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The US should suspend foreign aid to Egypt.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/5/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,873 times Debate No: 37413
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In this debate, I will be arguing the case that the foreign aid the United Sates gives to Egypt should be suspended. Round 1 is for acceptance only, after that it's fair game. Good luck!


I'll accept that debate and thanks for the opportunity. Good luck
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for accepting this debate, and good luck to you.

Now, let's begin.

US and Israeli aid began being sent to Egypt soon after the Six Day's War, following a peace treaty between the warring states in 1979. The US gives aid to Egypt in quantity only behind Israel, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iraq. The money and military aid given by the US has increased since 1979, inflation adjusted, and is now 1.55-2 billion dollars, mostly used for military pursuit. (1) The Obama Administration has also recently given a gift of 250 million dollars, although some of that is being reduced in light of recent events.

After the coup that took Mohammed Morsi out of power in early July, the stability of the recently founded peace in Egypt has rapidly degenerated into firing into unarmed crowds, leading to more deaths than were suffered under Mubarak. Many supporters of Morsi have been sentenced to life in prison simply for protesting, and over 1000 innocent civilians and protestors have died by the army's hand, after the suspension of the constitution. (2) For these reasons, it is necessary for the United States to stand for principle and refuse to pay, and in doing so support, the indiscriminate killings of innocent people.

America has always been considered, at least by itself and its allies, a beacon of freedom and democracy, a standard the world should rally to. Regardless of whether you believe that to be true, I think you will agree that condemning the actions of the Egyptian army is just and noble. With more injuries and death than under Mubarak, the current rulers of Egypt are violently cracking down on the (mostly) peaceful protests. I will not include them here, but many videos can be found on Youtube or Liveleaks of clearly unarmed protesters being gunned down at close range. It is the US's obligation, if we wish to live up to our name, to denounce these acts, or at the very least, stop our very direct assistance in them.

One of the the most reiterated arguments from those who support continued aid to Egypt directs itself at the premise that a cut or elimination of aid would result in enmity from Egypt, which might take actions such as closing the Suez Canal, driving up the price of oil. They say the aid being sent causes the Egyptian people and Government to like us.

So let's see how that's working out.

A CNN poll finds that 79% of Egyptians have a dislike or hate of the United States, steadily rising since the treaty (3). On the topic of the treaty, 54% of Egyptians want the treaty cancelled, with just 36% supporting it. But even if Egyptians don't like the United States, surely they like our money? Nope. A Gallup Poll finds that 74% of Egyptians do not want US economic or military aid. (4)

However odd it may seem, if we really desire Egypt's approval, then we will remain out of its internal working, and the polls support that.

Originally enacted in 1961 under President Kennedy, the Foreign Assistance Act lays out the fundamental rules for the US in supplying other countries with aid. I bring up this law because of its policy towards countries suffering, or having recently suffered, a coup. The law says aid must be cut if a "duly elected leader is deposed by military coup d'etat or decree or, after the date of enactment of this Act, a coup d'etat or decree in which the military plays a decisive role."(5) Now, a coup is defined as "a sudden, violent, and illegal seizure of power from a government." (6) The overthrow of Morsi in Egypt certainly fulfills all these requirements, making continued aid a violation of this law, a crime in itself and a bad precedent.

In conclusion, Egyptians doesn't want aid, Americans don't want to give aid to them, and the US most stop, for legal, ethical, and traditional reasons the direct support of the bloodshed caused by the Egyptian Army.

I have much more to say, but I will leave it for next round. Good luck to my opponent, and I look forward to his next entry.



