What Should America Do About Egyptian Aid?
For the third time this week, your humble blogger explores the burgeoning political crisis in Egypt. I have stated that “The Muslim Brotherhood will forever be an impediment to democratic politics” and asked “Does Egypt have any hope of establishing a democracy free from Islamist and military oppression”? What policies should the Obama administration pursue to encourage the establishment of an Egyptian democracy that serves as a stabilizing force in a Mid-East littered with Islamist regimes? Thankfully, former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton weighs in on the issue of continued American aid to Egypt in today’s Wall Street Journal. (following block quote excerpted from “Cutting Off Aid to Egypt Would Be a Mistake” By JOHN BOLTON Wall Street Journal 7/11/13)
In the midst of Egypt’s political disarray and economic collapse, what should America’s policy be?
Many Americans, concerned that a “democratically elected” government has been ousted, argue that we should, as current law requires, terminate assistance to Egypt until another election takes place. This view is wrong on several counts.
First, while the Muslim Brotherhood prevailed in the 2012 elections, it worked assiduously… [towards] its ultimate objective of an Islamist state.
Second, democracy rests on much more than simply conducting elections. … the Brotherhood’s single-minded focus under President Morsi—to establish a harsh theocracy that would put an end to freedom of conscience and dissent—was manifestly unacceptable.
Had the army hesitated beyond last week, instability, carnage and the threat to any prospect of a free, open society would likely have been much worse.
It follows that cutting off U.S. assistance to Egypt now would be seriously mistaken, as would pressuring other donors to withhold financial assistance to rescue Egypt’s economy from the deepening morass that Mr. Morsi let it become. Such cutbacks also would send exactly the wrong political message to the factions within Egypt, the Middle East more broadly, and America’s friends and allies world-wide. Congress should make a quick, technical statutory fix that allows U.S. aid to continue despite the coup.
Plainly this is the time for American leadership—not to sort out Egypt’s manifold internal political difficulties, but to assert a clear-eyed view of America’s enduring interests in the Middle East. Let’s hope the Obama administration wakes up in time.
To his credit, Ambassador Bolton correctly includes mention of Islamic theology in his analysis. Any discussion about United States foreign policy vis-à-vis Egypt must acknowledge the role Islam plays in Egyptian politics. By “Grizzly Joe”