[The Generals] surely understood that they would pay a high price for this violence. If the generals are willing to accept 500-plus civilians deaths and the strong possibility of sectarian violence, maybe even a return to the Islamist insurgencies of the 1990s, then it’s hard to imagine they’ll be fussed by missing out on some military exercises with the United States.
Chotiner comes down hard on Obama’s announcement:
[T]he problem is not that Obama looks weak per se; it’s the policy behind the weakness. He hasn’t tried to use aid as leverage (and still refuses to use the word “coup”), he hasn’t (one assumes) put much pressure on American allies who are backing the Egyptian military, and he hasn’t even attempted to lay out the reasons that military rule in Egypt might, in the long term, play against American interests. One need only look to the Middle East and Pakistan to see how military repression can lead to extremism, and rampant anti-Americanism. It was notable that Obama took time to mention that Morsi’s undemocratic actions undermined his case for rule, but not that the military’s much more violent and undemocratic actions did the same.
Obama further tried to console Egyptians by making it clear that the “United States strongly condemns” what is taking place. Big deal. It is Obama’s passivity that deserves condemnation. A forceful move would have been to suspend aid to Egypt’s military. So far, Washington appears to have derived zero leverage from continuing aid. Until Obama acts, Egypt’s military will interpret his inaction as acquiesence to its brutal measures.
Earlier Dish on the cancellation of military exercises here.