Why does the US finance a huge Egyptian military?

By Ted Belman

Those of us who follow the ME closely are aware that the US gives $2.3 billion in military aid to Israel and 1.3 billion in military aid to Egypt, annually.

We are also somewhat aware that the US committed to doing so as an inducement to Egypt to oust the Russians and make peace with Israel and an inducement to Israel to return the Sinai to Egypt notwithstanding its strategic and economic value to Israel.

Over the years we wondered why the US continued to build up the Egyptian military when they had no enemies to defend against. We worried that Israel was the only potential target.

Claire Berlinski wrote her doctoral dissertation about the formation of American arms transfer policy toward the Arab-Israeli antagonists.

Apparently its roots are to be found in the Cold War and her 15 page answer can be downloaded here.

That aid would have better spent feeding the Egyptians rather than their military.

January 31, 2011 | 4 Comments »

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4 Comments / 4 Comments

  1. Apart from BlandOatmeal’s point regarding US foreign aid supporting the US’s war economy, the other point to note is that miltary aid allows the USA to pressure aid recipients to comply with US foreign policy. This results in endangering Israel when say the Egyptians might go Islamist or the Saudis get overthrown and have oodles of US hardware.

    Israelis were stupid to cease developing the Lavi and in closing down the plants making artillery pieces and shells. Local arms manufacture should resume both as a means of ensuring independence as well as a source of foreign income.

  2. Why does the US finance a huge Egyptian military?

    It’s because $2,300,000 to the Israelis and $1,300,000 to the Egyptians amounts to $3,600,000 in the coffers of Industrial giants such as Boeing and Lockheed Martin. Even I could figure that one out. Just who might get killed by those weapons, is of little concern to those who sell them.

  3. Egypt as basket case:

    Let’s say that America gives Egypt and Israel each 3 billion a year. The difference is that Egypt has 80 million people, and Israel 6 million Jews.

    The Egyptian per capita income is 6,000 per year. But it is highly skewed towards the upper classes. Half the people (40 million) live on 2 dollars a day (700 dollars a year). When you divide 3 billion dollars among 80 million people, you get thirty five dollars per person. That gives you about two extra weeks when you make two dollars a day.

    So basically, Egypt is a third world country bordering on being a failed state. And it has no hope and no prospects. Egyptian muslim workers and factories cannot compete with China and east Asia, due to intelligence and education, work ethic, and organizational abilites.

    For comparison, Israel has a per capita income approaching 30,000 dollars a year. The American aid adds 500 dollars a year. Israeli incomes are also skewed towards the rich. But over a million people live on seven dollars a day (2,500 dollars a year). Not unexpectedly, ultra-orthodox Jews, Ethiopians, and Israeli arabs are over-represented among Israel’s poor.

    Conclusions: Egypt is hopeless. Israel still has a long way to go. But remember, Israel has come a long way since starting out in 1949 with just 600,000 Jews, all penniless.