Egypt: Too Big to Fail?


Recently, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi of Egypt, a supposed “moderate” Islamist, met with Iran’s anti-Semitic, genocidal, President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  Reportedly, they had a friendly discussion.  Perhaps, in addition to the official topics, they also conversed about their mutual anti-Semitic attitudes.  President Ahmadinejad is already well-known for his hatred of the Jews.  President Morsi’s bigotry, on the other hand, has only publicly come to light this past year.  In 2010, President Morsi delivered a speech urging Egyptians to “nurse our children and our grandchildren on hatred” for Jews. Soon after, Morsi described Jews as “these bloodsuckers who attack the Palestinians, these warmongers, the descendants of apes and pigs.”   When confronted by U.S. Senators on his impolitic language, Morsi implied that this was only a controversy because the American media was controlled by Jews.

But the two Islamist Presidents have much more in common than just their anti-Semitism.  Both lead radical, dictatorial, and anti-American regimes.  Like the radical Iranian government has since 1979, President Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood Party continue to crack down on pro-democracy demonstrations in their country (Egypt), persecute independent members of the media, and actively pursue death sentences against Westerners or Americans engaging in Free Speech IN the West.

Unfortunately, none of this negative behavior by Egypt’s leadership seems to matter much to the U.S. government.  The administration’s immediate response – sending four F-16 fighter jets to Egypt.  A bipartisan Congress voted to support the sale.  This is all part of the $1.5 billion or so U.S. aid, most of it military, which has gone to Egypt annually since 1979.

When questioned about the consistent flow of U.S. aid to Egypt, the same argument is often made by the foreign policy elites – Egypt is the colossus of the Arab world, and it would be irrational and unwise for the U.S. to simply let it become a rogue state, or to collapse, as a failed state.  And so the U.S. money spigot must be kept consistently open, if not cracked a bit wider, regardless of how the Islamist-run Egyptian government acts.  In fact, if you persist in doubting this wisdom, sometimes you are belittled as an ignorant isolationist-like opponent of all foreign aid.

But let’s re-examine that pearl of conventional wisdom regarding U.S. aid to Egypt. It simply isn’t valid, as Egypt under the MB is already a rogue state, and it is also pretty much guaranteed to become a failed state.

The fact that Egypt is a rogue state should be patently obvious at this point.  The Egyptian MB has produced Hamas in Gaza, a well-known terrorist organization.  In fact, the MB and Hamas are so close that thousands of Hamas warriors may have been sent to Egypt to help President Morsi protect his regime by crushing Egyptian democratic protestors.  President Morsi and his MB have already shown their willingness to corrupt the democratic process, kill Egyptian demonstrators, discriminate against the Coptic Christians, allow for the harassment or rape of women, and prevent the exercise of a culture of freedom of speech among ordinary Egyptians and foreigners alike.  For more information, see here, here, here and here.  Even President Obama – in a moment of clarity – revealed that he is unsure whether Egypt’s MB regime is an ally of ours.

Egypt’s coming economic failure is not so obvious, perhaps because of Western wishful thinking.  But, as David Goldman writes, Egypt currently requires more than $22 billion a year simply to meet its basic needs.  Because of the increasing violence there, the once flourishing tourist industry is kaput, and people with money and knowledge and skills are fleeing.  A black market of U.S. dollars has developed.  Almost half of the population is illiterate.  There are no major sources of oil, natural gas, or other natural resources in the nation.   In other words, Egypt can’t – and/or won’t – continue to exist without outside help.  So, the question is: is the U.S., or the world, ready to supply that $22 billion – every year – to prop up the Islamist regime of Mohammed Morsi?

Perhaps some believe that the Gulf States and Europe will pay for some of this aid.  Maybe.  So far, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have given Egypt only $9 billion in financial aid and Saudi Arabia may not be willing to deliver this money indefinitely to a MB-dominated government.  And Europe is in really bad economic straits these days.  So that leaves the U.S., and the various international organizations.  But I repeat myself – the U.N. and other international groups may have promised grants/loans, but much of their budget actually comes from the U.S.

There is another point to be made here.  Even if we believe that “Egypt is too big to fail,” why would we ever let the Egyptians know this? As any true believer in realpolitick would know, if Egypt is aware of how vital it is to the U.S., then that nation will do whatever it wants to do, even if what it is doing is in opposition to U.S. interests. This means that it is imperative that the U.S. credibly pretend, even if it would never actually stop its aid to Egypt, that it is open to cutting off the money. Attaching conditions to the aid, and then waiving them, simply does not cut it.

