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Sunday, July 15, 2012

US admits it has 'nearly zero' influence in Egypt

Secretary of State Clinton canceled a talk about 'democracy' that she was supposed to give in Egypt. The United States has apparently come to the conclusion that it has 'nearly zero' influence in the most populous Arab country.
The administration’s struggle to define a message here reflects its quandary with how to deal with a rapidly shifting contest for power whose outcome remains to be seen. Policy makers are struggling to balance a public push for a democratic Egypt against a desire to maintain long-term ties with both factions, the generals and the Islamists, in a context where almost any American statement is sure to provoke a backlash.

The generals have repeatedly rebuffed American pressure. The new president, Mohamed Morsi, and the other leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood still harbor deep doubts about Washington’s agenda. Some of Egypt’s secular politicians are even accusing the United States, implausibly, of conspiring to back the Brotherhood. A secular political party and a Christian group have called for a protest outside the American Embassy against what they assert to be United States support for the Islamists.

All of which has lent what some American officials say is a sense of futility about Washington’s muffled voice in the future of a strategic ally.

“In some ways all the talk in Washington about what to do in Egypt is incredibly inefficient,” said Peter Mandaville, a political scientist at George Mason University who until recently advised the State Department on Islamist politics in the region. “At a time of virtually zero U.S. influence, we don’t need to waste so much time figuring out how to try to get the Egyptian people to like us.”
Read the whole thing. Basically, the US has no confidence in the Islamists (despite Obama and Clinton being enamored with them) and no influence at all over the military. Funny how I don't hear the Obama campaign bragging about how they got rid of Mubarak.

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