Egypt's Future

Egypt held a presidential election this week. The official results will be announced on Monday. Spoiler alert: incumbent President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi will be declared the winner.


Sisi has solved the near-term problem of how to hold onto power. Imprison thousands of potential troublemakers. Handpick your election opponent. Drive all credible challengers out of the race. To ensure turnout, pay people to vote and threaten fines on those who don’t. Count the votes. Declare victory.

But this won’t solve the longer-term problems facing Egypt, for which Sisi will now be held responsible. Nearly a third of the country’s 90 million people lives in poverty, a percentage that has grown over the past 20 years. More than half that population is under twenty-five.

In November 2016, to try to get its financial house in order, the government devalued Egypt’s currency and cut fuel subsidies. Angry protests followed. This time last year, bread riots erupted in many Egyptian cities following news that the state had reduced the number of subsidized bread loaves it allows each family to buy.

Egypt’s population is projected to reach 120 million by 2030, and 150 million by 2050. Population growth creates urban sprawl, which leaves less land for agriculture, exacerbating already serious shortages of food and water. Unless Sisi decides he cares as much about his country as he does about political control, this is the shape of things to come.

In 2012, the United States created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to protect these young people from being deported. Yet just five years later, the program was rescinded, putting close to 700,000 DACA recipients at risk of being banished from the only home they've ever known. More than five dozen of these DACA recipients at risk are Microsoft employees. These young people contribute to the company and serve its customers. They help create products, secure services, and manage finances. And like so many young people across our nation, they dream of making an honest living and a real difference in the communities in which they reside. Yet they now live in uncertainty.

Microsoft has told its Dreamers that it will stand up for them along with all the nation's DACA recipients. It will represent them in court and litigate on their behalf. That's why Microsoft joined Princeton University and Princeton student Maria De La Cruz Perales Sanchez to file one of the three cases challenging the DACA rescission that was heard on Nov. 12 by the United States Supreme Court.

Read more on Microsoft On The Issues.

Last week, French President Emmanuel Macron said that NATO was experiencing "brain death," citing a lack of coordination and America's fickleness under Donald Trump as reasons to doubt the alliance's commitment to mutual defense. NATO – the North Atlantic Treaty Organization – was formed in the wake of World War II as a counterweight against Soviet dominance in Europe and beyond. Its cornerstone is that an attack on one member is considered an attack on all. But disagreement about burden sharing has gained increasing salience in recent years. In 2014, the bloc agreed that each member state would increase their own defense spending to 2% of their respective GDP over the next decade. But so far, only seven of 29 members have forked out the money. Here's a look at who pays what.

In the predawn hours of Tuesday morning, Israel launched a precision attack in the Gaza Strip, targeting and killing a Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) commander. In response, the terror group fired more than 200 rockets at southern Israel. Exchanges of fire have brought cities on both sides of the Gaza border to a standstill and at least eight Palestinians are dead and dozens of Israelis wounded. With this latest escalation, Israel now faces national security crises on multiple fronts. Here's what's going on:

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More Brexit shenanigans: Britons this week saw Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader Boris Johnson endorse Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in upcoming elections. As a special bonus, they got to see Corbyn return the favo(u)r with a formal endorsement of Johnson. Most viewers in the UK will have understood immediately that these are the latest example of "deep fakes," digitally manipulated video images. The more important Brexit story this week is a pledge by Nigel Farage that his Brexit Party will not run candidates in areas held by the Conservatives in upcoming national elections. That's a boost for Johnson, because it frees his party from having to compete for support from pro-Brexit voters in those constituencies.

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80: More than 80 percent of the electronic voting systems currently used in the US are made by just three companies, according to a new report which warns that they are regulated less effectively than "colored pencils."

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