Egypt's president, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, is claiming his recent response to Mr. Kerry's ear was inspired by world cup soccer player Luis Suarez, and "couldn't be avoided."
After the recent verdict concerning the Al Jazeera journalists, Mr. Kerry, who had flown on to Brussels, immediately returned to Egypt. The incident took place shortly afterwards.
Only the day before Mr. Kerry had reassured the Egyptian president on renewed US aid, including attack helicopters. He also spoke of the need for Egypt to improve its "human rights record."
The verdict of 7 - 10 years handed out to Al Jazeera journalists the next day is widely seen as a smirk on the face of Mr. al-Sisi.
The sentencing is also considered wrong and without evidence, targeting journalists whereas they had been simply reporting events as reporters are supposed to do.
Meeting Mr. al-Sisi once again Mr. Kerry could hardly wait to say, "Didn't I tell you that the United States expects more attention to human rights? And this Al Jazeera case--"
At this point the Secretary had turned his head slightly to gaze out a window when Mr. al-Sisi "lunged" and sank his considerable incisors into Mr. Kerry's right ear.
According to the President's office the Luis Suarez "bite maneuver" had been under study for some time in Egyptian ruling circles.
Officially, the behavior is in line with general barbarity, but not without honor.
And it applies whether in a "sporting" contest or in making a statement of some sort, as with jihadists in Iraq biting off territory here and there.
The bite is clearly worse than the bark, ancient wisdom Mr. al-Sisi has savored for some time. Return to Mubarak-style rule would demonstrate the pith in this proverb.
As further explanation Mr. al-Sisi is a regular enthusiast of having guests and the populace of Egypt abide by his wishes. This would mean not crossing him in respect to two possible consequences:
*being jailed for long periods, including isolation and torture following ideas in various manuals circulating in the civilized world;
*being assailed by his personal bite, which he is savoring while welcoming opportunities to practice, at moments, in defense of "the honor of Egypt."
Mr. al-Sisi's office representative continued that of course Egypt could use the attack helicopters, tanks, etc. provided by the United States, but such bargaining chips did not mean falling in line with supposed western "values."
Moreover, if the situation in Egypt continued from here to threatening people with jail time, and even execution, as with failing to vote for Mr. al-Sisi in the future, that was none of the world's business. Especially Mr. Kerry's.
Meanwhile, the Secretary was flown quickly to the US for repair--or possibly transplant work--on his ear.
A prosthetic ear with capacity to release small missiles into the jaw of an assailant is being sought.
These developments, however, will not affect US military aid to Egypt.