M.J. Rosenberg writes: I have a prediction about how the United States will respond if the Egyptian revolution is ultimately utterly crushed by the military, which certainly seems to be happening.
My prediction is that we say how terrible it is that the Egyptian people lost their struggle for democracy (at least, temporarily) but will take no actions that really punish the generals. Specifically, we will not halt $1.3 billion in United States military assistance – at least, not for longer than a symbolic suspension to indicate displeasure with the generals.
Of course, stopping the military aid is the best possible way to get the generals to go back to the barracks and let the revolution continue. After all, military aid does not benefit the Egyptian people in any way (in contrast to the humanitarian assistance we provide through USAID). Those tanks, fighter aircraft and the rest only benefit the army and the U.S. contractors who produce them, of course. They only add to the power the military can use against its prime enemy: the popular forces for democracy that launched the Egyptian revolution last year.
It seems counter-intuitive that we would support a military junta that crushed a revolution we supported. After all, the United States government is usually quick to stick it to Arabs who defy us in any way unless they happen to be floating on a sea of oil, which Saudi Arabia is and Egypt isn’t.
So why would we continue supplying the Egyptian military with aid, after they upturned the revolution, especially given the provisions of the law that require a cutoff of military aid if Egypt does not move toward democracy (the law contains a waiver which Secretary of State Clinton invoked as recently as March, a sign of more waivers to come).
The reason is simple. The Netanyahu government wants the aid to continue and, a point I need not belabor, it gets what it wants from both the president and Congress. [Continue reading…]