Aside from the question of U.S. foreign aid to Egypt in general, there is also the question of military aid in particular.  About 80% of the U.S. aid to Egypt is military.  There are really only three possible reasons why Egypt would need a strong military: 1) to crack down on its own people; 2) to go to war against Israel, a U.S. ally; and/or 3) to conquer or intimidate other neighboring nations, like Libya, Sudan, Jordan, etc.  None of these actions are in the U.S. national interest.

The most frequently asserted reason to provide the Egyptian military with this aid is that the military is, or will be, a counterweight to the MB.  Now, when the Egyptian army was a more secular-led institution under President Mubarak, bribing Egyptian military leaders to win their support made sense. But considering that Morsi personally named the new army leadership, that the armed forces have shown they don’t want to get involved in politics, and that many officers are pro-Brotherhood or even pro-Salafist, is this really a good reason anymore?  I don’t believe so.  Certainly, Morsi and the MB don’t seem too concerned about the army opposing them.

President Morsi is an Islamist, and his Muslim Brotherhood Party is an Islamist party.  They run a regime that is un-democratic, anti-human rights, anti-American, anti-Semitic, and anti-Christian.  And they need our economic help, just to survive.  It is well-past the time we let them know that, unless they change their ways, their nation’s ride on the U.S. gravy train will end.

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  • SCREW SOCIALISM

    Egypt 5,000 years old? and it is only now beginning to experiment with Democracy?

    Retrograde Islamism and dhimmi socialism destroys countries.

    Look at Eurabia.

    • JacksonPearson

      "Egypt 5,000 years old? and it is only now beginning to experiment with Democracy?"

      The only problem, Islam, the Muslim Brotherhood and democracy have nothing in common.

      • hamed

        You speak about democracy while you are considering that my choice of Islam as a problem ???? Your country might be applying democracy inside your country borders, but not with arab or islamic countries. We have got too much headache listening from europe and US about the necessity of democracy in arab countries, but in the same time, when egyptians and arab people are working hard and fighting for freedom and democracy, we find US government and its policy are doing everything to prevent that. Should nt US and europe respect the choice of egyptians regarding its president and government?????

    • Ahmed

      Don't listen about us from people who know nothing about us Egyptians & Muslims . Listen from us this guy is distorting every thing about us and spreading lies

  • John Stone

    Our foreign policy often seems to be run by inertia. It seems like nobody in the government wants to make a change. A lot of what we are doing all over the world is a holdover from WWII and fails to reflect how things have changed. With regard to Egypt, one wonders why we continue to support the country. With the new leadership the place is no longer safely bought off, nor is it safely Western at the leadership level. So, you know, why not let it implode, which is what would happen without the bucks.

    • EarlyBird

      Here's the quandary: do we prefer a stable Egypt which is run by a foul Islamist, or an Egypt run by a foul Islamist which is unstable because we pulled $2.5 billion out of its economy overnight?

      We will likely have to make some "adjustments" to our relationship with Egypt, but statecraft really demands that we not undo our commitments overnight because we are wary of the new leader.

    • hamed

      we dont need your financial support, we can live without it. But US needs to have a good relationship with egypt as well, as egypt do. As a people , we dont like that our government get that support from US, or whatever. Read about the Islamic history to know what muslems are capable of, when they are in difficult situations.

  • Mladen

    I really cannot understand how is it possible that in the time of the world wide web and mass communication Americans remain so disastrously ignorant of who the Muslim Brotherhood are and how dangerous they are for the US and Israel . What a difference in Israel! Israelis are fully aware of the catastrophe the US foreign policy is committing in supporting them
    .
    The Muslim Brotherhood. Is this what Americans stand for? http://www.madisdead.blogspot.co.il/2012/11/the-m

    Two years on – who was right on the Egyptian crisis? http://www.madisdead.blogspot.co.il/2012/12/two-y

    • Len_Powder

      That the US is the wealthiest country in the world has been declared ad nauseum. However, being the wealthiest in terms of monetary value is far from the same as being wealthiest in terms of knowledge or wisdom. In terms of the latter the US is one of the poorest countries in the world. How else could it have elected an incompetent Marxist like Obama? If you do something so utterly stupid then you must actually be stupid!

    • hamed

      You speak about democracy while you are considering that my choice of Islam as a problem ???? Your country might be applying democracy inside your country borders, but not with arab or islamic countries. We have got too much headache listening from europe and US about the necessity of democracy in arab countries, but in the same time, when egyptians and arab people are working hard and fighting for freedom and democracy, we find US government and its policy are doing everything to prevent that. Should nt US and europe respect the choice of egyptians regarding its president and government?????

