US Senator Blocks Egypt Military Aid

    Photo: Flickr [via Wikimedia Commons]

    The Facts

    • US Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), who replaced Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, announced on Tuesday that the US would hold back $235M in military financing to Egypt.

    • This comes after Menendez left the role following allegations that he accepted bribes as part of a "corrupt relationship" with the Egyptian government.

    The Spin

    Democratic narrative

    For a decade, Egypt has seen a backslide in human rights, and Congress has an obligation to investigate the country's human rights offenses before it forks over $300M. There's no doubt that the allegations against Sen. Menendez are substantial, but the issue of withholding aid extends far beyond one politician.

    Republican narrative

    While Democrats are trying to make Menendez's corruption story about Egypt, the focus must remain on the Democratic senator's clear violation of ethics and traitorous behavior. Not only did Menendez seemingly accept bribes from a foreign country, but he also essentially acted as an agent of the Egyptian government.

    Narrative C

    While standing up for human rights should continue to be prioritized, so must Washington's strategic interests. The money sent to Egypt largely benefits US national security, such as fighting against terrorism in the shipping lanes of the Suez Canal. Rather than withholding aid — which hasn't had any noticeable effect on Egypt's human rights record — a better approach would be to maintain high levels of diplomacy.

    Political split



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