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[P]
Reconsidering Egyptian Foreign Aid

By qslack in Op-Ed
Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 04:15:35 AM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

On August 15, George W. Bush announced that the United States will withhold further aid to Egypt in protest of the imprisonment of Saad Eddin Ibrahim, a human rights activist with citizenship in both countries. The US claims that Ibrahim is being held because of his political views, but Egypt denies those accusations.

Shortly after the American government made the announcement, the Egyptian press made their opinions very clear.


Whether they were comparing Rumsfeld to Hitler or condemning the American infidels, Egyptian newspapers printed Anti-American letters almost as fast as they poured in.

  1. The American administration's statement was completely lacking in good manners and was uncivilized...America is proving it does not want friends but agents, which is unacceptable to [Egypt]. The great Egypt did not ask for this aid. It was America that declared . . . [that it would] give economic aid . . . to Egypt.
  2. America is completely mistaken if it thinks it can protect its interests by applying pressure, arm-twisting, hinting at imposing sanctions, or implementing material and moral terrorism. Does Washington realize that international law states that a country has sovereignty over what takes place under its skies?
  3. Play [your games] far away from Egypt. Egypt is something else, something you do not know and [you] are incapable of withstanding the ramifications of this dangerous game with it.
  4. The country [the U.S.] founded by the deported and criminals of Europe on the blood and flesh of an entire people [i.e. Native Americans] looks like someone who has adapted herself to her history [i.e. becoming criminal again]...Egypt is much too great to descend to the base and inferior American level - even at the price of the humiliating American aid...Let America go to hell together with its aid.

(Letters source)

These letters are representative the popular anti-American sentiment in Egypt. If these are the opinions of a typical Egyptian, why are we giving them aid?

I suggest that the reason we send aid to Egypt is to stabilize its government. It is much cheaper to send our current $2 billion in aid and stop rogue revolutionists in their tracks than to send in our military 5 years later, which would be the only option to keep the region's conflicts from escalating.

Essentially, the citizens of Egypt are committing extortion. We give economic and military aid to them, but the second we stop, they hold mass protests. If the citizens of Egypt are against us, we have virtually no widespread support in the region. Of course, the only way to keep the Egyptians content with our Middle Eastern policy is to continue our foreign aid to their country. Can our aid to Egypt be considered anything else than extortion?

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Poll
US foreign aid to Egypt is...
o Good 11%
o Bad 30%
o Extortion 11%
o To be expected from civilized nations 17%
o Don't know 30%

Votes: 63
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o announced
o (Letters source)
o popular anti-American sentiment
o Also by qslack


Display: Sort:
Reconsidering Egyptian Foreign Aid | 83 comments (74 topical, 9 editorial, 0 hidden)
OTOH (4.54 / 11) (#3)
by hettb on Sat Aug 24, 2002 at 02:15:06 PM EST

Essentially, the citizens of Egypt are committing extortion.

you could also say the citizens of the USA are committing bribery; it's in their best interest to keep the Egyptians happy so they won't overthrow a stable, pro-American government in the Mideast.

I think the US is doing the right thing (4.70 / 10) (#8)
by leviramsey on Sat Aug 24, 2002 at 02:49:12 PM EST

For too many years, the US has been willing to forgive Mubarak, the Saudis, and so forth for human rights abuses and being anti-democratic. The ultimate reason is US fear of a radical Islamist coup (oil may play a larger role, especially with the Saudis, but not with the Egyptians), another Iran.

Unfortunately, this sanctioning of repression of radical Islamists is backfiring. All it does is make them into even greater outsiders, and allows them even more demagoguery.

The US should, imho, work to create two functioning capitalist, democratic, pluralistic republics in the region. Egypt is a natural choice, being, historically, a major center of the Arab and Muslim world. Iran is another good choice, especially considering the people's view of the Islamists (after all, 20 years of Islamist rule haven't exactly done wonders economically). I say it's a better option to let the Islamists into government because they then become insiders and lose their ability to ride in on the white horse, proclaiming that they will solve the problems of the people.



All this is over the professor (4.75 / 4) (#12)
by qslack on Sat Aug 24, 2002 at 03:52:34 PM EST

All of this ruckus is over the professor who was imprisoned for his human rights work (Egypt says that he committed other crimes, though). You are completely right that we have feared a radical Islamic coup, but apparently we don't anymore.

We are not forgiving Mubarak this time for the imprisonment of the professor. Does this signify a radical change from our usual policy to ignore human rights violations? Or is there more about this that both governments are hiding?

I really think that this issue is a perfect example of how unstable the Middle East really is. One small event (the imprisonment) set off another (our withdrawal of foreign aid) and that, in turn, led to increasing anti-US sentiment. How will the region handle a much bigger problem, like the assassination of Arafat or the toppling of Saddam?

[ Parent ]
Why should USA do anything? (3.57 / 7) (#26)
by svampa on Sat Aug 24, 2002 at 07:07:38 PM EST

The US should, imho, work to create two functioning capitalist, democratic, pluralistic republics in the region.

