August 24, 2013

SLAUGHTERING THE DEMOCRATS IN TOWN WITH OUR CONNIVANCE:

Diplomacy and Double Standards (Gareth Evans, 8/22/13, Project Synicate)

[H]ad the army held its nerve - and triggers - there is every reason to believe that Morsi would have been voted out in the next election. If the Muslim Brotherhood denied a ballot, or refused to accept defeat, tougher measures could then have been contemplated. As it is, the army's coup was indefensible, and its slaughter of mostly unarmed protesters ranks in infamy with the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989, and those of Libya's former leader, Muammar el-Qaddafi, and Syria's Hafez and Bashar al-Assad. 

It is not as if maintaining its $1.3 billion in annual military aid gives the US any leverage over Egypt's behavior. It might have once, but the amount now pales in significance next to the $12 billion in economic assistance recently rushed to the generals by Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates. Certainly, the regime would resent withdrawal of this aid, as would most of the Brotherhood's civilian opponents; but that matters less than the impact on American credibility, in the Middle East and the rest of the world, of not doing so. 

Unless political leaders know that tearing up the rule book on the scale seen in Egypt will expose them to more than rhetorical consequences, the tacit message - that regimes that pick the "right" targets can repress at will - will resonate in Bahrain, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia, not to mention Syria. Farther afield, the US risks reinforcing the perception that it is comfortable with double standards. For a country whose global leadership depends as much on its soft power as on its military might, that is dynamite.





Posted by at August 24, 2013 1:25 PM
  

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