Time to Rethink U.S. Relationship With Egypt

Washington should examine its assumptions about the repressive government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

Comments: 214

  1. Our State Department cadre is far less adept at foreign policy that most Americans could imagine. If you look at USAID’s dismal record in Afghanistan, where it has spent tens of millions on ill-conceived projects - typically with little or no input from the end users, the Afghans themselves - you get a whiff of the “cookie pusher” bureaucrats we send abroad. Many of our diplomats are well-educated, well-trained idealists, brave patriots intent on furthering US interests by doing good in foreign lands. But far too many in mid- and upper management are professionally insular, pension-oriented, and - from personal experience - jaded and cynical about what might be possible.

    The US has a dismal history of supporting tyrants, from the Shah of Iran to President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt. Only when we muster the strength of will to go forward without these Faustian alliances, such as they are, will the US regain its moral leadership in the world.

  2. Worse than our dismal support of tyrants is our dismal support of Israel. 68 years of rage and hatred since its creation. How much longer? After it finishes driving all the Christian Arab Israeli citizens from within its boundaries and finishes grinding the stateless Palestinians into dust, then what? It sits in the Middle East like a tumor, smugly certain of US support no matter what it does.

  3. It might be useful to remember that our country's independence was forged with the military assistance of a tyranical regime, that of the king of France. I say this merely to point out that history has a way of blurring the edges. Furthermore , the Middle East, like nature, abhors a vacuum. Without American support, Egypt could be the next Libya; Cairo the next Benghazi. Isis already is making contingency plans.

  4. Faust! opposing Warrior islam is Faust


    moral leadership, from a country that enabled ISIS?

  5. The US should cease all military aid and arms sales to all countries in the Middle East, North Africa, and Southwest Asia. We should exert diplomatic pressure on all other arms suppliers to do the same. We can't facilitate peace with the spread of weapons.

  6. Given that America is the leading arms supplier to most countries in the Middle East, North Africa, and Southwest Asia and is by far the WORLD'S leading arms dealer /supplier, the chances of your suggestion on what the U.S should do has a zero chance of ever happening.

    The U.S will remain the most war-mongering Nation supplying the most Weapons on Earth as it has been for ALL of this century (and before that) so far.

    Frankly, if America were to stop all military activity outside its borders and cease all weapons sales and supplies to other other Nations, the WORLD would be largely at Peace.

  7. As if US is the only military supplier in this world...

  8. We should disarm the police in the US also

    Gun Control For All

    The Romans had it right - to have peace prepare for war


    Only the dead have seen an end to war

  9. If we were to pull the plug on el-Sisi the first person to complain would surely be...Bibi Netanyahu. So long as Egypt's peace agreement with Israel is maintained- and so long as el-Sisi continues to clamp down on Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood- our government will come up with all the usual excuses to keep the money pouring into Cairo. What we really ought to do is to stop providing both countries with financial and military support and use some of it to shore up the democratic government in Tunisia. The rest of it can be used to shore up our own country.

  10. Right you are, Rima. It was no mere coincidence that the only Jew running for President was the one contender who refrained from making the pilgrimage to AIPAC last week to petition for their support. I'm embarrassed to admit that some of the congregants in my own synagogue are among Bernie's biggest haters, convinced as they are that he's the one candidate who's likely to abandon Bibi in his (perpetual) hour of need.

  11. You know your American Jewish history as well as I do. Parts of it are really ugly and persist to this day. But as you well know, the neoliberal and conservatives among us are the loudest. The majority of us, liberals, progressives, no longer have a voice and outsiders mistake that for uniformity of ideas and beliefs.

  12. "Administration officials who have cautioned against a break with Egypt say its military and intelligence cooperation is indispensable."

    That's what they always say and, so far, we've always fallen for some version of it. We need to stop propping oppressive regimes, anywhere. We need to reassess the motives behind our relationships with a host of developing nations and look at the harm we've caused the populations under their rule. When the most destructive kind of commerce is what drives our foreign policy, is it any wonder the end result is greater hatred of America in times of worldwide economic stress? We need to focus on helping these nations develop their economies and begin to gravitate towards more democratic forms of government. We need to de-emphasize military in favor of civilian pursuits that benefit populations, rather than despots. That, in the end, is how we assure more harmonic relationships between nations and avoid messes like Iraq, Syria, and Libya. Such goals would be far more in line with the mission statement of the State Department than current policies demonstrate.


    Like Bread And Butter, Economics and Foreign Policy Go Together: http://wp.me/p2KJ3H-28p

  13. "We need to stop propping oppressive regimes" This is what brought all of this "spring awakening" morass in the first place, as we stopped propping up Hosni Mubarek, for example. The trouble is that it is too simplistic to think that there is a credible alternative in many of these countries. The muslim brotherhood was repressive, just like Mubarek was and just like Egypt's current leadership.

  14. Ken,

    Mubarak was as oppressive as the military junta is now. Who the people of Egypt choose is their right and that includes the Muslim Brotherhood, as much as we dislike them. We have no right to interfere. But when the military grabs power, we should withhold our support. You can't say you're for democracy and then go on to pick another nation's leadership for them.

  15. "We need to de-emphasize military in favor of civilian pursuits that benefit populations, rather than despots."

    Do we then just airdrop money and bottled water directly into populated areas?

  16. The linked letter to President Obama is signed by a list of the worse of the Bush Admin era neocons, the first two names being Elliot Abrams and Robert Kagan.

    Anything supported by them, coming with an attack on Obama's policy, is certain to be dishonest.

    It is also certain to be wrong, since they have been wrong about everything for near twenty years, and our Middle East mess they made is proof of that.

    These are among the people who said this was NOT a coup. These are the people who said it was a movement of the whole people against the Muslim Brotherhood. These are the people who insisted that the MB could not be a democracy, and so removing it was not a coup.

    NOW they say it was a coup.

    Anything to attack Obama.

    Also, they probably imagine that there is some government possible that is not the one that was elected and overthrown. Sorry, no, that won't happen. Egyptians are Muslim and they don't like Israel, and any government they elect will be a rather traditional for Egypt version of Muslim and won't like Israel.

    It is very late to realize suddenly that it was a coup three years ago. It may seem convenient now that the elected government neocons despised has been so largely destroyed. However, asny democracy in Egypt is going to look a lot like Morsi, unless it is worse, dominated by the jihadi radicals based in Saudi Arabia who opposed him for not being more like ISIS.

    These neocons made this mess, and now just reversed themselves, blaming Obama.

  17. There was a year to go under Morsi before lelctions, when he could have been removed democratically, or if he cheated THEN remove him but no.. Everyone lied about this being about 'saving democracy'(See Tony Blair and others) when it clearly was not. Torture, mass killings and a lot of evil STOPPED under Morsi and as imperfect as he was; he was a better leader than any of the other in the ME inc Bibi Netanayu.
    Your argument that we should support evil if it benefits Israel is one that fortunately is finding less traction as time goes by. Cheers for Donald Trump, insults for Obama (At AIPAC) despite his helping defend Israelis's with more money than GW gave as well as the 'Iron Dome' show how far down we have sunk.
    We invade and destroy nations in the name of 'Nation Building' to build Democracy and yet support coups vs Democracies as though we have learned NOTHING from our previous mistakes (Iran, Angola, Chile, El Salvador) and continue to day (Honduras, Ukraine, Egypt). And if we don't do that we utterly destroy non Jihad Nations and leave then open to jihad (Libya, Syria, Iraq).
    Utterly depressing! So much for the post Cold War 'peace dividend' we all were promised. And ISIS armed by the US (2013) to crush bad guy Assad and deliberately restarting the cold War with Putin's Russia by meddling in his 'Mexico' (Ukraine) to restart NATO arms buying are just the latest missteps.
    It is clear our long term foreign policy is one of the Pentagon's; War without end.

  18. The neocon's record of being wrong extends back well beyond twenty years and far beyond the Middle East.

  19. Robert Kagan? I forget about him. Married to Victoria Nuland! They must have interesting pillow-talk! The inter-breeding has to stop. We, Amerika and the rest of the world cannot handle anymore absurdity.

  20. The Times editorial staff has had a thing about President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt since he first appeared on their radar. Apparently, supplanting an elected leader, Mohamed Morsi, is a secular sin of such immense proportions that it clouds all editorial judgment.

    Yet Mohamed Morsi promised the Egyptian people that if he and his Islamist Muslim Brotherhood were elected, they would focus on Egypt’s failing economy and seek to build bridges among the various ideological interests there. But when elected, barely, what they actually did was threaten the military, rewrite the Egyptian constitution to give near-absolute power to Islamist interests and seek to impose an extreme form of Shariya on Egyptians, while largely ignoring the economy for two years. Not surprisingly, the PEOPLE invited the military to do something about the situation, and they obliged by taking over in a putsch that supplanted and imprisoned Morsi and started going after the Muslim Brotherhood. Violence that caused innocent deaths was employed by BOTH sides.

    It seems that democracy can’t really work in Egypt unless, like communism that’s failed almost everywhere it’s been tried, it failed only because a true version of it was never tried. Or beware Islamists bearing democratic promises. Or something like that.

    Egypt got exactly what it deserved in Morsi, and what it deserves in el-Sisi. The U.S. needs a relationship with Egypt, and Egypt gets to decide what Egypt is.

  21. Big picture, Egypt has had four leadership changes in the past five years. Democracy remains an ideal, but as with everything, it's two steps forward, one step back. However, I fail to see how anything positive can come with disengagement as proposed by this editorial. The vast majority of the 90 million Egyptians just want to see their economic situation improve so they can fulfil the promises of a better life for their children - a 100% pluralistic democracy really is way down the list of priorities.

  22. I disagree with your narrative of events. Firstly, the Egyptian economy has, since the days of Nasser, been in the hands of the Egyptian military elite and its family. Morsi, as president, had little power to confront this military economic complex and improve the Egyptian economy. The generals set him up to lose.

    Moreover, it was during Morsi's short term in office that free speech existed to the extent that Egypt's own Jon Stewart, Bessam Youssef, regularly mocked Morsi on his Egyptian television show. Morsi and his supporters complained but had little power to stop the show being broadcast. Since El-Sisi has become president, Bessam Youssef has left Egypt, fearing for his safety.