Who has grant USA the right to play with other countries governments?



[ Parent ]
To be completely honest, nobody (4.00 / 3) (#27)
by leviramsey on Sat Aug 24, 2002 at 07:29:51 PM EST

However, since the current regime is in power only by the grace of the US, that somewhat obligates the US to try to get a better regime.

I'm generally opposed to nation building and meddling in foreign affairs. However, the US has already placed itself in that position for the better part of the past 60 years. The best of all possible worlds is to finish the job, imho.



[ Parent ]
retreat (3.66 / 6) (#29)
by svampa on Sat Aug 24, 2002 at 07:48:13 PM EST

However, since the current regime is in power only by the grace of the US, that somewhat obligates the US to try to get a better regime.

It's time to retire and let them decide what they are going to do. A democracy, a theocracy or what ever they go.

The best of all possible worlds is to finish the job, imho.

Nobody agrees how should be the best of the worlds. The best option is to retire and let them build their own society. You can try to build in your own country the best of the societies for your taste.



[ Parent ]
Yes, and once a pluralistic democracy is in place (4.00 / 2) (#30)
by leviramsey on Sat Aug 24, 2002 at 07:51:54 PM EST

It's not difficult to go from there to a theocracy or monarchy.



[ Parent ]
But the reverse (3.50 / 2) (#39)
by DAldredge on Sat Aug 24, 2002 at 10:58:29 PM EST

But going in the reverse direction is a lot harder...

The word is American, not USian.
American \A*mer"i*can\, n. A native of America; -- originally applied to the aboriginal inhabitants, but now applied to the descendants of Europeans born in America, and especially to the citizens of the US
[ Parent ]
Quite a radical conclusion. (3.00 / 7) (#13)
by ti dave on Sat Aug 24, 2002 at 04:15:31 PM EST

I suggest that the reason we send aid to Egypt is to stabilize its government.

And in other news; The Sun is a ball of incandescent gas.
I'm afraid this story will simply degenerate into another I/P flame-fest. -1

"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

There is nothing wrong (2.33 / 3) (#20)
by hettb on Sat Aug 24, 2002 at 05:53:00 PM EST

with a good flame war.

[ Parent ]
Egypt & Aid (4.80 / 10) (#14)
by emad on Sat Aug 24, 2002 at 04:46:32 PM EST

I only wonder why this hasn't been done sooner.
The US should choose to award and withdraw foreign aide in a manner consistent with each nation's human rights records. Of course, this shouldn't be done as an all or nothing thing. Instead, aid should be given in view of each nation's current record and commusurate to whatever steps the nation is taking to improve their record.  

As it currently stands, many Egyptians see the money the US gives Egypt as a means to prop up Egypt's authoritarian government.  When a country like Egypt (and many others in the middle east such as Syria, Jordan, and Israel) performs henious crimes like arbitrary killings, disappearances, torture, and at times forgoes fair and public trials, the last thing the US government should be doing is rewarding the country with more money to spend on death squads and secret police.

If I was a victim of these actions by my own country, I'd hate my country and I'd have a healthy dislike for whatever countries supported my country.  

Another thing:
Unfortunately, as it stands, we reward countries that we consider our "friends" by ignoring their human rights violations and lack of proper Democractic procedure (Saudi Arabia & Egypt, in some cases providing monetary and military assistance, while the countries that we don't like we threaten with Democracy (Iraq).  The US should make a greater effort to instill an atmosphere of Democratization in countries it considers friends. And for you republicans, this doesnt have to require bombings and sanctions. :P

Have you ever played civilization ? (3.83 / 6) (#28)
by svampa on Sat Aug 24, 2002 at 07:30:42 PM EST

USA is looking for natural resources, market expansion, and millitary strategy, that's the only agenda. Human rights have nothing to do with this.

Probably it's better to make treats with a dictatorship than with a democratic country. When there is a conflict between USA and the "friend country" interests, a dictator can be easier bribed than an elected president.

Human rights violations commited by "friend countries" are only a problem PR.



[ Parent ]
yes (3.33 / 3) (#31)
by emad on Sat Aug 24, 2002 at 07:52:46 PM EST

yeah, I agree that the US is currently not motivated by any desire for human rights. I was just suggesting what I think would be ideal.

[ Parent ]
Why? (4.50 / 2) (#57)
by Cant Say on Sun Aug 25, 2002 at 07:11:47 PM EST

Why is it necessairly better to be motivated by human rights than by survival?

"A quiet milquetoast who wears cardigan sweaters and enjoys billiard matches while sipping single-malt whiskey." --kitten
[ Parent ]
Isnt that the claim? (4.75 / 4) (#58)
by emad on Sun Aug 25, 2002 at 07:42:18 PM EST

Isn't the US always claiming how they are they are supporters of Democracy and Human Rights?

If the US claims it acts of out "survival", then what was all the crap about "they hate us because of our freedoms",  shouldn't they be sayings "they hate us because of our selfish acts that are detrimental to their society" ?

