"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.
Steven Cook presents a revisionist account of Egypt's uprising and argues that a robust regime change has actually never taken place, as solidified by the recent repression of Muslim Brotherhood opposition forces.
As Egypt's political crisis deepens, its economy has been stabilized by a cash infusion from the oil-rich Persian Gulf. Economist Farouk Soussa outlines the limited options facing Egypt's interim government.
"The United States government announced last week that it would not, after all, make a determination as to whether the ouster of Egypt's Mohamed Morsi constituted a 'coup.' This decision has both important strategic and financial implications for the United States. By not designating Morsi's expulsion as a military coup, U.S. law allows the United States to continue its $1.5 billion in annual aid to Egypt. This second largest foreign aid package, after Israel, is tied to the Egypt-Israel peace treaty and also contributes to the annual budgets of major American defense companies."
"Islamist parties associated with the Muslim Brotherhood in the region reacted with condemnation and consternation to the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi in Egypt. But, they were mostly careful to disassociate themselves from the Egyptian Brotherhood's uncompromising style of leadership (rushing in a new Islamist constitution and monopolizing power around Mohamed Morsi)."
"Egypt's Islamists may draw the bitter lesson that the "deep state" will not let them wield real power, even with a democratic mandate. This report, compiled from interviews with senior Muslim Brotherhood and secular politicians, youth activists, military officers and diplomats, examines four turning points on Egypt's revolutionary road: the Brotherhood's decision to seek the presidency; the way Mursi pushed through the constitution; the failures of the secular opposition; and the military's decision to step in."
Egypt faces a cycle of instability, writes Joshua Kurlantzick, but it can break that rotation if it manages expectations in the early years of emerging democracy and takes lessons from Nelson Mandela's post-apartheid South Africa and Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva's Brazil.
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.
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.
Koblentz argues that the United States should work with other nuclear-armed states to manage threats to nuclear stability in the near term and establish processes for multilateral arms control efforts over the longer term.
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.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2014 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 »