  • http://www.adinakutnicki.com AdinaK

    Let's be clear – under the guidance of the Islamist-in-Chief, he will make sure that Muslim Brotherhood, Sharia Law embedded Egypt, lives a long life. In fact, radicals in Washington had zero problem with Egypt's upheaval, as they pushed Mubarak out, in order to usher in the "Arab Spring". In effect, it is not a question of too big or not, but exactly who rules the largest Arab nation in the world.
    http://adinakutnicki.com/2012/08/13/coming-full-c

    Adina Kutnicki, Israel http://adinakutnicki.com/about/

    • EarlyBird

      Washington didn't push Mubarak out, Egyptians did.

  • Unimpressed

    You lost me at "Iran’s anti-Semitic, genocidal, President".

    • SCREW SOCIALISM

      Uneducated,

      Columbia University President Bollinger Introduces Ahmadinejad
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tACSopIZVdk

    • Mary Sue

      And that's wrong how, exactly? Ahmadinejad has on NUMEROUS occasions spoken incitements of genocide towards the Jews. This is documented. So your Low Information Voter status does not impress me.

    • John

      Unimpressed is a Cass Sunstein like operative.

      Their purpose is to put brakes conversations like this because Cass and his buds no better.. They have secret information.

      Cass wrote book saying that autonomy was not good for individuals and that forums should be invaded and directed by apparatchiks.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      "You lost me at "Iran’s anti-Semitic, genocidal, President"."

      Expect to stay lost for a long time.

  • objectivefactsmatter

    " Egypt is the colossus of the Arab world, and it would be irrational and unwise for the U.S. to simply let it become a rogue state, or to collapse, as a failed state. "

    Sure. Much better to have Egypt as a well-armed pro-Sunni Caliphate state to keep the global sharia train rolling for 0'Bama, the Saudis and the Ikhwan (MB).

  • guest

    may be they can give the guns they seize from law abiding Americans to the muzz. Take them over in the F-16s they will be using to …… You know what they do with them.

  • http://libertyandculture.blogspot.com/ JasonPappas

    Excellent article until the last sentence: "It is well-past the time we let them know that, unless they change their ways, their nation’s ride on the U.S. gravy train will end."

    This implies that there can be such a thing as a moderate Islamist and we can encourage such behavior by bribing them. I suggest we unilaterally and unconditionally end all support now! We and the MB have no common values.

    This is an opportune time to end an unnecessary foreign aid program. Sadat never needed the bribe. As Bernard Lewis points out he already decided he didn't want to war with Israel and he decided he wanted to take Egypt out of the Soviet sphere of influence. Sadat and Begin allowed Jimmy Carter to imagine that he brought them together … and they both pocketed $2 billion a year in the process.

    The Sadat regime is gone … our promise has been fulfilled. It's time to cut the strings. Without our aid the Egyptian population is more likely to throw out Morsi. This is the time to change our policy.

    • EarlyBird

      Without our help Egypt is more likely to collapse and become a failed and chaotic state ripe for Al Queda types. With our dollars flowing in, Egypt remains relatively "stable."

      Also, it is really the military which runs Egypt, and did even under Mubarak. The military owns something like two thirds of all Egyptian state assets and control a huge portion of the economy. They have zero interest in upsetting that apple cart by launching a war against Israel, or allowing Egypt to fall to the bearded ones.

    • hamed

      you must be dreaming…………….. this is our choice, and our decision. Egyptians know who Morsi is and what is he defending and what he is working for. he is the first loyal and sincere president for egypt. I remind you , when US senator have threatened to cut support to egypt, one year ago, the egyptian people decided to donate from their own pockets to help their country. You, as americans and your Israeli friends choose your decisions …. and we will manage, and compliance. I really want US to take that cutting decision, so that egypt will get the lesson clearly and will work to be independent

      • http://libertyandculture.blogspot.com/ JasonPappas

        We are agreed: US should cut aid to Egypt. Let us all see what Egypt is really made of.

  • Mrs. Pharaoh

    Jason Pappas you exactly correct. The Egyptians are trying to throw Morsi out nowJason Pappas you exactly correct. The Egyptians are trying to throw Morsi out now, because he actually never won the election in the first place. What the majority of the educated Egyptians fear is a complete loss of their freedoms. There has been literally NO business and commerce going on since the "Arab Spring" people are in very sad shape, no jobs, no way for hundreds of thousands of people to make a living without tourism. What might surprise many people is even some of the Muslim Brotherhood are getting fed up as many are businessmen and their business are suffering also. This might surprise most readers but it is true, Egyptians are smart and clever people and they like to make money and to do that they need to deal with westerners. How do I know this, my family lives there.