  23. The "people" invited the military to take power by coup, eh? How did the "people" reach this consensus? Generally, that kinds of consensus is determined by elections, but that wasn't what happened. No matter how much you try to put lipstick on that pig, the Egyptian military seized power by force.

    There's a very high degree of hypocrisy to talk about how Egypt got what it deserved, when what happened to Egypt has tacit US approval to the tune of $1.3 billion per year.

  24. Enough already with this neo-liberal obsession with Arab democracy! It could not be clearer that it has not worked; it is a stark fact that each revolution has lead to something worse for America and the West than the dictators that preceded them.

    This chimera of freedom needs to be retired by Western liberals and replaced with a dose of realism. The Arab 'man on the street' does not currently want to live in a secular democracy, and it has proven to be naive and dangerous to cling to this fantasy.

  25. The building blocks of secular democracy start with a healthy economy, education, and freedom of speech. In addition to military Aid, the US assists across a broad spectrum of development such as building schools, providing scholarships, infrastructure, and small business development. All of these initiatives are relatively low-key, but crucial in the big picture.

  26. "Time to Rethink U.S. Relationship With Egypt," great idea they haven't complete returned to the Russian fold that should push them over the edge!

  27. Incredible. We open doors to repressive enemies like Iran and Cuba but close them to allies who struggle against terrorism. No wonder Trumpism thrives. The world is upside-down.

  28. "Mr. Obama has been willing to challenge longstanding assumptions and conventions about Washington’s relations with Middle East nations like Iran and Saudi Arabia". That list should have included Israel-
    The U.S can't blame Egypt for Human Rights, while negotiating a New $4 Billion/ Year Military Aid to Israel.

    Human Rights are universal. Palestinians have the same Rights as Egyptians. So the Times should ask for the U.S to rethink its Relationship with Israel.Until then, enough with the Hypocrisy.

  29. Since the Oslo Accords, 95% of Palestinian Arabs are ruled by either the PA or Hamas, so you are complaining to the wrong party. In any event, the Palestinian Arabs are the living illustration of the prisoner who holds the keys to his own jail cell. Given the number of commenters who turn an editorial about Egypt into attacks on Israel, it's no wonder that the Palestinians think they will never need to use the key.

  30. AS an Egyptian-American (which I am, BTW), let me say this . . . let Egypt be Egypt.
    BUT . . . I do agree with what was said, "Egypt’s scorched-earth approach to fighting militants in the Sinai and its stifling repression may be creating more radicals than the government is neutralizing". So I'm all for trying to knock a little perspective into Asisi.

  31. "So I'm all for trying to knock a little perspective into Asisi."

    And if he resists. what do we do then? How far do we do in "trying to knock that perspective into Asisi"? If it forces him from office and Islamists replace him, will you blame the US for going too far? If he completely rebuffs the US efforts will you blame the US for not forcing him to change? Or do you expect the Egyptian government to be magically transformed by US pressure into an oasis of happy Social Democrats within the Middle-East?

    It sounds like there is more criticism of US foreign policy towards Egypt to come from you.

  32. Just at this moment in time, the entire world seems to have gone CRAZY. It could be said the time to examine our relationship with Egypt and the Middle East is long past due but one really wonders if this IS the time for this now. We could, in fact, create another enemy which we don't need.
    Besides oil, some strategic usefulness and likely some help for Israel, Egypt seems to have had an on-off relationship with the US. Perhaps it is time to re-examine our role in the Mid East, let them deal with their internal and external problems while we mend our own fences here at home. We have a serious problem with DRUMPF as a nominee of the GOP and possible POTUS. That should scare the bejeezus out of everyone.
    Our global interests could, for a while, be reduced to humanitarian needs--food, water, shelter, clothing and education. That is how the world will improve--not more wars based on the needs of businesses to expand their consumer base.

  33. The Muslim brotherhood was far more oppressive and more dangerous to America than the current military regime. The problem with democracies in the Middle East is that they usually just end up Islamic states that perpetuate sharia law. The extremist already hate the west. It's a fallacy to continue to perpetuate the idea that what the USA does creates these radicals. The religion creates the radicalism. Islam has never been tolerate throughout its history. Islamist have been trying to conquer Europe for a 1000 years. Being kinder to them is not about to alter that dynamic.

  34. "Islamist have been trying to conquer Europe for a 1000 years. Being kinder to them is not about to alter that dynamic."

    You are forgetting something. The "burden of history" can only be invoked against non-Islamic factions. The only historical context that is allowed are the Crusades.

  35. Time to rethink U.S. relationships with a half dozen other countries in that region alone. The problem is, any inspired thoughts involving FOREIGN policy will not be vetted by the voters, who are not privileged enough to have informed, world views. Thus, foreign affairs are pretty much left to the Pentagon and conservatives. Americans have no idea how interventionist our foreign policy is and how threatening we are to others throughout the world. The voters' 'checks and balances' only work (somewhat) with domestic affairs.

  36. Three Arab states, Libya, Syria and Egypt walk into the Arab Spring... which one doesn't measure up to the alliance standards of the NY Times editorial board?

  37. I think there is danger in conflating non-democratic states with abusive states. We don’t want to support oppressive regimes, but neither should American-style democracy be the criterion by which we decide the worthiness of a given regime. We have made, and keep making, the mistake of trying to shove “democracy” down the throats of people who don’t want it and who regard it as an inferior type of governance. In the case of a Muslim country such as Egypt the dilemma is stark: rule by the people, the essence of democracy, is incompatible with Islam, which sees Allah as the only legitimate ruler.

    Eliminating the basket cases (and perhaps Egypt is one of these), at the end of the day I would rather have a steadfast non-democratic ally with a merely decent civil right record rather than a squirrelly “democratic” ally with a perfect civil right record.

  38. I thought we were done with advocating for regime change based on America's model of government. How many authoritarian regimes are going to try to overthrow, only to be replaced by chaos or religious authoritarianism before we stop this regime change stuff? We should work more closely with al-Sisi and try to show him that his country would be better off with strong institutions rather than strongmen.

  39. "show him that his country would be better off with strong institutions rather than strongmen" Is the USA a convincing example?

  40. U.S. had contributed in a significant way to the downthrow of the long-lasting but pretty benevolent authoritarian regime of Mubarak, as a result getting Islamist radical regime in power. Then, the Egyptian people rebelled against Mr. Morsi and basically returned to the form of government that they were used to. Many years of the history of the Middle East should have taught the Editorial Board that human rights have much fewer supporters there than the radical Islam - so when the authoritarian regime is dislodged and free elections take place, result is quite detrimental to our values. Please leave Mr. Al-Sisi alone, let him crush the miltants lest we want to do it ourselves.

  41. Why are we giving Egypt so much money in the first place? Why does the US help fund these countries, like Pakistan, when they lie and deceive us? We give billions annually to Israel so their narcissistic leader, Bibi, can continue to make fun of our Congress and President, not to mention his massive civil rights abuse of innocent Palestinians (I'm not talking about Hamas, calm down readers).

    It is time for the USA to quit being co-dependent and an enabler with these small countries who don't matter much anyway in the big scheme of things.

  42. "These small countries don't much matter anyway"? False! Israel wouldn't feel nearly as safe having to live to a state run by Islamists!

  43. Looks like the Muslim Brotherhood which has disappeared everywhere else is still active in the NYT Editorial offices as it is in the White House. But, not anywhere else. We've got a lot of minimally active allies, but Egypt is nowhere near the top of the list.

  44. Could we just substitute Israel for Egypt in your Opinion piece..and stop support for both?

    Betcha they both would gain a little more perspective and responsibility for mutual support in the region.

  45. Same should be done with Israel, total reassessment, apartheid's new face

  46. Hey - In my work, I lived under apartheid in Capetown SA and have lived in T.A. Israel. Believe me friend - it doesnt even start to resemble SA. There is no segregation, there is parliamentary representation which is color-creed blind and the ordinary Arab citzen of Israel lives far better and with so much more liberty than her/his counterparts in most of the Arab diaspora. So with respect - know your facts before you use the pejorative "apartheid". Cheers from Melbourne, Ausytralia

  47. Under the definition used in the International Convekntion for the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid, of 1973, whatever you imagine in your worst nightmares Israel may be doing cannot be "apartheid." Of course, if you change the definition without telling anyone - the BDS strategy - then you are deliberately cheapening the word and grievously insulting the victims and survivors of the real thing, all in the "cause" of scoring cheap rhetorical points. That is why BDS and its ilk will never be part of the solution, not that that was their founding purpose to begin with.

  48. Then set conditions for the aid. Is that so hard?

  49. What is the alternative, President Obamas buddies in the Muslim Brotherhood? How did that work out for civil rights? Horribly, thats how. Like it or not Egypt is one of the few allies we have, along with the Kurdish peshmerga, who is willing to fight ISIS.

    This is our priority now. Once ISIS and radical Islam is under control we can address Egypt's government. Their rights vioations are miniscule compared to ISIS and the other Muslim Brotherhood offspring.

  50. Here is Formula comment #3 on Egypt, which will come out on any Egypt related article. Note the claim that Obama supported the MB, which is the dead giveaway, as is the gross mischaracterization of the government of the elected leader, President Morsi.

  51. Since Arab and other Muslim Middle Eastern peoples have shown a singular talent for not supporting democratic values what indeed would happen if Egypt's present dictator loosened things up and permitted greater freedom?
    A. Egypt would suddenly become democratic after thousands of years of authoritarian regimes going back to the Pharos.
    B. An Islamist government would take over and would support the kind of murder, terrorism and hatred of the West and Western values presently found in Iran and Saudi Arabia and other Islamist regimes.

    Call me a half-glass empty cynic but I'd bet on B.

  52. Stop all aid to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Israel. Use the money for a needy democracy....the U.S.

  53. Include Palestinian Authority, and 100 BILLION to the Persian empire( obamas legacy will backfire big time on Irab)At least you get ,innovation,technology,agriculture,medicine from Israel..

