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May 27, 2005

Comments

SP

I wish I could share your enthusiasm, AA...while Bush is to be commended for criticising the violence against protestors, words are cheap and he's still a long way from putting his money where his mouth is, i.e. threatening to cut US aid to Egypt. As I mentioned below too, "not our view of how democracy ought to work" could also imply "but it's OK for the Arabs to take things slowly." The Arab press may have picked up on Bush's criticism, but most of the American papers and BBC seem to be playing the story as "violence occurred and there were some clashes" but not making a stink about state repression and the essentially staged nature of the referendum.

the aardvark

Well, "enthusiasm" might be too strong a word for what I wrote... My point was that a lot of people tend to write off the Arab media as hopelessly anti-American, and then say there's no point in trying to deal with it. Here's a good, clear-cut case where Bush said something which was only minimally positive (from the Arab point of view) which is being spun very, very positively rather than either ignored or spun negatively. The implication being that an American policy which consistently did and said the right thing would get good press and would impact Arab public opinion - something which a lot of critics often deny. So that was my point.

praktike

"words are cheap and he's still a long way from putting his money where his mouth is, i.e. threatening to cut US aid to Egypt"

For the millionth time ... US aid to Egypt is tied to the Camp David accords and therefore to US aid to Israel. There's not much flexibility there unless the US wants to revist Camp David.

Adam Allouba

Praktike, what exactly is Egypt going to do if Washington cuts aid? Sue it for breach of contract? The US should start weaning Egypt (and Israel, but that's another story) off its money now.

- Adam

praktike

"Praktike, what exactly is Egypt going to do if Washington cuts aid? Sue it for breach of contract? The US should start weaning Egypt (and Israel, but that's another story) off its money now."

Um, it already is. Nonmilitary US aid to both Israel and Egypt is declining on a schedule defined by Congress.

Tom Scudder

mmm... "nonmilitary"...

Penta

Tom: Yeah, I know. Isn't it the military aid that matters?

Well, Congress is funny like that. The mil aid keeps production lines open and jobs in the districts.

Vark: The problem is that after the first few years, people's minds are made up.

The Arab media hasn't done balance til very recently, so...the skepticism was kinda justified.

SP

Ah, I see. Well yes, on the point of the Arab media picking up and commending American official statements that are sensible, I would agree with you. I'm just cynical about the Bushies and their both-sides-of-the-mouth talk.

It's the first time I'm hearing about the schedule to reduce non-military aid to Egypt and Israel...any more details? How gradual are we talking, is it enough to make a dent in state budgets? Has it done so already?

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