Column: U.S. treading carefully as Egyptian military sets dangerous precedent

On July 2 of this year, the Egyptian military ousted democratically elected President Mohammed Morsi. The military justified its action in the name of the will of the Egyptian people. Prior to the ousting, there were mass demonstrations against the president due to his poor performance and his lack of affinity for Islamic thinking.

After its actions, the military leaders appointed Adly Mansour, the chief justice of the Supreme Constitutional Court, the interim president. Furthermore, the military has stated that it will set up elections for a new president and return Egypt to democracy. This sounds reasonable, but the actions of the military not only took Egypt to the edge of civil war, it has also put the United States in a difficult position.

There are several ways to change government. The democratic way is to follow the constitutional procedures through open, fair and competitive election. This is the normal and accepted procedure. There are also unconstitutional means to change government — revolution and coup d’état. Even though both revolution and coup have the same element of violence, the end game is different. Revolution is a total societal change (political, economic, social and culture, etc.) through violence, while a coup is only a political change through violence.

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