  54. Please be reasonable! That is NEVER going to happen! It would be like asking the Military to NOT spend its Money on Bombing Muslims, Invading Iraq and Afganistan and instead of killing AT LEAST 1 million Civilians by doing so, spending the money it cost on alleviating poverty, hardship and inequality in the U.S.A . The money would THEN be directly helping American Citizens AND by NOT being spent on Military activities in the Middle East and at home , the 1 million + Civilians killed by that military Costs to do so would then be still alive and leading full peaceful lives for their having been no U.S Invasion etc.

    Sounds like a WIN/WIN to me and the best, most well spent Money EVER!

    AND as a Special Bonus for not killing 1 million Civilians and decimating 2 countries in doing so, there would also be NO ISIS nor as much Terrorist activity due to a few hundred thousand less revenge filled men wanting to hurt America for destroying their families!

    Seems like the best bargain and cghanged spend allocation one could ever imagine!

    OH...Wait!...but then the Arms Manufacturers would lose lots of money not selling all their gear, weapons, ordinance and ammunition etc etc to the military and others if no campaigns or action were undertook in the Middle east.

    Silly Billy Me...that would not do...Profits First and Foremost and so I must say:

    As you Were...As Was and will Be and as has always Been.

  55. More urgent than Egypt is a review of our relationships with Saudi Arabia and Israel. Particularly Saudi Arabia, which is the largest exporter and promoter of extremist Islam is the world.

  56. The US has already realigned their relationship with Saudi, where once they were dependent on Saudi oil, the US now only imports a modest 5% of total consumption.

  57. Ah yes, let's pursue the same agenda we did in Libya and Syria - support an overthrow of a repressive, authoritarian government to promote democracy. Clearly Egypt will magically turn into european-style liberal state. I mean, what are the chances that Islamist jihadists will seize power and turn the country into another source of terrorists? Pshaw, don't be ridiculous, that could never happen.

  58. Nobody said that. They said stop supporting the Egyptian military with billions in US weapons. That is different.

  59. At a time that Islamic-related murderous cadres are threatening our security and well-being, the crackdown in Cairo is necessary. The moralizing by the NYTimes and American liberals, if put into action, will lead to more failed states, e.g., Libya, Somalia, etc. We need to foster strong leadership in northern Africa. We cannot assume that the peoples of that region really want "democracy". Theocracy is their goal - think Iran and essentially Pakistan. (Some democracy there, its constitution requires the president to be Muslim).

  60. Somalia's failed state caused by liberals? Somalia turned into a failed state pre-Clinton. And by the way American made weapons and policies were a big part of the reason why. We had plied a pro-American dictator with weapons, as per Cold War/War on Terror norms, and they got looted after chaos broke out.

  61. Just curious. What of the lessons supposedly learned from how we dealt with Qaddafi, Mubarak, Saddam Hussein, and Assad are you failing to see?

  62. joe - Yes and thank you!

  63. US is long overdue for a "policy re-think" on both Egypt and Saudi Arabia. I share here the last sentence of Mark Hugh Miller's comment above: "Only when we muster the strength of will to go forward without these Faustian alliances, such as they are, will the US regain its moral leadership in the world."

  64. No policy rethink necessary on Israel??
    The two state option for Israel-Palestine peace is all but dead. Israel would have to fight a civil war to get the settlers to leave the West Bank, every year there are more of them who will fight against being uprooted, and no one can deny there has been an upsurge of racism among Israelis especially, and ominously, among the young.
    Israel doesn't need our support, they need our frank criticism of their reckless policies. I would say friends don't let friends drive drunk. but given that Netanyahu, who incited the murder of Yitzhak Rabin back in 1995, is the 'moderate' in his government, on what basis do we consider Israel our friend? A partner against terrorism for our mutual benefit, yes, but a friend???

  65. Trying to apply western values to the middle east is a waste of time. Democracy? Are you kidding? Oppression of women, lack of due process, ruthless capital punishment, it doesn't matter if they're allies or enemies - the only remotely western country in the region is Israel. And I do believe they think we are out of our minds.

  66. As long as we keep supporting people who enforce the values you decry with military hardware, it will never change.
    Normal people who want to have a normal life for their children can't create democracy with American made weapons killing them.

  67. "And I do believe they [Israelis} think we are out of our minds."

    I assure you, the sentiment is reciprocated. 6 million Israel Jews are taking on more than a billion Muslims, and most of world public opinion, to colonize and enforce apartheid in the West Bank. How is that going to end well?

  68. I agree that we need to be less cozy and supportive of Egypt, however I would refrain from using misleading phrases like "Egypt’s crackdown on peaceful Islamists". Islamists are extremely dangerous for women and other minority populations. Why? Well, because by definition they want to implement Islam as law in their country. The end goal of an Islamist is a Saudi Arabia-type state. I point to the work of Maajid Nawaz if anyone is interested in learning more about this.

    We know the types of human rights violations that come along with Islamism, so don't sugar coat it NYTimes!!!! In the same breath, I will say that the Islamists should have a right to voice their opinions without being imprisoned. However, branding them as peaceful protesters is like calling the WBB peaceful protesters. It is technically correct in the physical sense, but their words are as anti-liberal as they come.

  69. It's oxymoronic to label Islamists as peaceful. They may be peaceful as long they are in the minority and possess no power but just wait until they can sense victory. All one has to do is look back to the time when Morsi came to power and how his Brotherhood smelled blood.
    No, they are never peaceful in the end, only as long as it takes to gain the upper hand.

  70. ...and the Suez Canal really comes in to play. As well Isreal is definitely threatened by any compromise of "the status quo". I do not disagree that we should toughen up on Egypt (& Isreal), but what is the balance/benefit of threatening the Canal?

  71. Egypt, for the current being, is the only country in the region that is fighting terrorists if we turn out back now on Egypt there will be no friends left for us in the region

  72. Well, per the article today about Assad and the Russians referencing the Arab fable. Regarding "friends" the Egyptians are the scorpions and the US is the frog. Reference our so-called friends Saudi Arabia who are constantly trying to pull us into their conflicts while exporting radical Islam to the world.

  73. Sisi is creating as many terrorists as he is killing. And if we support him, we give the people who hate him good reason to hate us as well.

  74. You cannot compare Saudi Arabia with Egypt.

  75. America is a global military empire, now with another President happy to dance the tango on the 40th anniversary of US support for the murder of 30,000 Argentine "problems". This fascist empire adheres to the Cheney/Rumsfeld PNAC 1997 doctrine of "Full Spectrum Domination" of every country on Earth. Real Wyoming values!

  76. It will never happen for they have something we(U.S.A. and Europe) need- Suez Canal. We've delt with and supported dictators often miltary, that had a lot less to offer, like Pinochet of Chile, The Argentines and Brazilians, not to forget those small time hoods in Central America. Egypt will get a pass, though reluctantly, what choice is there? Keep close to them or alienate them and they inturn move closer to Russia and China. Turkey is another, just one step away from an Islamist based dictorship and already the EU ans U.S. are looking the other way with their president's crackdown on dissent. BTW, Egypt went from an Islamist based dictorship to a military one.

  77. The Times would apparently like to see a fundamentalist political party such as the Moslem Brotherhood and their leader Morsi regain control of Egypt, even if with only 51% of the vote. And of course, their terrorist offshoot- Hamas- gained control of Gaza in just this way, whereupon they proceeded to throw their political opponents off the roofs of buildings, instituted a reign of terror, and never held another election again. But as per the Obama administration officials who wanted to be "on the right side of history" during the so called "Arab Spring", the Times is apparently more than willing to sing the siren song of democracy and liberalism in a locale where religious fanaticism is ubiquitous and history has shown that the result is chaos and danger to Western security.

  78. I think Egyptians learned their lesson about their Muslim Brotherhood. It's ridiculous for us to be borrowing money to give it to a dictatorship that so many Egyptians hate, it makes them hate us too and endangers us. As ridiculous as borrowing money to give to an Israel hellbent on West Bank settlements that create similar hatred towards us.

  79. Egypt is not getting very much money from us. It is not true that most Egyptians hate el Sissi. On the contrary. Yes, El Sissi is not perfect -- who is? -- but he is holding the country together. How would Israel like an Islamic state next door? Or, does Israel plan on incorporating Egypt as part of greater Israel? I know it's just a question, but one that should be addressed since the absurdity of "democracy" in an area rampant with fundamentalists, has been raised.

  80. The Muslim Brotherhood denounced terror decades ago. Morsi was not killing thousands of people and destroying an entire city.

  81. Ah so simplistic. Repressive governments are bad? Really? We're better off in the MIddle East wtih 'democracy'?


  82. Currently as in the past Egypt is in peace with its neighbor, Israel Imagine an Islamic state instead. Can you see peace between the two countries then? I can't.
    Let's leave well enough alone. You said it and so have I, "democracy" does not work for every country. When you have fanatics in your midst only a strong leader will be able to keep things together!

  83. Yes. Repression is bad. Using violence against your own people to squash dissent, creates a country where no one can trust each other, communications are undermined, government can't be improved, but instead becomes more and more corrupt, and precisely the people that are trying to move society forward into a peaceful and productive future are murdered and tortured.
    And the military is not so interested in stopping terrorists, because the fear they create can be used to justify more abuses. The biggest threat the military sees is peace activists and reformers, because nothing is worse for the war business than peace. So really the repression creates terrorists.
    And we have been tight allies with the Egyptian military for decades, democracy being a facade for military control in that country as the coup proved, when it sacrificed Mubarak to save itself, then threw a coup to solidify control.
    Democracy can't be forced on a country from the outside, but that doesn't mean that we have to supply the tools of repression. And when you give weapons to violent governments, you become responsible for their violence, and then the chickens come home to roost, and you sound surprised that people would be smart enough to trace back those weapons to their source. Really?
    We are better off with democracy than access to cheap oil and we need to stop sacrificing the former for the latter.

  84. Yes, we need to support the "moderate" opposition, It worked in Syria. The most important thing of course, is that we decide what is good for Egypt, not the Egyptians.

  85. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is just another modern Egyptian military pharaoh tyrant that began with Nasser then Sadat then Mubarak. As the most populous Arab nation strategically straddling the Nile River, next to the Mediterranean and the Suez Canal and the fossil fuel Arab royal theocratic tyrannies, Egypt as demographic and geographic strategic value.