[ Parent ]

It's not about survival of America (none / 0) (#65)
by greenrd on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 07:37:06 AM EST

Why is it necessairly better to be motivated by human rights than by survival?

It's not about the survival of America. That's hyperbole. The US is called "the world's only superpower" for a reason.

US foreign policy operates under a general policy of neo-colonialism: "You can have 'independent' governments - as long as you don't disagree with us too strongly on matters of substance. If you do, you can expect suspension of further aid/loans, a bombing campaign (Yugoslavia), or US state terrorism (Nicaragua), for example."

It's about "making the world safer for international capital", so to speak - not so much making the world safer for ordinary Americans. If it was, the US wouldn't pursue policies and support Sharonist policies that are virtually guaranteed to create more terrorists.


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

It *is* the matter of survival. (none / 0) (#77)
by aralin on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 12:34:44 AM EST

I don't remember a 'superpower' in last 1500 years of history since the fall of Roman Empire and migration of nations, that ever lasted at the top spot longer than a century. Arabs, Persians, Mongols, Vikings, Spanish, French, Biritsh, Germans, they all had their tops and they never lasted for long. USA is at the top for merely last 50 years, if I am generous. And they already show the sign of downfall. USA is beyond its peak now and anyone with a little perspective can see that. So who's next? Anybody volunteers?

[ Parent ]
The answer is obvious (5.00 / 1) (#78)
by fatbobsmith on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 12:51:26 AM EST

Microsoft

[ Parent ]
Long-term predictions (none / 0) (#80)
by greenrd on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 02:01:06 PM EST

The only prediction I'm going to make about 2052 is that it'll be different to what any now predicts predicting.

The other empire's of the past aren't really comparable to the US, I don't think. But more importantly, we're looking at "mature" molecular nanotech much sooner than 50 years, and severe disruptions due to global warming, according to some scientists, and that makes some things very hard to predict.


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

Blar (none / 0) (#81)
by greenrd on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 02:02:36 PM EST

That should of course read "different to what anyone is predicting now".


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

I hate my country (2.00 / 1) (#59)
by ranchdudes on Sun Aug 25, 2002 at 08:22:43 PM EST

I was a victim, and I hate my country. Well, I wasn't much of a victim, unlike others, and I don't hate it that much. However, I have left and now live in the US, in a city with hundreds of thousands of my compatriots. I see similar feelings in my friends that have stayed home. They are bitter to be in a shitty country, they wish they were elsewhere, they wish they had a (good) job. The resentment moves to encompass all countries that are rich and powerful, but which would not take them in. They don't like the US much, although they have never been and speak fondly of their cousins here. They fear and hate what they don't know.

rd

[ Parent ]

anti-american sentiment (2.22 / 9) (#15)
by minus273 on Sat Aug 24, 2002 at 04:56:06 PM EST

is over used.
just assume that if a person comes from outside they hate the US
plain and simple
no joke. I AM NOT AN AMERICAN
i know this from experice and my travles through asia and europe.

haha (3.20 / 5) (#16)
by Delirium on Sat Aug 24, 2002 at 05:05:11 PM EST

It would seem the author of letter #4 is confusing Australia and the United States.

And people say that Americans are ignorant about the rest of the world...

Not necessarily. (4.75 / 4) (#17)
by qpt on Sat Aug 24, 2002 at 05:07:49 PM EST

Georgia began as a prison colony, at least.

Domine Deus, creator coeli et terrae respice humilitatem nostram.
[ Parent ]

haha, haha (4.40 / 5) (#24)
by Pac on Sat Aug 24, 2002 at 06:08:19 PM EST

It would seem the author of comment #16 should learn a little more about the history of his country.

Try
The Complete Book of Emigrants in Bondage, 1614-1775
or Emigrants in Chains A Social History of Forced Emigration to the Americas of Felons, Destitute Children, Political and Religious Non-Conformists, Vagabonds, Beggars and Other Undesirables, 1607-1776.

Knowledge is a deadly friend when no one sets the rules.
The fate of all mankind I see is in the hands of fools.
Confusion will be my epitaph[ Parent ]

What are these people having in common? (4.33 / 6) (#18)
by bayankaran on Sat Aug 24, 2002 at 05:34:56 PM EST

Mobutu Sese Seko
Jorge Rafael Videla and Roberto Viola from Argentina
Hosni Mubarak
Saddam Hussain during the Iran Iraq war.
Islamic radicals fighting Soviets who later became the Taleban
Zia Ul Haq -ex military leader of Pakistan
Pervez Musharaff - current military leader of Pakistan
King Al-Fahd (he is too old, so country run by his relatives.)

...and many many others. I am too bored to make a complete list and surprised that such a list cannot be even made for the Soviets.

Democracy, fifth amendment, fourth amendment, land of free etc. are inside the borders. Outside it is who gives me the oil, who blows me etc. etc.

the US supported everyone anti-Communist (4.14 / 7) (#23)
by Delirium on Sat Aug 24, 2002 at 06:04:36 PM EST

Both those later deemed to be "good" and those now considered "bad". This is no secret.

