Reuters blog archive
from David Rohde:
As the Egyptian army continued its violent crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood this week, White House officials said that the United States can’t cut off its $1.3 billion a year in aid to Egypt. To do so would cause Washington to lose “influence” with the country’s generals. Vital American security interests are at stake, they argued, and keeping the torrent of American aid flowing gives Washington leverage.
If that argument sounds familiar, it is. For the last decade, the United States has used the same logic in Pakistan. Washington has given $11 billion in military aid to the Pakistani army in the name of maintaining American “influence” in Islamabad. From new equipment to reimbursements for Pakistani military operations, the money flowed year after year, despite complaints from American officials that the Pakistanis were misusing funds and inflating bills.
Can the United States do better in Egypt? Pakistan and Egypt are vastly different, but as the Obama administration fervently embraces its Pakistan approach in Egypt, it’s worth examining the results of its dollars-for-generals strategy.
A decade on, little has changed in Pakistan. The country’s military continues to shelter the Afghan Taliban, hundreds of American and Afghan soldiers have died in cross-border attacks from Taliban safe havens in Pakistan, and the Pakistani army remains by far the most powerful institution in the country.
from David Rohde:
Update: At Leila Charfi's request, I added a paragraph below and shortened her quote to give it more context. She was concerned that the original version highlighted the role of the Internet in Tunisia's revolution but did not credit street protesters. At least 219 protesters died during the uprising, according to the UN.
TUNIS -- Last November, dozens of young Arabs lined up for the chance to meet him. When he spoke of his struggles and triumphs, they hung on his every word. And when only one of the 50 attendees was chosen for training, some of the young Arabs grew frustrated and complained of being excluded.
from Tales from the Trail:
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has urged Congress to finance a major new U.S. push on overseas development aid, arguing that only by building up a global middle class will the United States increase its own national security.
Clinton, in an article in Foreign Affairs magazine which previews a pending State Department report on diplomacy and development, says it is essential for Congress to keep the money flowing even as the United States grapples with its own financial problems at home.