    Lead 9/11/01 hijacker Mohammad Atta was a product of this system. As was current al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri who was formerly second to Osama Bin Laden. The Muslim Brotherhood was born in Egypt.

    Only Israel receives more American military aid than Egypt. And both nations deny basic divine natural rights equal certain unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to their Christian Muslim Arab citizens. Both nations motivate extremists who hate and blame America for their oppression as a result of American hypocrisy and corruption. With allies like this America does not need any enemies.

  86. Reality is stark. However, consider the chaos the collapse of Syria has caused (a small country of 22 million....), then consider what would happen if Egypt with a population of over 90 million collapsed - its unthinkable.

  87. Excuse me but .. you are 99.9% wrong. Israeli Christians are 100% free to practice their religion openly. They serve in the army, vote, have their own newspapers, criticize or support the gov't and do not go to jail for it. To equate Israel freedoms with Egyptian repression is either complete ignorance or deliberate deception on your part.
    Israel is also the one country in the mideast that the US can count on.

  88. As bad as you find the Israeli occupation of the former Jordanian territory - the West Bank (of the Jordan River) - now called Palestine, it is really a stretch to lump in Israel with Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Syria and, lest we forget, the "arsenal of democracy" - Iraq. By the way, tell us of the fate of Arab Christians in areas controlled by Hamas.

  89. Better late than never, editors.
    I suppose US policymakers felt that, since they supposedly had very little leverage over el-Sisi to begin with, they might as well just deal with him.
    This was and is a profoundly bad policy. Our government and US corporations continue selling to this butcher the weapons and ammunition he uses to commit mass murder against his own countrymen. He imprisons and tortures journalists, bloggers, students, and human rights activists... President Obama hasn't a leg to stand on when criticizing Cuba over its less than perfect human rights record.
    When a tear-gas canister proudly proclaims "Made in the USA," those who are victim to such repressive instruments seldom forget their willing source.

  90. You don't even know the meaning of "butcher". Get a grip on reality. Without el Sissi or someone else strong, you'd have the Muslim Brotherhood create an Islamist state run by Sharia law. Is this what you want? For starters, it is not our business. Whenever we have interfered in the affairs of the Middle East was it helpful? I think not. Because of our involvement in Iraq we now have Isis.

    Let's mind our own business, for a change!

  91. President Obama did well in Cuba, he went there for the regular cubans and their future, not for the Castro. He is still very very popular in Latin America, Africa, Asia, which mean billions of people. No US president before him has reached such a level of planetary popularity in the history of this planet.

  92. It is tricky, indeed, with unintended consequences a plenty. About 15 years ago Congress was considering "The International Freedom of Religion" bill which ruled that the US would withhold some foreign aid dollars from any country which oppressed religious minorities. While such a bill plays well in Peoria, it was the minority Christians in the Middle East (we met with Christians in Syria, Egypt, and Israel-Palestine) who were expressing concern about it (we Americans had been blissfully unaware of the bill). Their fear was that, if passed, the law would cause their nations to lose aid and that they would be blamed and suffer more.

    Likewise, while I think it is definitely a good idea to hold Egyptian leadership's feet to the fire, we must be aware that our policies can harm those very ones we intend to help. In keeping that in mind, a sensitive hand to the throttle is necessary lest we do more harm than good.

  93. The US has no business giving respect to faith based beliefs anywhere.

  94. Why don't we mind our own business instead of lecturing other nations ala the Ugly American? I thought that was what liberals wanted.

  95. At a time when the US under the leadership of President Obama is rewriting its foreign policy script to better grasp and deal with the wholly unfamiliar developments and challenges in the Middle East, having a fresh look at the traditional US allies and foes with a view to better serve its national interests and strategic goals in the region, a contintinued one sided relationship buttressed through heavy military aid package with Egypt seems not only anachronistic but counterproductive to the US interests. For, Egypt under the authoritarian military rule of General al-Sisi is neither proving an anchor for stability in the region for the US, nor a reliable partner in the US fight against the ISIS terror threat. The sooner the US reviews its ties with Egypt and stops funding the Egyptian military the better for the US and its concerns for the human rights violations in Egypt.

  96. This is precisely the wrong thing to do. Btw, the money Egypt receives from the US is a pittance of what the US sends to Israel.
    In El Sissi we have a leader who is able to keep the Muslim Brotherhood in check. This is what we need unless we want Egypt to become an Islamist state. So, El Sissi is not perfect. Who is? Our own democracy isn't perfect either.

  97. "At a time when the US under the leadership of President Obama is rewriting its foreign policy script to better grasp "

    A better grasp? When will folks quit pretending Obama didn't get ISIS wrong? During the 2012 presidential campaign Obama boasted that HE ended the war in Iraq and left it with a stable government. Obama dismissed ISIS as the junior varsity. Obama stated that ISIS was "contained" on morning of the Paris attacks.
    Obama's SOS HRC bragged "we came, we saw, he died" when asked about the death of Kadhaffy. HRC just bragged to Chris Matthews about being able to break Libya without losing a single US life - now we have Christians being beheaded in Libya.
    "Better grasp"? Actually it's called "running out the clock".

    When Obama leaves office someone will post a graphic showing the conflicts before he came into office and the conflicts upon leaving office. And remember it was Obama who claimed he ended the war in Iraq. You'll then have a better grasp of the situation in the Middle-East.

  98. Human rights, like Democracy are a pretext for US military intervention. I don't know how anyone can say anything about governments in the Middle East without mentioning the politics of oil. If governments are on the right side of that issue, they are just fine with our foreign policy elite. If we can love a rancid monarchy like Saudi Arabia, we can curry favor with any, and all dictators, dependent upon affinity with the neocon principle of democracy by violent revolution.

    Naturally they don't have to be actual democrats as long as they embrace the narrative, and enable the fossil fuel to flow...for it must flow...through the right hands of middle men convivial to American Multinationals.

    All else is forgivable. I mean when Saddam Hussein was making war on arch rival Iran for President Reagan, he ranked among our favorite sons. Gas em? No problem! When he wandered into apostasy from the narrative, we destroyed him and his country, set the Middle East on fire, and recent blowback in Brussels bears testimony to the lengths to which hubris has taken neocon America. Europe weeps, but the correct people are staying rich. That is what matters.

  99. Puritanical moralizing aside, policy tethered to reality would involve closer attention and ties with the government and people of Egypt from America. Breaking alliances and cutting ties with Egypt is a move that couldn’t play more favorably into Xi and Putin’s hands. And, we’d just find ourselves in a decade or two right back where we were, trying to reestablish a constructive relationship, except only that we’d have a period of strained relations between us to weigh things down.

    America should do with Egypt what it does well in its best moments of foreign affairs. Exercise the levers of influence in support of American ideals and interests using the the tried and true method of carrot and stick. American policy with Egypt should build on the legacy of Sadat and challenge Sisi to step up to a regional role of constructive leadership in peace-making and stabilization. We can place ourselves above and apart only to find ourselves alone and out-of-touch. Or, we can get our hands dirty and do the hard work of dealing with dictators and demagogues, if we have confidence that our ideas and ideals can make a positive contribution to individuals and to societies.

    Easy to stand with your friends in a tight little huddle of righteous indignation. Hard to sit down with your enemies, or your less savory associates, and try to hammer out a better tomorrow.

  100. You might want to notice that the Chinese are able to protect their interests around the world without exporting half of the world's weapons and without having a military that is active in almost every country on the planet.
    The Russians who are more adventurous militarily, don't protect their interests as well.
    Why are Americans so sure that weapons and violence are the solution to every problem? Violence creates unpredictable consequences, rarely having the intended effect.
    The only thing that violence predictably does is create more violence.

  101. As preface, you need to explain why you think it even matters that we have a relationship with Egypt.

  102. If Egypt is not Libya and Syria multiplied by many now,you may like it or not,but merit is due to the "dictator" Al-Sisi.And we must not forget: if Al-Sisi is where he is now it's because he has a strong support from all branches of the egyptian Army.It is a tremendous illusion to think that we must have western style democracies everywhere,and to think that western style democracies can efficiently regulate even very complex societies and political environments.To have a well-functioning democracy that requires a certain number of parameters and if these are not present trying to impose a true democracy could rapidly become a disaster.In Europe and the U.S. democracies work reasonably well because nearly all relevant actors/players abide by its parameters,imagine that some of the relevant players don't have democracy written in their DNAs and agendas...Muslim Brotherhood...you may think,or even worse players in Libya and Syria.That's the real world.I have always supported democracies,but if we are confronted by environments where democracies can be sustainable.

  103. This kind of thinking keeps democracy from growing. How can people experiment with democracy in places where public gatherings are smashed with American made military hardware?

  104. Reread the comment. You obviously missed the point.

  105. Don't give too much credit to Sisi, remember, Egypt has had no less than 4 leadership changes in the past Five years. What is strong in Egypt is the so called 'deep state', or Egypt-military-industrial-complex, in addition to the vastly inflated and entitled public sector.

    Positive points, unsustainable subsidies (food, fuel) are gradually being reduced. Economic activity is picking up, albeit slowly. Egypt has discovered vast quantities of oil/gas in the past year, which will boost stability through the coming decade. In other words, with sufficient support, there is hope more moderate forces will take hold over time.

  106. when someone repeats the same experiment and hope for different results! Shah in Iran , Kaddafi in Libya , Assad in Syria and even sadam Husain were not democratic enough for the U.S and we saw the results … MOVE ON TO REALITY !

  107. We helped the Iranian military overthrow a democratically elected president to put the Shah in charge of Iran, and then helped him torture those that wanted a return to democracy. That is what created the Iranian Revolution.
    The means become the ends.

  108. For a very similar reason, it is time for the US to re-examine its relationship with Israel. However, I don't expect anyone to admit that.

  109. Whomever becomes the next President will no doubt do so and reverse President Obama's naively misguided approach to Israel - which has made him no friends among the Arabs, given false hopes to the Palestinian's rulers that their fantasy of an Israel-free region can somehow be achieved and made all the region's countries wonder whether we can be trusted at all.

