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TODAY'S QUESTION: Should the U.S. cut aid to Egypt?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011 | 2:56 p.m. CST; updated 12:20 p.m. CST, Thursday, February 3, 2011

Protesters have spread across Egypt, demanding that President Hosni Mubarak resign and a more democratic government be established. Egyptian demonstrators are fed up with what they see as an inadequate government that has resulted in widespread poverty and unemployment.

The protests came two weeks after protesters in Tunisia forced out their own president.

Mubarak, who has been in power for 30 years, has fired his Cabinet but refused to step down himself. For the first time ever in his rule, he announced a vice president,  former intelligence chief Omar Suleiman. Mubarak addressed the nation on television and promised social reforms, as well as vowing that he wouldn't run again for re-election.

Protests against his rule have occurred worldwide, including countries in Europe and states in the U.S.

Chaos has erupted in Egypt with looting and little law enforcement to prevent it. The ruling party’s headquarters were sacked and burned. The government ordered Internet and cell phone service in Cairo and other areas to be blocked, as protesters have been using both to organize.

On Tuesday, President Barack Obama said that transition in Egypt must happen immediately. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the Obama administration is reassessing its $1.5 billion aid to Egypt.

Should the U.S. support Mubarak or back the protesters? Should it cut aid to Egypt?


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Comments

frank christian February 3, 2011 | 11:09 a.m.

Not now. Carter started the 2B$ annual aid package which turned Egypt from Soviet U. to Western Allies and normalized
Egypt/Israel relations "permanently", so far. If new government changes the gains from those accords,it should be cut off our enormous list of "aid" recipients, immediately.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams February 3, 2011 | 11:54 a.m.

Heck, I can't think of many (any?) foreign aid dollars I support.

(Report Comment)
Christopher Foote February 3, 2011 | 12:46 p.m.

@Frank,

The aid is actually a form of corporate welfare for the military industrial complex. Egypt under Mubarak has received approximately $60 billion, of that $34 billion has come in the form of grants that Congress requires Egypt to spend on American military hardware, according to statistics from the Congressional Research Service. From here: http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articl...
Moreover, that money is spent on strengthening Egypt's military, which has a rather poor historical record of supporting democratic advances. (Mubarak was a commander in the air force, before becoming vice president under Sadat). Propping up less than democratic regimes does not make the U.S. more secure, nor does it ensure us a steady supply of oil. Egyptian public opinion of the U.S. is quite low, not in spite of but in part due to our support of Mubarak. See pictures of tear gas containers used to suppress demonstrators with labels Made in USA:
http://yfrog.com/h7a0dvj
If we are going to send aid to foreign countries, I think it should be limited to humanitarian goods that benefit the people and not weapons to further entrench the ruling elite, which in this case is the Egyptian military.

(Report Comment)
frank christian February 4, 2011 | 8:47 a.m.

.C Foote - The 2.3B$ annual bribe, from J Carter to Anwar Sadat of Egypt (3B$ to Israel) was to keep Egypt on the side of Israel. Of course much money has gone for military equipment, to keep the "dogs" of the surrounding countries off of both countries. It has worked for many years except Sadat was murdered and Palestinians have not been able to resist firing their makeshift missiles at the Jews.

If you are who we think you are, we know that your ideology prevents use of any military, even for defense. The Egyptian Army is most respected entity of the Egyptian people in today's unrest. We are hoping for a new Democratic Gov't out of this, and would ask if you thought this and Tunisian uprising could have happened before W. Bush changed Iraq? Will your screams be recorded here?

(Report Comment)
John Schultz February 4, 2011 | 10:02 a.m.

Really Frank, trying to tie Egypy and Tunisia with the misbegotten "nation building" and invasion of Iraq? Wow.

(Report Comment)
Christopher Foote February 4, 2011 | 10:09 a.m.

@Frank,
Lol, that response belong's on one of Glenn Beck's chalkboards!
Egypt's immediate neighbors are Libya to the west, Sudan to the south and Isreal, Jordan and Saudi Arabia to the east. Perhaps you could clarify this statement: "Of course much money has gone for military equipment, to keep the "dogs" of the surrounding countries off of both countries." Specifically, if over the past 30 years we have armed Egypt to protect it from external attack, what country is the aggressor (that is who are we protecting Eqypt from, who are the "dogs")?

