He's already rammed through an Islamist constitution. He is now trying to tilt, even rig, parliamentary elections to the point that the opposition called for a boycott and an administrative court has just declared a suspension of the vote.
Any foreign aid we give Egypt should be contingent upon a reversal of this repression and a granting of space to secular, democratic, pro-Western elements.
That's where Kerry committed his mistake. Not in trying to use dollar diplomacy to leverage Egyptian behavior, but by exercising that leverage almost exclusively for economic, rather than political, reform.
Kerry's major objective was getting Morsi to apply for a $4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund.
Considering that some of this $4.8 billion ultimately comes from us, there's a certain comic circularity to this demand. What kind of concession is it when a foreign government is coerced into . . . taking yet more of our money?
We have no particular stake in Egypt's economy. Our stake is in its politics.
Yes, we would like to see a strong economy. But in a country ruled by the Muslim Brotherhood?
Our interest is in a non-Islamist, nonrepressive, nonsectarian Egypt, ruled as democratically as possible. Why should we want a vibrant economy that maintains the Brotherhood in power? Our concern is Egypt's policies, foreign and domestic.
If we're going to give foreign aid, it should be for political concessions — on unfettered speech, on an opposition free of repression, on alterations to the Islamist constitution, on open and fair elections.
We give foreign aid for two reasons: (a) to support allies who share our values and our interests, and (b) to extract from less-than-friendly regimes concessions that either bring their policies more in line with ours or strengthen competing actors more favorably inclined toward American objectives.
That's the point of foreign aid. It's particularly important in countries like Egypt whose fate is in the balance.
But it will only work if we remain clear-eyed about why we give all that money in the first place.
Krauthammer's email address is lett...@charleskrauthammer.com.