In an op-ed for Foreign Policy on June 3, 2009, POMED’s Executive Director Andrew Albertson, and Advocacy Director Stephen McInerney, discuss why the United States should continue to pair assistance with democracy-focused diplomacy in Egypt.
As U.S. President Barack Obama warms up for his highly anticipated speech in Cairo, in which he will no doubt have things to say about the Middle East’s democratic deficits, few have noticed that his administration has drastically scaled back, with little explanation or advance warning, its financial support for Egyptian activists fighting for political reform.
On the whole, Obama has renewed, even expanded, American assistance for democracy in the region. But Egypt, long a regional political and cultural leader, stands out as a prominent — and very important — exception to this broader trend. During the congressional appropriations process in March, U.S. democracy and governance funding in Egypt was quietly slashed by 60 percent — a cut that was repeated just last week in the Obama administration’s most recent budget request for 2010.
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