(Report Comment)
hank ottinger February 4, 2011 | 10:18 a.m.

Mr. Christian confuses the Iraq debacle (that devastated a country's infrastructure and killed tens of thousands of innocent civilians) with the ongoing, mostly peaceful revolutions evolving in Egypt, Tunesia, Jordan, and possibly Yemen. In the first instance, change was imposed from without--by foreigners (that's us); in the second instance(s), change is emerging from within, coming from far more legitimate agents who, I daresay, are in no way motivated by George W. Bush's--or Obama's for that matter--foreign policies.

(Report Comment)
frank christian February 4, 2011 | 10:46 a.m.

John, what or whom do you "tie" them to? Just one of those things?

C. Foote - Remember the "6 Day War"? Egypt, Syria, Jordan attacked Israel. Any and everyone of the other Arab gov'ts, save maybe Saudi A. would quickly attack both countries if not for Carters "deal" and our presence there, which precludes the idea of any success. They are the "dogs" I refer to. You got a problem with that?

King of Jordan has fired his Cabinet for some reason, could it be he is turning toward democracy in some small sense? In my opinion "the times, they are a'changin'" in the middle east, whether you guys believe it or not.

(Report Comment)
frank christian February 4, 2011 | 11:04 a.m.

H. Ottinger - "change is emerging from within, coming from far more legitimate agents who, I daresay, are in no way motivated by George W. Bush's--or Obama's for that matter--foreign policies."

What signals can you point to, showing the people of these countries planned to overturn their gov'ts before the emergence of the democratic gov't in Baghdad? Or is it as John, above seems to think, just coincidental?

(Report Comment)
John Schultz February 4, 2011 | 12:40 p.m.

Frank, I certainly don't tie the citizens of various Arab countries getting their inspiration from what the US did in Iraq, what with the Sunnis in the south left twisting in the wind after Operation Desert Storm and the whispered rumors of support if they revolted against Saddam. Kudos to those seeking a more democratic and free society, but I'm not sure Iraq is the reason.

(Report Comment)
Christopher Foote February 4, 2011 | 1:59 p.m.

@Frank,
Asserting that absent US aid, Jordan and Syria would have attacked Egypt is simply not a credible argument. Syria doesn't border Egypt and would have to mobilize its army across either Isreal or Jordan. Jordan itself does not share a land border with Egypt, though they are separated by a small body of water, the Gulf of Aqaba. Attacking Egypt at this locale is logistically problematic. Moreover, what reason would Syria and Jordan have to attack Egypt? It would not advance their economic interests.

(Report Comment)
hank ottinger February 4, 2011 | 2:40 p.m.

Frank writes, "What signals can you point to, showing the people of these countries planned to overturn their gov'ts before the emergence of the democratic gov't in Baghdad? Or is it as John, above seems to think, just coincidental?"

Frankly, I don't think there's a cause and effect relationship here. Had we not attacked Iraq, change would have come there, perhaps even sooner than it already has. And don't kid yourself into thinking that "democracy" is flourishing in Iraq. The old factions--and a lot of new ones--still exit. In fact, it's been reported today that protests are planned in Iraq, similar to the ones in Egypt, et.al.

More potent causes for these events reside in frustration among the young (over half the population of Egypt is under 18), lack of meaningful jobs, steeply rising costs for food, and so on. I wouldn't discount Facebook in all of this either, as well as cell-phone communications (Twitter). No wonder it was one of the first things Mubarak went after. These innovations allowed for a catalyzing effect among disaffected parties.

(Report Comment)
frank christian February 4, 2011 | 3:51 p.m.

crisf. You certainly write like the other user. "Syria doesn't border Egypt and would have to mobilize its army across either Isreal or Jordan." Why dance around Israel? The Arab gov'ts of Middle East all want the Jews eliminated and have used far worse terms to express their hatred. I detest J. Carter (Believe Hank praised him as our only forward thinking President?), but if you think his deal with Sadat only "that $34 billion has come in the form of grants that Congress requires Egypt to spend on American military hardware",has had no other effect on peace in ME you are still on the other planet where we last heard from you. No more geography lessons please.

