Secretary of State John Kerry finally found the right words to use in Cairo on Saturday. During a joint press appearance with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, Kerry finally firmly laid out a principled position on Egypt's military coup and American principled support for democracy: "What we both know is they had an election, the election had an outcome, and everyone should respect the outcome of that election."
It would have been more useful if Kerry had taken such a firm stance with General Abdelfattah el-Sisi in July 2013, immediately following the military coup which brought down Egypt's first freely elected President. Fourteen months later is well past Todd Moss's famous "Golden Hour" for reversing a military coup. But better late than never. It was good to see such a clear, forthright statement of principle at last, after more than a year of a passive-aggressive approach of working with Cairo while letting everyone around know that they didn't much care for it. And it was reassuring that the U.S. would not in fact trade off human rights to form its anti-ISIS coalition.
Oh wait, Kerry was actually talking about Libya? He stood cheerfully next to the Foreign Minister of a regime which came to power barely a year ago through a military coup against an elected government and said straightfaced about the country next door that "they had an election, the election had an outcome, and everyone should respect the outcome of that election"? Did anyone happen to catch a screenshot of Shoukry's face? Because that's either some A-level trolling right there.. or something else.