As analysts debate the causes of the protests sweeping Egypt and the future of the country, Foreign Affairs is pleased to bring you select articles from our archives to capture how the past four decades of Egyptian politics appeared in real time -- and why, as Fouad Ajami put it in 1995, "at the heart of Egyptian life there lies a terrible sense of disappointment [out of which] a powerful wave of nostalgia has emerged for the liberal interlude in Egyptian politics . . . for its vibrant political life, for the lively press of the time, for the elite culture with its literati and artists, for its outspoken, emancipated women who had carved a place for themselves in the country's politics, culture, and journalism."
"Where Egypt Stands." By Anwar el-Sadat. Foreign Affairs 51, no 1 (1972): 114-23.
"The War and the Future of the Arab-Israeli Conflict." By Nadav Safran. Foreign Affairs 52, no 2 (1974): 215-36.
"Egyptian Foreign Policy." By Mohamed Hassanein Heikal. Foreign Affairs 56, no 4 (1978): 714-27.
In 1970, when Anwar el-Sadat succeeded Egypt's first president, Gamel Abdel Nasser, he inherited a nation still searching for its position in the Middle East and the world. Writing for Foreign Affairs in 1972, he wrote of the three principles Egypt should uphold: freedom, socialism, and unity. For Sadat, this meant ridding the country of foreign influence, pursuing economic growth while promoting public services, and fostering solidarity with other Arab nations. This, according to him, would create a future in the Middle East "of justice and of peace in coöperation." A year later, of course, Egypt had fought and lost a war with Israel. Nadav Safran, then the director of Harvard's Middle Eastern Studies Program, wrote that the future of the region would depend on whether Egypt's moderates, who would enforce the terms of the peace negotiation, or Egypt's militants, who would not, would prevail. By the summer of 1978, it appeared that the moderates were generally in control. Mohamed Hassanein Heikal, who was the former editor of Al Ahram, charted this evolution in modern
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