Explain How the National Security Affairs in Egypt Can Lead to U.S. Military Involvement Using the National Security Affairs Model
Involvement of the United States in certain areas of the affairs of other states, particularly national security, receives opposing criticisms. On one hand, critiques of U.S. foreign policy consider the involvement of the United States in the national affairs of other countries as undue intervention because of its impact on national sovereignty. The justification for this is the concept of self-determination based on the assumption that states have the capacity to settle security issues on its own. On the other hand, supporters of the involvement of the United States in national security affairs of other countries is lauded as a means of securing not only the safety and security of the country but also other countries including the United States itself. The justification for intervention is the exercise of sovereignty by securing international security threats to nations. Both perspectives have merit depending on the circumstances of the national security issue. Ultimately, the end justifies the means, which is the tenet of the national security affairs model adhered to by the United States. The model provides that national security strategy is the sum of foreign policy objectives, instruments of foreign policy, and foreign policy resources (Lykke 3) that are in turn determined not only by national interests of the United States but also the respective national security strategies of other countries that affects the United States such as Egypt.
International Strategy and Foreign Policy of Egypt
The encompassing foreign policy objective of Egypt is to maintain its moderating role in maintaining peace and stability in the Middle East and Africa to ensure its own security (Marr 129). Egypt emerged as a moderator in regional security affairs such as supporting the maintenance of peace treaties such as between Israeli and Palestine over the Gaza strip and supporting efforts to maintain regional peace and security as against the threat of Iran (Sharp 15). Egypt also played a key role in providing arms to African states on the condition that these would be used to maintain peace and security or as a means of defense (Zuhur 13). This foreign policy objective developed from the various international security threats facing Egypt such as the civil instability in its borders with Gaza strip as the armed conflict between Israel and Palestinian over the strip escalates. Its moderating role also evolved after 9/11 with its stand in condemning terrorism and employing means of controlling terrorist activities within its borders and supporting (explicitly or implicitly) moves to assuage growing terrorist treats in the region (Zuhur 75). Egypt has taken the moderator role because of its strategic political position in Africa and the Middle East as a country with Arab and Islamic tradition as well as close ties with African states (Marr 129). As a political force, Egypt can use its influence to ensure peace and stability in the region and in effect ensure its national security.
In achieving its foreign policy, Egypt employs a number of instruments. On is through bilateral and multilateral associations with key states and venues for collective action. Bilateral relations found expression in Egypt’s position as the first Arab country to engage in a peace agreement with Israel as early as 1979. Egypt served as the link between Israel and the Arab countries within the sphere of Egypt’s influence. Egypt also has a political clout in Sudan because of its historic and cultural ties reflected in bilateral agreements with the country leading to its key role in the peace process in the country. Egypt has also engaged in multiple bilateral agreements with different Middle Eastern and African countries which Egypt believes are crucial to the maintenance of peace in these regions. Multilateral relations or associations also comprised an instrument of Egypt’s foreign policy. By joining the Movement of Non-Aligned States or NAM, which is an organization of states not aligned with any power blocs, Egypt was able to reinforce its moderator role. Egypt is also a member of the United Nations, League of Arab States, African Union, World Bank, and International Monetary Fund. The other instrument of foreign policy is economic and military aid to other countries geared towards the maintenance of peace. (Marr 129; Zuhur 36)
As a regional moderator, the instruments of foreign policy of Egypt influence the international community by constituting a signal for security and stability as well as a tool for achieving progress in the Middle Eastern peace process. The foreign policy instruments of Egypt then influence the actions and reactions of the international community depending on the manner that the expected outcomes of these foreign policy instruments would affect the international community. Expectations of adverse outcomes would then call for negative reactions from the international community especially in the case of perceived security threats while expectations of positive outcomes would mean support from the international community especially in terms of supporting Egypt’s foreign policy resources. As an example, Egypt’s foreign policy instrument of engaging in bilateral relations with Israel constituted a generally positive signal to the international community of achieving a significant step towards the peace process in the Middle East. The other Arab countries initially perceived this negatively as a representation of Egypt’s betrayal of its cultural and religious tradition but the purpose of peace has enabled Egypt to re-establish relations with the other Arab countries. Part of the peace agreement with Israel is the Egypt’s say in Israel’s movements especially in the Gaza Strip border. In 2005, the peace agreement resulted to Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip with Egypt offering to provide military personnel to patrol the Gaza Strip border and train the military personnel of Palestine to secure the area. This constituted a positive signal for the international community in reading the security issue in the Middle East. (Sharp 15) In addition, Egypt’s membership in the United Nations and strategic bilateral ties with the United States led to the vocal condemnation of Egypt of terrorism that signaled support for actions to thwart terrorism, especially from Islamic fundamentalist groups, which is a serious concern of the international community.