You could add "all the Post-WW2 Chancellors of Germany" and "all the Post-WW2 Prime Ministers of the U.K." and quite a few others to your list of leaders the U.S. supported during the cold war.

[ Parent ]

USA suported any government good for USA (4.20 / 5) (#32)
by svampa on Sat Aug 24, 2002 at 08:14:08 PM EST

Argentina, Chile, Nicaragua, guatemala etc. Weren't comunist, but their elected governments weren't good for USA companies.

Anti-comunism has been an excuse most of times. Read this comment about Guatemala released by CIA



[ Parent ]
well yes (3.75 / 4) (#41)
by Delirium on Sat Aug 24, 2002 at 11:37:23 PM EST

The U.S. often has its strategic and commercial interests in mind in these sorts of things. I just wonder why whenever people list countries that the U.S. has supported, they always list things like Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia, and never take the time to list Germany, France, the U.K., Belgium, Greece, etc.

[ Parent ]
facts don't jive (4.00 / 4) (#43)
by influx on Sun Aug 25, 2002 at 12:23:30 AM EST

There are many people on this site who would rather not let facts get in their way of bashing America.

---
The more you know, the less you understand.
[ Parent ]
That would be a valid (none / 0) (#66)
by greenrd on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 07:54:57 AM EST

That would be a valid point, if anyone was actually claiming that the US only aids dictators, human rights abusers etc. But I don't see anyone claiming that. Those facts don't detract from our case, they just don't add to it, so it's rather pointless and cognitively dissonant to mention them in the same breath.

In the same way, someone who (rightly) wanted to show how nasty Saddam Hussein was, would not use the example of Iraq's generous national health service before the Gulf War. I ask you this: If someone was to exclude this example of Saddam's "good governance" in making a case against Saddam, would that mean they would "rather not let facts get in their way of bashing Saddam?"


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

Americans troops still in many on those countries (5.00 / 3) (#55)
by Ken Pompadour on Sun Aug 25, 2002 at 06:04:29 PM EST



...The target is countrymen, friends and family... they have to die too. - candid trhurler
[ Parent ]
Good, the bad and the ugly... (5.00 / 3) (#50)
by bayankaran on Sun Aug 25, 2002 at 11:23:19 AM EST

Both those later deemed to be "good" and those now considered "bad".

Those later deemed good were known to be good even then. Those later deemed bad were known to be bad (or in popular terms 'evil') then when they were in the helm of affairs.

And in the process, millions of innocents went through untold misery.

Why? According to you, it took 20 or 25 years to understand these were bad people.

Isnt it ugly?

[ Parent ]
Aid to Egypt (3.33 / 12) (#19)
by wji on Sat Aug 24, 2002 at 05:40:55 PM EST

This is hardly a secret. Aid to Egypt is to keep them from confrontation with Israel. Your use of "extortion" to signify the idea that Egyptians might be people with opinions is insulting. Not to mention your use of the propaganda construction of "anti-Americanism" to label all disagreement with Uncle Sam as some kind of disease.

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
Suggest a better term than anti-Americanism? nt (3.00 / 1) (#21)
by qslack on Sat Aug 24, 2002 at 05:54:35 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Sanity [nt] (3.00 / 7) (#34)
by wji on Sat Aug 24, 2002 at 09:21:42 PM EST



In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
[ Parent ]
Well, I hate to say it... (3.92 / 13) (#22)
by kaemaril on Sat Aug 24, 2002 at 05:57:03 PM EST

On August 15, George W. Bush announced that the United States will withhold further aid to Egypt in protest of the imprisonment of Saad Eddin Ibrahim

Can Dubya spell the word "hypocrisy"? I mean, really, come on guys. Damn shame nobody can withhold further aid to the US in protest of the imprisonment of an unspecified number of largely unnamed "material witnesses", eh?


Why, yes, I am being sarcastic. Why do you ask?


Next best thing to cutting off aid (3.80 / 5) (#35)
by J'raxis on Sat Aug 24, 2002 at 10:21:11 PM EST

Foreign countries do send a form of aid to the U.S.: they invest in the U.S. stock market and industries. And, apparently the Saudis have now pulled several billion dollars in investment out of the U.S. in response to the U.S. saying it should invade Saudi Arabia if they don’t cooperate.

— The Raxis

I read about it on ArabNews.com about a week ago but they do not seem to archive old stories.


[ J’raxis·Com | Liberty in your lifetime ]
[ Parent ]

Where would they put the money? (4.00 / 2) (#38)
by DAldredge on Sat Aug 24, 2002 at 10:56:38 PM EST

Where do you suggest the Saudis put their money? They sure as hell are not going to invest it in their own country. I mean, if they did that, there people might have a descent standard of living.
Don't forget, you are talking about a very oil rich country that is currently running a budget deficit. How do you manage to do that with all the money they make from oil?

