Thursday, March 14, 2013

Qatar Cuts Egypt Loose

Egypt has lost yet another source of funding, meaning that its problems will continue to escalate. Walter Russell Mead describes the situation. He notes that Egypt won't enact the austerity measures on which the IMF is conditioning a loan, and Qatar is cutting its umbilical cord. Mead suggests that Obama may ask Congress for additional funding to help Egypt.

It presents a quandary. The U.S. is basically bankrupt, and money to Egypt will not win us any friends (see the post on Germany and its relations with Southern Europe), but will merely embolden our enemies. ("Hey, look, America is paying us more jizya!").  If the U.S. doesn't, Egypt may collapse into civil war, or begin to look at the time honored tradition of conquering its neighbors for wealth--further destabilizing the region.

Frankly, I see bailing out Egypt as throwing good money after bad, but that is because I see the collapse of Egypt as forgone. They are in the process of driving out the Copts and stamping out secular Western influences--i.e., the economic backbone of their nation's economy, as this article notes:
The regime’s permissive attitude toward attacks on Copts and their property over many months by Islamist fanatics is among the reasons for the 45 per cent collapse in the Egyptian share market in the year to date. Long denied significant employment in government, the Copts have become the backbone of the more productive and efficient sectors of the Egyptian economy, such as tourism, IT and telecommunications. Tragically, they are now queuing at all available exits.
In the Wall Street Journal , Brett Stephens asks the question that increasingly preys on many minds, namely: How will the world deal with eight million Copts? As Stephens says, they won’t:
The overwhelming majority of Copts do not have easy exit options and will have to fend, and fight, for themselves in a country that despises their faith, envies their wealth, and suspects their allegiance. It’s a recipe for repression and murder on a mass scale.

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