February 22, 2012

Egypt's military plays to win on US NGOs.

If Egypt's military-backed government follows through on criminalizing routine activities by American and other Western NGOs:

1. US aid could be held up or completely cut off.

2. Western tourism will fall off, as vacationers start to worry that they too could be arrested as fits the regime's diplomatic and domestic agenda.

3. Investors will be scared off by politically motivated and seemingly arbitrary prosecutions, much as has been the case with Russia over the past several years.

But, the same military leaders who still rule Egypt may calculate that standing up to America -- even in a way that sets back democracy AND may cost $1.5 billion a year -- is worth the risk, even the price, especially if it somehow keeps them in power and revives the U.S. role as bogeyman. The next step will be if Moscow decides to move back in after a 40-yet absence... The real losers continue to be the Egyptian people.

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