Egypt is caught between two warring instincts, each seeking to exclude half the country from public space and influence.
To be sure, there is no turning back -- we can't rewind history -- but going forward demands that we understand just how contradictory and uncertain has been the path of earlier democratic revolutions.
In addition to the importance of adhering to the rule of law -- not a small thing in its own right -- there are other good reasons to cut off U.S. aid to Egypt.
The number of Americans wanting their government to stay out of international affairs is higher than it has been since the Vietnam War, according to a new analysis.
Since I conduct research on peace and conflict in Egypt and have barely been able to peel myself away from the coverage of ongoing events, I get a lot of questions on my views of what's transpired recently.
The Islamist identity of Morsy and his party seems to be the major reason for the reticence of the international community and media in defining this coup a coup.
People having faith in democracy, regardless of their views, ideologies or political tendencies must show their reaction to this step backward in Egypt and not remain silent to it. The contrary would be nothing but a worldwide betrayal of democracy.
There's no doubt that Morsi was a disaster. There's no doubt that Islamism is the most pernicious strain of politics to grace the global stage today. But I'm torn. To believe in democracy is to believe that people have the right to make their own mistakes, to elect their own pernicious fools, and to suffer the consequences of their own bad choices.
After the downfall of Mubarak, and then the Brotherhood, whoever will hold the reins of power in Egypt, the military included, will have to realize that the new player in town, the Egyptian people, cannot and will not be taken for granted anymore.
From watching cable, you'd think the only news this week was the George Zimmerman trial. But as CNN spent Wednesday breathlessly team-covering every angle of some badly-Skyped-in testimony, a hint of other news appeared in a small box on-screen, captioned "coup under way." That was, of course, referring to the fact that Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi was being toppled. Is this monomaniacal coverage really the best way to honor Trayvon Martin's memory? It was enough to send me clicking over to the Golf Channel -- and I don't even play, though I did learn what a mulligan is. If the media took one, maybe next time, in addition to Egypt, they'd also cover yet another middling jobs report released on Friday, which showed the economy adding mostly low-wage jobs and still on pace to reach full-employment only by decade's end. But don't tell anybody.
At this time the common Egyptian is happy with the Tamarud transitional plan, thankful for the Egyptian military's role in making it happen, and elated with own his power; the power of the people who ousted Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood in a people's coup.
One variant of verbal pyrotechnics in evidence is the contention that there hasn't been a coup because the Egyptian army, while it did unseat the president, isn't running the country. This is nonsense.
Morsi was removed from power not for crimes against the state, but largely for poor job performance and having too many political enemies (particularly in the military). These are issues to be settled at the ballot box, not by mobs and tanks surrounding the presidential palace in Cairo.
Change is never easy and is most often messy. If the events of the last two years have demonstrated anything it is that the Egyptian people want change, they feel empowered to demand change, and, when it is not forthcoming, those in power will be held on a short leash that can be pulled back.
Now it is Egypt's military leadership that faces the temptation to "hold too much." Will this powerful institution exploit the people's anger at the Brotherhood to reconstruct a secular dictatorship?
It is interesting, form a meta-perspective, to observe the debate currently spreading over social networks and the global media as to the definition of the events that unfolded within the last 72 hours here in Cairo. Was it coup or a revolution?