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July 08, 2013 3:22 PM At Least Rand Paul Is Happy

By Ed Kilgore

Most Americans are watching events in Egypt with trepidition and uncertainty, and other than (a) neocons who are cheerleading for the military coup, and (b) sticklers for legality troubled that the administration might skirt the law to keep aid flowing to Egypt, there’s not a lot of clarity in U.S. reactions.

The one major public figure who seems to have no problem with all the ambiguity is Sen. Rand Paul, whose long-time hostility towards any U.S. aid to any Egyptian regime, whoever is in it and whatever it represents, has put him in a convenient plague-on-both-houses position that looks stronger as a possible civil war looms (per a story by Politico’s Breanna Edwards):

“In Egypt, governments come and go. The only thing certain is that American taxpayers will continue to be stuck with the $1.5 billion bill,” the Kentucky Republican sent out his message in two back to back tweets. “In Eygpt, democratic authoritarianism is replaced with military junta. American neocons say send them more of your money.”

This was a slight rhetorical shift from the July 4 op-ed Paul published in the Washington Times, which mainly attacked the Obama administration for aid policies that led Egyptian protesters to blame the U.S. for their grievances against Mohamed Morsi’s government.

The new situation puts Paul on slightly more treacherous ground with fellow Republicans, not just because of the specific neocon position backing the coup, but because of generalized conservative hostility to the Muslim Brotherhood on Islamophobic grounds, and in particular, the Christian Right tendency to identify with a Egyptian Christian community which by and large is backing the coup.

But one thing Paul doesn’t have to worry about is who is on top or bottom in Egypt itself. He’s for both sides and agin’ both sides, depending on who fears or craves U.S. support.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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