What a Difference a Week Makes

by Daniel Luban

Charles Krauthammer, July 1, denouncing the Obama administration for refusing to speak out against Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi:

“Obama the bystander again. Here are the Egyptians in the millions, out on the street, trying to bring down an Islamist government — increasingly dictatorial, increasingly intolerant, arresting journalists and judgues, trying to Islamicize the military — and the people are saying, ‘No,’ and what does the president of the United States do? He takes a position of studied neutrality; he says he’s not supporting either side.”

Krauthammer compared the Egyptian situation to that of Iran during the abortive Green Revolution of 2009, during which “the same thing happened . . . they were shouting ‘Obama, Obama, are you with us or against us? And he took a position that was essentially support of the regime . . . . That was a shameful episode.”

We might note that Krauthammer’s remarks came immediately after the Egyptian military had given Morsi a 48-hour deadline to resolve the situation — a time when any public support of the protesters by Obama would clearly (and fairly) have been interpreted as support for a potential coup.

Fast forward one week, one coup and one massacre later.

Charles Krauthammer, July 8, praising the Obama administration for refusing to take a stance on events in Egypt:

“I don’t think I’ve ever said this, but I think Carney actually got it exactly right today,” Charles Krauthammer remarked on Special Report Monday evening when asked about the Obama administration’s decision to postpone an official response to the ousting of Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi by the Egyptian army last week.

Krauthammer explained that the U.S. is “not in a position to decide” which side to take in the upheaval and agreed that the White House should “wait and see” how the situation develops.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Rashad

Daniel Luban

Daniel Luban is a postdoctoral associate at Yale University. He holds a PhD in politics from the University of Chicago and was formerly a correspondent in the Washington bureau of Inter Press Service.