(Report Comment)
frank christian February 4, 2011 | 4:12 p.m.

Hank - "Frank writes, "What signals can you point to" You give me,"Had we not attacked Iraq, change would have come there, perhaps even sooner than it already has." Saddam and sons, branded their women,cut out tongues,whipped and otherwise tortured anyone they disagreed with. How on earth can you assert that "change" would be coming, there?

The Iranians tried to get fair elections, 2009. All they got was killings, 72, arrests over 100, and 5 executions with at least 25 more expected. I agree, Bush was not responsible for that.

It appears to me all these comments can be attributed to the basic opposition to W. Bush and Republicans.

(Report Comment)
hank ottinger February 4, 2011 | 6:09 p.m.

Frank writes, "It appears to me all these comments can be attributed to the basic opposition to W. Bush and Republicans."

That's really pretty naive and desperate: the situations in these countries are far more complicated and worthy of analysis and discussion, not broadbrush dismissal. Bush and Co. are essentially irrelevant to what's transpiring, aside from the fact that much of what they and his predecessors did (supporting increasingly unpopular strongmen like Mubarak) may have contributed to anti-American animosities being voiced by many protesters, some of whom have been clunked in the head with teargas canisters marked "USA."

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle February 4, 2011 | 7:53 p.m.

So, our invasion, massive devastation of infrastructure, subsequent 10-year occupation, and installation of a new "democratic" puppet regime in Iraq, is why there is an uprising against other US puppet regimes in the Middle East? That makes perfect sense. Somehow.

Seriously... where do you get this stuff, Frank?

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle February 4, 2011 | 8:25 p.m.

Here's a plank from Tunisia's revolutionary coalition: "Provide jobs, health care, civil and social rights for all."

Such scandalous socialistic demands! Take them off the foreign aid list immediately. This kind of democracy is not what we invaded Iraq for.

(Report Comment)
frank christian February 4, 2011 | 9:58 p.m.

boys, boys - hank first."more complicated and worthy of analysis and discussion, not broadbrush dismissal. Bush and Co. are essentially irrelevant to what's transpiring, aside from the fact that much of what they and his predecessors did". Gosh! you wrote broad brush dismissal and Bush and Co. are irrelevant in two sentences? How broad brush do you require?

I read your first reference to the tear gas. Are these points going around for your publicists? My best answer to may be Fox news Greta V who just interviewed three anti-gov't protesters, from Cairo. They stated they just want their gov't changed. They have been out of the political process for so long that they don't know who would be best to replace the President. They feel the newly appointed VP would be OK for interim gov't til they can choose. No hatred of U.S., want only to be independent and allowed to solve their own problems. This was talked about in regard to U.S. involvement. They expect U.S. to stand aside for them and believe the Obama admin. was caught by surprise by their actions, so don't much care what he thinks or says about their situation. Only want us to watch and wait. Be glad to discuss further, when you get your opposing view.

(Report Comment)
frank christian February 4, 2011 | 10:08 p.m.

Derrick - I know you intend to provide serious input, but try not to relate everything and everyone to the glory's of socialism. Frankly, it is boring.

(Report Comment)
hank ottinger February 5, 2011 | 12:38 p.m.

Frank writes, "My best answer to may be Fox news Greta V who just interviewed three anti-gov't protesters, from Cairo. They stated they just want their gov't changed. "

Really, your "best source" is Greta Van Sustern, a Fox employee who interviews three (!) protesters? Hardly a sampling of the tens of thousands in the streets. The anti-Americanism -- and of course, not everyone is burning the Stars and Stripes--emerges from the long-standing US support of Mubarak's thuggery.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle February 5, 2011 | 1:15 p.m.

@Frank: "...glory's of socialism." Weak.

(Report Comment)
frank christian February 5, 2011 | 3:37 p.m.

hank - I knew you would decry the use of Fox News, why I used it. I probably should have written "fastest answer", but I know it doesn't matter because I wrote the F-- words. Fox News.

I think it is up to you to show us the anti-Americanism in Cairo, beyond of course,your claim that someone got hit in the head with a canister made in USA.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire February 5, 2011 | 4:12 p.m.

