What John Kerry did this week in Egypt and Saudi Arabia is nothing short of despicable. He, and the president who appointed him, managed to honor both a vicious military dictatorship and a totalitarian medieval monarchy as examples of progress toward a more democratic Middle East, as if neither stood in contradiction to professed U.S. objectives for the region.
"Egyptians Following Right Path, Kerry Says," read the New York Times headline Sunday trumpeting the secretary of state's homage to ruthless military dictators who the very next day were scheduled to stage a show trial of Egypt's first democratically elected president.
This was all part of a "road map" to democracy "being carried out to the best of our perception," Kerry intoned, apparently embracing the calumny that the destruction of representative government in Egypt was always the American plan.
Kerry's perception did not extend to the court farce the next day when Egypt's duly elected president, Mohamed Morsi, held incommunicado for four months and denied access to his lawyers, was put on trial on accusations of causing violence among protesters in the streets, violence that paled in comparison to the deliberate killing of civilians by an Egyptian military trained and financed by the government Kerry represents.
Indeed, the Obama administration has refused to categorize the Egyptian military's overthrow of the Morsi government as a coup, for fear that would automatically trigger the legal requirement of a cutoff of most of the $1.5 billion in annual aid to the Egyptian military. Kerry was at great pains to assure Egyptian reporters that even the temporary hold on some weapons that the U.S. had implemented was not intended to penalize the Egyptian military for destroying Egypt's experiment in democracy.