How is President Bush going to back up his demand for democracy in Egypt? Here’s a modest proposal: Reduce or eliminate altogether the $2 billion annual U.S. subsidy to Egypt unless there’s real economic and political progress. Since 1975, Washington has provided Cairo more than $50 billion in military and economic aid. Initially this largess had two justifications: first, to keep Egypt out of Soviet clutches; second, to reward it for concluding a peace treaty with Israel. The first rationale no longer applies. And the second? Egypt has lived in peace with Israel, but so for the most part has Syria – and it hasn’t gotten a cent from U.S. taxpayers.
Arab states coexist with Israel because they have failed to destroy it, not because they’ve been bribed.