Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Aegypt"s Failed State


Is girl hating Aegypt fixing to hop into the Failed State pit?

Sho am lookit!!

Today, a democratic transition that the West sought to portray as a model that other Arab nations could emulate lies in tatters. Egypt’s economy, bruised by the outflow of foreign investment and a dearth of tourists, is on life support. Rebuilding the country will require much more than the cheering from the sidelines that Western countries have offered so far.
Egypt has always relied on munificent benefactors to sustain its patchy state and economy. After the military coup in 1952, the Soviets provided much of the needed aid. Their “technical” experts turned the country’s second city, Alexandria, into a Russian country club. After Egypt pivoted to the West in the wake of the 1973 war against Israel, America became its main patron.
But America’s ritual annual gift of roughly $1.5 billion could only dull the pain of Egypt’s problems, not resolve them. The country can no longer provide enough government stipends in the form of bureaucratic posts for college graduates. Egypt can only hope for cash infusions to offset its internal hemorrhaging.
By making aid conditional on economic reform and democratic transition, however, the international community risks political triage. It should instead focus on financial assistance that blunts Egyptians’ frustrations and that contributes to building the institutions that will facilitate the transition toward democracy.
Of the $1.56 billion that the US State Department requested for Egypt in 2013, only $250 million is earmarked for non-military programs. The US should increase funding for projects that focus on governance, civil society, and strengthening the rule of law. Such programs receive a paltry $25 million in the 2013 budget.
To bolster the economy, the US needs to shift its aid policies away from funding projects toward providing immediate budgetary relief. Though financing water-efficiency schemes certainly helps society, its effects are felt years after the aid is initially dispensed.
The US, and other Western donors, should instead help Egypt to husband its resources, which are often misspent in an effort to placate its people. Egypt is the largest wheat importer in the world, and food subsidies account for approximately 2% of GDP. To preserve its precious foreign-currency reserves, Egypt needs the US and its allies to provide foodstuffs. Such a policy was adopted in the aftermath of the 1973 war, when America offered $200 million annually for wheat procurement. Embracing such policies will give institutions and the democratic process the time and space they need to plant firm roots.
Beyond such questions lies the fate of democracy in one of civilization’s most ancient lands. Whoever triumphs in future elections will lack the legitimacy that only a majority can provide. Such a majority spoke last year, when it elected Morsi. To strip him of his post negates a basic pillar of democracy and sets a dangerous precedent.
In a country that faces so many problems, the paradox of Morsi’s removal from power and the dilemmas of democracy that occasioned it are not among them.
Pic - "This is unlikely to be simply a procedure like free elections. Rather, it could be a principle: separation of state and religion"


ZZMike said...

Yet another triumph for Obama Rex's foreign policy.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget - Roughly 80% of women in Egypt have been subject to FGM. That fact goes unsaid in the world press. Hard to have empathy for any 'democratic uprising'ness in a country that, basically, wholly discounts half of their society this way.