Elliott Abrams

Pressure Points

Abrams gives his take on U.S. foreign policy, with special focus on the Middle East and democracy and human rights issues.

Print Print Cite Cite
Style: MLA APA Chicago Close


“A Nation of Laws”: The Egypt Aid Debate

by Elliott Abrams
July 12, 2013


American law requires suspension of aid to any country that undergoes a coup against a democratically elected government. Egypt just suffered, or benefited, from what was clearly a coup: the Army removed an elected president. The argument about whether to suspend aid or ignore the law is a dangerous one, I argue in the Weekly Standard:

Look back at all those things we want for Egypt, and the answer should be obvious: We will do our friends in Egypt no good by teaching the lesson that for us as for them law is meaningless. To use lexicographical stunts to say this was not really a coup, or to change the law because it seems inconvenient this week, would tell the Egyptians that our view and practice when it comes to law is the same as theirs: enforce the law when you like, ignore the law when you don’t. But this is precisely the wrong model to give Egypt; the converse is what we should be showing them as an ideal to which to aspire.

At the least, if the President wishes to continue some of the aid to Egypt he should tell Congress he needs more flexibility and should propose an amendment to the law. This would be much better than the current nonsense we are hearing from the White House, which appears to want to duck, delay, and obfuscate what happened in Egypt–or worse yet simply ignore the statute.

Post a Comment 3 Comments

  • Posted by Dean Smallwood

    One has to remember that we are dealing ( in the U.S. ) with an administration which flouts and ignores our laws on a regular basis . Why would this one be any different ?

  • Posted by Moshe Sheskin

    Americans have not as yet learned that democracy is a way of life and having “democratic” elections is not the end result. What happens after the elections, the courts, the legislatures is what counts.
    Unfortunately, democracy in most Muslim countries will not be carried out since it conflicts with the Muslim religious law that demands obedience.

  • Posted by Orlando

    WOW just what I was searching for. Came ere by searching for IRS

Post a Comment

CFR seeks to foster civil and informed discussion of foreign policy issues. Opinions expressed on CFR blogs are solely those of the author or commenter, not of CFR, which takes no institutional positions. All comments must abide by CFR's guidelines and will be moderated prior to posting.

* Required