The word is American, not USian.
American \A*mer"i*can\, n. A native of America; -- originally applied to the aboriginal inhabitants, but now applied to the descendants of Europeans born in America, and especially to the citizens of the US
[ Parent ]
Other articles (4.50 / 2) (#45)
by J'raxis on Sun Aug 25, 2002 at 01:42:20 AM EST

I found their article archives. Saudi Arabia believes it could absorb funds currently invested abroad, but more importantly, the investers are turning to Europe instead of the U.S.

— The Raxis

[ J’raxis·Com | Liberty in your lifetime ]
[ Parent ]

Good... (4.00 / 11) (#25)
by influx on Sat Aug 24, 2002 at 06:27:41 PM EST

The United States should become more focused on its ideals and should foster democracy in that region. I'm tempted to say we should cut some support from NATO as well.

The USA has protected Europe's security interests for over 50 years and the first time we come to them for a little bit of support they balk. It seems that most Europeans want the US to butt out of their affairs, and I'm inclined to agree. Take the money we spend defending Europe and participating in NATO and give all Americans free health care.

---
The more you know, the less you understand.

It works both ways. (4.66 / 3) (#48)
by Tezcatlipoca on Sun Aug 25, 2002 at 08:07:46 AM EST

When Europe hinted it may create (or has it created already?) an European fast response defense force, the US balked at it, reminding its European allies that NATO is already there.

The US can't have it both ways, neither can Europe.
---
"Every duck should aspire to be crispy and aromatic." sleepyhel

[ Parent ]

Egypt and Isreal (3.16 / 6) (#33)
by autopr0n on Sat Aug 24, 2002 at 08:53:36 PM EST

A large part of their aid comes as part of a peice settlement. We are basicaly paying them not to fight.

I find it intresting that the US would withold aid to Egypt over one person, but largly ignore the carnage going on in Isreal. But whatever.


[autopr0n] got pr0n?
autopr0n.com is a categorically searchable database of porn links, updated every day (or so). no popups!
Got Peice? (5.00 / 4) (#49)
by SEWilco on Sun Aug 25, 2002 at 08:43:47 AM EST

Piece, as in "you can have back the piece of the country which you lost in the war which you started"?

Peace, as in "don't start a war"?

Pierce, as in "don't make 007 mess up your military facilities"?

PEICE, as in "Petroleum Institute for Continuing Education"?

Peces, as in "buy fish only in Spain"?

[ Parent ]

Extorting the U.S. (4.11 / 9) (#36)
by J'raxis on Sat Aug 24, 2002 at 10:26:10 PM EST

Uh huh, right, they are extorting the U.S. into giving them aid. And what do you call it if the U.S. refuses aid until all the people fall in line with U.S. ideology?

— The Raxis

[ J’raxis·Com | Liberty in your lifetime ]

Well... (4.33 / 3) (#37)
by DAldredge on Sat Aug 24, 2002 at 10:48:41 PM EST

Well, the money is that of the US (collected from taxpayers) so the US can attach whatever strings it would like to the aid. No one is making Egypt take the money.

The word is American, not USian.
American \A*mer"i*can\, n. A native of America; -- originally applied to the aboriginal inhabitants, but now applied to the descendants of Europeans born in America, and especially to the citizens of the US
[ Parent ]
so, essentially it is a bribe [n/t] (4.50 / 4) (#42)
by 5pectre on Sun Aug 25, 2002 at 12:18:17 AM EST



"Let us kill the English, their concept of individual rights might undermine the power of our beloved tyrants!!" - Lisa Simpson [ -1.50 / -7.74]

[ Parent ]
Humanitarian aid? Or a bribe (4.66 / 3) (#46)
by J'raxis on Sun Aug 25, 2002 at 01:44:40 AM EST

Exactly. If the U.S. wants to attach strings to it, it can’t be called humanitarian aid. It’s nothing more than a bribe.

— The Raxis

[ J’raxis·Com | Liberty in your lifetime ]
[ Parent ]

Uh huh (4.28 / 7) (#47)
by tjb on Sun Aug 25, 2002 at 08:01:00 AM EST

So, if the US hands out free money without paying attention to the actions of a country's leadership, it's "supporting brutal dictators", but if it tells the brutal dictators that they have to quit being such assholes if they want to continue to receive money, then the US is "bribing them" and that's wrong too.

So your position is that the US should simply withdraw all foreign aid?  I mean, I can't seem to find anything else that would make you happy...

Tim

[ Parent ]

WTF? (5.00 / 1) (#64)
by J'raxis on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 02:47:04 AM EST

I don’t remember saying that anywhere. If the U.S. actually sends money or (typically military) aid in an effort to keep a brutal regime in power, that would be supporting brutal dictators. Sending humanitarian aid should, at most, only come with the condition that the money is used for humanitarian purposes (whether or not the people love or hate U.S. policy); it should not be used as a bribe to make the government or the people fall in line with U.S. policy. How is this unclear?