  110. the behavior of the U.S. itself over the past 60 years in the Middle East has also created more terrorists than it has "neutralized." Egypt's turn to repression worse than Mubarak's is lamentable. Yes, Obama should speak frankly with Mr. Sisi, but cutting off aid to this poor country would cause even more suffering to the Egyptian population and inspire greater unrest and instability. It is a touchy situation. Speaking frankly to Mr. Netanyahu about his government's behavior contributing to the creation of terrorists throughout the region, and I don't mean just Palestinian reaction to Israeli actions, would fall upon deaf ears. Our relationship to both Israel and Egypt needs to be reassessed, but proceed with caution.

  111. 90% of our aid to Egypt is money to buy military hardware. Cutting that off would make the people of Egypt better off.

  112. "cutting off aid will cause suffering to poor population".
    Most of the aid is military in nature. Poor people
    don't have helicopters for the breakfast or lunch.
    Egyptians don't derive any benefit from American
    aid. Military is in control and our aid is targeted
    at them so we could influence them. wishful thinking
    at best.

  113. It is time to rethink U.S. relationship with Israel!!!

  114. That's for sure, especially since the Israelis are now asking for four billion in aid, which makes the $1.3 that Egypt get paltry.

  115. Trump might actually be the best hope for that to happen, but much as I would like that, it's far insufficient a reason to vote for such a unstable. immature and mean spirited person.

  116. “We are long overdue for a strategic rethink on who are strong American partners and anchors of stability in the Middle East,”
    Who are they? name one country. In fact America has no reliable partners in that part of the Islamic world in spite of spending billions of dollars in military aid. It is easy to criticize President Abdel Fattah el- Sisi but what is the alternate we have, Muslim Brotherhood and Mohamed Morsi? The current administration may not be perfect but that is the best for Egypt and for rest of the world. The current administration and the Egyptian military are deeply opposed to Islamic political radicalism and that is what we need at this time .

  117. The alternative is to stop arming thugs who oppose democracy so that global corporations can get at cheap oil.

  118. The only real hope for a reliable US partner in the Middle East is Iran.

  119. The Muslim Brotherhood was massively unpopular by the time it was overthrown in a popular uprising. Mainly because they were ruining the economy. I don't know if there's much threat of them staging a comeback if Egypt returned to democracy.

  120. Repression or ISIS?

  121. How about repression and Daesh? It was repression that led to Daesh, in Syria and Iraq. And Sisi's repression has let to an upsurge in Egyptian terrorism as well.

  122. repression = ISIS

  123. Same thing.

  124. What the liberal intellects in America fail to realize is that not everyone is ready for full on democracy. In some parts of the world nations may be better served under the rule of an enlightened dictator. I am not saying the current regime in Egypt fits that bill but let's face facts; the only democracy that serves all its citizens in the Middle East right now is Israel.

  125. I wonder how many other countries in the world might develop into democracies if they were subsidized by the US!
    Israel commits genocide and that makes US taxpayers complicit!

  126. Exactly!!! And I'm a liberal, but even I have come to understand this.

  127. A good number of the native inhabitants of what was once called Palestine would take exception to your assertion that Israel's democracy serves all its citizens; particularly those penned up in Ghettos like the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

  128. We need to rethink our relationship with Israel as well.

  129. Yes, why not throw the only democracy in the Middle East and our only true ally in the region to the wolves?

  130. well TWSTROUD the middle east is a place of huge interests for the western world ,over there there are huge oil fields which supply the needs of the western states including USA and Europe ,America and Europe is not there for the "good heart of the American people" but for their own interests ,other wise they would not spent billions to protect all the pro western states :Eygpt ,Jordan,Lebanon ,Israel ,Saudia,Quatar ,Baharain, Lybia ecc, Israel is the only democratic state from all that list but is just a small pedone from all the others,
    Out sides Russia and China wait to their occasion to push USA out of that region,exactly from the same reason,one thing I can assure you ,in the middle east there is no political vaacum, if US will be out the other super power China and Russia will be there, look what happened in Iraq ,Syria Lybia,USA tried twice in its history the "non interference policy.." it means we are in our country and care just about our buissness, but the history proved it failled twice in the 1WW and also in the 2WW.

  131. And what do you suggest President Obama do about Sisi's British supporters? Didn't PM Cameron just invite him to visit London after BP won a lucrative contract in Egypt?


    And didn't Michael Fallon, UK Defence Secretary tell Egypt that "Britain is offering [Egypt's Sisi] our solidarity"?


    Shouldn't President Obama take all this into account before following the New York Times Editorial Board's recommendations?

  132. We'd have to re-evaluate our relationship with Egypt and Israel simultaneously.

  133. Great piece, Editors. It is very crucial to discuss subtleties of US policies that support or facilitate governments that crack down on democratic revolutions. Just like in Saudi Arabia where so many demonstrators were killed by their government around the same time as Egypt.

    However, I missed your praise of Hillary Clinton's experience as Secretary of State during the squashing of these democratic social movements (Arab Spring) and human rights violations in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Don't you want to highlight her achievements?

    I wouldn't want people to think you are just putting these atrocities on Obama's shoulders.

  134. The New York Times forgets that Egypt is fighting terrorism. And the New York Times (and most definately Barak Obama bin Laden) can't seem to figure out how terrorism works in the Middle East. Hence a very bumbling "anti-terrorist" campaign by the West that has wrecked more havoc than peace.

  135. Under Morsi christians were attacked ant their church burn
    Now they are safe

  136. step away from Egypt and have Putin salivating. He'd love to come to Sisi's aid and replace what the US takes away and have Syria and Egypt at his beck and call. Comments on rethinking our relationship with Israel falls into the same category. We, who haven't created an ideal world at home ought not to think that our decisions on others will create that ideal world elsewhere. Let us live in reality not fantasy.

  137. The same is true of the US relationship with israel but because of the power of the lobby, AIPAC, it won't happen!

  138. Those commenters equating Israel with Egypt are only displaying their bias and ignorance.

    Israel is the only true democracy in the Middle East, and is a stable and reliable ally of the United States. It may not be a perfect democracy but neither is our country. It contributes invaluable medical and technological advances to the world, disproportionate to its tiny size; and Israelis have been recognized as Nobel prize recipients on numerous occasions.

    To those maligning Israel I would say: Go to Israel and see for yourself!

  139. Peaceful islamists? The muslim brotherhood assassinated Anwar Sadat.

  140. 1.3 billion military annual aid package to Egypt. A 3-4 billion annual military aid package to Israel. Are we working at cross purposes? Could we deescalate some of the tensions in the area to the tune of 5 billion or so a year if we spent that money instead in the USA to work on our own infrastructure? Yes I understand the strategic importance of the Suez Canal; more so to the 500 million plus people of the European Union and their trade with Asia.

  141. Here, as in so many situations in the Middle East the unmentioned elephant in the room is Israel. U.S. support of authoritarian governments in Egypt is what Israel wants in order to prevent an anti-Israel majority from taking control.

  142. Let's see if I get this right. Everyone hated Hosni Mubarak, the former President of Egypt, who was a dictator with no term limits and happily accepted billions of US dollars over many decades. That was the bad news. The good news was that he kept the different religious groups safe from each other, oversaw a relatively stable country with a decent economy thanks to international tourism, kept the peace with Israel, and closed the border to Palestinian terrorists. Indeed, in the entire time Mubarak was in charge, Egypt lost very few lives on a relative scale to terrorism.

    After the Arab Spring and the ouster of Mubarak, Egypt descended into chaos and tourism dried up. The country failed to establish a democracy, in the process rejecting a new, fair constitution (drawn up in part with help from U.S. lawyers, by the way), and terrorizing Coptic Christians and other religious groups. The army, which is completely unlike the U.S. military in that it has tentacles reaching far and wide into the Egyptian economy, overthrew Egypt's first elected president, Mohammed Morsi, and eventually the people decided that they needed a better-looking dictator, Al-Sissi, to hold the country together.

    Egypt, like so many other Arab countries, isn't willing or able to change its fundamental nature at this point, and criticizing Egypt for its human rights abuses isn't going to change anything.

  143. excellent analysis........kudos

  144. And you guys were in favor of taking out Gaddafi I assume? Brilliant.
    I thought the neo-cons were the ones who refused to learn from history.

  145. Right. One more thing to stir up Netanyahu. Egypt is different, as long as it upholds (with its requisite hostility) the treaty.

  146. Americans are currently rethinking their relationship with the Obama administration and its would-be successors.

  147. Cut off $ to Egypt and Israel.

  148. Egypt's long-suffering people deserve better. That the U.S. is supporting a dictator, and trashing human rights, is for all to see. Is this 'business-as-usual', turning a blind eye when we could, and ought to, demand justice? Hypocrisy and complacency seem convivial enough to tolerate thugs, if the "greater interests" demand it (Ugh!).

  149. The U.S. should stop helping Saudi Arabia in its unlawful war in Yemen, which has killed thousands of innocent civilians and displaced many more. The proxy wars in Syria and Yemen of which Saudi Arabia and Qatar are the main players have destroyed two countries, displaced millions, created breeding grounds for terrorist organizations such as ISIS and al-Qaeda, and risk destabilizing the security and unity of the European Union. The US has been selling weapons and providing logistical support to some of the warring factions which lead to perpetuating these wars for far too long. The US should learn from its mistakes in the Middle East, including its own unlawful war in Iraq. The fact that the GOP has learned nothing and is ready to double down on these failed and destructive policies is a scary prospect.

  150. Thank you NYT Editorial Board from coming out strongly against the bad old days of US support for murderous dictators across the world. The inevitable result of supporting repressive governments is the uprising of the suppressed in even more horrible form. If recipients of American Aid are routinely ignoring basic human rights they can and should be constructively taken to task for it.

  151. wrong.....trade off the control of the terrorists for " democracy " in those countries is the express lane to more killings, murders and WILL lead to an American led military conflagration........

    better to keep the peace and work towards educatiing the population........
    than to PRETEND they are ready for democracy

    they are not

  152. It took us 50 years to open up to Cuba. Perhaps after 50 years of nothing being resolved in the Mideast, it is time to cut the ties and severe our purse strings. Billions of dollars sends a lot of American kids to college and keeps a lot of arms out of the hands of terrorists. Seeing the kid next door go to college rather than going to war in the Mideast gives me much more hope in Americas future. Education versus arms. No brainer.

