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National Review’s Awful Egypt Editorial

The editors at National Review want the U.S. to fully back the Egyptian military in its “war” with the Muslim Brotherhood:

But the military’s horrific violence yesterday does not alter the U.S.’s calculus. The Muslim Brotherhood and the military government are now at war, and the latter remains the best hope for securing American interests and, ultimately, a free Egypt. We should therefore continue our financial and matériel support for the Egyptian military and maintain as close a relationship as possible to push the government toward our objectives.

Egypt is wracked by serious violence, but it has thankfully not yet succumbed to civil war. Cavalierly talking about what is happening in Egypt in these terms is foolish, and it suggests that the authors have a perverse desire to help the Egyptian military stoke an armed conflict in Egypt. It’s as if they looked at what Assad did to Syria and said, “Yes, let’s help the Egyptian army do that to their country!” Whatever else might come from such a conflict, it won’t be a “free Egypt.”

The NR editors find the violence earlier this week to be “horrific,” but their preferred policy ensures not only that there will be more of it, but that the U.S. will be actively supporting the most heavily-armed side as it commits new outrages. Instead of distancing the U.S. from the crackdown in Egypt, they would like Washington to be a full partner in it. That means having “as close a relationship as possible” with the government that just committed what is by some accounts the worst one-day massacre of civilian protesters by government forces since Tiananmen. It’s true that the U.S. has had close ties with many brutal authoritarian regimes over the decades, and occasionally they may have been necessary to protect U.S. security interests, but that argument doesn’t work in this case. The current relationship with Egypt has become a liability that the U.S. doesn’t need, and it ought to change.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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