February 06, 2012
End American (and other) Aid to Egypt
Noted this via the Arabist, frankly Steve Cook is spot on: From the Potomac to the Euphrates » Egypt and the United States: It’s Not You, It’s Me
I say we oblige Aboul Naga and wind down the aid program—including military assistance—as soon as practical. It’s hard to run against the “foreign hand” if there is no foreign hand. In addition to undermining Aboul Naga’s claims (and hopefully weakening her) bringing an end to the aid program and shutting down the USAID mission has multiple political benfits. First, Washington will no longer be in the unseemly position of providing taxpayer largesse—however small in the grand scheme of things—to a government that resents the United States and clearly does not share its values. Second, it will provide an opportunity for a much-needed change in military-to-military relations in which the United States merely pays for the services it needs like expedited transit through the Suez Canal. Third, it is consistent with this moment of empowerment and dignity for Egyptians many of whom do not want U.S. assistance either because they believe it actually stands in the way of a democratic transition or accept Aboul Naga’s argument along with those who couldn’t care less about U.S. assistance because it doesn’t touch their lives. Finally, it will free up funds for the United States to help others who actually might want Washington’s help, perhaps the Tunisians, Moroccans, or some sub-Saharan African countries would be grateful for development assistance.This goes for others aide as well (UK, Germany).
Assistance spent on Tunisia, Morocco, the Sahel, would make rather more sense. Egypt, well, would do well to go through a "cure."
Posted by The Lounsbury at February 6, 2012 07:13 PM
Filed Under: EU Foreign Policy , Economic Development , Egypt Mamlouk Coup , Foreign Policy & MENA , North Africa , Political Development , The MENA '48 , US Foreign Policy
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I'd say that depends on whether the aid is actually doing any good. Even if it might do a lot *more* good in Morocco/Sahel/other countries, keeping Egypt from wobbling too much politically and economically is important for the entire region. The stakes are so high. Since there is now a risk that Egyptian politics could tank completely, end up like a poor man's version of Pakistan or even worse, I say any aid that actually does prop up the economy should be kept. No, increased!
Whether it does, now that's another matter - and the military aid certainly does not. But then I imagine Washington sees the money spent not only in terms of benefits for Egypt or MENA, but also in terms of what influence it can buy for the US in Cairo.
Tunisia: Now, there's obviously a special imperative for pouring cash into there. If Tunisia could eventually grow into something resembling an Arab version of Turkey, warts and all, it would be pure gold as a role model for regional democratization. Assisting that seems worth a few bucks.
(Where all this aid money should come from? From not intervening militarily in Syria, that's where.)
Posted by: alle at February 6, 2012 08:58 PM