You obviously Forget your F word disciples then...
http://www.therightscoop.com/rush-why-is...

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle February 5, 2011 | 7:42 p.m.

One sentiment regarding the Egyptian unrest that comes from private sources overseas is: Government Corruption. Egypt might have very low official corporate taxes, but sources there say that to do *anything* requires all sorts of payoffs and bribes all the way up and down the line. The total financial drain on a business that is not otherwise 'connected' is probably well above the tax rates paid in the US.

It puts an interesting spin on the US model; the defacto legitimization and 'leveling of the playing field' via set government taxes and regulations, rather than semi-randomized corruption and payoff costs. The equivalent US mechanism of lobbying, and subsequent legislation that favors certain businesses, seems awfully complicated in comparison. In the end, it's probably no more fair, and far less efficient, than a simple straightforward total corruption / bribery model.

I can understand why some people advocate for getting rid of 'big government' and reverting back to a less regulated model of free-flow corruption. It's a nod to simple realism.

The sad part is, there is no model of governance that does not evolve, or devolve, into some form of payment-for-favoritism model.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle February 5, 2011 | 7:47 p.m.

Now, Frank, time for you to pony up with 4 or more sources backing up the claim that Tunisian and Egyptian unrest are driven by some vision of the democratic government the US Military is trying to establish in Iraq. Go!

(Report Comment)
frank christian February 5, 2011 | 11:28 p.m.

This evening, I had an unpleasant experience with my car and the snow, overcame that, but got home and found wifey had somehow screwed up the tv. Straightened that out, enjoyed the balance of the evening, then a quick check of the computer, gives me you.

Quite quickly, your post seems the typical liberal study of any problem, whether it concerns people or pigs. You compare one model to another and the one which suits is the one you choose, or if none fit, then none.

I don't believe I ever mentioned that unrest anywhere "are driven by some vision of the democratic government the US Military is trying to establish in Iraq." My contention is and has been that events in Iraq have given people all over that area and elsewhere the realization that they too can be free. In the pending cases, we do not know what kind of gov't will emerge. If another gov't inserts itself into the decision it will be Iran not US. Wasn't B. Franklin, the one coming out of the convention, when asked, what have you given us? Said, a Republic, if you can keep it! Presently, G. Soros and Co. are trying to take ours. Those people will always have someone after their freedom as well.

btw, Why am I mandated with 4. You gave me nothing, except your "models".

(Report Comment)
frank christian February 6, 2011 | 4:35 p.m.

Derrick - I put this under H. Ottinger's comment on the 4th:
Hank - Thanks for the NYT link. I noted this question answered by the NYT Baghdad Bureau Chief:

Liberty for All from Austin, Tex., asks: Do you see the uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East (Tunisia, Lebanon, Egypt, Yemen) as having an effect on Iraqi stability and the political machinations there?
A.

Arguably, *Iraqis now have the kind of political freedom that protesters in Tunisia and Egypt have poured into the streets to demand.* They can -and- did vote for their representatives in truly competitive elections on the provincial and national level. Despite continued violence and hardship, they live, work and speak in ways that would have been unimaginable under Saddam Hussein’s rule. I've got more but believe this should suffice.

(Report Comment)
frank christian February 6, 2011 | 4:37 p.m.

Derrick - I put this under H. Ottinger's comment on the 4th:
Hank - Thanks for the NYT link. I noted this question answered by the NYT Baghdad Bureau Chief:

"Liberty for All from Austin, Tex., asks: Do you see the uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East (Tunisia, Lebanon, Egypt, Yemen) as having an effect on Iraqi stability and the political machinations there?
A.

Arguably, *Iraqis now have the kind of political freedom that protesters in Tunisia and Egypt have poured into the streets to demand.* They can -and- did vote for their representatives in truly competitive elections on the provincial and national level. Despite continued violence and hardship, they live, work and speak in ways that would have been unimaginable under Saddam Hussein’s rule." I've got more but believe this should suffice.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle February 6, 2011 | 9:00 p.m.

Why 4? Because Paul ponied up 4 backing the assertion that Egyptians want revolution to minimize US involvement, not because they are smitten by what has happened in Iraq.

