Are We Helping in Egypt, or Paying Tribute?

Our "smartest guy in the room" president and our brand-new secretary of state have determined that the best way to deal with the regime of President Morsi in Egypt is to provide "aid" in the sum of $250,000,000.  They will "loan" the Morsi government a quarter of a billion dollars that we will have to borrow from China to "aid in stabilizing the Egyptian economy."

Of course, there don't seem to be any specifics noted by either Barack Obama or John Kerry as to exactly what this money will be used for, nor what benefit, if any, the ordinary citizens of the United States will enjoy in return for this largess.  It is just another example of the "Trust us!  Have we ever lied to you?" mentality in this administration.

Just a few things should be kept in mind, though, for those of you trying to puzzle out just why we're giving money to the government of Egypt for (ostensibly) the support of their economy when our own economy is, if not an actual basket case, more than just a little bit wobbly.

First is that this quarter-of-a-billion-dollar loan will never, ever be repaid.  We all know that; the Egyptians know that; even the media knows that.  "Loan" is a polite word used in the same way that our government has used the word "entitlement."  It would hurt the fragile egos of those who receive the gift in exactly the same way it would hurt the egos of those who receive entitlement checks if they were to be called "charity." 

Then, this is not the only "aid" that we are giving to the Egyptians.  Remember the billions of dollars in military aid that we're giving them in the form of top-of-the-line fighter jets that are on their way? 

Next, regardless of the idiotic testimony before the House Select Committee on Intelligence  delivered by the director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, on February 10, 2011, that the Muslim Brotherhood is primarily a "secular" organization, the Morsi government has moved swiftly to enshrine sharia law within the new Egyptian constitution.

A study issued by the Council on Foreign Relations on Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood states that the Muslim Brotherhood, founded in 1928, is Islamist in nature and has an extensive history of violence to forward its agenda of fundamentally restructuring the government of Egypt to that of a true Islamist state.  Two key paragraphs within the CFR report describe the Brotherhood's attitude to violence:

... Sayyid Qutb, a prominent member of the Brotherhood, laid down the ideological grounds for the use of jihad, or armed struggle, against the regime in Egypt and beyond. Qutb's writings, in particular his 1964 work Milestones, has provided the intellectual and theological underpinnings for the founders of numerous radical and militant Islamist groups, including al-Qaeda. Extremist leaders often channel Qutb to argue that governments not ruled by sharia are apostate, and therefore legitimate targets of jihad.

The Brotherhood has spawned branches across the globe. These organizations bear the Brotherhood name, but their connections to the founding group vary. In addition, some of the world's most dangerous terrorists were once Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood members, including Osama bin Laden's top deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Not that too many of you need reminding, but the United States is not ruled by sharia and would therefore be a "legitimate target of jihad" by the Brotherhood. 

The Brotherhood's own campaign slogan during the Egyptian elections describes their attitude and goals with a surprising degree of specificity and candor:

Allah is our goal; the Messenger is our model; the Quran is our constitution; jihad is our means; and martyrdom in the way of Allah is our aspiration.

With these things in mind, the president and ex-Senator Kerry should be reminded, loudly and forcefully, that the Morsi government are not potential voters whose votes can be bought for the equivalent of a few "free" cell phones and ObamaCare.  You certainly don't award them a prize for good behavior before that good behavior takes place. 

Finally, the Obama/Kerry brain trust might try looking at this loan/aid/gift/bribe from the viewpoint of Morsi and the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood.  Historically, the idea behind dhimmi derived from a theoretical contract - dhimma, or "residence in return for taxes."  In short, subjugated peoples conquered by Muslims were allowed to live at the sufferance of the (Muslim) state in return for payment of taxes.  A sort of extortion racket with God's blessing.

Now, the United States, a country that is obviously not sharia-compliant, is offering money in return for absolutely nothing to a openly Islamist nation.  And how would Morsi and the Islamists who surround him view this?  They would likely view it as simply the payment that they are due, the jizya, from a subject people.  Such a conclusion on their part would fit very closely to their worldview and their reading of history. 

If the Brotherhood feels that these payments, no matter how they are labeled, are their right by reason of conquest, they will view any future resistance to their aims as a revolt of subject people.  Lots of luck, Mr. President and Mr. Secretary, getting any sort of "moderation" from these people in return for, in their minds, at least, simply giving them what they are due.

Jim Yardley is a retired financial controller for a variety of manufacturing firms, a Vietnam veteran, and an independent voter.  Jim blogs at, or he can be contacted directly at