As Pro notes, US aid to Egypt began in 1979 as part of the agreement reached by the Camp David Peace Accords.
Pro should note that the Six-Day War was in 1967, followed by the Yom Kippur War in 1973. The Yom Kippur War was the fourth Arab-Israeli war since 1948. Since Camp David was the continuation of disengagement talks initiated by Kissinger in 1973, it would be more correct to say that peace followed the Yom Kippur War.[1] U.S. aid was correctly seen then, and continues to be seen now, as a bribe to Egypt for maintaining peace with Israel.
This payment is worthwhile to the United States for the following reasons:

1) Egypt is the most populous muslim state in the Middle-East and often the most influential. While Egypt has remained at peace with Israel over the past 35 years, the large Arab League Invasions that marked the first 30 years of Israel's history have been effectively prevented. [2]

2) The provision and monitoring of U.S. aid has provided the U.S. with relationships with Egyptian officials. Essentially, under the umbrella of aid discussion, the U.S. Government has reason to sit down frequently with Egyptian officials and discuss many other aspects of the U.S.-Egyptian relationship.

3) Initially, U.S. aid was provided as a substitute for U.S.S.R aid. During the first 30 years of the Cold War, Egypt was a Russian ally, receiving large amounts of military support which Egypt then employed against Israel. Starting in 1979, U.S. aid to Egypt served as a token of Egypt's transfer of allegiance to the U.S..

4)Aid to Egypt now serves essentially as our only vote in Egyptian politics: the threat to withdraw serves as a kind of veto against Egyptian initiatives that the U.S. would like to prevent. Unfortunately, aid serves as a one-shot veto. Once aid is withdrawn, Egypt is diplomatically isolated and will likely seek new patronage from Saudi Arabia or China, further disengaging Egypt from U.S. interests. Russia is already back in talks with Egypt while the U.S. wavers. [3]

5)Although the U.S. is unpopular in Egypt, all indications are that withdrawing aid would reduce the U.S. favorability in that country even further.

That's a pretty short-sighted view of the conflict. The ouster of Morsi is more correctly seen as a continuation of the popular uprising known as the Arab Spring. Yes, Morsi was fairly elected by the most democratic vote in Egypt's history. However, we can not fail to note that Morsi overthrew the democratic process on November 22 of last year. Morsi issued a proclamation immunizing his decrees from any political process or democratic challenge. As Mohamed El Baradei stated, Morsi had " usurped all state powers and appointed himself Egypt's new pharaoh." [4]
In effect, Morsi staged a coup against the Egyptian democracy before a constitution had even been agreed.
The American Declaration of Independence asserts:

"...When a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security." [4]

By the founding fathers' estimation, the Egyptian people had a duty to overthrow their new tyrant and establish a new framework towards democracy. Punishing Egypt for its dogged pursuit of a more representative government would the less democratic option.

Pro and Con can agree that the military crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood represents the brutal oppression of a large minority in Egypt. The mass murder of unarmed protesters must always be condemned. However, Pro's suggestion that the military is acting in opposition to the popular movement for democratic reform. This is not true. The Egyptian military consistently denies any interest in long-term governance and is in fact the strongest faction supporting populist, inclusive reform.

Pro should also note that time was running out on a peaceful compromise. Morsi had advocated for intervention in Syria on the side of insurgents. This was a fairly unpopular stand in Egypt (Syria and Egypt were briefly one country 55 years ago) and any war against Syria would have certainly been more divisive for Egypt than the current unrest. The military removed Morsi from power to prevent the Syrian Crisis from escalating into a much larger conflict.

Which American principle is it then, for which we are so well considered? I can't think of any principle for which it might be fairly said the U.S. has consistently advocated in the Arab world. Freedom? The U.S. has made a strong alliance with brutal authoritarian states like Saudi Arabia. Democracy? Americans may have forgotten that the CIA and UK intelligence overthrew the popular and democratically elected President of Iran in 1953 and installed the autocratic Shah as a puppet for oil companies, but the Middle-East has not forgotten. As Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas said, "When Mossadegh and Persia started basic reforms, we became alarmed. We united with the British to destroy him; we succeeded; and ever since, our name has not been an honored one in the Middle East."
Americans may have forgotten that the U.S. secretly sold weapons to Iran while allied with Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war, but the Middle-East has not forgotten. If Pro believes that an American principle should be to disengage with any nation guilty of killing innocent people, than America would be friendless indeed. Nor, by that lofty principle, would the U.S. qualify for her own aid programs. As Groucho Marx once said, " Those are my principles and if you don't like them....well, I have others."


