Mohamed Morsi would seem to now be the former President of Egypt and the question on the pundits’, politicians’, and media elites’ minds is whether his removal from office constitutes a coup d’état. Now, I’ve been accused of splitting semantics hairs, but I don’t see how the term applies at all in this instance. A coup d’état is a short, sharp, and unexpected military overthrow of a government. The concept compares with the sort of military operation known as a coup de main, the 1982 invasion of the Falkland Islands being perhaps the example best known to the Anglophone world.
When I lived in Guatemala in the mid-90s there was regular rumor of (an) impending golpe(s) de estado. Guatemalans went to bed wondering if they were going to wake up to find a new government in power. Far from rumored, yesterday’s overthrow of Morsi was in fact preannounced. Call me a pedant, but this seems to be a difference that matters.