Viewpoint: US should not cut off monetary aid to Egypt

In 1979, Egypt signed a peace treaty with Israel. Part of the agreement included aid for Egypt from the United States. Since that time, the U.S. has aided Egypt with about $2 billion per year.

The appropriateness of this aid has recently been questioned due to the political affiliation and anti-Semitic statements from Egypt’s current leader, President Mohammed Morsi. His statements have ranged as far as encouraging his country to raise their children to hate Jews.

When I did my initial research on this topic, my views were extreme. I was appalled at the idea of the United States offering aid to someone capable of saying such hateful things. In fact, my original draft of this column said just that. My primary point was that we should cut off all aid to Egypt.

However, this idea is irrational and out of the question. The political balance between the United States and the Arab world is fragile at best. To cut off aid from Egypt would be to upset a carefully crafted, though not entirely stable, relationship.

Egypt was already in a state of political upheaval before Morsi became president. Social and political injustices drove Egyptians to riot against former president Hosni Mubarak.
One of the primary groups against him was the Muslim Brotherhood, the group Morsi so happened to be a part of. His affiliation with this group has earned him many disparaging views from Americans.

The Muslim Brotherhood is a very large group that spans 70 countries. Many of the terrorists that have threatened and acted out against the U.S. were directly associated with this organization.

Partially due to media representations, it would not be hard for an individual to get the idea that the U.S. is practically sponsoring the Brotherhood through its aid to Egypt considering Morsi’s affiliation with them. However, Morsi resigned from the Brotherhood when he took office.

One could argue, probably accurately, that Morsi still shares their viewpoints. That is not a far stretch, which is why it would be wise for the United States to keep him on a short leash.

When controversial statements from Morsi surfaced, a chain of reactions occurred. The media exploded with different stories about Morsi, and those who did not have previous knowledge about him suddenly found themselves overwhelmed with information.

There are videos of him being extremely anti-Semitic and records of him saying President Obama is a liar with empty promises. These statements were hardly recent, however. Many of them occurred in 2010 before Morsi was ever president.

There is no denying that these statements are wrong and go directly against human rights. However, if the United States were to cut off aid from anyone who ever said anything hateful, many of us would not have had the luxury of FAFSA to help us through college.

Essentially, it is not desirable that the United States should have to support a country with such a leader. However, it is simply a pill we have to swallow to keep our international relations in order.

I am far from supporting anything Morsi has said, and as I stated early, my previous draft was completely opposed to this current one. The change of mindset occurred when I ceased letting the media target my emotions and I looked at it from a more rational standpoint.

I wish it did not have to be this way. However, we are all lucky that United States foreign policy is not dictated by my emotions. Were this the case, we’d be in an even bigger mess.

Maleesa Johnson is a freshman journalism major from Round Rock. She is a reporter for The Lariat.