In Egypt the U.S. government long supported dictator Hosni Mubarak. Then Washington backed the military regime which followed him. Now U.S. officials want to promote democracy. Sigh ... .
It's not working out very well. Reported the New York Times:
Inspired by the revolution that ousted President Hosni Mubarak, the international community has offered Egypt billions of dollars in desperately needed financial aid, on the condition that the country bolsters democracy and the protection of human rights.
After initially refusing a $3.2 billion line of credit offered by the International Monetary Fund, the ruling military council turned around last month and said it wanted the money.
But negotiations with the I.M.F. are not yet a done deal. Renewed street violence ahead of the January parliamentary elections and the crackdown on pro-democracy groups since then, including the prosecution of U.S. citizens, have put a broad swathe of foreign aid at risk.
Instead of attempting to micromanage events in Egypt, the U.S. should learn a little humility and stay out. Washington isn't going to be able to make Egypt do anything. And pushing that nation around is just going to increase people's anger at America. Let private organizations go to work with their own money. But keep U.S. government bureaucrats and dollars at home.