If we cut off aid tomorrow, the U.S. would drop in the polls some more. In the United States, congressional popularity is far worse than American popularity in Egypt, only 10% approve of Congress. Nevertheless, the great majority of senators and representatives are re-elected. When polling data conflicts with an electorate's self-interest, bet on self-interest. The Egyptian Street is simply incapable of rational thought about the United States and for good reasons. Nevertheless, the Egyptian majority is clearly most interested in a democratic state and the Egyptian military is clearly the only faction in Egypt with the means and the interest to implement democracy. So long as U.S. aid remains popular with the military, and so long as the military continues to represent the interests of the majority of Egyptians, U.S. support still favors Egypt's primary interest. If we only gave aid to countries that loved us, what would be the purpose?

In fact, the same act states that no assistance will be provided to a government which "engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights, including torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, prolonged detention without charges, causing the disappearance of persons by the abduction and clandestine detention of those persons, or other flagrant denial of the right to life, liberty, and the security of person".[5]

In context, we see that legal idealism has no place in foreign aid: of the 24 countries that receive US foreign aid, how many actual uphold this standard? Con would argue 2 barely qualify: South Africa and Mexico. The other 91% of foreign aid recipients fail to qualify. In fact, Con would argue that since the War on Terror, the United States would not qualify as a recipient of their own foreign aid according to the standards put forward by this act.

Debate Round No. 2


Thank you for your argument. Well done, sir!

Now, I would first like to apologize for failing to mention the Yom Kippur War. It completely slipped my mind, and con is correct, that Egypt and its Arab coalition lost two major wars in reasonable quick succession, adding to their reason for wanting peace. Now I would first like to respond to con's statement at the end of his opening correction

Con says, "U.S. aid was correctly seen then, and continues to be seen now, as a bribe to Egypt for maintaining peace with Israel. "

This is simply not an assumption you can make. First of all, like I mentioned above, Egypt had been twice defeated by Israel in the space of less than a decade, making peace an important objective. Now, if the treaty was simply money in exchange for peace,then I would grant you this point. The treaty, however, covers peace in small part, and mostly focuses on commercial matters such as oil. (1) Money and aid was simply another bargaining chip for the west, and it would take good information from several qualified sources before it is reasonable to make that belief.

Also, if the US and Israel were really afraid enough of Egypt that they needed to bribe the state for peace, why would they send them 2 billion dollars in military aid? That's like bribing al-Quaeda with bombs in hopes of preventing terrorist attacks.

Now, on to rebuttals:

1. Yes, all the Arab league invasions have been prevented, furthering the reason for why Egypt has no cause, and indeed no desire, to attack Israel. This is going off the assumption that Egypt wants our aid, which polls say is not the case. (2)

2. I do not see what issue the United States and Egypt would not be able to talk about, that they could not plan independently. If an important issue is secret, plan a secret meeting. There is no point to using the "umbrella of aid discussion" to discuss other topics. This might be a good argument for presenting aid to Egypt in the first place, but not a good justification of keeping military aid despite the current Government killing thousands.

3. Again, a good argument for aid, but not for briefly suspending that aid until democratic principles are enacted. Also, the treaty was far more complicated then simple aid, and I do not think Egypt would run back to Russia because of the US cutting off its aid for what the Egyptian Army claims to be in favor of.

4. Here con argues that aid is our only vote in Egyptian politics, and actually says "serves as a kind of veto against Egyptian initiatives that the U.S. would like to prevent". Yes, and one such initiative would be the shooting of unarmed civilians. I cannot think of many better circumstances to veto an action. Con then says "Egypt is diplomatically isolated and will likely seek new patronage from Saudi Arabia or China, further disengaging Egypt from U.S. interest". So then if we remove the aid, this will happen? Then where's that vote in Egyptian politics con mentioned if the US can't even afford to remove the aid? I would again remind Con that this suspension of aid would be for a short time, until the promises of reform made by the army are carried out.

