Reminder of ‘Our’ Rogue on the Nile

Any roundup of the world’s noxious right-wing authoritarians usually includes stops in Brazil, Hungary, India and take your pick in Africa…Uganda, maybe? Arguably Vladimir Putin fits within the proto-fascist collection, notwithstanding his rhetoric about “de-Nazifying” Ukraine. But no gallery would be complete without General al-Sisi of Egypt, as this tale from the latest edition of the Economist shows. Although military intrusions into a domestic economy are a familiar feature of the developing world, the diminutive Sisi doesn’t shrink from tall orders of that vein. And he gets away with nearly any bad behavior. Though a shadow of its onetime might, Egypt, with its generally peaceful stance toward Israel and opposition to fundamentalist Islam, is a difficult straddle for any normal American administration.  But then, so is Saudi Arabia, and under Joe Biden the U.S. has thrown shade on that relationship  (a pet cause of Donald Trump). When it comes to the Egyptian ruler, however, the extraordinary aid levels from Washington (going back to the Begin-Sadat pact of 1979) have been spared much interruption. Yes,  after early indulgence, the Biden White House has stiffened a bit of late, “reprogramming” $130 million of military aid to Cairo, but leaving billions on the table.  Sisi, nevertheless, has cozied up to Russia, although he did join in the U.N. vote objecting to Putin’s “special military operation” before then abstaining as usual in a tally on excluding Russia from the body’s Human Rights Council.  If the basis of much non-arms assistance to Egypt is to restart its crippled economy, the military meddling and other destructive policies from Cairo should be one more mark for pausing America’s decades of liberal largesse.

Published by timwferguson

Longtime writer-editor, focusing on topics of business and policy, global and local.

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