— The Raxis

[ J’raxis·Com | Liberty in your lifetime ]
[ Parent ]

Why? (4.50 / 2) (#68)
by cr8dle2grave on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 01:25:57 PM EST

Why should the US send one dime if it doesn't advance perceived interests?

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Look up ... (5.00 / 1) (#72)
by StrontiumDog on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 02:57:52 PM EST

... the meaning of "humanitarian" in a dictionary some time. Note how "percieved interests" is not one of the phrases used.

Unless you're a Randroid, of course, in which case you believe all altruism is evil, and selfishness the only moral good. In which case, you go, girl!

[ Parent ]

Which... (4.00 / 1) (#73)
by cr8dle2grave on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 03:10:55 PM EST

...only begs the question: why should the US government be compelled to give disinterested humanitarian aid in the first place?

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
WTF? Take 2 (none / 0) (#75)
by J'raxis on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 09:33:00 PM EST

Maybe if the U.S. did something beneficial for the rest of the world, they’d stop hating it? Then the U.S. could probably get what it wants anyway without looking like a bully and blackmailer.

— The Raxis

[ J’raxis·Com | Liberty in your lifetime ]
[ Parent ]

But... (none / 0) (#76)
by cr8dle2grave on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 10:22:08 PM EST

...your response situates us firmly within the logic of self advantage. Disagreement over what is advantageous and how to go about achieving it is fine, but suggesting that a nation state engage in purely altruistic and disinterested action is nonsense -- although, importantly, I don't mean to suggest that disinterested action by an individual is nonsense.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Why? (none / 0) (#83)
by iwnbap on Wed Aug 28, 2002 at 02:12:23 AM EST

"suggesting that a nation state engage in purely altruistic and disinterested action is nonsense"

Why is this so?

[ Parent ]

Always wondered (4.12 / 8) (#40)
by jmzero on Sat Aug 24, 2002 at 11:15:09 PM EST

Play [your games] far away from Egypt. Egypt is something else, something you do not know and [you] are incapable of withstanding the ramifications of this dangerous game with it.

I've read this sort of sentiment in letters and papers from a lot of places.  It seems a lot of people around the world imagine that their country is in some sort of pissing contest with the US.  

Meanwhile, many people in the US have sort of an assumption that they've already won the pissing contest.  In fact, many think the pissing contest ended like 20 years ago - and they don't understand what's going on.  

I think that notion really bruises a lot of egos. Imagine how angry this Egyptian man might be if he had some idea just how little the average American knew about Egypt (where it is, for example) - let alone caring about this situation.

.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife

yes (somewhat off topic) (none / 0) (#82)
by Phantros on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 05:25:43 PM EST

I play/chat on a MUD (Multi User Dungeon, text-based online fantasy game) that is hosted in Finland. A lot of the players are Finns, and at least once a week a political argument comes up between the Finns (and other Europeans) and the Americans.

Every time, certain of the more radical Finns stridently insist that Americans are stupid and think they are better than everyone else, and that Americans want to control the world. Also every time, the Americans point out "we don't think we're better, and we don't want to control your crappy country any more than you want to control ours. Hell, we can't even find your country on a map."

It's rather sad and frustrating. It's also ironic, because while it's hosted in Finland by Finns, the official language is english, and Finnish players will yell at others that use languages other than english.

4Literature - 2,000 books online and Scoop to discuss them with
[ Parent ]

No international aid to Egypt means... (4.14 / 7) (#44)
by gr3y on Sun Aug 25, 2002 at 01:22:19 AM EST

$2 billion saved. That's $2 billion my government can refund to me (on a prorated basis it comes to about $2 - $3). That's great. Know of any other countries that don't want our help? I could use the money.

America offers international aid to help, and offers it under the condition that American interests (stability and peace, for instance, although my government frequently fails to practice discretion and good judgement, and backs the wrong guy) be given some consideration. If Egyptians want "independence", let them have it.

It matters not. I do not care if the current government of Egypt is overthrown, or even if there is a civil war that disrupts all commerce and agriculture. There is enough international commerce in the world that Egyptians should not starve. Therefore, any that starve can be laid directly at the feet of an inept government, and lack of will on the part of its people. And if no country will deal with Egypt, then perhaps they should have been better neighbors. I'm sure the French will be willing to deal with the Egyptians, in any case, if there are any left after the war.

Most assuredly, some of those letters were written by concerned fundamentalist moslem agitators, trying to destabilize the government. Most of them are from ordinary citizens. It sounds like the citizens and terrorists are of like mind. They deserve each other.

If things continue, very soon, no one in Egypt will be allowed to sing (certainly not in public), and television, radio, books, pictures, and any art will be rounded up and destroyed, because such things are anethema to the one "true" god. Egyptian life will be full of prayer (under the muzzle) and quiet reflection, and AK-47 armed "enforcers" of Mohammed's most holy edicts in the streets, just like Afghanistan. Ah, heaven...

If that's what they want, I suggest we do everything in our power to give it to them. And may they choke on it.

I am a disruptive technology.

