Please Stop Pretending US Aid To Egypt Matters Much
In the wake of the military coup/non-coup against the Morsi government in Egypt a fight has broken out over whether the US should suspend it’s roughly $1 Billion in aid. Here’s my take: It doesn’t matter.
As Americans we constantly overestimate our ability to control or even influence events around the world. The political classes here seem to think that what we do with that aid money will affect the course of Egypt’s political future. It really won’t. Here’s two stories from the last two days that demonstrate how much we overestimate our influence.
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday announced a total of $8 billion in economic aid to help shore up Egypt’s military-backed interim leaders after Islamist President Mohamed Morsi was removed in a coup last week.
Kuwait announces $4 billion in "urgent aid" to Egypt, joining Saudi Arabia & UAE in rushing billions to Egypt’s post-coup government
— Ivan Watson (@IvanCNN) July 10, 2013
My admittedly weak math skills tell me that’s $12 billion oil rich Arab countries just tossed over to Cairo. I’d bet anything that money comes with a lot fewer strings than the us money does. It’s also doesn’t come with the taint of “western imperialism” either.
So tell me again how pulling a billion dollars in targeted aid from the US is going to make or break the Egyptian Army and its political plans.
Americans need to get over the idea that if we just pull the right strings and push the right levers we can control something as complex and volatile as Egypt’s chaotic political process.