TOP STORY: Egypt’s Military Coup
President Mohamed Morsi was ousted from power yesterday by the Egyptian military, after days of public protests against his regime. Adly Mansour [profile], head of Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court, will replace Morsi as Egypt’s interim president. We bring you some important reactions, and the best commentary and analysis of the coup and its fallout.
US President Barack Obama’s statement: “The United States is monitoring the very fluid situation in Egypt, and we believe that ultimately the future of Egypt can only be determined by the Egyptian people. Nevertheless, we are deeply concerned by the decision of the Egyptian Armed Forces to remove President Morsy and suspend the Egyptian constitution. I now call on the Egyptian military to move quickly and responsibly to return full authority back to a democratically elected civilian government as soon as possible through an inclusive and transparent process, and to avoid any arbitrary arrests of President Morsy and his supporters. Given today’s developments, I have also directed the relevant departments and agencies to review the implications under U.S. law for our assistance to the Government of Egypt.”
New York Times’ editorial: “As Egyptians consider their future, one thing should be paramount: avoiding violence that could plunge the country into a civil war that could make Mr. Morsi’s troubled term and overthrow look mild by comparison. In part, that would require making it clear that Mr. Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamists in general will still have a place in any emerging new political order. Otherwise, any claims of Egyptian democracy are rendered moot. One only has to look to Iraq for how excluding major interest groups ensures continued strife.”
The Guardian‘s editorial: “ To dispose of Egypt’s first democratically elected president, to disenfranchise all those who participated in the free elections for the presidency and the parliament and the referendum for the constitution is another matter entirely. Each of these nascent institutions were castigated by foreign governments and human rights groups for falling below international standards. Mr Morsi was given lectures about how democracy is more than just the ballot box. But which standard is more important than the one which decrees that transfers of power can only be enacted peacefully and through the ballot box? That has just been trashed.”
David Gardner in FT: “Arab despotism was good at manufacturing Islamists. But that did not mean the Islamists would be any good at governing. Mr Morsi, for example, while democratically elected, failed to behave like a democrat. His abortive constitutional coup last autumn, attempting to place his government above the judiciary, and his intolerance of criticism and attempts to pack Egypt’s institutions with his followers, alienated all but hardcore Islamists. Unable to meet the needs of ordinary Egyptians for jobs and security, electricity and services, he was accountable to the Brotherhood but not citizens of the republic”.
Nathan Brown in Foreign Affairs: “And now, Egypt faces yet another constitutional process, again forced through by generals. That process also appears rushed and badly designed. Justice Adli Mansour, the president of the Supreme Constitutional Court, a genial but unknown figure, is set to serve as president, apparently with the unilateral authority to design the interim constitutional order however he sees fit. Critical questions of sequence are simply omitted. The military has promised to consult everyone but has laid out only the vaguest mechanisms for doing so. The generals have promised to appoint a committee to offer amendments to the 2012 constitution (that is likely a way to forestall any attempt to reopen debate about the military’s favorite clauses in that document) but provided little guidance on what to amend or how to do so.”
Foreign Media on India’s Food Security Ordinance
Washington Post: “The food program is expected to be a key vote-getter for the Congress party’s beleaguered and corruption-tainted government. But many analysts say the expensive scheme will further weaken Asia’s third-largest economy, coming as it does just as India has posted its lowest economic growth in a decade, the rupee is at a record low against the U.S. dollar and investment is slowing”.
Wall Street Journal: ”Economists say the food security law may also jeopardize development of the agriculture sector as it would further incentivize farmers to produce low-margin grains, rather than focusing on cash crops that could help raise rural living standards and reduce dependence on imports of some staples.”
BBC: “The food security ordinance will provide 5kg of cheap grain every month to nearly 800 million poor people. Ministers were criticised for passing the measure as an ordinance, after failing to win parliamentary support. Critics say the plan is a political move to win votes and will drain India’s finances. Supporters say it will help reduce poverty.”
Japan-China tensions escalate on Wednesday: Japan has protested China’s decision to begin construction of a drilling rig in a disputed part of the East China Sea. ”We have conveyed to China our serious concern about the activities of the crane vessel. We told them, through diplomatic channels, we cannot accept it,” said Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, reports the BBC. In another development, China’s foreign ministry on Wednesday condemned Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s refusal to say whether he believed Japan had really ever invaded China, according to WSJ. A spokeswoman said, ”The war of aggression committed by Japanese militarism brought untold suffering to its Asian neighbors.There is irrefutable evidence about that and history is not to be denied.” At the same briefing the spokeswoman countered Japan’s protests over the drilling rig, saying, ”China is carrying out exploration activities in waters under its own jurisdiction”.