5. The people currently do not support aid from the US to Egypt, partially on account that the Government uses it on them. Now, if the peoples' power was restored, this might change, but I support the return of aid in that situation. I would like to see sources for this, or at least an in depth explanation of why, if Egyptians really want US aid, the polls all report that they don't.


Con says, "That's a pretty short-sighted view of the conflict." What, cutting off aid for two or three months, possibly a shorter amount of time? In the short-sight, thousands of people are getting killed, and it is partially being funded by the US. Yes, democracy might return. Then we begin giving aid again. It's that simple, and not short-sighted at all.

My opponent then goes on to talk about the evils of Morsi, stating "Morsi staged a coup against the Egyptian democracy before a constitution had even been agreed." Morsi was a pretty awful president. How does this mean the shooting of lead bullets into unarmed crowds is not a justification for cutting off aid? Also, Morsi did not kill thousands of protesters when he was President, and the Egyptian army has not only committed that grievance, and staged a real coup, but has suspended the Egyptian constitution and made many controversial and untested emergency decisions. (3)

The next argument con makes on this point, after coping a part of the US constitution, states "Punishing Egypt for its dogged pursuit of a more representative government would the less democratic option." Suspending the constitution and gunning down protestors is not a dogged pursuit of democracy. I also fail to see how suspending military aid would demote democracy. Wouldn't a smaller military help that process?

To finalize his case, Con makes yet another unsupported claim, saying "The military removed Morsi from power to prevent the Syrian Crisis from escalating into a much larger conflict." Yes, Morsi's pro-rebel stand was unpopular, but is one of many reasons he was hated among the Egyptian people. If you wish to claim that Syria is one of the primary reasons for Morsi's ousting, then I would demand evidence.


My opponent refutes my claim that America is known as a beacon of democracy by pointing out America' spotted past in supporting peace in the Middle East. He missed the point of that section. While I did mention that America was known for supporting democracy, I then said, "Regardless of whether you believe that to be true, I think you will agree that condemning the actions of the Egyptian army is just and noble". The point of this section was that the Egyptian Army killing people is wrong. The US's past grievances are irrelevant.


In the last round, I pointed out that the Egyptians greatly oppose US aid in polls. There are two main reasons it seems this could be true:

A. Egyptians don't want America to try to dip its toe in their affairs.
B. The Government uses the aid against them.

Con states, "the Egyptian majority is clearly most interested in a democratic state and the Egyptian military is clearly the only faction in Egypt with the means and the interest to implement democracy". That is true, and as soon as they do, the aid should return. Once again, cutting off military aid does not stem the democratic process.

Con then goes on. "So long as U.S. aid remains popular with the military, and so long as the military continues to represent the interests of the majority of Egyptians, U.S. support still favors Egypt's primary interest" At this point, the military represents neither democracy nor a very large portion of Egyptians. Con is correct, the US does support Egypt's primary interest of establishing democracy, which is why cutting aid until that goal is reached is an important incentive.


To refute this argument, con points out the many failures of the US to follow their own law. While this is shameful for the US, the refusal to adhere to this law does not make the law invalid. If Iraq were to use chemical weapons again, would that be acceptable given that they've done the same in the past? This law should be followed, and the failure of the US to do so is the US's problem, not the law's, as are the gross abuses of human rights committed by the US.

I look forward to your next argument, sir.



Pro asks for sources to back up Con's characterization of U.S. Aid to Egypt as bribe

Characterizing U.S. Aid as a bribe is a perspective, a correlation used to explain American motives. Nevertheless, this is hardly an unusual point of view. One can find hundreds of editorials online that call U.S. aid a bribe, both for and against.