    • Mrs. Pharaoh

      Sorry for the repeat of the first couple of sentences, the comment was not posting so a copy and paste error!

    • JasonP

      Thanks for the report. I'm hoping the economics trumps theology. In that case Morsi is history. The regime that allows commerce to take root gets to call the shots in other matters.

      Do you think there is a liberal secular constituency that can support a non-corrupt market economy?

      • hamed

        Morsi is staying , at least for the 4 years. Sorry. You dont know anything about egypt. You are just listening to the corrupted egyptian media.

        • http://libertyandculture.blogspot.com/ JasonPappas

          We are propping up Morsi just like we (foolishly) propped up Mubarak. It's time to pull the plug and let Egyptians sink or swim. They might have trouble at first but I don't think they are ready for 100% Brotherhood. If they are then we definitely should not support Egypt and if they are not then our support isn't needed for Egyptians to do what's right. Either way, it's time to end the aid.

          We made a huge mistake in 1956 when Eisenhower supported Nasser. We made further mistakes when Reagan supported the Mujahideen in Afghanistan. Bush made another mistake by nations-building in Iraq and calling for elections in Gaza. Obama continued the failed policies and look at what is happening. Enough of our "help!" It's time to pull the plug.

  • patenglish1

    Excellent article. It is definetely time for the gravy train to end. It is time the US realized that Egypt is not our friend and Morsi is a dreaded enemy who is posed to lead the Arab worlld into a bloody caliphate. I can only hope the Egyptian women will throw out Morsi along with his fellow Muslim Brotherhood.

  • pierce

    The question is? Is Moresi on the dole, or is Obama on the dole? I think it is Moresi, but for how long. Congress needs to stop US aid to Egypt, but do they have the balls to do it, and then be over-ruled by Obama. Does Obama dare cut-off Egypt? Stay tuned for the answer.

    • EarlyBird

      Does the US have more or less leverage over the behavior of Egypt when it sends it money? I would bet more. Is Egypt more or less likely to collapse and fall into terrorist-driven chaos when it has US dollars pouring in? I would say less.

      • SCREW SOCIALISM

        The Egyptians should go back to building pyramids with tourists and leave the rest of us alone.

  • Suzanne

    Everything the author says is true but we have a president in the White House who must, at the end, wish things the way they are, otherwise he'd be making very different policy. Sadder still are the American people who voted him in TWICE! This country has fallen so far morally that I hardly recognize it as my own any more. Somehow, some way, I hope a fresh wind blows over this land restoring the American people to sanity.

  • ashraf

    Please know Islam and Muslims before you judge them

    • SCREW SOCIALISM

      I learned everything I need to know about Islam and Muslims on 9/11.

  • Len_Powder

    "So, the question is: is the U.S., or the world, ready to supply that $22 billion – every year – to prop up the Islamist regime of Mohammed Morsi?"

    Why not? The central banks can create $22 billion with a snap of the fingers.To them such amounts now represent petty cash.On the other hand such aid is the only means left to the US and Europe to exert some control on Egypt. If we stopped bribing Morsi Saudi Arabia, Iran and probably Russia would fill the void.

    "…then that nation will do whatever it wants to do, even if what it is doing is in opposition to U.S. interests."

    What is in US interests is no longer relevant. The new paradigm is what is in Obama's interests.

    "About 80% of the U.S. aid to Egypt is military."

    The military 'aid' is what keeps the Generals in line and responsive to US policy. No one knows how much of this aid goes into the General's bank accounts,nor will anyone ever know. I suspect the Generals have been told that unless they cooperate their standard of living will decline dramatically.This may be the reason they have not yet taken the reigns of power from Morsi. Of course, with inflation the price of their cooperation with the US is likely to increase (more than the cost of living probably).

    "It is well-past the time we let them know that, unless they change their ways, their nation’s ride on the U.S. gravy train will end."

    How an otherwise astute commentator like Adam Turner can make such a naive remark is difficult to understand. As long as Obama is the President the gravy train will not end. If anything it will deliver even more gravy than before. The reasons are too obvious to require explanation.

  • Mohammed

    ًWe are so proud because we aren't US ally. We, Islamists, are not against Christians, Jews, women or freedom. This is your allegation that you can never prove. The churches' bells jingle all over Egypt, does the Muslim prayer call (azan) jingle all over America or Europe ???????????????????

