On December 18, 2017, POMED’s Deputy Director for Policy Andrew Miller and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Nonresident Senior Fellow Richard Sokolsky wrote on op-ed for the New York Times entitled, “Actually, Egypt is a Terrible Ally.”
When Vice President Mike Pence visits Egypt on Wednesday, he will follow in the footsteps of countless American officials who have stopped in Cairo to laud the “strategic partnership” between the United States and Egypt.
This has become a vacuous and badly outdated talking point — the kind we both drafted during our years in the government. Mr. Pence shouldn’t pay lip service to it.
American and Egyptian interests are increasingly divergent and the relationship now has far less common purpose than it once did. Mr. Pence should make clear to Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Egypt’s president, that the two countries need a reset, beginning with a major reduction in American military assistance.
In addition to saving American taxpayers’ money, this would send an important message to other recipients of American aid that our support is not unconditional. It would also help to rein in an arrangement that has distorted Egyptian-American relations.
Any doubts that Egypt has ceased to be a strategic partner to the United States were eliminated with the recent preliminary Egyptian-Russian agreement to grant reciprocal access to each other’s air bases. But this is just the most recent example of profoundly unfriendly behavior by a purported friend. In Libya, Egypt has consistently provided military support to Gen. Khalifa Hifter, whose Libyan National Army has clashed with forces loyal to the internationally recognized and United States-backed government. At the United Nations Security Council, Egypt has made common cause with Russia to oppose the United States on issues from Syria to Israel/Palestine. And this year, revelations emerged of Egyptian military and economic cooperation with North Korea.
Read the full op-ed here.