"In essence, the current level of U.S. aid to Egypt and Israel is a bribe dating back to the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty. Israel demanded a long-term aid commitment in exchange for withdrawing from the Sinai, which it had occupied since the 1967 Six-Day War. Egypt got the money as a reward for making peace and realigning with the West. "[1]

"Foreign aid is often little more than a bribe for a foreign regime to behave in ways that please the U.S. government."[2]

Pro argues that U.S. Aid is should not be seen as a bribe paid to Egypt in exchange for peace because peace was only part of the Camp David Accords

You say this as if Peace weren't the ultimate requirement. Do you really think Israel would continue to purchase oil from Egypt if they were at war? Peace between these two states is the foundation of all other agreements, obviously.

Pro argues that providing military aid to a potential enemy would be like bribing al-Qaeda with bombs

Yesterday, the CIA started shipping small arms to the Syrian Opposition, which has a strong Al-Qaeda faction.[3] This includes anti-tank weapons, anti-aircraft, rocket propelled grenades and mortars. So, yes, we are currently providing al-Quaeda with bombs. As the world's largest arms exporter, the U.S. often ends up arming the enemy. The Taliban fights in Afghanistan with weapons provided to it by the CIA. Iraq fought the U.S. with weapons purchased from the United States. Reagan secretly sold arms to Iran even as they were sponsoring American hostage-taking in Beirut. The U.S. State Dept. names Pakistan as the #1 state sponsor of terrorism world wide and also gives Pakistan roughly $1.5 billion each year is military aid. Whether you agree with the policy or not, there's no denying the U.S. does arm her enemies in the pursuit of policy.

Pro argues that Egypt has no desire for war with Israel

The Egyptian military has no desire for war with Israel. The Egyptian people are less decided. Remember that in September 2011, thousands of Egyptian protesters overran the Israeli embassy in Cairo. There is a strong, radical minority that wants war with Israel. The majority of the Egyptian street might not want war, but consider Israel an enemy and are sympathetic with the radicals.

Pro argues that the U.S. and Egypt could conduct discussions even without the umbrella of aid

Perhaps, but its not as easy a you think. Before the coup, while Morsi was essentially not taking calls from Washington, the U.S. aid based relationship between Sec. of Defense Chuck Hagel and General Abdel Fatah el-Sissi was the Obama administration's only viable channel of communication to senior Egyptian officials. [4] Without U.S. talks as an excuse even this single thread might have been unavailable. Without U.S. Aid as a foundation, Egypt might talk to the U.S. anyway, but maybe they wouldn't. When you think of all the wars started because leaders did not correctly understand the other guy's intentions, is it really worth the risk of severing established ties?

Pro argues that he does not think the Egyptians would run back to Russia for aid

As cited before, talks between Egypt and Russia are already underway. Here's' another article about China and Russia already rushing to fill the void left by the U.S.'s hesitation to embrace the post-coup govt.[5] Saudi Arabia is also getting in line. As the most influential country in terms of Muslim opinion and the most powerful nation in Africa, there are many powers who are jealous of the U.S. alliance with Egypt and would be more than happy to replace U.S. patronage with their own.

Pro argues he can't think of many better reasons to use U.S. one-shot vote (cutting off aid) than over the issue of civilian deaths

I can think of plenty of reasons to reserve U.S.'s one shot. Here's a few:

*the lives of U.S. citizens
*the protection of U.S. corporate and NGO resources in Egypt
*provocative actions against Israel
*threats against the Suez Canal

Pro requests an
in depth explanation of why, if Egyptians really want US aid, the polls all report that they don't

The Egyptian military's role is essentially the same as the Roman Praetorian Guard- they do not wish power for themselves, but they are the final arbiter of who has power. The 2011 revolution was successful because the military refused to attack the protesters. Morsi won power, in part, because he refused to oppose military control during the 2011-2012 transition. Morsi lost power because he alarmed the military after seizing dictatorial power in November 2012. The Egyptian military generally likes the idea of a democratic, secular inclusive government so long as that govt. does not infringe on the military's interests. The Egyptian military likes U.S. aid. That money represents a third of the Egyptian military budget and ensures that the military is well paid. The Egyptian people resent the West in general dating back to Greek and Roman and French and English rule. The Egyptian people resent the U.S. specifically because of support for Israel and many violations of sovereignty in the Middle-East. So, the polls show the Egyptian people hate U.S. aid accurately, but the guarantors of democracy like U.S. Aid The majority of the Egyptian people want a democratic nation above all else, so U.S. Aid supports their primary interest, even if they resent it.


