N.Y. Times: Generals undercut U.S. interests

On Aug. 18, one day after the accompanying article was written by Fred Goldstein on the coup and counterrevolution in Egypt for Workers World, the New York Times published a lengthy article confirming the conflicting aims of the Egyptian military and U.S. imperialist diplomats (“How American Hopes for a Deal in Egypt Were Undercut”). Washington was trying to stop the bloodshed only in order to protect its imperialist interests, which it perceived as restoring stability. Here are some excerpts from the Times’ article.

“All of the efforts of the United States government, all the cajoling, the veiled threats, the high-level envoys from Washington and the 17 personal phone calls by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, failed to forestall the worst political bloodletting in modern Egyptian history. The generals in Cairo felt free to ignore the Americans first on the prisoner release and then on the statement [blaming the Islamists for the coming crackdown], in a cold-eyed calculation that they would not pay a significant cost — a conclusion bolstered when President Obama responded by canceling a joint military exercise but not $1.5 billion in annual aid. …

“As Mr. Obama acknowledged in a statement on Thursday, the American response turns not only on humanitarian values but also on national interests. A country consumed by civil strife may no longer function as a stabilizing ally in a volatile region. …

“The Israelis, whose military had close ties to General Sisi from his former post as head of military intelligence, were supporting the takeover as well. Western diplomats say that General Sisi and his circle appeared to be in heavy communication with Israeli colleagues, and the diplomats believed the Israelis were also undercutting the Western message by reassuring the Egyptians not to worry about American threats to cut off aid. …

“In a series of phone calls, Mr. Hagel pressed General Sisi for a transition back to civilian rule. They talked nearly every other day, usually for an hour or an hour and a half, lengthened by the use of interpreters. But General Sisi complained that the Obama administration did not fully appreciate that the Islamists posed a threat to Egypt and its army. …

“Mr. McCain and Mr. Graham arrived in Cairo amid increasing tensions. They went first to see Ambassador Anne W. Patterson. ‘You could see it on her face, that nobody’s listening,’ Mr. Graham said. …

“The Americans and Europeans were furious, feeling deceived and manipulated. ‘They were used to justify the violence,’ Mr. [Amr] Darrag [an advisor to President Morsi who participated in negotiations] said in an interview. ‘They were just brought in so that the coup government could claim that the negotiations failed, and, in fact, there were no negotiations.’”