Thursday, February 24, 2011

The right mix for the USA
Now’s the Time                          

A Cocktail Party

Various commentators have been urging a “wait and see” attitude toward the Egyptian revolution, and it appears our political leaders are planning to do just that. There is a time for caution in world affairs. This is not one of them. This is the time for bold action.

The United States for years has supported the Mubarak dictatorship in Egypt to the tune of about $1.5 billion a year. Most of that goes to Egypt’s military, which now has control of the country. Our annual gift, a huge amount for a struggling Middle Eastern nation, provides just the lever needed to make a worthwhile change in our policy.

Right now, we can replace our traditional lip service in support of democracy with concrete action, and it won’t cost American lives or make any additional impact on our depleted treasury. President Obama should announce to Egypt and the world that if the key demands of the protesters who unseated Mubarak are not met by dates certain, our financial contributions to Egypt will come to a screeching halt.

This simple action might restore a measure of respect for America throughout the Muslim world and elsewhere. It would send a clear message to other dictators we support that they must provide their people with fair judicial systems, free media, and personal security, or our support will be withdrawn. It also has the virtue of being the right thing to do.

So do it, Mr. President . . . now.

For the announcement of the founding of the Great American Cocktail Party visit the August 5, 2010 post titled “Coffee, Tea, or . . .” in the archive on the right-hand column of this blog.


Kay Dennison said...

I agree. We have other ways that we can use that money. said...

You are damned if you do and damned if you don't. I always have to ask "Is it in the national interst." We too easily decide to send someone else's son or daughter into harm's way these days. I like the old joke. The Republicans want a big military but they don't want to send it anywhere. On the other hand the Democrats want a small military and they want to send it everywere.

JHawk23 said...

In fact I believe there are laws requiring us to cut off aid to a country if a determination of certain kinds of human rights violations is made.

On the other hand, my observations suggest that stopping aid - necessary though it may be for reasons of principle - is often less effective than we would wish.

1.5 billion sounds like a lot of money but for a big country like Egypt, it's a drop in the bucket - usually not enough to persuade a government (or military) to do something they really don't want to do, especially if they can replace it by going to Iran. So persuasion is still key, whether or not we cut them off.