Look, it is a cold-blooded thing to say, but the death of Muslim Brotherhood protesters should not be a priority for the U.S. Although the U.S. tries hard to remain neutral about Egypt's political parties, the MB is the worst on a list of bad choices. The MB was the most anti-secular, anti-western, anti-women, anti-Christian party on the ticket, and the U.S. is not sorry to see them out of power. While their protests after the coup were generally unarmed, this was because the MB had no chance against the military, not because the MB are committed to peace Even while the political protests were suppressed, MB thugs were violently scapegoating Christians and Shiites in reprisal. [6]

Obama has already condemned the actions of the military, so I guess he's met your definition of just and noble.[7] Condemnation is simply talk. Con asked Pro to define which principle we're supposed to be standing for, demonstrating that freedom and democracy are not priorities in American foreign policy, whatever the rhetoric.


Let's boil this down. Con argues against the suspension of aid because it is contrary to U.S. interests in the region. Pro argues that killing people is bad and we should employ a disused and hypocritical law in order to make a moral point. Pro fails to argue how this might promote U.S. interest, because it doesn't.
U.S. interest must guide U.S. Foreign Policy. Pretending at moral superiority is hypocritical and unproductive.


Debate Round No. 3


US Aid as a Bribe:

Con argues that a lot of other people agree with him, so therefore he is correct. However, the whole idea that Egypt would attack Israel if US cut aid is ridiculous. Indeed, Egypt and Israel are quite close. (1)

The Wall Street Journal reports: "Nowadays, the Egyptian military has a far closer relationship with the Israeli Defense Forces than with the U.S. It values Israeli advice on matters like terrorism and Hamas." (2)

Indeed, the army and Israel are quite close friends. Fox news reports, "Israel is quietly and carefully watching the turmoil in neighboring Egypt while maintaining close contacts with the Egyptian military."(3)

Obviously the army is far more pro-Israel and pro-West than the Egyptian people, but I would remind Con that I am not arguing the army should give up power, but instead should simply stop the mass killing of their own people. It is ridiculous to think that Egypt would turn on Israel because the US briefly cut off aid with a valid justification.


In the last round, I used the analogy of giving the army weapons at the moment to giving AL-Quaeda bombs. My opponent attempts to counter this by explaining how the US often does manage to supply terrorists with weapons. His point is not entirely clear. The US massacred the natives in the past, does that make it acceptable now? The US used chemical weapons in Vietnam, so we're clear to do it again? Regardless of past grievances, not giving the Egyptian army weapons at the moment is a cause that almost nobody could condemn.


"The Egyptian military has no desire for war with Israel." Yes, and I am not arguing that the Egyptian military and their supporters should give up power. But killing their own people cannot be supported. As shown earlier, Egypt actually exercises quite good relations with Israel, and shares extensive commercial ties. (4) Furthermore, Egypt is cracking down on anti-Israel militants, despite the turmoil in their country. (5) Egypt-Israeli ties will not be hurt by the US cutting off aid, much less Egypt actually threatening Israel militarily.


I do not quite see how Chuck Hagel and Abdel Fatah el-Sissi will end their old fishing-buddy friendship over this. Furthermore, the Egypt-Israeli treaty only in small part discusses aid. The rest of the treaty is still an excuse for talks, as is the possible restoration of the aid. Talks will not be hurt by cutting off aid, and will only last a short time.


