The long and short of all this is that Egypt’s story can’t be reduced to a Manichean struggle between the good guys and the bad guys. Heck, contrary to the assertions of Fred Barnes and his fellow neocons, it is not even possible to tell the lesser from the bigger evil.
The proper course for America in the face of such endemic uncertainty is to let events take their course in Egypt. That would require ending the $1.4 billion in annual arms and fighter jet shipments that the U.S. dispatches to Egypt. Such aid not only intensifies the fight for the spoils, it also boosts the machinery of repression at the military’s disposal, giving it an artificial advantage.
Military aid to Egypt was meant originally to offset U.S. military aid to Israel and maintain a regional arms balance. But even that dubious rationale is no longer operative. As Steven Lee Myer reported in The New York Times in March, the big reason this administration decided to keep aid flowing to Egypt’s military, despite the military’s obvious contempt for democracy, was to avoid arms manufacturing-related job losses in the U.S.