Egypt and Obama: Turbulent Times, Bouncy Relations
Under the leadership of Barack Obama, Egyptian–US relations have experienced an acute crisis, unseen in many decades. This chapter argues that the US-espoused values of liberty, democracy and human rights had frequently come into the way of Washington’s pursuit of a purely realist and pragmatic foreign policy. This irreconcilable conflict between interests and values poisoned US–Egyptian ties at two defining moments in Egypt’s recent history—January 2011 and July 2013—when the US stance was perceived by Cairo as unfavorable at best, plainly hostile at worst. At these two moments, Cairo’s ruling elite saw everything through the parochial perspective of this raison d’état. There was little room for compromise or maneuver. US–Egyptian relations, as a result, got strained. Members of Egypt’s ruling elite breathed a sigh of relief when President Barack Obama left the White House in January 2017.