"Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi: The dilemma between the former president and the people originated from [the Muslim Brotherhood’s] concept of the state, the ideology that they adopted for building a country which is based on restoring the Islamic religious empire. That’s what made [former President Mohammed Morsi] not a president for all Egyptians, but a president representing his followers and supporters. " Slate
This interview with the regrettable Lally Weymouth is revealing of several things under recent discussion here.
- Sisi is not at all "afraid" of the United States. This is a measure of how much the world has changed in the last ten years or so. Before the post 9/11 era no Egyptian general acting as chief of staff, minister of defense or head dog catcher would have dared to defy the US in the way that Sisi has done in this article. This is now truly a multi-polar world. There are many players of which the US is only one. There are many sources of funding for Sisi's armed forces. The Egyptian armed forces are now equipped with American gear, so a transition would be painful but it might be worth it. The Egyptians did not pay for the equipment. We gave them credits with which to buy it.
- Sisi knows that the US abandoned Husni Mubarak to his fate. Sisi does not wish to be in a position in which the US can abandon him to a similar fate. To that end he is determined to follow a course in which he is not dependent on the US. Feckless treachery in abandoning one's clients carries a price.
- Political Islamism is seen by Egyptian liberals, Christians and the officer corps as a specific threat to modern Egypt. The romance carried on by Washington with Islamists in Egypt contributed greatly to the decline of American influence there. There are too many naive "kids" in positions of influence in American government.
- International power exercised by states, rests not so much on exerted power as on perceived potential power. Power translates into deterrance and deference on the international scene when there is a belief in the resoluteness of the major powers. In other words, you must be perceived to be a resolute, strong actor in order to be obeyed. You must also be perceived to be successful on the international scene. Since the fall of the USSR the United States has come to be seen as a naive and ineffective actor. That perception has now reached a point in which people like Sisi defy the US. Syria? US policy in Syria is a joke. "A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury and signifying nothing." pl