- By Daniel W. Drezner
Daniel W. Drezner is professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and a senior editor at The National Interest. Prior to Fletcher, he taught at the University of Chicago and the University of Colorado at Boulder. Drezner has received fellowships from the German Marshall Fund of the United States, the Council on Foreign Relations, and Harvard University. He has previously held positions with Civic Education Project, the RAND Corporation, and the Treasury Department.
Your humble blogger has not posted about Egypt during the most recent phase of the Great Unpleasantness. This is partly because Marc Lynch knows a lot more about this topic than I do, and mostly because there are only so many variations of saying "Egypt is pretty much f**ked, and U.S. foreign policy in the region is totally f**ked."
The New York Times’ David Kirkpatrick, Alan Cowell, and Rod Nordland do report yet another layer to the worsening situation on the ground:
The judicial authorities in Egypt have ordered the release of former President Hosni Mubarak, who has been detained on a variety of charges since his ouster in 2011, according to state media and security officials on Monday. It remained possible, however, that the authorities would find other ways to keep him in detention and his release did not appear imminent.
Egyptian state media reported that Mr. Mubarak would remain in custody for another two weeks under a previous judicial order before the authorities make a decision on his release. The outcome is likely to be read as a pivotal test of the new government installed by General Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi and its desire to replicate or repudiate Mr. Mubarak’s rule.
The development threatened to inject a volatile new element into the standoff between the country’s military and the Islamist supporters of the deposed President Mohamed Morsi as Egypt entered the sixth day of a state of emergency following a bloody crackdown by the military in which hundreds of people have been killed. (emphasis added)
Now, not that there’s anything funny about it, but I confess that I laughed out loud when I read the bolded phrase in that story. See, "threatened to inject a volatile new element" is one of those classic Timesian journalese phrases that occasionally highlights the absurdity of "objective" reporting. I suspect 99% of informed observers would have written, "The development will worsen the standoff…" or "The development will inflame the conflict" or "the development is a massive clusterf**k" or some variation of such — but not the New York Times.
So, anyway… Egypt is pretty much f**ked, and U.S. foreign policy in the region is totally f**ked.
Am I missing anything? Seriously, is there any course of action that the U.S. could take that would improve the situation? Because from David Kirkpatrick, Peter Baker and Michael Gordon’s fascinating backgrounder yesterday on ineffective US/EU pressure on Egyptian authorities, the answer appears to be no.
Hagel and China today; Mubarak to be released?; It was us the whole time! CIA admits to Iranian coup; Meet the Marine major taking on Corps leadership; Why there is so much fog over sarin in Syria; and a bit more.Gordon Lubold
Gordon Lubold is a national security reporter for Foreign Policy. He is also the author of FP's Situation Report, an e-mailed newsletter that is blasted out to more than 70,000 national security and foreign affairs subscribers each morning that includes the top nat-sec news, breaking news, tidbits, nuggets and what he likes to call "candy." Before arriving at FP, he was a senior advisor at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, where he wrote on national security and foreign policy. Prior to his arrival at USIP, he was a defense reporter for Politico, where he launched the popular Morning Defense early morning blog and tip-sheet. Prior to that, he was the Pentagon and national security correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor, and before that he was the Pentagon correspondent for the Army Times chain of newspapers. He has covered conflict in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and other countries in South Asia, and has reported on military matters in sub-Saharan Africa, East Asia and Latin America as well as at American military bases across the country. He has spoken frequently on the sometimes-contentious relationship between the military and the media as a guest on numerous panels. He also appears on radio and television, including on CNN, public radio's Diane Rehm and To the Point, and C-SPAN's Washington Journal. He lives in Alexandria with his wife and two children.| Situation Report |