Strong words from President Obama were accompanied by an empty gesture - the announcement that Americans are withdrawing from a joint military exercise.
The Obama administration is wary of doing anything damaging to a country which, in addition to everything else, is on the edge of an economic abyss.
Were Egypt to be subjected to punitive sanctions over this, or a reduction in aid, it would be even closer to becoming a failed state than it already is.
Obviously a military coup and the overthrow of a democratically-elected government go against our core values.
But the calculation in Washington and London is that however distasteful, it might yet prove to be the least worst option for a country that as been in a perpetual state of decline for two-and-a-half years.