- Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center Newsletter

Views on Egypt: What's Next?

| Spring 2011

Analysis and Comments from Belfer Center Affiliates

Graham Allison

“What do the recent events in Egypt mean for the U.S.? The answer is a lot more complicated than it might seem. Egypt is important to the U.S. for a number of reasons. Topping the list is oil, and the flow of oil, for which the Suez Canal is an important transit conduit. There is no reason to believe that a successor to the Mubarak government would interrupt the flow of oil, but you could imagine events in the area that could interrupt the flow, and we’re seeing this concern reflected in the markets."  -- “What Egypt Means for the U.S.,” The Mark (Feb. 2, 2011)

Nicholas Burns

“If the Army is to be the steward of the coming transition, its greatest service will be to give the Egyptian people the space and freedom to build a civil society, new political parties and the time to prepare for a national conversation and debate.  And, the Army will need to reveal quickly its true intentions in this transition–will it permit Egyptians to begin an open and democratic debate about the future of their country?  Or, will it quell the differing voices that have been stilled for so many decades in an attempt to maintain a militarily-dominant authoritarian state?" -- "Five (early) lessons from the Egyptian revolution,” Power & Policy (Belfer Center blog) (Feb. 11, 2011)

Chuck Freilich

“At a minimum, the new Egypt is likely to be less friendly to the U.S. and less committed to peace with Israel, both of which are popularly associated with theMubarak regime. As such, Egypt would be far less inclined to support American policies in the region, including counter-terrorism cooperation, and to play its traditional stabilizing role in the peace process and Mideast generally.” – “Values, Emotions, and Strategy on the Nile,” Power & Policy (Belfer Center blog) (Feb. 17, 2011)

Ashraf Hegazy

“People have been very frustrated, for decades now.”

Hegazy said that while older genertions have become apathetic to the corruption, today's protests are being led by what he called the “youth bulge,’’ the demographic of 18- to 30-year-olds who make up a significant portion of the country’s population and hold few of the jobs… “All they do is talk about how terrible the situation is,’’ Hegazy said. “That’s why, immediately after Tunisia overthrew its government, you’re starting to see these other protests against Arab countries that are really unprecedented in the older generation.’’ -- “From afar, Egyptians watch with fear, pride,” Boston Globe (Jan. 29, 2011)

Rami Khouri

“[I]t’s cosmic. This is extraordinary, in what it means in terms of the Arab world. After the Tunisian precedent, then leading to Egypt, we now have a clear break in the modern Arab security state that has ruled this region the last two and a half, three generations.” -- “After Egypt’s ‘Cosmic’ day, will Army usher in democratic, civilian government?” PBS NewsHour (Feb. 11, 2011)

“Two of the most interesting things going on these days around the crisis in Egypt are happening outside Egypt. In the Middle East, leaders throughout the Arab world are anticipating demands for changes in their countries and are responding with pre-emptive measures that they expect will gain them enough time to remain in power and make sufficient adjustments to deflect popular discontent.” -- “The Arab Military Is Not the Solution,” Agence Global (Feb. 4, 2011)

Tarek Masoud

“The question is, what kind of guarantees can the military provide that they are actually going to midwife a kind of democratic process...(with) civilian oversight of the military?...That’s a very tall order in this part of the world. And so we’re not yet sure that we have actually gotten a regime change.” -- “After Egypt’s ‘Cosmic’ day, will Army usher in democratic, civilian government?” PBS NewsHour (Feb. 11, 2011)

David Sanger

“Young Egyptian and Tunisian activists brainstormed on the use of technology to evade surveillance, commiserated about torture and traded practical tips on how to stand up to rubber bullets and organize barricades. They fused their secular expertise in social networks with a discipline culled from religious movements and combined the energy of soccer fans with the sophistication of surgeons.”  -- “A Tunisian-Egyptian Link that Shook Arab History,” New York Times (Feb. 13, 2011)

Monica Duffy Toft

“If the MB comes to power in Egypt or even becomes a major player, what will its position be on the transformation of the political system in Egypt? Is it a force for democracy or a force for authoritarianism? In essence, will the MB foster a conservative Islamic vision for Egypt? The evidence is mixed, but on balance I predict the MB will be a force for democratic change. What is my evidence? I have two sorts. The first regards the MB itself and the second is the role of religious actors in politics more generally.”  -- “Religious actors can be democratizers,” Power & Policy (Belfer Center blog) (Feb. 11, 2011)

Stephen M. Walt

“A post-Mubarak government is unlikely to abrogate the peace treaty with Israel, because doing so would immediately put it at odds with the United States and Europe and bring Cairo few tangible benefits. Nor would Israel be imperiled if the treaty were eventually to lapse, because Egypt's military is no match for the Israeli armed forces….Post-Mubarak Egypt is likely to resemble contemporary Turkey: neither hostile nor subservient, and increasingly seeking to chart its own course.” -- “The World After Mubarak,” The Spectator (Feb. 5, 2011)

Compiled by Traci Farrell and Brittany Card

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Views on Egypt: What's Next?.” Edited by Traci Farrell and Brittany Card. Belfer Center Newsletter (Spring 2011).

The Editors