The White House rationalized last week’s military coup in Egypt as providing the opportunity for a “do-over,” and that’s a comforting idea in more ways than one. But political life doesn’t come with an eraser to neatly remove mistakes and start over — especially in the explosive Middle East.
Egypt did need a new start. President Mohammed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood government had bungled so badly that Egypt was in the equivalent of Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Morsi resisted attempts by the United States and Qatar to mediate a compromise. The military’s intervention has begun a terrible new cycle of violence, but Egypt couldn’t have continued much longer in its crippled state. Something had to give.