Middle East expert and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Judith Miller tells Newsmax that Mohammed Morsi "obliterated" fundamental democracy in Egypt and was removed in a "soft coup" that Egyptians demanded.
She also asserts that cutting off American military aid to Egypt at this point would send the "worst possible signal," and confirms that Israel is greatly relieved by Morsi's ouster.
Miller, formerly with The New York Times, is a best-selling author, Fox News commentator, frequent Newsmax contributor, and an adjunct fellow at the Manhattan Institute.
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In an exclusive interview with Newsmax TV on Monday, Miller offers her views on the situation in Egypt following the removal of Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood government.
"We should hesitate to talk about whether or not Egyptians are moving for or away from democracy," she says.
"I mean democracy has a definition that should involve more than elections, as President Obama said, and a lot of the underpinnings of democracy were really being obliterated by the Muslim Brotherhood government that was narrowly elected.
"So on one hand, this is a soft coup, there is no doubt about it. On the other hand it is unlike any coup that anyone has seen in the region, in that it was a coup demanded by 22 to 30 million Egyptians who turned out on the streets just saying, 'Enough, we don’t want to be ruled this way.'
"Egypt has now made history twice in less than five years: one, they got rid of Hosni Mubarak, and two, they got rid of an Islamist Morsi."
Asked if it is wise for the Obama administration to continue sending military aid there, a move criticized by Sens. John McCain and Rand Paul, Miller responds: "I disagree with the two senators. Even under Mubarak, under Morsi and now after Morsi, the United States has strategic interest in Egypt, and cutting off money now would send a worst possible signal at a time of great internal transition and disarray. So the administration has taken the correct position on this.
"The fact that Deputy Secretary of State William Burns is in Egypt also sends a powerful signal that the United States seeks continuity of a relationship no matter who’s in power. And the road map, as it has been mapped out by this transitional government, is a good one that suggests that the Egyptians do want a chance to express their views, not just in the streets, but also in a ballot box.
"The road map seems to provide for that, so let’s wait and see before anyone condemns the post-Muslim Brotherhood, new transition government.
"I don't think we know yet what this ouster means. Many of my Egyptian friends say that what happened signals the end of the Islamic project in Egypt. I'm not sure whether or not that's a certain amount of wishful thinking on their part. The country is very religious, even if it doesn't like being governed by the Muslim Brotherhood model. So I don't think we know yet where Egypt is going."
As for what Morsi's ouster means for Israel and the Camp David Accords, Miller observes: "There were no government-to-government ties under President Morsi, which was a real step back from the Mubarak government, but on the other hand there were military-to-military contacts that continued throughout ... Morsi's presidency.
"Now while the Israelis are nervous about what's happened, they're relieved to have the Muslim Brotherhood out of power and they're hoping that the new military-backed civilian temporary government will be able to do something about the Sinai, which has become a real battleground where anarchy reigns. The first task for any Egyptian government is to restore security and stability in the streets and also in the Sinai Peninsula. That is of great interest to Israel."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday said Israel might have to act against Iran unilaterally to curb it from achieving its nuclear goal.
Miller tells Newsmax: "Netanyahu has always made it clear that he had a red line and that it's one that he intends to observe. We just don't know, at least I don't know, where it is right now, where that red line is when he will decide that Israel has seen enough and has waited enough and has been patient enough.
"This is one of the most sensitive decisions that the state of Israel can make and I don’t think any of us is going to be in a position to know much in advance if and when they decide to do something."
Glenn Greenwald, a journalist with The Guardian newspaper, says National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden has very sensitive blueprints detailing how the agency operates.
"The administration was taken by surprise by this. Any administration would have been," Miller says. "What Mr. Snowden has done has highlighted the importance of keeping some secrets, at least, secret. But it's also sparked a real debate about how much privacy Americans want and demand.
"And the second part of the debate is what exactly the NSA has been doing in the name of protecting national security.
"There are some who consider Snowden a hero. There are some who consider him a villain. He's somewhere in between, but the Obama administration overplayed his importance. Understanding that they overplayed it, they started to backpedal and then we got the famous President Obama statement about not scrambling jets because of a hacker.
"And now you have pretty intense private diplomacy trying to figure out how to stop him from getting to a place where he could do even more damage than he's already done."
A jury this weekend found George Zimmerman not guilty in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. Asked how this verdict is being viewed around the world, Miller discloses: "What's astonishing is that I'm in Amsterdam today and it is on the front page of almost every Dutch newspaper. This is a country of 16, 17 million people and they have been following the trial here. I've been amazed at the extent to which people are interested in this case.
"People have a hard time understanding why Americans are permitted to carry guns to begin with. That's not the case here in Europe, so there's a very different attitude. There's kind of bewilderment and there are a lot of the same kind of questions about race and the role of race in this that we have."
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