Over the past four decades, America has shelled out more than $60 billion to the Egyptian government. Every year, “We the People” provide $1.3 billion in military aid, plus supplemental economic support to the tune of $250 million.
This year, that total will include an additional $4 million paid as bail to broker the release of American NGO workers held in detention by the Cairene government. Although the pro-democracy staffers were ultimately allowed to leave the country, the charges against them stand, in absentia.
As the prescient John Tabin and I have reported, the high-stakes standoff prompted some folks on the Hill to question the logic of bestowing taxpayer largesse to a “Supreme Council” that insists on detaining said taxpayers. The military junta is currently at the nation’s helm in the run-up to presidential elections, but it’s anyone guess when, how (or why) they might turn over the keys to a civilian administration.
Per terms established by Congress last December, the Egyptian “government” must demonstrate a commitment to a free, fair, and tolerant civic society to receive American assistance. It’s obvious to anyone with a pulse — including the majority of Egyptians — that they’re not living up to their end of the bargain.
As recently as March 15, Sen. Paul (R-KY) and Rep. Bachmann (R-MN.) sent a letter to Secretary Clinton, urging her to recognize the obvious: the government of Egypt is in the grips of a non-civil oligarchy that has no interest in meeting the conditions of our aid.
For her part, Clinton could not care less.
Yesterday, the Secretary of State waived Congressional requirements and cleared the way for full funding to resume to our “allies” in Cairo. In so doing, she removed any leverage we held to press their government to meet our demands of civilian rule, transparent elections. and the protection of speech, association, and religious practice.
Moreover, she revealed this administration’s utter disregard for Congressional directive — not to mention the American taxpayer, who is annually compelled to support the financial scaffolding of authoritarianism and Cold Peace with Israel.
The bipartisan reaction in Congress has been largely negative. For once, it seems, they get it.