Center for American Progress

RELEASE: CAP Paper Outlines Terms for Renewing U.S.-Egypt Ties
Press Release

RELEASE: CAP Paper Outlines Terms for Renewing U.S.-Egypt Ties

Washington, D.C. — The relationship between Washington and Cairo has been troubled in recent years by an outdated framework for ties, unmet expectations, and deepening mutual mistrust amid Egypt’s unrest. President Donald Trump, however, has taken a starkly different tone to U.S.-Egypt relations than his predecessors, lavishing unqualified praise on Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi while remaining silent regarding his government’s repression. The challenge ahead will be to translate heightened expectations on both sides into enhanced, sustainable cooperation that delivers benefits to the people of both countries.

In a new report released today, drawing on wide-ranging field research including a two-hour interview with Egypt’s President Sisi, the Center for American Progress takes a hard look at the relationship between Egypt and the United States and offered recommendations for the Trump administration in order to improve the important strategic partnership with the Middle East’s most populous country.

“To mend ties in ways that benefit for both countries, warm rhetoric between leaders will not be enough. What is needed are credible plans to repair stalled cooperation and focus on helping Egypt build sturdier political, economic and security-related foundations,” said Daniel Benaim, CAP Senior Fellow and co-author of the report. “President Trump has signaled his intention to ask for more from U.S. partners, and Egypt should be no exception. Relations between Washington and Cairo may be poised to grow friendlier after years of drift and turbulence, but the Trump administration should engage Egypt with a sharp focus on how Egypt can benefit America’s interests and advance the values needed to defeat extremism.”

Among the recommendations the report makes are:

  • Seek improved ties, but ask for better from Egypt in return
  • Raise the issues of governance, preservation of open civic space, and government practices toward citizens.
  • Focus security cooperation on the “four pillars” that reflect Egypt’s current threats—counterterrorism, the Sinai, border security, and maritime security—plus training.
  • Encourage Egypt to craft an integrated, broad-based strategy to counter violent extremism
  • Enlist U.S. experts and businesses to help Egypt reform economically, but only where Egyptian buy in exists
  • Help Egypt meet security threats—but not with overly broad, politicized U.S. terrorism designations

The Center for American Progress will host a panel discussion today at 12:30pm eastern on U.S. Egypt Relations. Click here for the livestream.

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Tom Caiazza at or 202.481.7141.