While 40,000 + Egyptian political prisoners languish in prison Sisi is rewarded by the release of the remainder of 1.3 billion in military aid by the Obama adminstration and that is no April Fool’s joke. Many in the Sisi camp will rejoice and do their best ultra nationalist dance but this is less about support for Sisi than a rational American doctrine of foraging in Middle Eastern forests for nothing but American interests.
Whether it is a democrat or a republican dining daily at the white house one thing will remain a constant: the U.S will support whoever rules Egypt so long as they cater to two agendas, American and Israeli. For Obama, Sisi is far from the ideal but, all things being equal, he is no Benjamin Netanyahu; constantly embrassing and clashing with the white house. It was never a secret to American political circles that Mubarak while guiding Egypian foreign policy with one hand stole with the other. Same holds true for Sisi, but in more trenchant terms that have seen thousands of Egyptians killed under Sisi De facto leadership: while one hand guides, the other kills.
The U.S chooses to ignore the obvious: a president who came to power on a platform based on security lays the most meager of claims to that pedestal as an insurgency slowly takes hold in Egypt. While Sisi continues to stress the importance of the Egyptian American binary Egyptian citizens continue to view the chalice as poisoned. In fact, while, in 2006, 30% of Egyptians viewed the U.S in a positive light, an admitedly small percentage, that number dipped to a microscopic 10% in 2014 . But political realism forges partnerships, that while illogical in many respects, are a must for both sides for geopolitical reasons entrenched within in a historical frame. While There isnt a senior white house unaware of the unfathomably tragi-comic steps the Sisi regime has undertaken against freedom of assembly, freedom of speech and democracy in general the U.S will continue to write checks so long as Sisi guards Israel’s Sinai border and respects the, all important, Camp David accord. Autocracts, such as Sisi, will, in turn, continue to seek the American stamp of approval as it not only provides much needed hard currency annually but, more sensibly, Sisi recognizes that on American politcal shores cynicism rules the roost and the ideals of the American constitution are just that- ideals.
Say what you will about American hypocracy and Egyptian ultra-nationalism but, in the end, it is a marriage of convenience unlikely to change anytime soon.