Senator Rand Paul told a group gathered at a fundraising event in New York City via Skype that he plans to introduce legislation to ban military aid transfers to the fledgling government of Egypt. Unless I’ve got the timeline wrong, this would only apply to future aid packages to Egypt; because at least some of the scheduled 20 F-16 fighters and 200 Abrams tanks are already there or on their way. I suppose it could stop the full transfer from taking place. Either way, I applaud it.
While I don’t see a future conflict with Egypt as a fait accompli, I do believe the prudent course would be to wait and see if a reasonable democratic non-fundamentalist government can emerge and/or last a series of elections. The last thing we’d want to face is the reality that, at some point in the near future, we’re headed to Egypt to impose a no-fly zone over a regime that’s using the very weapons we sent them in the first place.
This is certainly not the first time a Paul has spoken out against foreign aid. His father, more or less, ran a presidential campaign with bringing an end to the practice as a cornerstone. While I don’t take the hard line absolutist approach either Paul believes in, I do think it’s somewhat ridiculous to be arming regimes we know very little about. Beyond that, what we do know is anything but comforting.
$1.3 billion in aid to Egypt may be a drop in the bucket considering the amount of spending that goes on in Washington. But from where I sit, I fail to see how any amount of money will ever put our country in the “good graces” of a fundamentalist regime driven and motivated its misguided interpretation of Islam. Egypt may have been a decades-long buffer between Israel and hostile nations, but I hardly see how further arming them at this time does anything to protect our greatest ally in the region. It would seem that the gesture would do little more than help legitimize and strengthen the Muslim Brotherhood’s control of Egypt and position in the region.