U.S. policy in Egypt has been a disaster. Now the short-lived democratic revolution has been replaced by military rule with a meaningless civilian veneer. Washington should cut off foreign aid and disengage.
What we found in the July poll is that Egyptian attitudes toward both their internal political situation and their relationship with the United States are conflicted and in flux.
The important thing for Egypt is not necessarily for the Brotherhood to return to power and for Morsi to be the leader again: What matters is an immediate end to the violence, for the detained politicians to be released and for the people of Egypt to go back to the ballot box by democratic means.
The U.S. quest for stability in the Middle East that amounted to support for autocratic regimes at the expense of democratic values was in part fueled by fear -- fear that change in countries like Saudi Arabia threatened to open the door to the replacement of conservative, pro-Western rulers by military officers steeped in a vision that combined nationalism and Islamism.
Egypt's political chasm continues to widen following the military's ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi, who, despite his many flaws and blunders, was the only democratically elected president in the country's history.
U.S. law requires that aid be cut off if a country's military overthrows a democratically elected government. But President Obama is finding a way around this.
What about the plan for a moderate Islamist government, the idea of an Islamist succession that would not become just another form of despotism? Whatever happens next in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood has buried that idea.
Faced with mounting outcry from the Brotherhood's rank and file against the ousting of President Morsi, Defense Minister Abdel Fattah El Sisi has continued to escalate his ultimatums and the use of force to quell cries for the return of the elected president.
Both countries are now weakened by violence. Another path is possible. Taking it requires the willingness of politicians, especially those who are governing, to open the dialogue and create a broad consensus. This is the only choice; the other leads to the abyss.
The real reason for the ousting of Morsi is that the army has been in charge all along. The reality is that the army is currently using the protests against Morsi to their benefit as they did in 2011 with the protests against Mubarak.
In what looked more like a scene from "The Dictator" than real life, Egypt's leading general and de-facto head of state Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi addressed cheering crowds in his full military fatigue and Gamal Abdel Nassir sunglasses on Wednesday.
The Egyptian military proved that at the time of the January 25 uprising it belonged to the state -- not the regime -- when it sided with the people. The military made the right decision and was celebrated for it. This time around, however, it sided with one party over another in a rather swift and eerie manner.
The army's recent intervention in Egypt, and the turmoil there, have brought memories surging back of a time in 2005 when I was on my way to a vacation in Ecuador and the Galapagos islands. World events chose that moment to intervene in my carefully made plans.
It remains to be seen how large the numbers will be who will follow Egyptian Commander of the Armed Forces Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's call, and whether al-Sisi indeed commands the authority to mobilize large sections of Egyptians into the streets. It is by all means a risky strategy.
The US reaction to the Egypt coup shows that its policy hinges on two ideas: democracy and stability, which constitutes the dilemma. As a result this perpetually causes it problems in the region.
What Egypt and Egyptians need most now are jobs. Why, because any society without a strong, aspirational and growing middle class population is a society at risk. The middle class is not just an aspirational dream, it is a practical and necessary stabilizer for a real democracy.