Analysis: U.S. Should Show Egypt “Some Tough Love”
In an op-ed by Michele Dunne of the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center and Bob Kagan of the Brookings Institution, the authors suggest ”President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry need to pay attention to Egypt — now.” According to Dunne and Kagan, the Obama administration “has treated Egypt primarily as an economic problem and has urged Cairo to move quickly to satisfy International Monetary Fund (IMF) demands to qualify for financing. But there is no separating Egypt’s economic crisis from its political crisis — or from the failures of its current government.”
They point to a series of undemocratic moves advanced by the Morsi government, including a draft NGO law that “would constrain the activities of non-governmental organizations even more than Hosni Mubarak did,” and they write that Washington’s response has “largely been business as usual.” “Egypt’s opposition and nonpartisan human rights groups believe, understandably, that Washington has resumed ignoring undemocratic practices so long as the Egyptian government protects U.S. strategic interests,” Dunne and Kagan contend.
They advocate a “new approach,” where “the administration and Congress need to fully review military and economic assistance to Egypt.” As further leverage, “it would be better to hold that invitation [for Morsi to visit Washington] until he demonstrates a sincere commitment to working with all of Egyptian society and allowing genuine freedom to all citizens.” They assert: “That means supporting a law that meets international standards on regulating civil society, allowing watchdog organizations to operate freely and finally resolving the controversial status of foreign and foreign-funded NGOs. It means ending the persecution of journalists and opposition figures, committing to reform the police and hold them accountable and building a consensus on such critical matters as the constitution and electoral law.”