To support its foreign policy strategy, Egypt relies on a number of resources. One is military strength that Egypt needs to maintain peace and monitor activities within and outside of its borders especially the Suez Canal and Gaza Strip. Egypt has established military installations along the Suez Canal and Red Sea to ensure security. (Marr 105; Sharp 15) However, the issue of demilitarization has emerged recently together with calls for the democratization of Egypt, especially by the United States. Regardless of the outcome of this issue, the military strength of Egypt remains an important foreign policy resource since this is important in the balance of power or influence so that it is only through a region-wide demilitarization that Egypt would likely to downplay its military resources. The other resource is money to fund its foreign policies that largely comes from foreign aid from the United States and other non-Arab countries as well as its allied rich Arab countries (Sharp 23). Financial aid is given to Egypt primarily to support its foreign policies that also favor the donor countries in terms of peace and stability outcomes.
Egypt’s Foreign Policy and the United States
Egypt’s foreign policy influences the foreign policies of the United States. One U.S. foreign policy is the strengthening of alliances in order to ensure peace in regions where America holds economic and political interests and recently to address the threat of terrorism (Marr 203). In relation to Egypt, the United States considers Egypt’s foreign policy as a moderator as an important justification for building strategic alliance as a primary action before military action. This is because the United States needs a fitting ally that would enable to establish deeper alliances with the Arab countries to achieve its foreign policy objective. The alignment of the Egypt’s foreign policy with that of the United States led to the pouring of aid from the United States to Egypt. The earlier peace agreement entered into by Egypt with Israel (Sharp 23) also largely influenced the decision of the United States to provide foreign aid to both Egypt and Israel to support their respective foreign policies geared towards peace.
Another foreign policy of the United States is the advocacy for international human rights (Sharp 21). This foreign policy justified the key role played by the United States in its military activity in Afghanistan and Iraq. In relation to Egypt, its foreign policy of being a moderator state expressed through its non-alignment with any political or power block has affected the respective foreign policy of the United States in calling for the democratization of Egypt to address reports of human rights violations (Sharp 21; Zuhur 46). Egypt has yet to fully shift to democracy because this would constitute alignment with a political block in violation of its foreign policy as a moderator country and democratization is likely not to happen at least in the next ten years. As such, the United States is battling with a conflict of two of its foreign policies, the building of alliance mostly through foreign aid with Egypt to ensure security in the Middle East and Egypt’s support in addressing global terrorism; and the withdrawal of foreign aid to Egypt to encourage democratization and respect for international human rights.
Changes in the foreign policies of Egypt would also affect the United States in terms of its security. Succeeding developments in the foreign policies of Egypt signals the extent of security concern and respective military action of the United States in maintaining its interests in the Middle East and preventing the development or escalation of terrorist threats to the United States.
The national security affairs model explains the foreign relations between Egypt and the United States in justifying the manner of integrating foreign policies, instruments of foreign policy, and foreign policy resources. The influence is mutual since Egypt’s national security strategies are also influenced by the United States in a similar manner that Egypt’s strategies influence the United States because of links between these two countries especially in terms of foreign policy resources.
Lykke, Arthur F., Jr., ed., Military Strategy: Theory and Application, U.S. Army War College, Carlisle, PA, 1993.
Marr, Phebe, Egypt at the Crossroads: Domestic Stability and Regional Role, National Defense University Press, Washington, DC, 1999.
Sharp, Jeremy, Egypt: Background and U.S. Relations, Congressional Research Service, Washington, DC, 2007.
Zuhur, Sherifa, Egypt: Security, Political, and Islamist Challenges, U.S. Army War College Carlisle, PA, 2007.