President Obama’s official “rebuke” of Egypt’s military junta after Wednesday’s massacres begins and ends with a single speech and the cancelling of a single, not particularly important military drill.
The speech made it immediately apparent, however, that this is far from a big deal for the president, and he repeatedly downplayed the killings of hundreds of civilians, insisting “we appreciate the complexity of the situation” and that Egypt’s democratic transition could take “generations.”
Obama even went on to fault ousted President Mohamed Morsi, who was actually elected instead of being appointed by the military, virtually unheard of in Egyptian history. Obama insisted that “many Egyptians” didn’t like Morsi and that his ouster by the military was an “opportunity to pursue a democratic path.”
Obama openly spurned questions about reducing or eliminating the $1.5 billion in annual aid to the junta, which despite being overtly against US law his administration has indicated will continue to flow. Backing the military above all else has been US policy toward Egypt for many decades, and even after the revolution, the coup and the slaughter that followed underscore how little the official US stance has changed.