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Idea of the Day: How We Should Prepare for a Strategic Shift in Policy Toward Egypt

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The United States has adopted a cautious and often unclear policy in reaction to the past year’s tumultuous events in Egypt. This stance is due to the complicated nature of Egypt’s ongoing political transition and the shifting nature of regional power dynamics in the Middle East. President Barack Obama and his administration have understood that the key centers of power inside of the country and the regional actors that attempt to support and shape trends in the country are driving the events on the ground.

But the current U.S. posture on Egypt is not sustainable in the long term; it represents a temporary “hold pattern” in a policy approach. Since 2011, this stance has essentially been trapped in the same path of longstanding U.S. policy toward Egypt since the early 1980s. Since the ouster of former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, U.S. policy has been caught in self-imposed suspended animation—the slowing of normal policy processes without a complete rupture in ties. The decisions this summer and fall to temporarily delay some forms of military assistance have only forestalled making decisions about the broader relationship.

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This is part of a regular column: Idea of the Day

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