Acts of Coup

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President Barack Obama’s statement this morning on Egypt aimed to send a message of moral condemnation to Egypt’s military government, which only yesterday conducted a bloody crackdown against its political opponents. Yet the president’s moral messaging was compromised by the linguistic dance that accompanied it. Beyond the cancellation of annual military exercises, the only significant policy outcome was Obama’s continued resistance to the use of the word “coup” to describe the overthrow of a democratically elected government—for good or ill—by the Egyptian military. Obama’s maneuvering harkens back to the Rwandan genocide, when the Clinton administration famously refused to use the […]

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