February 01, 2011

Thought for the Day: Egypt vs. Pakistan

One of the things that has come up in several conversations today has been the professionalism of the Egyptian military. It is worth noting, too, that even though the United States is getting a lot of blame from protesters on the streets of Cairo and Alexandria for our support for the Mubarak Regime through the years, the United States will likely be able to retain a great deal of influence in Egypt even in a post-Mubarak political landscape because of the way in which the U.S. military has kept up such close relations with its Egyptian counterparts. Egyptian officers have been coming to the United States for training for three decades now, so most high-ranking Egyptian officers have close friends in the U.S. military with whom they went to the War College or CGSC. (We Americans would also like to think we have played a role in the professionalization of the Egyptian officer corps, but that may be giving us too much credit.)

What a different situation we have in Pakistan, where an entire generation of the Pakistani officer corps was "lost" to the U.S. military because of the Pressler Ammendment and the way in which it halted cooperation and exchanges between our two militaries. In that way, one thing Egypt and Pakistan have in common is the way in which each, in different ways, highlight the very real benefits of mil-mil cooperation, officer exchanges, and security force assistance.

UPDATE: President Obama just spoke on Egypt. His first words were words of praise for the Egyptian Army. That is no accident.