Source: Brookings Institute
Author(s): Shadi Hamid
In one of his first acts in office, President Donald Trump phoned his Egyptian counterpart, Abdel Fattah el-Sissi. The symbolism was telling: Sissi wasn’t just another Arab autocrat but one of the region’s most repressive. The Trump-Sissi mutual appreciation society of two continues this week during President Sissi’s much-hyped (in Egypt) visit to Washington.
The authoritarian instinct is easily recognizable among fellow travelers. Like liberalism, it too is universal, cutting across national boundaries. I, like many Americans, have relatives who are Trump supporters. The only difference is that they live in Egypt, which, like Alabama or Texas, is Trump country, at least among a certain group of so-called liberal elites. These “liberals” (who are liberals in some senses but not in others) and of course Sissi himself, did little to hide their enthusiasm for the Republican nominee. Most of my relatives enthusiastically backed the August 14, 2013 massacre of Muslim Brotherhood supporters. And this is what they like about Trump—that he seems to hate the Brotherhood just as much as they do…
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