Hmm. (4.50 / 2) (#51)
by StrontiumDog on Sun Aug 25, 2002 at 11:41:28 AM EST

AK-47 armed "enforcers"

They won't be AK-47s. Maybe M16s. Three-quarters of the aid given to Egypt by the US is military aid, accounting for about half of Egypt's defense budget.

Most assuredly, some of those letters were written by concerned fundamentalist moslem agitators, trying to destabilize the government.

Most assuredly not. US military aid is propping up Mubarak. These letters are from those who know they will be first against the wall when the current regime falls.

It matters not. I do not care if the current government of Egypt is overthrown, or even if there is a civil war that disrupts all commerce and agriculture. There is enough international commerce in the world that Egyptians should not starve. Therefore, any that starve can be laid directly at the feet of an inept government, and lack of will on the part of its people. And if no country will deal with Egypt, then perhaps they should have been better neighbors. I'm sure the French will be willing to deal with the Egyptians, in any case, if there are any left after the war.

A most eloquently made case, enough to convince any doubters that the US should play absolutely no further part in international affairs.

[ Parent ]

Most assuredly, they will be armed with AK-47s... (none / 0) (#61)
by gr3y on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 12:03:40 AM EST

Did you even read what I said?

Unless there's a coup, Mubarek's enemies will not be armed with M-16s, any more than Karzai's will. Whatever fundamentalist muslim groups exist in Egypt will be financed and equipped by fundamentalist muslim groups in other countries, e.g., Iraq, Iran, Syria, and they buy AK-47s (or cheap Chinese SKS knock-offs).

I can see your point about the letters, though. Perhaps they were written by members of the current regime who can read the writing on the wall. That was an interesting point.

A most eloquently made case, enough to convince any doubters that the US should play absolutely no further part in international affairs.

I spoke my mind, as I'm sure you did. I do not condemn you for your opinion.

It's a question that has been asked a thousand times: why should we (the U. S.) play at being the world's policemen? Why should we send our sons and daughters into harm's way for people who hate us (Bosnia, et al.)? Why should we play at nation-building (our success rate is alarmingly low)? Why should we give money to those who would use it to harm us?

I'm of the mind that we shouldn't do any of these things. The world will quickly sort itself out without our "help", as it will without the considerable military and economic "aid" of the European Union.

Perhaps then those groups that make such arguments as: Israel is the U. S. government's "puppet" (or the U. S. government is the puppet of American jews, or...) will be robbed of their justification.

That would at least be a change.

I am a disruptive technology.
[ Parent ]

As with the Buddhas in Afghanistan... (5.00 / 2) (#52)
by Mzilikazi on Sun Aug 25, 2002 at 12:45:42 PM EST

...we'll all watch in horror as the Sphinx, pyramids, museums, and other repositories of "graven images of false gods" are destroyed. (The pyramids will take a bit of work, but it's certainly possible.) I'm not saying I want this to happen, or that it should be a reason for us to keep propping up Egypt, but I think it's an inevitable development if Egypt decides to go down the fundamentalist theocracy path rather than the secular democracy path.

Some may think this is absurd, that Egypt would be loathe to give up its lucrative tourism industry, but history has shown that Islamic states typically care fuck-all about tourism (especially if it concerns an era of history not directly connected to Islam*), and make tourism as dangerous and difficult as possible in order to protect their people from any foreign ideas (try to go through the Muslim world talking about the moon landing and tell me what it's like in prison). I figure they'll just bump up the fees on ships going through the Suez Canal or just work themselves down to the level of neighboring Sudan.

Cheers,
Mzilikazi

*Or sometimes historical sites are destroyed to erase a history of foreign invasion, like the slow process of Saudi Arabia tearing down fortifications and buildings built during various periods of Turkish/Jordanian rule.

[ Parent ]

huh? (none / 0) (#70)
by startled on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 02:11:33 PM EST

"just like Afghanistan. Ah, heaven... If that's what they want, I suggest we do everything in our power to give it to them."

Yeah, Afghanistan worked out so well, let's work on creating more of 'em!

American policy in the past has been to allow countries to fail (even to push them to that point), and then prop up a friendly dictator. That's failed spectacularly. Encouraging democracy is obviously a better strategy, though there are still major concerns, such as the rise of nationalists and ethnic violence.

[ Parent ]
part of a larger plan? (4.66 / 3) (#53)
by SocratesGhost on Sun Aug 25, 2002 at 04:29:23 PM EST

The Rand Corporation (a US government think tank) did some research back in July about the US's strategy for the Middle East and presented it to the Pentagon. In sensational broad strokes, the plan was summarized as: "Iraq is the tactical pivot; Saudi Arabia is the strategic pivot; Egypt the prize."

It's classified, but Slate supposedly acquired the contents of the slideshow presentation. It's an interesting read, and something we should all check out if we want to know the kind of information presented to our heads of state.

Ever since then, anytime I hear anything about Egypt in the news, it makes me suspicious that this plan is actually being played out. Egypt's economy has been likened to being as unstable as Argentina with a looming economic collapse. Might we see this as a sign from the US to increase instability in the region so that it can impose order?

