Do something; do anything.... UPDATE

...or maybe do nothing.

Fast-moving events in Egypt have been front page headlines (and the New York Times has done a great job with its daily coverage; bravo David Kirpatrick and Kareem Fahim).

The Obama administration has been somewhat less fast-moving. There are desultory discussions about whether the Egyptian military staged a coup requiring the U.S. to cut aid along with questions asking if this is any way to run a democracy. On Friday, July 5, in the midst of the crisis, President Obama played golf (and Congress men and women probably did the same or equivalent). Secretary of State John Kerry was caught out sailing on July 4. Is this any way for the indispensible nation to behave?

I'm inclined to find the U.S. hanging back on Egypt refreshing. (I bracket the question of what the CIA et al may be doing!) Here's the Washington story in the Times (July 6).

For those following the crisis, Juan Cole looks at the divisions among Middle Eastern governments over the Egyptian coup: Though concluding that they are all over the place, he points to two main contingents: "Those who would want to be rescued from an ascendant Muslim Brotherhood in their own country– the GCC, Iraq and Syria — tended to support Adly Mansour and Gen. al-Sisi. Countries whose rulers saw themselves as participating in Morsi’s brand of democratic fundamentalism–Turkey and Tunisia– angrily denounced the events as an illegitimate coup."

Margaret O’Brien Steinfels is a former editor of Commonweal. 

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