new new Egyptian government revs up its murder machine and uses the Muslim Brotherhood and friends as fuel, President Obama has a profound bit of advice for Egypt’s ruling Junta: stop it.
US Secretary of State John Kerry also shared his infinite wisdom on the killings: “It’s deplorable.”
On this morning’s Face the Nation television show with Bob Schieffer, US Republican Senator Lindsay Graham, in search of a position that will place him and his party-mates diametrically opposed to President Obama and his fellow Democrats, offered his recommended course of action: cut off the $1.5 billion aid package the US gives to Egypt’s military. Senator Graham’s response the question of what else he’d do sounded less clear: “It’s about the relationship!”
Isn’t it somewhat difficult for Uncle Sam to come across like a loving family member when its actions clearly show it never gave a crap about its olive-skinned towel-head brothers?
For DECADES, America has turned a blind-eye to the Arab world’s politically-motivated assassinations, incarcerations, secret police abductions, façade of elections or lack thereof, and just about any other evil political deed you can think of as long as each Arab or Persian head of state can answer “Yes” to both parts of the Arab Ruler Chill Test:  will you be chilly with the regional oil flow, and  will you be chilly with Israel.
Rulers from countries stretching from North Africa to just beyond the Middle East who aced The Test were rewarded with some form of reward from the US, which in Egypt’s case meant $1.5 billion in aid, with about 1.3 billion going to the military. Then, the US backed away and pretended not to watch the dictators go nuts on citizens.
Given US policy all these years, what-the-hell-else can Secretary Kerry say other than “It’s deplorable”?
Even if the US is willing to suspend or eliminate Egypt’s aid, I’m sure Team Obama would have to spend some time calculating how doing so would further complicate matters.
Speaking of aid, where was Sen. Graham during those crazy Mubarak years?? Yes, those years were also bonkers, if you were an Egyptian citizen.
I don’t take the Senator’s comments seriously one bit. Even one of the principals of the Two-Part Arab Ruler Chill Test, who happens to find a close friend in Senator Graham, doesn’t want the US to mess with Egypt’s loot.
Let’s cover this aid business for a moment. It’s not like Egypt receives an annual $1 billion+ gift certificate to buy whatever it wants. The aid package is designed for Egypt’s military to purchase weapons from the US. This has to be one of the most incredible deals a shareholder or an equity-compensated executive from a US defense company can get. Imagine owning a shoe store and the US gives money to customers under the condition that they can only spend the cash at YOUR shop. Awesome!
That last point makes me think cutting off Egypt’s aid would piss off a number of American defense contractors. This deal moves way beyond corporate welfare.
You probably figured out by now that I’m not so certain the US will cut Egypt’s aid – at least not without the US compensating the defense companies that benefit from the arrangement.
But…politics are involved and America, or perhaps simply Conservatives, will demand that President Obama do something. Since American taxpayers will be left holding the bill should the US cancel the aid—oh, no one’s mentioned that part—the Party of No Brains can lay a convenient political booby trap for Obama should the President decide to cut aid to Egypt.
And of course there’s President Obama’s credibility with the Middle East, already damaged by how quickly he seemed to give up longtime US ally Hosni Mubarak to the Arab Spring, and giving many Arabs a sense that the US doesn’t believe in long-term meaningful relationships. Imagine how much lower America will rate on the trust scale if it treats Egypt like a stranger these days.
Another instance where America’s attempt at playing chess results in being caught between the devil and the deep blue sea…
song currently stuck in my head: “i fall in love too easily” – miles davis quintet
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