  153. you are so right
    education, fighting illiteracy, enabling a population to think OTHER than what the mullahs say.........
    that is the path and key to bringing the middle east into the community of nations

    good comment Greg

  154. Would the editors rather have the MB in charge of Egypt? The Brotherhood wants to make Islam the ONLY religion in the world. Whom do they propose as a better leader in Egypt? Sisi has his hands full, and is using the only power he has to prevent Egypt from becoming the caliphate ISIS and the MB wants to establish. This is a real war of civilizations, and looking for a democratic leader to kindly manage this is a fool's errand. While Sisi may live in the desert, it is the Editorial Board with its head in the sand.

  155. Egypt, really? Another whackamole issue? It is the Saudis who hate us, play us and live large off our oil addiction.

  156. What about our relationship with Israel??

  157. Egypt's General Sisi is close to the tipping point of falling like the Shah of Iran and placing a radicalized Muslim Brotherhood or worse in charge. The military and intelligence cooperation with Iran at the time of the revolution proved to be myopic to the point of worthless so that there is no benefit to muddle along with Egypt hoping for moderation that can not happen as it inexorably ratches up the repression to the point of explosion. The sooner we cut out and disassociate the better our relations will be with the next regime, whatever it may be.

  158. One thing to realize is that Egypt is a dead country walking. It is mostly a desert filled with over 90 million people in an area smaller than Texas. It has a high birth rate. It used to rely on oil exports to feed its people, now it population has grown so much it has to import oil. It has little manufacturing, is not self sufficient in agriculture, and its tourism is being driven away by terrorism. For the past few years it has relied on aid from other middle eastern countries, along with depleting its cash assets, but with the price of oil so low that aid has dropped dramatically.

    By all means stop the military aid, but understand the situation will worsen and there is no government we could dream of that could solve Egypt's problems. I'm not sure any type of democracy would work in a collapsing country. And be ready for a refugee problem that will dwarf Syria's.

  159. the oxymoron is the " stop the military aid " which WiLL cause the "refugee problem that will dwarf Syria's "

    the only reason there is NOT a Syria like situation in Egypt is because of the
    iron hand control over the country........due to Al Sissi and the Egyptian military.......
    even WITH that.....the terrorists are doing their nefarious deeds in the SInai....

  160. “If this crackdown is allowed to reach its conclusion, it will silence an indigenous human rights community that has survived more than 30 years of authoritarian rule, leaving few if any Egyptians free to investigate mounting abuses by the state,”

    So if the human rights community has been able to withstand the authoritarian rule, why would the so-called "intellectual" experts support the Arab Spring in such a brewing terroristic" climate of the entire region, which they should have known that former President Mubarak was likely to be overthrown?

    In a sense these so-called "intellectual" experts enabled the current situation of perhaps an even worse human rights abuses when they were just gambling that supporting the Arab Spring would improve such matters. The unintended consequences from such support only made the situation come full circle....

  161. No, if anything we should strengthen El Sissi. Or do you prefer Egypt to become another failed state? The Muslim Brotherhood is lying in wait to get their day. They want to remake Egypt into an Islamist state, governed by Sharia law.

    Isn't it time we realized that democracy does not work everywhere?

  162. yes....you are so correct....

    start educating the general pop....bring them into the community of nations and not the community of terror........that is how we make the difference....

    democracy CAN work everywhere........but NOT with an uneducated, illiterate general pop

  163. "Peaceful Islamists" is an oxymoron. So let me get this straight- the brilliant NYTimes editorial board and "leading American Middle East Experts" (another oxymoron) are against a crackdown against the muslim brotherhood and other Islamist anti government factions. That worked well a few years ago when the muslim brotherhood got power. The world at that point was one step away from another radical Islamic faction ruling 100 million people. As far as I am concerned President Fattah el-Sisi taking power likely saved the world.

  164. Bless you........

  165. If the editors at the Times are truly concerned about alliances that are "doing more harm than good," we would have seen many editorials by now urging the US to stop backing Israel. So this rings very hollow.

  166. Don't punish, however, the Egyptian people, who are NOT their government as I am not Donald Trump. The Egyptian people are under hardship, high employment, unlivable wages, oppressive government. Many are without the basic necessities of life. As another commenter noted, Anne-Marie Hislop "Likewise, while I think it is definitely a good idea to hold Egyptian leadership's feet to the fire, we must be aware that our policies can harm those very ones we intend to help. In keeping that in mind, a sensitive hand to the throttle is necessary lest we do more harm than good."

  167. Realistically, Betty, is there ANYTHING that will rescue the Egyptian people from the burdens you quote? Anything at all?

    Think about it.

  168. The Egyptian people would be punished most severely if the Egyptian government were toppled and a group like ISIS sought to take control.

  169. First of all it should be remembered that the $1.3 billion that we give Egypt every year is nothing more than a thinly disguised bribe to induce it to lay off Israel. To me I have always calculated it as part of our immense aid to Israel.

    So rant & rail as much as you want, but in this case we have the extremely effective check-book lobbying efforts of the AIPAC supporting the continuation of this bribe, so it ain't going to go away!!

  170. Time to Rethink U.S. Relationship With Everyone.

  171. i agree........and Trump is the ONLY one who would do that..........
    all the rest are with there hands out........

  172. Egypt, yes.

    And Saudi Arabia, definitely.

    Too bad we can't turn the Middle East into a giant Skinner box. Maybe after a while they'd get tired of pressing the lever and getting a shock, and then figure out that they need to change a few things about the way they think, act, and rule.

    Turning women into little more than cattle, breeding like rabbits and killing each other like flies is a sub-optimal way of keeping the population in check, which seems to be the Middle East's de-facto method of population control. And given their rate of population growth (along with a shrinking resource base - think water and arable land, for starters), it's clear that in addition to being inhumane, it's not working.

  173. Egypt is a Sunni Muslim. Saudi Arabia is Sunni Muslim. The United States fawns and bows to Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia for favoritism in all things to do with Saudi oil ... because we, the United States, are ADDICTED to oil and greed. One of the very many hypocritical things that the United States must do to make Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia happy is be nice to other Sunni Muslim nations ... like Egypt and Pakistan and, well, Saudi Arabia itself. As long as the United States is addicted to oil and greed this will continue.

    The solution? MAKE. OIL. VALUELESS.

    Only we as individuals will be able to do this. The elites and leaders are bought and paid for with oil money. So buy an electric car; demand nuclear power to charge it; buy solar power generation for your home, if you can ... etc. MAKE. OIL. VALUELESS.

  174. The U.S. can't solve all problems of the world. We are friends with China where there's great human rights abuses, we are friends with Saudi Arabia where there's great human rights abuses. We just reestablish relationship with Cuba. The list goes on and on. If it is on America's best interest to deal with Egypt and swipe human rights abuses by the Egyptian regime under the rug, so be it.

    The U.S. must stop imposing its moral values upon other cultures. The recent terrorist acts in Europe and the U.S. is nothing more than Middle Eastern tribal/religious societies trying to impose their values in Europe and the U.S. They are doing to us what we are doing to them.

    There's chaos in the Libya, Syria, Yemen, Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries because the U.S. tried to impose its human rights values to disastrous effect. Respect for human rights Middle Eastern countries have to grow organically, from within. It may take another 500 or 1,000 years. It may never happen, but until then we need to deal with pesky dictators, one at a time.

  175. It's easy to criticize, but strong leaders like Sisi with a genuine zeal for rooting out radicalism are going to be key in stabilizing the region.

  176. American Hypocrisy knows no bounds as it supports the most oppressive regimes wholeheartedly and to such a degree , it will not even comment or make mention of the many inadequacies and suffering these regimes enforce and action against its own and others with complete impunity and unquestionably helped made happen and possible because of these regimes confidence that no matter what, America will remain an ally and/or friend.

    Compare this" blind eye" behavior for such unsavory "Allies" such as Egypt[t and Saudi Arabia to an "enemy " like Cuba whose biggest crime was to be allies of a Country that hasn't existed for over 20 years and which was once America's adversary. For this Cuba was subject to an embargo for 50 years!

    Being the world's only Superpower has given America an opportunity to lead by only the best examples and promote a way, wherefore, which and what that could have shown all others a wisdom and a maturity in its actions and performance that could have provided inspiration to all others.

    Instead, it has acted and shown the moral values of a Criminal Kingpin who controls most anything and everything and with that, shown a callous indifference and a moral and legal Impunity regardless of what the consequences may be to any or all who question it.

    From illegal actions taken, laws broken, criminals and demagogues supported and destructive regimes encouraged, the U.S is a Rogue Nation, largest source of Terrorism and greatest killer of Foreign Nationals EVER.

  177. The United States actually benefits from this relationship much more than Egypt. First and foremost, the human rights violations are almost predominantly against radical Islamist terrorists. Nothing happens in Egyptian state security that doesn't currently happen in American and European anti-terrorism interrogation facilities. Furthermore, Egypt has diversified it's arms partners. Meaning if the United States ceases arms deals, then Egypt will find another arms producer but United States companies will lose a valuable business partner. Finally, the relationship between the United States and Egypt is critical to maintain American influence on the Middle East. Without Egypt's cooperation, the United States would lose much of its influence in the region. Egypt ensures the security of Israel, which is an American priority. Without Egypt's internal security policies, ISIS would have gotten a greater foothold in Sinai Peninsula and therefor risk the security of Israel and the entire region. This article is analyzing this issue from a western perspective. What the author may not see, is that life in the middle east is different than life in the west, and for good reason. Egypt's security policies are the only thing that is keeping Egypt from being like Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc.. Islamists are capable of coming to power and if this happens, then there will be much more repression than could ever exist today. Egypt's policies are protecting the world from a dangerous menace.

