This story originally appeared at Truthdig. Robert Scheer is the author of The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street (Nation Books).
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 US 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 US had implemented was not intended to penalize the Egyptian military for destroying Egypt’s experiment in democracy.
“It is not a punishment,” Kerry said. “It’s a reflection of policy in the United States under our law.” Drat that law that says we should not be rewarding military dictators who jail freely elected presidents.
At the moment Morsi was denouncing “this criminal military coup” from his courtroom cage, Kerry was off in Saudi Arabia paying tribute to “a true relationship between friends [that] is based on sincerity, candor and frankness, rather than mere courtesy.” But not so frank that Kerry would answer questions concerning the recent protest by Saudi women attempting to obtain the right to drive a car. Certainly never so frank as to get to the bottom of why this great US ally funded the most virulent anti-American Islamic fanatics throughout the world; was one of only three nations to recognize the Taliban-run government of Afghanistan when it harbored Al Qaeda as it directed terrorist attacks aimed at the United States; and was home country of fifteen of the nineteen hijackers who attacked America on 9/11 as well as bin Laden, their leader.