Egypt making economic and commercial ties with Russia and China is not necessarily a bad thing. As for more personal ties, if the Egyptian army really cares about democracy, then it won't become too friendly, and if they don't, then the US should not support it. Also, how would you suggest that the US stops these talks? The US supplies more and more aid, and the talks continue. Clearly, Egypt wants to be allies with Russia and China, regardless of their relations with the US.


Con cites a number of better reasons to cut off aid to Egypt. I can as well.

1. Nuclear development and threat
2. Use of chemical or biological weapons
3. WMD support of terrorists

My point here is that there is always worse. Egypt could start using WMD's on their people, and someone could say, "wait, don't cut off aid, because their not using nuclear weapons yet". Over one thousand people have died at the hands of the Egyptian military, and while there are always better reasons, this one does not become less valid.

The cutting off of aid would also not take that chip off the table. The US could threaten to suspend it longer or even permanently revoke the aid.


Cutting off aid will be remembered as the right side of history. When my opponent argues the transgressions the US has committed on foreign policy, I can see this issue being added to the list in the future. Removal of the military aid for a short time will not harm Israeli-Egyptian relations, or extensively harm Egypt-US relations. The justification is sound, and this action will help to lessen the horrors being played out in Egypt at the moment. The killings at the hands of the Egyptian military shows the validity of the Foreign Assistance Act, and especially what it says for coups. (5) Cutting off aid is a win-win, and it must be done for principle and for law.

Thank you Con for debating this with me, and may the best man win.




In spite of all the rhetoric, Pro's argument is simple: killing people is bad, Egypt has killed people, therefore U.S. Aid to Egypt should be withdrawn as punishment. Would that the world were so straightforward that such laudable sentiments were the beginning and end of U.S. foreign policy. Regrettably, the world is complex and dangerous and good foreign policy requires consideration of consequences.

Above all other considerations, U.S. foreign policy must weigh the benefits and consequences to the people of the United States. However contemptible the deaths of Egyptian citizens, those lives are the responsibility of Egypt and must weigh lightly in the balance against U.S. interests. U.S. policy does and of a right ought to make U.S. interests in the region our priority. Our primary interests are

*The security of U.S. citizens in the Middle East
*The security of U.S. defense and corporate infrastructure in the Middle East
*Peace between Egypt and Israel as the foundation of Israeli security
*Privileged access through the Suez Canal, especially for the Navy and the transportation of oil

Of secondary importance, (but still important) is U.S. support for emergent democracies in the region. Far down the list is the preservation of the lives of political factions who despise U.S. interests and work against the above goals. President Obama has condemned the violence against the Muslim Brotherhood, and the U.S. would do well to leave our response at condemnation only. Cutting off U.S. aid to Egypt would work against all of the above priorities and would have little impact on the actions of the Egyptian military, who feel they must suppress the MB in order to maintain any hope for democracy.

Con has asked for, and Pro has failed to provide, any evidence that the removal of aid might promote U.S. interests in the region. Nor did Pro make any defense of Morsi or the Muslim Brotherhood or explain why he insists on action against this coup while ignoring Morsi's coup of November 2012. Instead, Pro has worked at countering Con's evidence without maintaining any consistent line of argument against aid.

When Con asserted that U.S. Aid was best seen as a bribe for peace, Pro demanded "qualified sources" in Round3. Con provided those sources in Round3, which Pro now rejects with a wave of his hand: "so a lot of other people agree with [Con]."

Pro goes on to note that the Egyptian military is close to Israel, which supports Cons argument that U.S. aid is working to maintain peace.

Pro states that he is "not arguing the army should give up power," but he is arguing that we should remove a third of that military's funding. Pro apparently sees no connection between money and power, but Con thinks the majority would argue otherwise.