  178. I'm absolutely no fan of this brutal and repressive government HOWEVER the idea of an "Arab Spring" or democracy blooming in Egypt or any other country in that forsaken part of the world under Arab domination is a total farce. America cannot dictate the forms of government everywhere around the world. I understand that some will see our continued alliance with these repressive regimes as making us complicit in perpetuating them. Ultimately we have to consider the "realpolitik" of maintaining alliances with countries that we wish were more open societies as much as we dislike them. Same with Saudi Arabia. If these states work to maintain stability in this most volatile region then we have an interest in supporting them. I don't believe that our positions are stifling democracy because there IS no serious movement for democracy in these countries regardless of the propaganda that some would have us believe.

  179. "If these states work to maintain stability", thereby missing the editorials' point: The NYT sees this as precisely "iffy" in the case of Sisi. When the US loses confidence in the ability of a regime to maintain order, it begins to talk of "democratic reform", that is, the US demands a political space be opened in that country for the construction of a pro-US political faction in order to influence any successor regime into being US-friendly. That is what the US is doing right now with respect to demands for "democratic reform" in Cuba. Indeed historically Cuba was the first such country where this standard approach was first tried out.

    That's been an essential element of US imperialism. To counterfactually demonstrate this truth, imagine if China, Russia or even Cuba demanded a "democratic reform" of the USA's closed 2-party political system with its total monopoly of office, so they could build their own pro-Russian, -Chinese or -Cuban political factions. Imagine the uproar among Americans! The only real exceptions here have been Britain and Israel. The first dates from the 19th century and has been deeply embedded, the second, called AIPAC, from the 1970's.

  180. From reading the article there seems to be no doubt that it is desirable to rethink the longstanding support. But is it worth recalling that 'The West' needed several hundred years to get from the Middle Ages to the French Revolution? In light of the experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan, however laudable the efforts to democratise these countries, with the benefit of hindsight, its seems that these efforts were premature, Moreover, they also had highly undesirable consequences, as we know today, contributing to the rise of the so called Islamic State. However regrettable for the populations in Egypt or elsewhere, it seems that the rulers there 'get' the actual local situation better than outsiders, many of whom do not speak the language or have not studied its history to truly appreciate what is possible and what is not. Sadly, I believe that a dose of realism is necessary here, in the sense of fully thinking through the consequences BEFORE any further changes to the status quo, however desirable it is morally to act now.

  181. So after antagonizing the Saudis, ushering chaos to Libya, rocketing Yemen with drones, stuffing Jordan with refugees after splintering Iraq and bloating Israel with even more weapons, the Times editors believe it's time to cast off General al-Sisi as well?

    Why, so we can boast that NOBODY in the Middle East lives up to our impeccable standards and faultless form of government?

    Authoritarian rule in Egypt under Mubarak served American interests. The Times gingerly and piously criticized him while our government rendered
    undesirables to his less than gentle police. When Morsi and his clumsy,
    heavy-handed Muslim Brotherhood supplanted Mubarak by legitimate
    elections the Times didn't call for a ticker tape parade. They certainly
    did not shed a tear when General al-Sisi staged a coup that our faultless government would not call a coup.

    We should back away from sanctimonious "reassessment". We should support the Egyptians' resettlement of refugees from Sudan, Libya, Syria
    Iraq and Yemen. Any military assistance should be modest in comparison to sums for refugee assistance and should be strictly for logistics and
    communications. A solid relation with Egypt will serve American interests. If the Times truly feels for the many brave Egyptian dissidents, it should lobby the US government to take them in-- an extremely unlikely possibility at present.

  182. I personally would wish that American leadership would take to heart the admonition given by George Washington in his farewell address to our nation. I recommend you read it or re-read it and apple it to our nation's long history of meddling in the internal affairs of other countries, regime change, foreign intrigues and coddling dictators.

    Next, Ms Clinton is deeply connected to the policies of the Obama Administration in this part of the world and should be questioned as to how she sees things and plans to proceed should she be entrusted with the Presidency. My personal view is that the Obama Administration's Foreign Policy has been a disaster- especially regarding the Saharan, Middle Eastern and SW Asian areas of the world. Ms Clinton her endorsers and surrogates like to tout her experience in Foreign Affairs, but this mess in Egypt is part of her legacy as both a Senator and as Secretary of State.

  183. We allied with Stalin against Hitler, we can ally with Morsi against Warrior Islam and against Islamic genocide

    Mr Obama's legacy is his war crime of abandoning victory and leaving the butchers of ISIS in power, and enabling their rise

    The genocide he condemns is his own
    - -
    Last time around we said - we would prosecute these war criminals when victory came, this time around we release them from Gitmo and they come back to kill again,

    The choices are Obama's Libya or an ally against genocide, in Egypt's Morsi - 'the best is the enemy of the good'

    In Syria, Assad is our man, as his enemies are the Warriors of Islam, but there it is too muddy as they fight over the carcass of the State, our best bet is to arm all sides to maximize the carnage, but the Russians have acted and god bless them for it

    There again the Russians have saved us and also saved civilization

  184. This is not just about America. Every Western European government is deeply involved too, nobody wants to rock the boat and watch a massive country like Egypt with a population of some 90million - 40% of whom are under 30 and ripe for radicalisation, become a shattered Libya or Syria like mess. And Israel won't want it either, nor Turkey or the Saudis. Egypt is on our doorstep, the concept of millions of Egyptian refugees heading to Europe in the event of an internal upheaval doesn't bare thinking about. At the same time nobody likes the fact we basically have Mubarak style government all over again. I've been to Egypt many times and they are a warm and friendly people, but the pervasiveness of the security apparatus is stifling, it is an ever growing weight that seems palpable. Nobody in Egypt wants violence or upheaval, but nor do they want no say. Something will need to give and the authorities are not in a giving mood. Only their paymasters, US, Saudi Arabia, can try to change them and neither are listened to or have the desire, when they need Egypt more than it needs them.

  185. Ideals are wonderful, until they lead to an unfriendly Islamist government and deepened poverty. Egypt's population grows by a million a year. GDP growth, which was well in excess of 5% in the later Mubarak years, has stagnated since the Arab Spring. The country needs economic growth and birth control. Democracy is a luxury and a distraction from its real problems. If you want to help Egypt, focus on the issues that matter to every day Egyptians.

  186. "Mr. Obama should personally express to Mr. Sisi his concern..."

    Have you guys read any interviews with Abdel Fattah el-Sisi? A vain puppet, he was chosen as the military coup-imposed head of state, precisely because he has the intellectual candlepower of a newt. Expressing concerns personally to Mr. el-Sisi is like talking to a wall. Nor will real Egyptians interlocutors hear any concerns expressed, either. The wall is soundproofed.

    It took some time for us to understand that the Egyptian military, which holds the country's purse strings tightly, and controls its economy, had only let go (and appeared to support the popular uprising) during the "Arab Spring") in order to get a better hold. They have got that hold now. For the time being not only will they brook no criticism, but shall remain utterly deaf to it.

    Meanwhile, the American military-industrial complex is locked in serious competitive struggle with the MIC's of France, Great Britain, Germany, Sweden, Russia and other major armaments and military logistics manufacturers/exporters around the world, to win big contracts (paid for by Saudi cash reserves, among others). Good deals will shore up their domestic economies, and ensure the future of ongoing public and private research-and-development programs, in those highly profitable fields.

    Calling this a deontological choice to make on ethical grounds, thinking a responsible interlocutor will listen? Moral posturing. Talk straight, then give advice.

  187. This is ridiculous.Egypt is a long term strategic partner.It controls the Suez Canal,is a large market for US companies and its destabilization would damage the entire region.There is no vacuum in foreign policy.China and Russia are waiting to fill the void.How many allies is the US willing to alienate for the luxury of moralizing?It is time to accept the fact that not cultures do well with democracy.The US has made mistakes in the past but that doesn't mean ignoring the region completely.Remember Afghanistan?How did that work out on 9/11?Human rights need to be determined by the local government and the population.US moralizing and a holier than thou attitude will not help.It will push Egypt into the arms of Russia and China.

  188. Frankly, this condemnation is late, after the military dictatorship has murdered and imprisoned thousands. Some of us knew this was an enormous mistake from the beginning, another striking manifestation of "American democracy hypocrisy". This hypocrisy, although not spoken of on America's three political networks, is well known, if not considered a joke, in that region.

    The young democracy was strangled by the IMF, Saudi Arabia, and the United States with particular emphasis on Saudi Arabia's most religiously conservative faction, their far, far right, who hated Morsi because he espoused a form of socialism and anti-royalty not seen since Nasser. Saudi Arabia's most right wing religious fundamentalists backed Sisi and gave him billions, literally. Morsi couldn't even get millions. Saudi Arabia and Israel formed a pro-dictatorship union and cowed Obama into it. American media starting spreading memes about dictatorship being OK, because they're Arabs, you know, really racist stuff.

    This is where we are in 2016. It's a total and shocking embarrassment. One of Obama's biggest missed opportunities. Clinton is deadly silent because her pockets are lined with Saudi money. ISIS gets lots of propaganda value out of Sisi. They say.... there's no point in voting and democracy, because whatever the outcome, it won't matter. Case in point, see Morsi and Sisi. Therefore, they say, you have to arm and fight this thing Westerners call "democracy".

    In Egypt, we've made their point.

  189. This is the most astonishing article I have seen in a long time. The editors of the NY Times decided that the Egyptian situation is now a leading annoying problem for the USA. The editors of the NY Times, un their naïve thinking decided that this is the right time to attack the Egyptian government and Mr. Sisi. "Mr. Obama should personally express to Mr. Sisi his concern about Egypt’s abuses and the country’s counterproductive approach to counterterrorism". Are you serious in writing that. "the president should start planning for the possibility of a break in the alliance with Egypt That scenario appears increasingly necessary, barring a dramatic change of course by Mr. Sisi"? break in the alliance with Egypt and doing what? forge an alliance with Sudan, Hamas, Libya or Iran instead? Does the editor really believe that at this point in time the USA can break in the alliance with Egypt? does the editor really believes that Egypt is running a counterproductive approach to counterterrorism? Did the editor think about the consequences of Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt?

  190. "Over the next few months, the president should start planning for the possibility of a break in the alliance with Egypt."

