Declining foreign exchange reserves, a shaky currency and an Islamist leadership incapable of managing the Arab world’s largest and most important nation do not make for sensational headlines or inflamed passions in the Middle East. Moreover, Egypt’s failings are certainly not of the US’s making, nor should they be seen as its problem.
But an Egypt on its way to becoming ungovernable, with permanent strife, endless protests and a collapsing economy, is hugely detrimental to US interests.
If Egypt fails, so would the notion of a democratic spring that replaces autocracy and stagnation with responsible government and the promise of prosperity. Egypt’s ability to play what is still a crucial mediating and stabilising role in the region would be in jeopardy. And the idea of Egypt failing is not a fantasy.
The US appears to recognise this. During his trip to Cairo this month John Kerry, secretary of state, warned that it was “paramount, essential, urgent that the Egyptian economy . . . gets back on its feet.”