveries of the $1.5 billion worth of aid you so generously give to that country annually. Best to avoid using the word altogether, it would seem. Good idea to call it a “unicorn parade” or “lollypop social” instead. Wait, what’s that? The constitution was suspended by the military as well? “Unicorn parade” it is.

In the case of Egypt, which according to the dictionary experienced a coup earlier this month, State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki puts it quite nicely: “Each circumstance is different…You can’t compare what’s happening in Egypt with what’s happened in every other country.” She’s undoubtedly right. If one country experiences a coup and another country experiences a coup, we can’t be expected to use the same word twice. Best to create new words for every individual circumstance. For example, if you have a dog and I have a dog, it’s a good idea to figure out a new term for mine because each animal that merely matches the biological description of a dog down-to-a-goddamn-tee can’t simply be called a dog. Thanks, Jen. Let’s keep it simple and just call it a “transition to democracy,” as President Obama did.

Given all of the sunny logic above, on July 8, when over 50 supporters of recently-deposed Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi were gunned down by soldiers and police, things still seemed to be fine in Washington. “Democratic transitions” are always soaked in blood, anyhow. As are “tenuous situations” as House Speaker John Boehner can tell you. However, with the 6 more people that died in pitched battles around Cairo today, even John would admit that the people of Egypt might be starting to think they may have just experienced a coup.

If there was in fact a coup in Egypt earlier this month, it is likely that Islamists in Egypt–and perhaps elsewhere–will be especially averse to political participation going forward because, well, they’ll just be thrown out in the end anyway. Well known thought-leader and Syrian president Bashar al-Assad points out that the development in Egypt signifies the “fall of political Islam”. That would undoubtedly be a dangerous thing for anyone who believes in the participatory democratic system–and maybe even those who have been taking steps to reach a political settlement with the Taliban in Afghanistan. Like President Obama, for instance. Good thing a coup didn’t take place.

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