The Egyptian uprising presents a rare opportunity for the United States to resolve the tension between its strategic priorities in the Middle East and its desire to support democratic change in the region. Washington's past approach to aiding Egypt was based on relations with authoritarian leaders who could be counted on to advance the United States' interests. With the fall of Hosni Mubarak and Egyptian efforts to build a more open political system, a policy based on "authoritarian stability" is no longer possible, and the United States is now forced to alter the way it appropriates and distributes bilateral assistance.
Meghan L. O'Sullivan says, "No single proposal is going to smooth over the acute political division in Egypt. Yet a deal over a constitutional review holds the prospect of at least breaking the impasse."
The future of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's largest opposition movement and a standard bearer for Islamist groups around the world, remains uncertain following Mohammed Morsi's fall, explains this Backgrounder.
Steven A. Cook says, "This is a critical moment in Egypt's transition; Morsi and his colleagues would do well to recognize that, rescind the decrees, and commit themselves to the democratic process. At this point, it is the only way for the Brothers to burnish their revolutionary credentials."
In the wake of the deadly attacks on U.S. diplomatic missions in Egypt and Libya, Bobby Ghosh writes that the newly-formed democratic governments which replaced long-standing dictatorships, as a result of the Arab Spring, has contributed to greater instability and a more chaotic and unstable Middle East.
President Morsi's reshuffling of top military ranks rebalances political power toward the civilian regime but may unsettle minorities who had hoped the military would check the power of the Muslim Brotherhood, says CFR's Steven Cook.
Egypt's newly sworn in President Mohamed Morsi will have to tackle everything from setting a rocky economy back on course to combining reform efforts with placating a powerful military, says expert Daniel Brumberg.
The authors argue that the United States has responded inadequately to the rise of Chinese power and recommend placing less strategic emphasis on the goal of integrating China into the international system and more on balancing China's rise.
Campbell evaluates the implications of the Boko Haram insurgency and recommends that the United States support Nigerian efforts to address the drivers of Boko Haram, such as poverty and corruption, and to foster stronger ties with Nigerian civil society.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2015 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read and download »