In Search of Balance: Egypt and the Great Powers

Source: Italian Institute for International Political Studies

Author(s): Nael Shama

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In his recently-published memoirs, Egypt’s former foreign minister, Nabil Fahmy, painted a clear picture of the prevalent mood inside Egypt’s ruling establishment concerning the country’s stance towards great powers. In the 2000s, he explains, former president Hosni Mubarak and many of his aides “came to believe” that the United States was pushing for a regime change agenda in Egypt. While Mubarak is long gone, Washington’s unsupportive attitude towards the Egyptian government during the events of the Arab Spring consolidated such views among a large number of Egyptian officials and policymakers. Hence, an “extremely widespread” and potent “conspiracy theory” has come to rule the day with regards to Egypt’s international relations. Fahmy was no proponent of this theory, but in a meeting held with senior officials soon after he took on the mantle of minister of foreign affairs in 2013, he put forth what would become the motto of Egyptian foreign policy: “Over-dependence on the United States or any other state is detrimental to our interests”.      

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