Eat Less, Egypt's Government Tells Its People
Egyptian president Mohammed Mursi today welcomed his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Cairo, the first visit of an Iranian leader to the country since Iran's 1979 revolution. Mursi's solidarity with Iran undermines American and allied efforts to suppress Iran's nuclear ambitions. The Obama administration is proceeding with the sale of 20 updated F-16s and 100 Abrams tanks to Egypt.
The numbers simply don't add up. To maintain its present, minimal consumption levels Egypt will require at least $22 billion in aid in 2013 (Bloomberg News' estimate). In a recent essay for JINSA ("Failure IS an Option in Egypt") I crunch the numbers, and show that they don't add up. Nonetheless, the International Monetary Fund's analysts go through the motions of instructing the Egyptians on the need to reduce the budget deficit, now at 15% of GDP, which means reducing food and fuel subsidies, which keep alive the more than 40% of Egyptians who are unemployment and underemployed.
We are watching something unique and terrible in modern history, namely the disintegration of a society of 80 million people, with the prospect of real hunger--a self-made famine brought about by social and political disaster rather than crop failure or war. It is horrific and dangerous. Those (like the Council on Foreign Relations' Steven Cook) who maliciously accuse me of wanting Egypt to fail might as well accuse oncologists of wanting their patients to die of cancer. No-one proposes to cough up $20 to $30 billion a year to bail out Egypt -- the taxpayers have enough troubles of their own. Instead, the establishment goes through the motions of prescribing macroeconomic measures to the Egyptian government which imply starvation at the micro level -- and wonders why all the parties in Egyptian politics won't play together nicely.
Don't shoot the messenger. In my September 2011 book How Civilizations Die (and Why Islam is Dying, Too), I predicted the disaster in the context of a broader analysis of the decline of Islamic civilization.
Image courtesy shutterstock / Sally Scott