-Soc
I drank what?


Maybe Ann Coulter. . . (4.66 / 3) (#54)
by Pop Top on Sun Aug 25, 2002 at 05:57:26 PM EST

also works for RAND - since she has written:

>> We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. <<

First we need to "take down" Iraq, just like the good guys do on all those FOX shows about COPS,

and then move on to Iran and Saudi Arabia, and then,

pivot towards Egypt.


[ Parent ]

not as well supported (3.00 / 2) (#56)
by SocratesGhost on Sun Aug 25, 2002 at 06:27:08 PM EST

besides, I don't hold against any American the comments that they made in the week following 9/11. My dad no longer has his office in the Pentagon because a plane dislodged it on that day. My emotions ran over too.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
Gov't controlled media (3.66 / 3) (#60)
by revscat on Sun Aug 25, 2002 at 10:22:01 PM EST

I am somewhat skeptical that this represents the full spectrum of opinion in Egypt. I fully admit having no actual knowledge of whether or not the government influences the media in Egypt, but it would certainly follow a pattern if it were so: In an effort to maintain power, an un-democratic government punishes dissenters who speak their mind, whether in the political or public realm. And given the fact that the gentleman in question was imprisoned for his political beliefs, I would be (pleasantly) surprised if there weren't any media controls in place.

Hopefully someone with experience in Egyptian matters can illuminate us on this.



- Rev.
Libertarianism is like communism: both look great on paper.
Its not the full spectrum, Memri is dishing it out (4.00 / 1) (#63)
by emad on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 12:39:16 AM EST

The translations the article relies on are provided by an organization started by former Israeli intelligence members called Memri.  Memri makes it a point to search for the worst examples of arab media and translate those. This would be fine if Memri was honest about this practice, but instead Memri presents their translations as representations of typical arab news and views.  I'm pretty sure that these translated letters are not even indicative of even the published Egyptian letters, much less that of the whole population of Egypt.

[ Parent ]
Not really true... (none / 0) (#69)
by cr8dle2grave on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 01:59:15 PM EST

Nowhere does MEMRI present its translations as representative of "typical arab news and views," rather their translations are categorized into different subjects, each of which is obviously biased insofar as it betrays a narrow interest. Would you have them translate each and every news article and opinion piece published in each and every newspaper published throughout the Arab world? That would be the only means of avoiding editorial bias. Any assumption that MEMRI's translations represent a "typical" Arab views is solely the fault of the reader.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
My fault, terribly sorry (none / 0) (#79)
by Sir Rastus Bear on Tue Aug 27, 2002 at 11:59:27 AM EST

Although the article presents these quotes as representative, clearly I have been lax in my duties as reader. I'll try to be more perceptive next time.


"It's the dog's fault, but she irrationally yells at me that I shouldn't use the wood chipper when I'm drunk."
[ Parent ]

Analysing foreign aid (4.50 / 2) (#62)
by winthrop on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 12:09:35 AM EST

Until we've figured out why the US is giving aid to Egypt and why we think the US should or shouldn't give aid, it's pretty difficult to decide if the US should continue giving aid. Some possible purposes of aid include one or more of the following:

  • Humanitarian concerns For example, a country may send food to another country that doesn't have enough in order to prevent the people of that country starving.
  • Export promotion For example, a country may send computers to another country so that they can become a larger market for the purchasing of software and support. Or they may subsidize another country's purchasing of a nuclear reactor in order to win the contract for maintenance for the next 100 years.
  • Import promotion A donor country might help another country build roads out of their forests, so as to make it easier to import timber from the donee country.
  • Political/Military importance A donor country might give a country aid because it wants to see it gain or lose power compared to its neighbors or its citizens. For example, a country might give weapons to a donor country fighting a common enemy.
There are plenty of other reasons, as well, these are only examples. However, you'll quickly note that for most of these reasons, public opinion is of secondary importance.

So, can anybody answer the questions: what sort of aid does the US give to Egypt? Why? What sort of aid should the US give to Egypt? Why? Does the aid we should give to Egypt match the aid we do give? How does changing Egyptian public opinion regarding the United States change the answers to those questions?

Also (none / 0) (#67)
by marc987 on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 01:10:00 PM EST

Is it aid or A.I.D.?
What are the terms and conditions?
What are possible negative impacts on the populations sovereignty?

[ Parent ]
A.I.D: (none / 0) (#71)
by marc987 on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 02:37:42 PM EST

Agency for International Development,
Aid to International Development,
Etc...

What was Bush refering to?

[ Parent ]

I Say ... (2.66 / 3) (#74)
by icastel on Mon Aug 26, 2002 at 03:49:08 PM EST

Let's double, no, triple whatever amount (2 billion?) it is we're currently giving them and force it upon them. That'll teach the bastards!


-- I like my land flat --
Reconsidering Egyptian Foreign Aid | 83 comments (74 topical, 9 editorial, 0 hidden)
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