Speakers: Thomas Carothers, Daniel C. Kurtzer, and Shibley Telhami Presider: Richard N. Haass
With the Muslim Brotherhood sidelined for the time being and the military once again firmly in charge, the Egyptian political landscape has settled into a three-way stalemate between the Islamists, secular liberals, and old-guard elites.
This meeting is part of the "What to Do About" series, which highlights specific issues and features experts who put forward competing analyses and policy prescriptions in a mock high-level U.S. government meeting.
"Moderate voices have been drowned out in the Egyptian media which largely glorifies the army and its chief, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. An absence of established political parties to encourage dynamic pluralist politics has also pushed moderate politicians into the background while the public, weary of instability, mostly backs the army in its 'war against terrorism.'"
"Critics of General Tohamy say he was the quintessential Mubarak man, the handpicked guardian of the system of corruption and impunity that was a central grievance of the revolution of January 2011. And his swift and silent return, the critics say, signals a restoration of the old order after the military takeover."
"The Brotherhood denounces violence and says it is committed to peaceful protest. But as members go into hiding, its key building blocks - local groups of seven members known as usras - are under pressure."
"A strengthened security relationship between these unlikely partners would be mutually beneficial and allow the sides to combine their assets to counter shared threats while minimizing the risks of international blowback."
"Beltway analysts draw the same conclusion: U.S. aid has not bought leverage over Egypt. Their argument is that cutting aid is futile and actually detracts from U.S. interests. It's quite a tautology. Since American assistance doesn't buy leverage, Washington should keep the aid flowing. If we agree that American assistance doesn't do much, then why continue it?"
"Weapon systems, just like cars, are bought on credit. Most countries receiving [Foreign Military Funding] aid are required to show they have the funds to cover the full cost of the order, and the value of their orders cannot exceed the credit extended by the US. But Egypt was offered a credit arrangement more generous than most."
"It seems now that [Egypt's] main relevance in regional and global affairs is as a potential source of trouble. Its combination of instability, corruption and ineptitude makes Egypt fertile soil for radicalism and Islamist militancy. And Washington should treat it as such. It should stop pretending Egypt is an important player in Arab affairs, and pay more attention to countries that are."
Les Gelb writes, "the Obama team, on a private basis, has to help the military and the moderates frame a viable plan and process for establishing democracy in Egypt, and start implementing it as soon as possible."
The promise of a democratic Egypt faces its starkest challenge yet as a military crackdown on Islamist protestors threatens to unhinge the transition process. This Issue Guide provides background and analysis.
The Council on Foreign Relations' David Rockefeller Studies Program—CFR's "think tank"—is home to more than seventy full-time, adjunct, and visiting scholars and practitioners (called "fellows"). Their expertise covers the world's major regions as well as the critical issues shaping today's global agenda. Download the printable CFR Experts Guide.
The authors argue that it is essential to begin working now to expand and establish rules and norms governing armed drones, thereby creating standards of behavior that other countries will be more likely to follow.
The author examines Pakistan's complex role in U.S. foreign policy and advocates for a two-pronged approach that works to quarantine threats while integrating Pakistan into the broader U.S. agenda in Asia.