Lenin once supposedly quipped that we capitalists would sell the rope to hang us with. But even Lenin couldn't imagine the vast amounts of foreign aid we'd give our enemies to pay for that rope. And yet, that's basically what we've been doing with Egypt for a quarter century.
American taxpayers hand Egypt upwards of $2 billion — that's $2,000,000,000 — each year, and have since the 1970s. And it's true that Egypt has projected a certain friendliness toward the U.S. since Anwar Sadat's stunning journey to Jerusalem in 1977 and the subsequent Camp David Accords establishing peace with Israel.
But Egypt's smile masks a venom-spewing machine. The Egyptian government funds among the most vicious anti-American, anti-Western and anti-Semitic propaganda anywhere, which in turn fuels the incendiary Islam we're facing today.
— Egypt's state-controlled press features articles suggesting Israel masterminded the Sept. 11 attacks — even though the ringleader of the attacks, Mohammed Atta, was an Egyptian.
— Egypt's government-subsidized mullahs spew the most bilious kind of hate speech.
— Egypt's government-funded universities teach anti-American hatreds as evidenced by recent diatribes emanating from the country's Al-Azhar University. "Islamic clerics in Egypt declare war on America," heralds one article on its Web site. (The Web site www.Memri.org tracks and translates into English what the Arab leaders tell their own people and the vitriol coming from Al-Azhar can be found there.)
This Egyptian university's main religious leader, Sheikh Ali Abu Al-Hassan, said that "the West … have (sic) put together a coalition against Islam." Al-Hassan considers it an Islamic sacrilege to be "entering into an alliance with the Americans against Afghanistan … the Afghan opposition … must stand with their countrymen [and] their co-religionists, otherwise Allah and his angels will curse them …"
A professor lecturing at this university recently said: "It is America that killed itself with its distorted policy. It was completely successful in sowing hatred and loathing in the hearts of [people] of the entire world by means of its policy, a policy of double standards, primarily in all things regarding Islamic and Arab affairs … What America has done against Afghanistan is a crime, and one of the most loathsome kinds of international terrorism."
And while our foreign aid doesn't directly fund these abominations, dollars are, of course, fungible. Our money helps keep the Egyptian government afloat, since its own companies offer little competitive in today's global economy. And what they say about Israel, and Jews, is even worse.
So why do we fork over the $2 billion yearly? Diplomats explain that it's to give Egypt incentive to maintain peace with Israel, as in the Camp David Accords. But why do we have to bribe Egypt to keep peace with Israel? Peace is a benefit in and of itself. We need not bribe them to take it. Besides, Israel's F-16sand crack ground troops give the Egyptians enough incentive to keep that peace.
For nearly 25 years, friends of Israel in the United States have pushed to keep aid high for Egypt, as for Israel. By why Americans — including American Jews — continue to pressure those in Congress to bankroll one of the world's most vile anti-Western and anti-Semitic regimes is mind-boggling — especially to a Jew like me.
On Fox News over the weekend, I told Tony Snow that if this war ends by booting the Taliban out of Afghanistan, Saddam Hussein out of Iraq, ending the games we've been playing with Saudi Arabia, and stopping all subsidies for Egypt, then we'll have had a good war. For with Egypt, until now anyway, we've been even stupider than Lenin anticipated.
Kenneth Adelman is a frequent guest commentator on Fox News, was assistant to U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld from 1975 to 1977 and, under President Ronald Reagan, U.N. ambassador and arms-control director. Mr. Adelman is now co-host of TechCentralStation.com.