    We already "broke" with Egypt by supporting the "coup" against our ally Mubarak. We threw him under the bus to show the Arab people how "progressive" we are, and how we support their progressive "Arab Spring."

    Unfortunately, the only people who supported the "Arab Spring" were Times columnists.

    The rest of the Mideast region recoiled because the area is "tribes with flags," and there is no "Arab Spring," except perhaps in Tunisia and that country's fate is teetering for the same reasons which brought Al Sisi to power; Islamic fascism. The term which cannot be printed at the Times.

    In contradictory terms, many here would support keeping Assad in power in Syria to avoid an ISIS takeover and avoid US troops in Syria, but not Al Sisi, under threat from Islamic fascism.

    And we just gave Iran 150 billion dollars, so why skimp on Egyptian aid?

    The Times editorial writers appear to laud this president's "willingness to challenge" long-held assumptions about Iran and Saudi Arabia by tacitly acknowledging Iran as the regional hegemony and endangering our ally Saudi Arabia.

    Fresh off the Cuban trip which saw Mr. Obama tango while the "women in white" went to jail, and while cop-killer Joanne Chesimard shops freely in Havana, you would think that the Times would be more circumspect in its admiration of Mr. Obama's foreign policy astuteness.

  191. Been expecting this very thoughtful article for a long time. After Hosni, Egypt did not need this Sisisi dictatorship. Egypt is crying for USA to pull the rug from under Sisi. Obama gave hope when he went there, and highly disappointed all of Egypt by not following through. Obama is a failed President and will remain so in history.

  192. One of the disappointments of President Obama’s presidency has been his foreign policy in general and in the Middle East in particular.

    It is true, however, that President Obama reversed fifty years of a misguided foreign policy toward Cuba and reestablished diplomatic relations with that neighbor, and signed a nuclear agreement with Iran, which has contained Iran’s nuclear program by peaceful means.

    Yet history may not be kind to President Obama for the worsening US-Russian relations over Ukraine, and for the current turmoil that continues to plague the Middle East.

    In the Middle East, it is not sufficient that “President Obama has been willing to challenge longstanding assumptions and conventions about Washington’s relations with Middle East nations.”

    President Obama should address and remove the root causes of the turmoil that has destabilized the Middle East for decades, one of which is US coddling, support and dependence on the cruel, repressive and destructive authoritarian dictators and monarchs of the Middle East.

    Please see my letter to the editor of the New York Times:

    “Over the next few months,” therefore, President Obama should not only “start planning for the possibility of a break in the alliance with Egypt,” but also with other authoritarian and repressive regimes of the Middle East.

    He should set the stage for reshaping US alliances on that basis.

  193. I suppose it is true that in the last Egyptian election the "peaceful Islamists" of the Egyptian Brotherhood were not allowed to participate.

    The consensus under Egyptians at this moment is that (some radicals excluded) that this was/is a good thing.

    So what problem are we trying to fix here?

    Shouldn't there come a moment in time that we decide it is better to start solving out problems at home in stead of those by the neighbors? And let us face the truth. Our track-record the last two decades isn't that great (to put it mildly).

  194. According to the Pew Research Center, U.S. popularity in Egypt in 2019 -- President Obama’s first year in office -- was 27 percent. In 2014, it had sunk to 10 percent. It may well be even lower currently. This factor alone suggests the urgent need for reassessing the assumptions governing our relationship with the military regime of Egypt.

  195. The key mistake here was the decision to overthrow Hosni Mubarak. Under Mubarak, the economy was growing, tourism was thriving, and the country was developing. But the President, excited by his own Cairo speech and the idea of Western-style democracy, endorsed Mubarak's exit instead of standing behind him. The results have been disastrous.

  196. I've always wondered why the United States, professing a government of the people, by the people, for the people, has been in the business, not just in Egypt, but across the globe, of supporting governments rather than people, and such unrepresentative governments at that.

    But of course, as one comes to realize that the U.S. government does not in fact represent its own people, that the U.S. government supports foreign governments like that of Egypt's President el-Sisi makes sense.

    We know people by their friends. We know governments by their friends.

  197. Economics is a big reason which, of course, explains a lot of interventions. The government has to keep the big corporations happy and the "spice (oil) must flow".

  198. Given the Administration's blunders in the Middle East, confronting Egypt will only compound the problem and may well drive Egypt into the arms of Putin or into an allegience with the Saudis, who are turning increasingly hostile to the U.S. for understandable. Despite the paranoid fantasies of those below who want to blame all problems on evil survivors of W's reign, Obama has contributed more than his share to the mess.

  199. Better the evil that you know than the one you don't know.
    Haven't we learned anything from past mistakes?
    I plaud President Obama for being pragmatic.

  200. Great editorial in defense of democracy in Egypt. Now let's see the NYT editorial board do the same and call on the administration to punish Israel for refusing the Palestinians their right to self-determination and to freedom.

  201. Murky and dangerous. That is the advice the NYTIMES is giving President
    Obama who is a lame duck president. This advice is a political gamble.
    President Obama does not have the time to fast forward changes in
    Egypt. This is one case where President Obama will be wrong,
    no matter what path he chooses. Underneath the radar, the Copt community
    in Egypt must be tense.

  202. Before you reexamine our relationship with Egypt the administration had better check with Tel Aviv and AIPAC. Ever since G W Bush started the disaster in Iraq it was part of a plan to destabilize the Middle East for the benefit of Israel. They will be the last man standing and inherit what is left from the Nile to Tigris. The best part for them is it will be paid for with American blood and dollars.

  203. Yes, of course, behind every major international problem stands the Jew who manipulates it all. What an original explanation, Art. No one in the world has any agency, we're all just marionettes having our strings pulled by the Elders of Zion. Of course, there is a name for your delusional conspiracy mindset. What a shame the Times allows such hateful fantasizing to be posted.

  204. Hasn't the U.S. destabilized enough countries in the Middle East? Let's see: Afghanistan (because we didn't finish the job), Iraq (leading to the rise of ISIS), Libya, and the agony of Syria and millions of refugees flooding Europe. Let's try to remember what Colin Powell said: "You broke it, you bought it." The Middle East is burning down because of the American arrogance, and Egypt is one of the few stable regimes in that region who favors the U.S. Get off your high horse, NYTimes.

  205. I have long wondered why America always seems to align itself politically, militarily, or economically with nations run by despots. If we use Egypt as a measure for reassessing our policies then we should probably stop doing business with 90 percent of the countries on the planet including China, all of the Middle East (including Israel), most of Africa, South America, Russia, and the Far East.

    In fact, when you get right down to it, considering the injustices of our legal, political, and social systems and the power exercised by our corporate oligarchies I dare say we probably should stop dealing with ourselves.

  206. Maybe the NYT Editorial Board should go and try to live in Egypt for awhile. Haven't we already learned anything from our abysmal, inappropriate intrusions and meddling into the Middle East yet. That part of the world is different from ours. We already have spawned enough stateless terrorists there. Egypt is already having enough problems with terrorist insurgents. If we cut aid, not only will Egypt fail, at best it will seek and obtain aid from our worst adversaries, just as Nasser did with the Soviets in earlier times. The world isn't perfect. Neither are we. Leave well enough alone, and let el-Sisi run their country without our version of of failed perfection.

    Finally, if you want to meddle, why doesn't the NYT Editorial Board work on our own country, and work on reinstatement of some of our voting rights, which have been taken away from our own citizens by the Supreme Court and Republicans funded by the Kochs' organizations. For example, the now 80 voting precincts in Arizona, which have limited voting hours and 180,000 voters for each precinct.

  207. Yes, the U.S. should rethink its relationship with Egypt, and while we're et it, it's also time to rethink our relationship with Israel. Its scandalous that these two countries are the largest recipients of U.S. foreign aid when there's much greater need in other places. What the U.S. should be doing for Egypt is spearheading a massive investment campaign to create jobs in a very young country with a serious unemployment problem; prosperity and better education are the obvious prerequisites of successful democracy. In terms of Israel, the appalling disrespect of Obama by the Netanyahu government and the disgraceful meddling in American politics practiced by his government to one side, Israel is a wealthy country that can take care of itself and needs to understand that a serious reboot of its relationship with its immediate neighbors is essential if it is to survive.

  208. There is no reason to think that getting rid of Mr. Sisi is in the best interest of the United States. We have seen that his replacement is likely to be allies with other Islamic forces that are opposed to our national interests. Our experience with telling other countries how they should be governed has been less than successful. Let Egypt decide how they will be governed and the extent to which they want dissidents influencing their national policy. Sisi provides some stability, which seems far superior to the alternative.

  209. Egypt is, despite it's flaws, a key ally in fighting Islamic terrorist organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.

    Iran and Saudi Arabia both SPONSOR Islamists.

    Liberals should support a secular state / govt. in Egypt and Obama should use quiet diplomacy to address the repression of democratic freedoms in Egypt.

  210. A decade and a half into the 21st century, we are repeating all of the mistakes we made in the Cold War. During the Cold War, the US supported dictators like El-Sisi throughout the developing world under the premise that they were a necessary evil to contain communism. What happened was usually the opposite. The excesses of the dictators only drove more of its people into the arms of communist insurgents. The stability these dictators brought was only ever on the surface. There was never true, lasting stability.

    We are doing it again. Except instead of communists, we now have Islamists. But the failure will be the same.

  211. Read Erich Fromm'd classic 'Escape from Freedom'. Some cultures and societies (e.g., Arab) strongly prefer bondage. They're at least 1000 years away from coping with democracy - if ever. (And face it, a sizable minority in the West would also strongly prefer a totalitarian state [masked in non-totalitarian labels]).

  212. Whaddya mean is 'about time' for a rethink of our relations with the Egyptian dictatorship. It is long overdue!

  213. I find the editorial strangely naïve for a newspaper that aspires to global influence.

    Why pick on Egypt? Why not Turkey, Saudi Arabia , Israel, or the innumerable African dictators and other US "allies" and yes, even Ukraine.?

    In some respects Sissi is the only force holding back the Islamic extremism. Is he brutal? Of course. But so are the other "allies". If we accept the NYT editorial as a way forward then we will have forgotten the hard cruel facts of life, i.e., that countries do not have friends or allies but only interests.