I worry this partial aid ‘cut’ is to show we’re doing something, without actually accomplishing anything,” said Shadi Hamid, director of research at the Brookings Institution’s Doha Center. “It’s foreign policy by gesture.”
The United States is achieving “the worst of both worlds,” he added. “They’re not putting pressure on the military, but they’re still going to anger the Egyptian population and make it seem like they’re punishing the military and suspending aid.” In trying to please everyone, Obama has managed exactly the opposite. Egyptians opposed to Mursi say Washington has gone too far, while the former president’s supporters say it has not done enough.
For those who are following recent events in Egypt, the controversy regarding the question of whether the United States should cut its aid to Egypt’s military in response to its coup against the democratically elected Morsi government is common knowledge. It is also known that on October 9 the United States announced a substantial deduction in aid to the Egyptian military. This I have to think is a good thing even if it is nothing more than a slap on the hand which is how it is described by a sizable number of scholars on Egypt. One such scholar is Sharif Nashashibi a co-founder of Arab Media Watch. He has recently written an article called “Egypt and the U.S aid cut: Ineffective Symbolism” for Al-Arabiya News. In this article he summarizes the arguments why the recent US aid cuts to the Egyptian military are of a primarily cosmetic nature. The link to the Al-Arabiya article is http://english.alarabiya.net/en/views/news/world/2013/10/21/Egypt-and-the-U-S-aid-cut-Inef fective-symbolism.html
In “A Coup Too Far: The Case For Reordering U.S Priorities in Egypt” a policy briefing by the Doha Brookings Center, scholars Shadi Hamid and Peter Mandaville make a solid argument for a much tougher and systematic cut in aid to the Egyptian military. Only a complete reordering of U.S priorities to Egypt will, these scholars argue, will be effective in pushing Egypt back to a path to democracy and to the protection of the human rights of all of its citizens including those of the Muslim Brotherhood. The articles link is http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2013/09/05-us-priorities-egypt-hamid-mandaville
This article by Frederic C. Hof of the Atlantic Council describes perfectly my own thoughts and feelings regarding the refusal of the United States to take morally responsible military action in Syria in defence of the Syrian people. I have to share it.
Syria: Is it Too Late To Do Anything?
Those who have long counseled against the United States taking control of the arming of Syrian opposition forces have recently updated their argument: it is now simply too late for Washington to do anything useful, even if it wanted to. According to this line of reasoning the Assad regime has been stabilized by the chemical weapons agreement and Russian-Iranian aid, while jihadists, luxuriating in arms and money, have been attracting manpower away from nationalist leaders denied meaningful assistance by the West. As one Italian observer asked me last week, “Why bother? Do you really expect the followers of General Idris to fight a two-front war against the regime and al-Qaeda?” Click to read full article.
During most of the past month or so my writings have been directed primarily to issues of religion within the context of the small Independent Filianic community. That writing and the other demands of my life simply have prevented me from writing in this blog to the degree I wish. Thus I have not commented on some issues that are of great importance to me i.e. the ongoing crisis in Syria and the significance of the collapse of democracy in Egypt.
One of the problems that I have experienced as a blogger on these issues is that I have had major problems in finding the proper balance between my desire to articulate my own point of view regarding issues and ideas and my desire to communicated information regarding the often excellent articles written by persons such as Shadi Hamid of the Doha Brookings Center who are the real experts regarding many of the matters that concern me. Well I have come to a tentative opinion on how I think that I am going to handle this. In general my first priority will be to notify readers of articles by experts like Shadi Hamid and others. Only secondarily will I be able to articulate my own thoughts on the issues. This is not entirely satisfying to me as a person who likes to express his own point of view, but it seems to me to be the way to go.
I do have other goals for this blog beyond what I have just articulated but I will deal with those in another post.