Richard Haass makes a confused case in support of the coup in Egypt:
Such checks and balances take time to develop and put down roots [bold mine-DL]. Egypt is the essence of an immature democracy; it is vulnerable to being hijacked, as Mr Morsi appeared all too eager to do.
So the military acted.
There’s no question that Morsi governed badly, and he engaged in power grabs that understandably alarmed and provoked his opponents. It doesn’t follow from this that it makes sense to defend the actual hijacking of the political process by the military as the prevention of hijacking. If checks and balances take time to develop, what sense can it make to overthrow an elected government after one year in office? How are any of the competing groups in Egyptian politics supposed to learn how checks and balances work in a functioning representative government when the parties that don’t hold power can successfully agitate for the illegal overthrow of their opponents?
There should also be no question that what has happened in Egypt is a coup, but Haass wants to dispute this, too. Haass writes:
This political intervention came in response to a crisis; it was not its cause.
Virtually all military coups come in response to a crisis. They don’t cease to be coups because of that. When the military overthrew the elected president of Mali last year in response to the government’s failure to cope with the Tuareg rebellion, everyone could understand that it was nonetheless a coup. We shouldn’t pick and choose which military interventions in politics qualify as coups depending on whether or not we agree with the politics of the deposed leader. By law, the U.S. is required to withhold aid to a country when there is a military coup, but most likely that will be ignored in this case. Even so, there is no point in our pretending that it isn’t a coup, nor should we imagine that Morsi’s supporters will view it as anything other than this. Haass may be right that punishing Egypt in response to the coup is the wrong way for other governments to react, but his argument up to that point is seriously flawed.