August 5, 2013

THIS MUST BE MORE OF THAT “SMART DIPLOMACY” WE WERE PROMISED: Sissi Blasts Obama Administration as Egyptians Turn on US.

“You left the Egyptians. You turned your back on the Egyptians, and they won’t forget that,” Gen. Abdel Fatah al-Sissi said angrily in a rare interview with a Western newspaper. “Now you want to continue turning your backs on Egyptians?”

Given the state of public opinion in Egypt, it makes lots of sense for Sissi to stress his differences with the US. Nobody wants to look like our friends there. But Sissi is probably not as unhappy with Washington’s scolding as he lets on and this Post article confuses a few things about the relationship between Washington and Cairo.

This sentence in particular seems a bit strained: “The Egyptian military has long received critical support from the United States, and in return has upheld Egypt’s decades-old peace treaty with Israel while serving as a key regional ally.” The idea that observing the treaty with Israel is something the US “buys” from the Egyptian military with aid is a typical US liberal media construct. It magnifies our importance and flatters our narcissism, distorts the nature of our relationships with Israel and its neighbors, and provides a simplistic picture of both Egypt and US policy. The Egyptian military supports the peace treaty with Israel because stability on its eastern frontier (and the return of Sinai, which came with the treaty) are in Egypt’s national interest.

The US values the treaty not just because it protects Israel, but because it (with the work of the Egyptian military) ensures the stability of a vital waterway, the Suez Canal, and the Egyptian military is an important part of regional security and stability for reasons that have nothing to do with Israel.

Yeah, but we’re not even that popular with the Belly Dancers.

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