Can Egypt Unite?

Since the Egyptian military ousted President Mohamed Morsi, New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman says one way Egypt could come together is for the United States to provide support for a unity coalition.

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Egyptians celebrate in support of the military after the ouster of Mohamed Morsi. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Since the Egyptian military ousted President Mohamed Morsi, New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman says one way Egypt could come together is for the United States to support a unity coalition.

ANYONE who has followed Middle East politics knows that this is a region where extremists tend to go all the way and moderates tend to just go away.

But every once in a while — the 1993 Oslo peace negotiations, the 2006 Anbar uprising by Iraqi Sunnis against Al Qaeda, the 2005 Cedar Revolution in Lebanon against Syria and Hezbollah — the moderates actually rise up and take a stand. And when they do, America needs to be there to support them. It is the only hope for moving this region — so poisoned by sectarianism and weighed down by a past that always wants to bury the future — onto a more positive path. I'd put last week's popular uprising/military coup against the Muslim Brotherhood-led Egyptian government — and it was a combination of both — in this category.  

I do not arrive at that conclusion easily. It would have been far more preferable if President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood's party had been voted out of office in three years. This would have forced the party to confront its own incompetence and popular repudiation. I wish the Egyptian army, which has its own interests, had not been involved. But perfect is not on the menu anymore in Egypt. In fact, even food may not be on the menu anymore for the poor. A large number of Egyptians felt that waiting three years could have pushed Egypt over the edge.

Read Thomas L. Friedman's entire column at the New York Times.

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