Friday, 12 July 2013

US Foreign Policy in Egypt.

'America's primary concern, as always, is how best to preserve its interests in the region. Calling a coup a coup would legally bind the US to withdraw $1.5bn in aid to the army – and it's the army, whose chief attended America's top military academy, that keeps the US and its regional ally Israel happy'. ( Rachel Shabi , In Egypt, Barack Obama's approach is like that of a spread better. July 10 2013 ).
The US is 'hedging its bets' on events in Egypt in order to minimise the geopolitical risks in the Middle East that would result from Egypt descending into civil conflict. The current 'cold peace' between Israel and Egypt is based on the strategic need for a stable and continued supply of oil from the Gulf region.

This arrangement dates back to the aftermath of the Fourth Arab-Israeli War in 1973 and the crisis caused by the oil price shock on the West. The continued prosperity of high octane Western consumer economies has been premised on preserving relatively stable and cheap oil supplies.

The excessive shift in the 1980s from production to service based economies in the US and UK has led to the need for dampen down the in built inflationary pressures of a narrowly based debt financed capitalism through securing access to oil and cementing strategic military alliances with the Gulf States.

As worldwide industrialisation proceeds apace in the emergence of economic super states such as China and India, the assumption that the US cannot necessarily depend on falling or stable oil prices to shore up economic growth has meant greater involvement in the internal affairs of the states of the Middle East.

The defence of the US-Egypt alliance through funding the Egyptian military is primarily a policy to ensure that there can be no instability in the most populous of the Arab nations that would destabilise the region. If Egypt collapsed ino civil war it would potentially draw in other regional powers as in Syria.

The policy is based on the assumption that if Egypt can make a transition to a democracy with no potential for instability, ,as was not clear under Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, then the US and the region will benefit. This assumption, however, looks increasingly doubtful when set against longer term trends.

Egypt faces a growing crisis that any new government following the army's military takeover is going to find it difficult to resolve and, given the scale of the popular opposition to both Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood regime and its overthrow, it is not clear that time is on it side in lessening the dangerous food shortage.

A potentially lethal combination of climate change, overpopulation and peak oil has led in recent years to Egypt becoming the world's largest importer of wheat. Social chaos has only been averted by half of that wheat being used to subsidise bread for the poor.

The events of the last month in Egypt cannot be seen to be a consequence only of US foreign policy hypocrisy and mistakes. It the longer term consequence of having propped up dictatorship for far too long and having retarded the Egyptian economy via the IMF's funding of a dysfunctional economic model.


  1. I am not able to understand why Egypt being involved in civil war will allow other nations like Syria to do the same. Would love it if you could explain :-)

  2. I'm not sure exactly what you mean. .

  3. I meant I could not understand what you meant by this line:
    If Egypt collapsed into civil war it would potentially draw in other regional powers as in Syria.

    How can civil war Egypt draw to other countries, like Syria?

  4. Because Egypt is too strategically significant for stability in the Middle East. It's hardly in the same position as Syria. Egypt has a very strong army and is not as divided on sectarian lines as Syria. But IF the state collapsed and civil war broke out, other powers ( and not even regional ones) and the Gulf states would try to impose control over it. It doesn't seem to me how that would be avoided. Whether they should is a different question.