Last update: 11-Dec-2013 6:16 am
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Another option in Egypt—do nothing
After the deaths of hundreds this week, and a new wave of protests across Egypt which has brought further bloodshed, many people are asking what should Britain, our allies and other international players do to help end the unrest?
My first point would be to stay calm, and recognise that doing nothing is an option. The situation is bad, but hardly as bad as Iraq, where 3,400 people have been killed in mainly sectarian violence this year (in a situation which one can argue was created by UK intervention), or Syria, where the numbers are much higher, or Sudan, which the media ignores. Diplomats don’t take the Hippocratic oath, but the principle is the same: above all, do no harm.
The United States does not have the do-nothing option, because it has a colossal military-aid programme in the country, which must either continue or not continue. The administration is caught in a typically legalistic tangle, because there is a law against aid to governments installed by military coup, so they have had to avoid calling it one and have hedged by withholding some hardware and cancelling some joint military exercises.
Steps like that may or may not solve problems in Washington, but they certainly won’t help in Cairo. I would question what US interest (other than that of arms manufacturers) has been served by the military programme, or by the even larger programme of military aid to Israel which it was designed to balance.
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