The other day Vlad "The Hammer" Putin gave the green light to Egyptian Field Marshal Abdel Fatah al-Sisi's run for the presidency of Egypt.
The policy wonks inside the Beltway were apoplectic; "HEY, HE CAN'T DO THAT; THAT'S OUR BUMBOY!!!"
And they had good reason to think so. After all, it's US and not Russian cash that maintains the Egyptian elite in power. It's US and not Russian gifts of military hardware that keeps the Egyptian military in charge.
There are basically two different ways of approaching this. Putin is cutting the Pentagon's grass with this show of support for al-Sisi. While we have not yet seen al-Sisi's political chops up close, it's safe to expect he's going to be a strongman type once he is duly "democratically elected." His cuddly meeting with Putin serves notice to the State Department folks that there's more than one game in town.
On the other hand, the Beltway boffins could take heart that their arch-nemesis Putin has exactly the same high hopes for Egypt's leadership as they do; a neutered secular regime that has no patience whatsoever with the slightest hint of a Koran-based government.
A win-win for Putin and the Pentagon. A lose-lose for democracy in Egypt.