Russia and China will meet on sidelines of G20…to discuss Egypt?

by Chris Zappone

The same meeting where Obama and Putin won’t meet. As Reuters explains:

“Both countries now say they need a counterweight to U.S. influence in the world.”

Presumably they won’t be talking about how to halt violence in Egypt.

China has been circumspect about the recent violence in Egypt for a good reason – it may need to have a similar crackdown itself one day. 1989 wasn’t that long ago.

But recall that Morsi’s first visit as president of Egypt was to China in 2011, which was followed by increased trade to between the countries. But Morsi, now out of power, means the military may not be in such a forgiving mood to China.

As Zachary Keck points out, in one possible scenario

The Egyptian military could quickly restore order and maintain power, perhaps exercising it through civilian, non-Islamists leaders. China would hardly be enthusiastic about this prospect, given the possibility that the military would hold a grudge against Beijing for its eager embrace of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. Moreover, the Egyptian military is the institution in the country with the strongest ties to the United States. Thus, U.S. influence in Egypt is likely to be greatest under military rule (or indirect military rule).

So, as much as the US abhors the violence and diplomats urged against it, their best chance for influence in Egypt is the military – even though Obama has scrapped the sale of fighter jets and halted planned joint exercises. If the “state of emergency” just imposed in Egypt last another 30 years like Mubarak’s did, then the US may have some influence there to
come. But the reality is- and its clear in the past few weeks – with the US pivot to Asia on, Washington doesn’t have the same time or patience for all of the Middle East as it once did. If Egypt can’t rely on the US, as much, it will have to look elsewhere.