In the wake of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi's eviction from office by the country's military amid an unprecedented mass uprising, there have been calls for Washington to reduce or suspend its aid to this critical ally in the Middle East.
Such action would be shortsighted and represent a vote of no confidence in Egypt, not just in the interim government.
Debating what label to put on the recent events deters from the truly important task: developing a strategy to support the restoration of Egypt's economic and political stability.
President Barack Obama's call for a reassessment of U.S. aid should focus primarily on how we can help Egypt, rather than on whether we should help.
This is a different situation from two years ago.
In 2011, the Egyptian military, spurred by an opposition composed largely of young people, replaced President Hosni Mubarak with his longtime loyalist, Gen. Mohammad Hussein Tantawi.
This time, the military took action after close to a quarter of Egypt's population, representing all ages and the entire political spectrum, had taken to the streets demanding political change.
Ultimately, Egyptians will define their own destiny, but it is also true that outside assistance and advice can be useful.
And while the United States may no longer be the sole leader of the post-Cold War world, it remains the only country able to mobilize international action on such pressing issues (despite sharply divided opinions within Egypt today about the United States).
The $1.3 billion that Egypt's military receives annually from the United States was designed as support for maintaining the country's 1979 peace treaty with Israel - a cornerstone of regional security.
It has had the unintended effect of preserving the military's privileged position, with benefits that have little to do with sustaining peace with neighbors. Indeed, the Egyptian military's challenge today comes less from external threats than from the internal breakdown of law and order.
A sense of personal security - that it is safe to walk the streets - would do wonders for the morale of Egypt's citizenry, encouraging people to go to their jobs, bolstering the vital tourist industry and reassuring foreign investors.
Thus the military has a clear interest in ensuring that Egypt has competent, trained and professional police, rather than military forces, on the streets.
This will require a change in mindset as well as a shift in the allocation of resources. Washington can help encourage these ends.