Throwing Money Down the Bottomless Pit of Egypt
Some fringe commentators have labeled President Obama a secret â€śMuslim.â€ťÂ Perhaps to disprove the ridiculousness of this charge, the President has embarked on a truly New Testament-like foreign policy approach to the Muslim nations of the Middle East.Â By this, I mean that when an offending Middle Eastern nation slaps the collective cheek of America, President Obama promptly turns our other collective cheek, to allow for a second slap.Â And then a third slap.Â And so onâ€¦
Consider for example what is happening with Egypt.Â The Obama Administration announced that it plans to resume U.S. foreign aid to that nation, to the tune of $1.5 billion, of which $1.3 billion is military aid.Â U.S. foreign assistance to Egypt averages just over $2 billion every year since 1979, when Egypt struck a peace treaty with Israel.Â This resumption of aid is also partly a reward for Egyptâ€™s military rulerâ€™s decisions to free the American nonprofit workers it had held hostage for their â€ścriminal actions,â€ť including the son of an American Cabinet official, and allow them to flee the country.Â Another reward would be the $300,000 per person bail that was paid to Egypt.Â Of course, the hostages were not really guilty of any real criminal wrongdoing anyway, but were merely charged with operating without proper registration, which, in the U.S., would be labeled a regulatory infraction. Â Even worse, their regulatory infraction was that they were promoting and supporting democracy, which the Egyptians found to be offensive.
This is only the most recent Egyptian â€śslapâ€ť to America.Â Since Egyptian demonstrations led to the fall of the pro-American dictator Mubarak, the new Egyptian rulers â€“ the Egyptian military and the anti-American Islamist parties â€“ have been as busy as possible insulting or exhibiting bad behavior towards the U.S., its allies, and its human rights ideals.Â Â The Egyptian leadership has beaten and abused pro-democracy Egyptian protestors and Egyptian civilians.Â They have increasingly enforced blasphemy laws to reduce free speech.Â They have promised to institute new rules based on Sharia to discriminate against women and Coptic Christians.Â They have demanded that Western tourists cease and desist drinking alcohol, wearing bikinis, and cohabitating if they are unmarried couples.Â They have used â€śvirginity checkpointsâ€ť onÂ Egyptian women. Â They have slaughtered many of the Copts, using American supplied vehicles.Â They oppose Western society, capitalism, and democracy.Â They have insulted Western faiths.Â They have declared the only democracy in their region, Israel, the â€śnumber one enemyâ€ť of the Egyptian people and expelled its Ambassador.
For the United States to support this Egyptian regime makes no sense.Â Aside from rewarding the above mischief, U.S. aid accomplishes nothing of any real value.Â The Egyptians still donâ€™t like us.Â In fact, the vast majority of them donâ€™t even want U.S. aid.Â Further, the Egyptian state is still living on borrowed time â€“ itsâ€™ partly educated population is hugely expanding in size, even as its monies from tourism have plunged, and its government is having increasing trouble meeting its fiscal, caloric, or fuel needs.Â In fact, any Egyptian with cash, including presumably many of the Egypt military leaders, secretly stash their funds in Europe, so as to prepare for their inevitable exile after the crash.Â And, no matter what aid the U.S. sends to Egypt, it cannot provide enough money to make Egypt work.Â We might as well be pouring the $1.5 billion down the drain.
Nevertheless, nothing seems to deter the Administration from wasting this U.S. money.Â Now, I understand that President Obama believes that, because of his background, he uniquely understands and can influence the majority Muslim nations of the world.Â And perhaps, there is some truth to that idea.Â But, surely, in at least this one situation, someone in the Administration understands what a â€śsunk costâ€ť is, and that Egypt meets its definition.