    • SCREW SOCIALISM

      I am also that you aren't an ally of the US because other than socialists, who would want a bunch of jihadi savages as allies?

  • Ahmed

    These allegations have no real evidences:
    - "MB have already shown their willingness to corrupt the democratic process" .. they are always elected by egyptians!!
    - "kill Egyptian demonstrators" .. 9 of MB are killed by liberals in just one day!! .. while MB killed no one (up to now)
    - "discriminate against the Coptic Christians" .. How? .. majority of Coptic Christains denying that
    - "allow for the harassment or rape of women" .. All raped women are raped by liberals in a liberal demonstrations!!
    - "prevent the exercise of a culture of freedom of speech among ordinary Egyptians and foreigners alike" .. just watch any liberal TV channel to know the truth

  • Zack

    It is the first time I read anything for Adam Turner but his misreporting and fear mongering demagoguery is plain to see for anyone who is familiar with Egypt.

    I have lived in Egypt for decades and the claims being made by Adam Turner are laughable and at the same time malicious.. Adam Turner is clearly a propagandist mouthpiece..

    Morsy is an elected President and he has millions of supporters. Adam Turner's claim that Hamas are sending militias to support him is idiotic.. It is an idiotic claim but at the same time brilliant because Adam Turner just shot himself in the foot by making such an outlandishly unintelligent claim.. These kinds of claims are great because they are a litmus test to confirm that a writer like Adam Turner is not worth his salt.. He is so biased that he is almost frothing at the mouth lol…

    • EarlyBird

      Zack, welcome to the weirdest place on the web. Everything about this place is devoted to propagandizing for the right wing Zionist/Christian Fundamentalist, neoconservative nexus. Everything on this site is dishonest.

    • hamed

      what you said about egypt is true. Thanks for honesty.

  • RandomPerson

    This article is just one of many examples of how the "west" in general and the USA in particular look at foreign Arab countries through a web of blatant lies… the media relies on this fact every day. The writer of this article took 2 or 3 facts like the US Aid, ENGULFED it with 100 or so lies like the fact that the "MB" hates democracy, liberals and the west and rely on the fact that the average reader won't be the wiser. i hope that eventually the general public will have enough common sense and general knowledge to not believe any wood be journalist.

  • mido

    Islam will be victorious, God willing

  • Alfred Borden

    Typical Brainwashed Stupid Zionist Americans .. PROPAGANDA .

  • sayed

    the Demonstrators liberals here burn the President Palace and the police just use the water ,,So wt kind of the weapon if Demonstrators burn the white house in the democtric country !!!
    talk as long as you want about usa aid but when u want to talk about egypt you should come here!! wtever 100% of egyption refused the usa aid we dont need anymore who draw our future policts !!!christan are a part of us and member in our body we never hurt ourselif in main time liberals , SRS and brotherhood watsh Isreal,,

  • ahmed alrefai

    Egypt is going to be the strongest economy and democracy in the middle east within 8 year or less as we most think in Egypt, no one or country will stop us to go ahead in the development that we build now, the Egyptian are coming Mr Turner. the Islamic Egypt

  • Serag Abu Sobieh

    FULL OF LIES!! that was my first Impression, i cant believe the quantity of deception this article include!!
    same FALSE claims based on Illusions, same Opposition style in running things, Same River, Different Water.

    Mr Ahmed replying said it all

    - "MB have already shown their willingness to corrupt the democratic process" .. they are always elected by egyptians!!
    - "kill Egyptian demonstrators" .. 9 of MB are killed by liberals in just one day!! .. while MB killed no one (up to now)
    - "discriminate against the Coptic Christians" .. How? .. majority of Coptic Christains denying that
    - "allow for the harassment or rape of women" .. All raped women are raped by liberals in a liberal demonstrations!!
    - "prevent the exercise of a culture of freedom of speech among ordinary Egyptians and foreigners alike" .. just watch any liberal TV channel to know the truth

  • kareem

    Liars ,
    all the topic is established upon a base of lies
    Christinians doesn't suffer in Egypt : as I talk to talk I see christians all over the street , they go to church , they work , they go home with no suffer and if any suffer it's what all egyuptians "muslims and christians" suffer

    Egyptian Liberals now burn and kill and lie just like you
    they killed 9 muslim brother members by gun when they came to protect the presidential palace from being interfered

  • kareem

    I mean at the very beginning of the Topic "Lies" not " Liars"
    sorry