How many billions are U.S. taxpayers willing to give Islamist regimes in the Middle East, both directly and through international organizations? The Obama administration is likely to find out. The Washington Post reports:
The United States and a coalition of international lenders are pushing ahead with billions of dollars in loans and other help for Egypt and neighboring states despite the region’s sometimes violent political turmoil, in hopes of heading off a destabilizing economic collapse.The risks involved in the effort have been on sharp display in Egypt in the clashes between protesters and forces loyal to President Mohamed Morsi, whose Islamist government must be trusted by the United States, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and others to deliver on commitments made in return for international support.
President Obama is planning $1 billion in debt forgiveness for Egypt. The IMF wants to secure a $4.8 billion loan of its own. The World Bank is considering a $2 billion request from Egypt in further governance support. And the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is planning to invest more than $3 billion per year in Egypt, Tunisia, and others by 2015. The major shareholder in the IMF and World Bank is, of course, the U.S., and we’re a financing member of the EBRD, too. All this is on top of the ‘normal’ $2 billion in American aid to Egypt for both military and civilian purposes in an average year.
This is a horrible conundrum from a foreign policy standpoint. It’s crystal clear that without massive foreign aid Egypt and a number of other Arab countries (including Syria, when the dust settles after the war) will go down the tubes.