HOW SMART IS THIS? – AT 9:19 A.M. ET: When he came to office, President Obama, believing his own press clippings, promised a "smarter" foreign policy. As yet, we fail to see how all this brainpower has actually benefited us. Maybe a list could be provided.
And now we have this:
DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan 25 (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama plans to accelerate the pace of American aid to Egypt, a top State Department official said on Wednesday, as the most populous Arab nation reaches a critical stage in its uncertain transition away from autocratic rule.
Undersecretary of State Robert Hormats, part of a U.S. delegation that held unprecedented talks last week with Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, said Washington wanted to provide "more immediate benefits" to Egyptians, who earlier this month conducted their first democratic elections in decades.
"During this period, we want to be as supportive as we can. This is an historic moment. Egypt's a country of enormous importance," Hormats said.
Wait, wait a second. Don't you think we ought to be sure where the money is going before the American taxpayers write the checks? The Muslim Brotherhood is not exactly a Yank-friendly fraternity.
Under the plan, some non-urgent U.S. aid slated for other countries - he did not name them - would be redirected to Egypt. And funding in the pipeline for long-term programs in Egypt would be shifted to quick-impact projects, he said.
Hormats, speaking to Reuters on the sidelines of the annual World Economic Forum, emphasized that the White House had not made any final decisions, and that he was providing Washington's "broad thinking" on the subject.
Congress approved $1.3 billion in military aid to Egypt for the current fiscal year, but with conditions attached. It also approved $250 million in economic aid, as well as an "enterprise fund" of up to $60 million.
For the money to flow, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton must certify that the Egyptian government is supporting the transition to a civilian government, including holding free and fair elections, and implementing policies to protect freedom of expression, association, and religion, and due process of law.
Yeah, fat chance. Freedom of religion? The Christian population of Egypt, about 10%, is shaking in its boots, and a number of Christians are leaving.
In addition, the law says that none of the aid, military or economic, can be spent unless Egypt is meeting its obligations under the 1979 Egypt-Israel peace treaty.
COMMENT: For the record, the Muslim Brotherhood has announced, in no uncertain terms, that it will not have any dialogue with Israel.
You can be sure, though, that Hillary will do what she is told by the White House, and certify anything that Obama wants certified.
Another triumph of "smartness." Choke.
January 26, 2012