You've provided one counter source so far: a US newspaper employee who covers Iraq, and makes the connection between the government the US Military invasion and occupation has established, and the uprising in Tunisia and Egypt, the same way you do: with unsubstantiated innuendo. Like this: "Since there's some evidence of fragile democracy in Iraq, the citizens of these other countries must be doing what they are doing because they want the same thing they see Iraq as having."

We're all asking you: Where's the evidence?

You claim "I don't believe I ever mentioned that unrest anywhere "are driven by some vision of the democratic government the US Military is trying to establish in Iraq." My contention is and has been that events in Iraq have given people all over that area and elsewhere the realization that they too can be free."

Quote 1: "We are hoping for a new Democratic Gov't out of this, and would ask if you thought this and Tunisian uprising could have happened before W. Bush changed Iraq?"

Quote 2: "What signals can you point to, showing the people of these countries planned to overturn their gov'ts before the emergence of the democratic gov't in Baghdad? Or is it as John, above seems to think, just coincidental?"

Yes, you're right. Sorry I did not properly phrase what you said as simply an assumption of correlation.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle February 6, 2011 | 10:25 p.m.

Frank has done an excellent job of explaining the what, when, where, how, and why of our past support of Mubarak and, by inference, the entire military-based US foreign policy of Middle-East whack-a-mole. Failures of this policy have been pointed out as well.

In nearly the same breath, he asserts that one specific outcome of this military-based US foreign policy - the apparent democratization of Iraq - is the seed that has caused citizens of other Middle Eastern nations to rise up and clamor for greater democracy.

Considering the well-documented anti-US sentiment among the citizens of Egypt, there's little doubt that US foreign policy plays a role in Egypt's civil unrest. But it's VERY unlikely that what democracy that currently exists in Iraq due to US military invasion and occupation is the key ingredient of US foreign policy that has sparked the uprising.

It's far more likely that the same force that is destroying the US economy - globalization - is also destroying the previously US-backed government in Egypt. Citizens there have most certainly been exposed to democracy, and are clamoring for it in their own country, but it's more likely that the internet has exposed them to the whole of democracy around the globe, including many socialist democracies.

To believe that the democracy militarily imposed on Iraq by a country many citizens of Egypt despise is what set off Tunisian and Egyptian protests, is just more of the mental compartmentalization I've talked about before.

Wallz in hiz brainz - Frank haz em!

(Report Comment)
frank christian February 7, 2011 | 10:29 a.m.

D Fogle - You are unbelievable! I had an idea you would not accept the truth, but none that you would continue to try to twist it toward your ill-conceived opinion(allusion?) I read the links about the anti-American sentiment in ME, did you? I will not refer to them again in a discussion about democracy in Iraq. I am reading your unrealistic words and wish you could produce some facts of your own. Just for kicks,the Journal Editorial Report had Fouad Ajami, Hoover Institute, Johns Hopkins U. said "What happened in Iraq in 2003 is definitely a factor in happenings today in the Arab world." Christiane Amanpour ended her round table with regard to the civil unrest for gov't change, repressive gov'ts in ME, repressive gov'ts "know it has started". You will of course shrug these off because they fly in the face of the voices you seem to hear in your head.

(Report Comment)
frank christian February 7, 2011 | 10:56 a.m.

DF - "To believe that the democracy militarily imposed on Iraq by a country many citizens of Egypt despise is what set off Tunisian and Egyptian protests, is just more of the mental compartmentalization I've talked about before."

I believe this is probably the most nonsensical, uninformed statement anyone has written on U.S. and ME. You are, of course, merely attempting the spread of the progressive point of view that America must be blamed in every case whether any fact supports or not. Because of this effort, you will note even the NYT questioner of the Bureau Chief (a newspaper employee, for this discussion) could not connect democracy in Iraq as the cause of actions else where. The Chief straightened him out with the truth, but did not leave a mark on the table of hatred you and yours bear for Bush and anyone opposing progressive liberalism. I hope this the case. If not, you display your complete ignorance of the feelings, wants, and needs of the masses of human beings you claim to want to protect and provide for.

(Report Comment)

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