Obama Cuts Foreign Aid to Egypt

Posted: Oct 10, 2013 11:00 AM

The United States of America is what Mark Steyn forlornly describes as the brokest nation in history. And yet every single year our government shells out hundreds of billions of dollars in foreign aid to countries all over the world. That’s remarkable. We are indeed a generous nation. Or, more precisely, our elected representatives are exceedingly generous with our money -- an important distinction to make. In any case, we do this in part as a gesture of solidarity and in support of our western and non-western "allies" in key geopolitical areas across the globe. Plus, in the scheme of things, the sum really isn’t all that prohibitive -- that is, when compared to how much money we spend on entitlements, unfunded liabilities, interest payments on the debt, etc. etc. But at the very least the administration is finally making Egypt work for our hard-earned taxpayer dollars -- a country that has devolved into chaos and anarchy ever since the military coup last summer (via Time):

The U.S. will withhold hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Egypt amid a crackdown by the country’s military-backed regime, the State Department said Wednesday.

The U.S., which provides up to $1.5 billion in aid annually to the Arab nation, will withhold delivery of certain large-scale military systems and cash assistance to the Egyptian government, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement. She did not provide a dollar amount.

The aid will be withheld “pending credible progress toward an inclusive, democratically elected civilian government through free and fair elections,” Psaki wrote in the statement. The U.S. will still provide funding for Egypt to secure its borders, fight terrorism, and ensure security in the Sinai, Psaki said.

The decision marks the White House’s most significant response yet since the Egyptian military ousted President Mohamed Morsi of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood party in July, sparking waves of violence that have left hundreds of Morsi supporters dead. The U.S. previously canceled biennial joint military exercises with Egypt and suspended delivery of four F-16 fighter jets.

The vast majority of Americans would presumably support the Obama administration’s new policy. And for budget hawks like Rand Paul and his father, I would imagine this is a really good first step. But this doesn't necessarily mean the United States will ever cut off all foreign aid to Egypt -- or any other country, for that matter -- until certain preconditions are met. Hardly. But at least cutting off substantial foreign aid to Egypt until after the government complies with US demands is a positive development.

Question: Why don’t we do this all the time?

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