U.S. Can Help Egypt Democracy
U.S. Can Help Egypt Democracy

The overthrow of the democratically elected government of Mohamed Morsy by the Egyptian military is not the end of a critical period in that country. It is only a transition period that needs special attention so as not to end as an even bloodier conflict than what it has been so far. The United States, more than any other country, can help Egypt overcome the dire straits it is in now.

At present, U.S. military aid to Egypt amounts to $1.3 billion in annual aid to the Egyptian military, which is about 20% of its funding. Egypt is currently the third-largest recipient of U.S. military aid, after Afghanistan and Israel. Between 1948 and 2012, the U.S. provided Egypt with a total of $72.9 billion in bilateral (government-to-government) aid. Since 1979, Egypt has been the second-largest recipient, after Israel, of U.S. bilateral foreign assistance. 

Sen. Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on the State Department and Foreign Operations, stated that aid to the Egyptian military should be cut off because of the military takeover. In that regard, U.S. federal law states that non-humanitarian aid must be cut off to “the government of any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup d’etat or decree or, after the date of enactment of this Act, a coup d’etat or decree in which the military plays a decisive role.” 

Some Egyptian military officials have stated that the military’s actions do not constitute a coup d’etat, since the military didn’t intend to have an enduring role in Egypt’s politics.
However, experience shows that on very few occasions the military—any military, anywhere—relinquishes power voluntarily. 

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Morsy made some serious mistakes during his tenure as president. He refused to include a wide array of opposition figures in government and was unable to redress the economy, which had been badly battered as a result of the prolonged upheaval to depose Hosni Mubarak, who had ruled the country for almost 30 years. And it is probably the economic woes that acted as a trigger for the popular demonstrations against Morsy’s rule.

Egypt is now going through a process called “stagflation,” a combination of inflation and very slow growth. During 2011, real GDP grew by 1.78% and increased to only 2.2% in 2012, a figure that slightly exceeds the country’s population growth. At the same time, the cost of living will probably increase substantially in 2013, a situation that may provoke additional unrest.

For the United States, there should be two priorities in dealing with that country’s present situation: to help ensure the return to a democratic government, and to help alleviate the country’s considerable economic problems. The naming of a transitional civilian government is a right step towards that first goal. As Edward Derejian, a former State Department, official told CNN, “This situation creates the possibility for a political transition in Egypt to a pluralistic government system.” 

Inflation is now 7% overall and the country’s foreign exchange reserves went down from $36 billion in 2011 to $13.6 billion in February 2013. President Obama could name a group of experts to help Egyptian economists design a pro-growth economic package—including a public works component—to help that country come out of the morass it is now in.

At the same time, the United States could allow wheat exports to support a subsidized bread program to keep bread prices low and help finance grain storage facilities. It could also facilitate “debt swaps” so that money intended to pay for that country’s foreign debt could instead be used on training and infrastructure projects. To help Egypt now is to contribute in avoiding new popular revolts of dire consequences in the immediate future.

Dr. César Chelala is a co-winner of an Overseas Press Club of America award.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Epoch Times.

  • Dave Walters

    The US needs to step back and slow the war roll. We need to learn from Egypt what democracy looks like. We have a corporatocracy/former democracy. We need to stay away from Syria. We need to close at least half of our foreign military bases, unless we will allow our host nations to have military bases here. If we were a democratically controlled country, our nation’s leaders would have no problem joining the World Court, where Bush Jr. has been indited for war crimes. We need to remove the special privileges for large business and reverse the tax structure so small business pays the least tax and big business pays the most. If we were a nation that cared about people, then homeless people wouldn’t die of exposure in our streets everyday.

    • RescueKyron

      We don’t need no world court, Doovid. We got our own courts and laws and we will be shaking off the vermin and making them sparkle again. It’s an inside job, and Americans will do it. Don’t worry about Bushie. He’s going nowhere other than US courts and maybe a vacation in Gitmo. Same for his not so puffy now neocon directors, (where IS Wolfie-witz?) and same for Obbabla and his zionistcommie controllers. We got it Perfect here thanks to those brilliant, educated, brave men and their wives and families who backed them and gave them support, with the guidance of Jesus Christ, to accomplish their miracle Founding Documents and give us a REPUBLIC form of government… not a Democracy! Yeah, everything here has been twisted and abused after WWII thanks to our graciousness, hospitality and compassion extended to deceivers, and we are waking up with growls.

      The US needs to haul the US Supreme Court Justice Ginsberg to Hearing and Trial to explain who paid her way and gave her authority to go to Egypt and tell Morsy not to use our Constitution as a template for theirs because ours is old an no longer relevant. She broke her Oath of Office that she swore to get the job in our Supreme. Want answers from all those Supremes who broke their own oaths by not confronting Ginsberg about scratching our Constitution. Looks like she had influence with Morsy and on their Constitution. It was a sieve that enabled the Brothers to start influencing, controlling Egypt. Looks like the Egyptians realized what Ginsberg had done and Morsy took orders. Previous Leader was under Israel and Jewish American direction in many ways, keeping Egyptians down. The Egyptians are now putting Morsy in same situation as predecessor. The Egyptians are not going to allow anyone to control them again. Jig is up. Game Over as some of their signs stated in their protests. We Americans saw that and we got the message… the Egyptians KNOW what the controllers have been doing to them. AMERICANS are loving it that they are taking their country back! We must do the same here, but we have our beloved Constitution and Founding Documents that we will use to direct us… we have NOT been vigilant and have been letting groups that want to destroy us slither into control of our institutions, our government, education, medical, financial, legal, entertainment, social and every other aspect of our country. They have been trying to take our guns, to destroy our 2Amendment, destroy our border which is simply a geographical marker of the limit of our SOVEREIGNTY. They are wanting people to trample our sovereignty and laws and flood our country so that they can kill our Founding Documents and create a North America Union of the new world order. Ain’t gonna work. We are going to make them understand Americans. We too are beating the drum GAME OVER, JIG IS UP and will beat them with our documents and sentence those convicted as TRAITORS, to execution.

  • Clarke William Munro Ward

    Has Egyptian military got Apachi gunships, it looks like America is already there.

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