Egypt's President Mohammed Morsy is trying to get down to business, but the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) isn't making things easy. The Muslim Brotherhood leader's newly appointed cabinet keeps holdovers from the previous cabinet in top positions, which suggests that the military junta is preventing Morsy from radically reshaping Egyptian policy, at least for the time being. Indeed, the power struggle between the Muslim Brotherhood and SCAF continues to define Egypt's post-Mubarak transition -- and it could be years before either emerges victorious.
This is a messy political environment for the United States to try to improve its relationship with the Egyptian people, and it is not going well. Just last month, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's motorcade was showered with rotten vegetables upon her visit to Egypt, and thousands-strong crowds protested her appearances in both Cairo and Alexandria.
Of course, anti-American sentiment in Egypt is nothing new. Ordinary Egyptians have long objected to various aspects of U.S. foreign policy, from Washington's support for Israel to its global counterterrorism campaigns, and former President Hosni Mubarak's regime stoked anti-Western anxieties to divert attention from its own misdeeds.
But the protests that confronted Clinton were new in one important sense: Christians and non-Islamists -- historically two of Egypt's most pro-American demographic groups -- organized them. And for this reason, U.S. policymakers fear that anti-American sentiment is not only worsening, but broadening beyond the Islamists and Arab nationalists who have traditionally opposed U.S. policy in Egypt. With its initial attempts at building bridges in Cairo having backfired, President Barack Obama's administration is looking for new ways to improve America's image in Egypt.
Here are seven ideas to get things started:
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