Debate Arises Over Aid To Egypt

President Barack Obama has yet to decide whether to end military and economic aid to Egypt, but there is a growing debate about the wisdom or folly of doing so.

Brad Plumer of the Washington Post speaks with March Lynch, a foreign policy analyst and one of a growing group of legislators and commentators urging the Obama administration to end the $1.5 billion the US sends Egypt annually.

Lynch says the recent violence has convinced him that it is now time to end the aid.

“The aid itself is not necessarily that significant in material terms. A lot of the actual money ends up going back to U.S. companies. It’s as much a subsidy for U.S. manufacturing as a subsidy for the Egyptian military. And the Gulf states have also made clear that they’ll cover any losses if the U.S. pulls back. So it’s really symbolic more than anything. But it’s a powerful symbol.

David Francis of The Fiscal Times disagrees with those in the US who advocate cutting off aid to Egypt, saying that the aid is the only remaining leverage the administration has left and that ending aid would also damage the relationship with Egypt that the US needs in the region.

“If the United States abandons Egypt now, it’s putting the entire Middle East in danger. It also complicates the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, since United States aid has kept peace between Israel and Egypt,” he adds.

Meanwhile, The Christian Science Monitor editorial board suggests taking a longer view of recent events in Egypt and acknowledging that democracies do not develop overnight.

“Imagining an Egypt that is both stable and democratic would now seem harder than ever. But that is exactly the vision that must be maintained.

It’s unclear whether the violence in Egypt is being provoked by either side as a cynical attempt to gain favor with international public opinion by trying to paint the other side as the aggressor. If so, those motives must be exposed and denounced.

The military government ignored international pleas to act with caution and attempted what appears to be brutal attacks on peaceful protesters. Some elements of the Muslim Brotherhood have responded with violence of their own. Revolutions are rarely short and simple. Progress comes in fits and starts. Backward steps can sink hopes for a time.”






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