Originally published July 10, 2013 in U.S. News and World Report

Assertions and opinions in this publication are solely those of the above-mentioned author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Middle East Institute, which expressly does not take positions on Middle East policy.

U.S. law is very clear: American aid must be cut off to "any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by a military coup d'etat" or a coup "supported by the military." There is no provision for an administration waiver. Given the tumultuous events of last week, what should the U.S. do? What can the U.S. do?

First of all, the administration needs to acknowledge the basic reality that what happened in Egypt was indeed a coup, no matter how justified by the repressive and incompetent misrule of ex-President Mohammed Morsi, and never mind the vast popular support the military found for its actions. The army stepped into the middle of the political controversy, issued an ultimatum to Morsi to "meet the demands of the people" within 48 hours, and then deposed and arrested him when he failed to so.

The military's "roadmap" dictates the next steps in the political process. That's a coup. The administration has so far refused to use the word, and the review of aid to Egypt announced by the president appears to be aimed more at justifying continued delivery of assistance than seriously exploring all options.

Instead, the administration should view the present crisis as an opportunity to rectify past mistakes and implement a new stance toward Egypt that better serves U.S. interests and the cause of Egyptian democracy.

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