When is a coup not a coup? When Washington says so

Jean MacKenzie writes: It hardly pays to be the head of the most powerful nation on Earth any more — just ask President Barack Obama, whose semantic tightrope-walking over Egypt is gaining him new and powerful critics, even within his own party.

His government has signaled it will carry on delivering F-16 jets and other assistance to Egypt even after the North African country’s military ousted elected President Mohamed Morsi following mass protest against the Islamist leader.

Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood supporters call this a flat out military “coup.” The Obama administration does not.

“It’s clear that the Egyptian people have spoken,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters when asked whether Washington still considered Morsi the legitimate president.

But that’s not what some US legislators are saying.

On Tuesday, Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Carl Levin (D-Mich.) joined the growing chorus of lawmakers calling for Washington to restrict aid to Egypt in the wake of last week’s ouster of Morsi.

Feinstein, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, was not hesitant to use the “c” word in discussing Egypt.

“It’s certainly a takeover. It’s certainly the removal of office from a sitting president, democratically elected,” Feinstein said. “It is a form of a coup. If it walks like a duck … it is.” [Continue reading…]

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