Boychuk: Time to end foreign aid to the Middle East

Yemeni protesters break a window of the U.S. Yemeni protesters break a window of the U.S. Embassy during a protest about a film ridiculing Islam's Prophet Muhammad, in Sanaa, Yemen. Dozens of protesters gather in front of the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa to protest against the American film "The Innocence of Muslims" deemed blasphemous and Islamophobic. (Sept. 13, 2012) Photo Credit: AP

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By now, the facts should be plain to anyone with two eyes to see and a minute’s worth of thought: The Arab “Spring” is a farce, and the democracy project in the Middle East is a failure.

Who were the rebels who deposed the autocrats and dictators in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen? They weren’t a bunch of Arab Thomas Jeffersons and James Madisons, that’s for sure.

By helping rid part of the Arab world of one set of tyrants — “leading from behind,” to use the Obama administration’s typically feckless phrase — the United States assured the rise of a different, more religiously zealous set of tyrants.

The murder of Ambassador Chris Stevens in Benghazi, quite likely with the complicity of Libyan police, cannot go unanswered. Not since President Jimmy Carter’s administration has an American ambassador been killed in the line of duty.

And let’s not overlook Egypt. Nobody died in the mob attack on the U.S. embassy in Cairo this Sept. 11. The “demonstrators” merely trampled American soil and raised the black flag of al-Qaida. In response, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood president, Mohammed Morsi, did not exactly apologize. Rather, he lamented that a California filmmaker couldn’t be punished for blasphemy.

How should the U.S. respond? Bombs and bullets send a direct and unmistakable message. But so does money.

Egypt is a desperately poor, backward country that has enjoyed hundreds of billions in U.S. taxpayer subsidies since the late 1970s.

Libya, too, has received nearly $60 million in U.S. aid since rebels ousted and killed Col. Moammar Gadhafi.

The Obama administration, with bipartisan support in Congress — who says Republicans and Democrats don’t agree on anything? — was about to forgive a $1 billion loan to Egypt. There should be no loan forgiveness now.

We shower the Egyptians and Libyans with aid. They show us little but contempt. So let’s end the aid, and may their devout faith in God preserve them.

Ben Boychuk is associate editor of the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal

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