Monday, March 4, 2013

John Kerry and Egypt's "Versions" of Democracy

    Secretary of State John Kerry announced on Sunday the release of a quarter of a billion dollars in aid to Egypt. The Associated Press reports:
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday rewarded Egypt for President Mohammed Morsi's pledges of political and economic reforms by releasing $250 million in American aid to support the country's "future as a democracy."
Yet Kerry also served notice that the Obama administration will keep close watch on how Morsi, who came to power in June as Egypt's first freely elected president, honors his commitment and that additional U.S. assistance would depend on it.
    The day before, the secretary of state hinted that the Obama administration was continuing to throw its weight behind Morsi in some curiously worded but little reported remarks at the Marriott Zamalek Hotel in Cairo. Kerry had meet with some opposition leaders on Saturday and a reporter apparently caught Kerry at his hotel after the meeting. There is a partial transcript of a reporter's impromptu question and Kerry's answer on the State Department's website [emphasis added]:
QUESTION: (In progress) heard his conversation with the opposition members. Did you hear anything from them that would suggest that they’re going to renounce their boycott of the election and actually take part? 
SECRETARY KERRY: No, I heard very passionate people who are deeply committed to Egypt and to their version of the democracy that they fought for in their revolution. And I completely understand that. I wanted to hear from them. I explored their strategy and thoughts. 
They’re deeply committed to human rights, to democracy, to freedom of expression, and to a real political process in which they feel they have a voice. America supports all of those things. And so listening to them was really important. There was a divergence of views in terms of the adamancy, but they all shared a sense that they needed to be more part of the process, more included, and they recognized the economic challenge, but they believe there’s also a need to fill the promise of democracy. And so do we. We believe that too.
     There's no explanation of what Kerry meant by the remark.

Note: This story first appeared at The Weekly Standard.

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