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State Department wonders why Egyptians can’t get along

The U.S. State Department responded to Mohamed Morsi’s grab of near dictatorial powers, and to the protests of the Egyptian people thereto, with this statement:

The decisions and declarations announced on November 22 raise concerns for many Egyptians and for the international community. One of the aspirations of the revolution was to ensure that power would not be overly concentrated in the hands of any one person or institution. The current constitutional vacuum in Egypt can only be resolved by the adoption of a constitution that includes checks and balances, and respects fundamental freedoms, individual rights, and the rule of law consistent with Egypt’s international commitments. We call for calm and encourage all parties to work together and call for all Egyptians to resolve their differences over these important issues peacefully and through democratic dialogue.

Even by State Department standards, this is mush. There is no condemnation of Morsi’s power grab, only a meaningless expression of concern, coupled with a call for calm and dialogue. In effect, the Obama administration is asking the protestors who insist on democracy to stand down and hope that Morsi will compromise with them. But a compromise power grab should be unacceptable, and “calm” is precisely what’s not called for in response to Morsi’s move towards dictatorship.

Accordingly, Mohamed ElBaradei, a leader of the democratic opposition and a Nobel Peace Prize winner rejected out of hand the idea of a dialogue with Morsi under the present circumstances. He declared that there can be no discussion with Morsi until he rescinds his “dictatorial” decree that gives him the powers of “a pharaoh.”

ElBaradei also said that he is “waiting to see, I hope soon, a very strong statement of condemnation by the US, by Europe and by everybody who really cares about human dignity.” Clearly, he saw no such thing in the State Department’s initial serving of pap. Nor should he hold his breath.

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