Kerryesque Diplomacy: State Department Announces It Has “Determined That We Do Not Need To Make A Determination” On Egypt

UnknownJohn Kerry seems to have put his unique mark on the State Department. Just last week, Secretary of State John Kerry seemed to say that he was for the coup in Egypt before he was not sure about it. Now, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki has declared that the U.S. had “determined that we do not need to make a determination” over whether the ousting of Mohamed Morsi in Egypt was a coup. The wonderful thing is that no one can oppose our foreign policy if no one understands it. Brilliant.

Kerry had to do one of his signature backtracks last week on Egypt. He first insisted that the act of overthrowing an elected president by the military constituted “restoring democracy.” That seem a bit odd for people used to treating democracy as a term referring to political self-determination and elections. Otherwise places like North Korea could claim to be saving democracy by denying it.

Kerry then returned to the time-honored tradition of saying things that say nothing at all: “The temporary government has a responsibility with respect to demonstrators to give them the space to be able to demonstrate in peace. But at the same time, the demonstrators have a responsibility not to stop everything from proceeding in Egypt.”

His spokesman then came in with the truly Kerryesque statement that a determination has most certainly be made . . . not to make a determination.

Of course, the State Department usually makes determinations about coups and does not hesitate to condemn the actions of other countries. However, this is an ally so we are going to treat this as something between a non-event and the apocalypse. It is the coup that must not speak its name.

I was highly critical of Morsi and concerned over the increasing Islamic restrictions being imposed by the government. However, it is hard not to define a military takeover as anything other than a coup when they arrest and imprison the president and create a new government. It might have been better to simply misunderstand the question and answer a different one like “no this is not a coupe. A coupe is a a short, four-wheeled, closed carriage or an ice cream dish. Egypt is not an ice cream dish.” That would make a lot more sense.

34 thoughts on “Kerryesque Diplomacy: State Department Announces It Has “Determined That We Do Not Need To Make A Determination” On Egypt”

  1. Wait a minute, why does this matter? I thought we were all supposed to be dead because of the greatest terrorist event since 9/11?

  2. Nick,

    I saw the Leibovich as a guest on the Daily Show and thought that might be a good read. How is it?

    By the way, a coup indeed. The administration and legislators look awfully foolish to anyone with half of a brain trying to call it something else.

  3. mespo:

    I disagree. A democratically elected president cannot be involuntarily separated from his employment other than through constitutional means. Under the Constitution of Egypt, the President can leave office through resignation (Article 151). He is also subject to impeachment for “felony or high treason” through adoption of an appropriate motion by a 2/3 majority of the House of Representatives (Article 152). If convicted by an appointed panel of judges, he is removed from office (Article 152).

    No one has suggested that Mr. Morsi’s election was procured through fraud or was otherwise invalid. Voters knew that he was an Islamist and voted for him anyway. Had any of his post-election actions violated his constitutional duties, the remedy was at hand.

    The President of Egypt is also commander in chief of the armed forces (Article 146). The military is under civilian control and lacks the constitutional authority to unilaterally determine that the President is governing “like a tyrant.”

    Many people have been unhappy with Mr. Morsi’s government. But that’s what elections are all about. And the development of responsible democratic institutions takes time. If the military perceives that is has the freedom to remove an elected official whenever it deems it necessary or desirable based upon its sense of public attitudes, it makes a mockery of the whole notion of republican government.

    By mincing words and refusing to recognize a coup for what it is, the Obama administration is effectively ratifying the unconstitutional overthrow of a popularly elected chief executive. The message that sends to Egypt, and to the rest of the Middle East, for that matter, is that our support of democracy in that part of the globe is distressingly similar to our support of democracy in Central and South America. And we all know how well that has worked out.

  4. Lewis Black is a great standup. I’ve seen him twice live, and he is the consummate pro. He rips Dems and Rep. and has a bit about why it is insane we only have two choices. “I walk down the cereal aisle and mofo I have 250 mofoing choices. I have 120 choices of juice drinks and the same w/ soda. I walk in the f@cking voting booth and how many choices..TWOOOO!” You have to close your eyes and hear him saying “TWOOO!”

  5. “That seem a bit odd for people used to treating democracy as a term referring to political self-determination and elections.”


    What if the leader is democratically elected and governs like a tyrant? I’d say that the people running him out on a rail via the military is democracy in its purest form.

  6. I’m just glad that Kerry is no longer the senior senator from my state.

    Comedian Lewis Black once joked about Kerryesque language–which I will paraphrase: The first time I heard John Kerry speak I knew I didn’t have enough bread crumbs to find my way home.

  7. It is not a coup! The Egyptian military is just taking one of its puppets off the stage until a more attractive puppet can be found. Everybody knows the military industrial complex needs a pretty facade of Democracy or the rabble stops working, and we can’t have that.

  8. “It is the coup that must not speak its name.”
    no, that occurred here when the Supreme Court cut Democratic process off at the knees…2000 Election….really, why is everyone turning into a pretzel to find the dirty overseas???? it is right in our own backyard. I agree w/Kerry. It’s time to name the beast at home and stop pointing everywhere else….

  9. Good to hear from you Gene.
    Kerry does appear to be lost in this Egypt business as well as the issue of stopping the drone strikes soon in Pakistan which was walked back very quickly by the State Department.

  10. I’m halfway through, This Town, a book on the DC culture. There is Exhibit 453 in the book that Kerry is a buffoon and unlikeable, pompous ass.

  11. The army is a US minion. That’s why USGinc. will still make them their arms sales. (Of course there’s a profit motive which should never be overlooked.) USGinc. does not want democracy in Egypt. They would lose an important client state if that happened.

  12. Of course we need to make a determination. This seems to be the theory of the OBAMA ADMINISTRATION– lie, avoid and dissemble.

Comments are closed.