Looks like we just saved $1.3 billion.
About 7 in 10 Egyptians surveyed by Gallup in December 2011 oppose U.S. economic aid to Egypt, and a similar percentage opposes the U.S. sending direct aid to civil society groups. This rebuke of U.S. financial support may be a challenge for Egypt’s newly elected parliament and its future president as the government attempts to bolster the nation’s financial stability…
Egyptians are much more willing to receive aid from international institutions, with 50% favoring this type of help. Egypt’s military and political leaders initally rejected an offer of support from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) but later changed their minds. Last month, Masood Ahmed, Director for the Middle East and Central Asia Department for the IMF, was in Egypt to discuss a potential $3.2 billion IMF loan to Egypt. Egyptian leaders’ ability to attract foreign aid and investment will be important to collecting the capital needed to move the nation’s economy forward.
Considering how widely loathed Mubarak is and who his patron was for 30 years, it’s no surprise that Egyptians aren’t anxious to see American money start flowing to the new government. What makes this poll doubly interesting is that it’s dropping right as the U.S. finds itself in a standoff with Egypt over the arrest of 19 American NGO workers for promoting democracy. One of the conditions of the next round of foreign aid is that Egypt has to meet certain democratic criteria — among which is newfound respect for civic institutions like NGOs. If the Americans (one of whom is the son of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood) end up going to prison, then presumably the check is canceled and our client state — or rather, client military — is no longer a client. The irony, of course, is that even in an age of budget-cutting, the U.S. wants to release this money as a bribe to the new government to maintain its cold peace with Israel. And the other irony is that, in order for the Americans to be released, Egypt’s junta might have to step in and overrule the judiciary in precisely the sort of authoritarian move that those new pro-democracy conditions on foreign aid are meant to deter.
If you’re looking for tea leaves on how this will end up playing out, read this. Here’s Gingrich turning up the heat on Obama with an obvious analogy.