Pro argues the U.S. must not consider Egypt a viable threat to peace in the region because we give them aid. Giving aid to a potential enemy, he argued, would be as unthinkable as giving bombs to al Qaeda. When Con pointed out the U.S. already gives bombs to al Qaeda, Pro lost his train of thought and returned to "killing people is bad." The truth is that peace between Israel and Egypt is fragile. In August 2011, Palestinians attacked Israel across Egypt's border attempting to provoke a conflict.[1] In August 2012, Jihadis invaded an Egyptian base then attacked Israel using Egyptian equipment. In both cases, the Egyptian military coordinated with Israel to put down the invaders. If the Egyptian military's position was weakened or undermined by the removal of aid, the risk of war increases substantially.

Pro seems to believe that U.S. can unilaterally remove one portion of the Camp David Accords (U.S. Aid) without doing damage to rest of the accord, since aid is only a small part of the treaty. The aid, however, is what the Egyptian military gets out of the deal. Why, for example, would Egypt continue to provide expedited passage through the Suez for U.S. Naval and U.S. oil barges if they're not getting anything in return? Why should the Egyptian military lose lives protecting the Israeli border from incursion if there's nothing in it for them? Pro may be fuzzy on the "bribe for peace" concept, but the Egyptian military is not. Furthermore, why would the Egyptians continue to remain in contact with U.S. counterparts if the U.S. removes motive? Does Pro really believe the Secretary of Defense and General el-Sissi are simply hanging out together? No, they are discussing shared interests that disappear when the money goes away. Pro seems to believe that it is possible to remove the base of a pyramid without eroding the structure above. U.S. Aid to Egypt is the base of U.S. influence in the Middle East, it cannot be removed without damaging that influence.

In round2, Pro agreed that preventing Russian & Chinese influence was "a good argument for aid" but that he did not think "Egypt would run back to Russian because of the U.S. cutting off its aid." By round4, Pro has decided that Russian & Chinese "is not necessarily a bad thing" and anyway, why bother. The answer to why bother is that the Russians and the Chinese are less interested in the preservation of Israel. Also, were those countries to inherit U.S. privileged shipping rights, American oil companies and American Navies would be at significant strategic disadvantage. Further, all of that military aid money essentially commits Egypt to buying from American manufacturers. When the money is cut, American jobs are lost. When Obama first floated the notion of suspending aid in the spring of 2012, the State Dept. objected that suspending $1.3 billion in foreign aid would actually cost the U.S. $2billion in cancelled contracts with companies like Lockheed-Martin and General Dynamics [3]

Pro further promotes Con's argument by offering additional priorities that should supersede the killing of Muslim Brotherhood protesters as valid causes for the suspension of aid. Pro admits these are "better reasons" but argues that this one (killing Brotherhood members) is not less valid. Yes, con argues, yes it less valid because those killings do not significantly impact U.S. interests. Again, let's hold off on suspension until U.S. interests are at stake.

In his conclusion, Con returns to the over-simple moral argument: "right side of history." Con argues that cutting off aid would "lessen the horrors," but fails to demonstrate how. Con states that cutting aid is a "win-win" but has not identified one winner, much less two winners, much less what has been won. The Egyptian military loses money, the U.S. loses influence, who are these winners Pro speaks of? Russia and China?

Con's argument is small picture and small focus. Violence equals reprisal. Just as Con forgot about the Yom Kippur War, Con forgets about Morsi's coup in November 2012, forgets which faction has a proven record of supporting democracy and which wants war with Syria, war with Israel, eventual war with the United States.

U.S. foreign policy requires big picture thinking with clarity of purpose. The purpose of U.S. policy is to promote U.S. interests, not to punish governments for injustices (especially since the U.S. foreign policy track record is not particularly just and we'd only seem like hypocrites). Egypt has the largest army in Africa and the greatest influence on Arab thought in the Middle East. Even if the Egyptian people do not embrace U.S. policies, maintaining peace and a rational dialogue with Egyptian leaders is clearly in the best interest of U.S. as well as those Egyptians striving for a free, secular Egypt. The U.S. has no compelling motive to risk or damage a peaceful and profitable 35 year contract.

Thanks to Pro for a good debate. VOTE CON!


Debate Round No. 4
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