United States Reduces Some Military Assistance To Egypt

Kerry told journalists that the United States has been having constant conversations regarding the way forward in Egypt and that the interim government fully understands the U.S. commitment to the success of the Egyptian government. And by no means is this a withdrawal from our relationship or severing of our serious commitment to helping the government meet those goals, Kerry added. In addition, were going to continue to support areas that directly benefit the Egyptian people education, private sector development, he added. We want to make sure that the road map results in a constitution that recognizes universal human rights, that respects minorities, that brings people to the table in an inclusive way, and ultimately results in free and fair elections, Kerry said. In his discussions with the interim government, Kerry said, the Egyptian leaders have insisted that is exactly the road map they are on and intend to achieve. He added that the United States is holding back a certain amount of assistance that is not relevant to the immediate needs of the government or for security. The reduction in some assistance follows the ouster of President Mohamed Morsy in July and a crackdown on several political groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood. The United States is withholding delivery of four F-16 fighter jet aircraft, tank kits for the M1A1 main battle tank, Harpoon anti-ship missiles and 10 Apache attack helicopters, a senior U.S. administration official said at an October 9 background briefing in Washington. The United States also is postponing the joint U.S.-Egyptian military exercise Bright Star. A senior U.S. official said the amount of the cash transfer, which is direct budget support to the Egyptian government, that is being withheld is $260 million. With respect to security, with respect to the Sinai [Peninsula], with respect to the [Arab-Israeli] peace process, and with respect to the security needs of the region, we are continuing to provide assistance because its in our interest as well as theirs and our friends in the region to do so, Kerry said.

United States of America: Political myths and realities

United States of America

Photo: John Boehner/Facebook. Americans revolted in 1776 in large part to establish Home Rule. If the Crown, in the 18th century, had been like the Crown of the 21st century, it would probably have been the first country in the Commonwealth. Instead, an activist King led to the perception that a complete break was needed. Since then, American Presidents have been seen as some sort of substitute for that King of old and since the Second World War, have been treated as King-Emperors. The thing is, the American Constitution doesnt support that. Presidents are symbols, rallying points, and administrators. Theyre not supposed to rule by divine right, as did the King they rebelled against. Much is made these past few days, for instance, of how Obama won the 2012 election, so stop fighting over the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). But constitutionally, all Obama can do is work with what Congress votes for. Right now theyre not voting funds for that Act (or many other things). He can try the bully pulpit approach, but the reality is that if Congress approves 50 cents and hes got a dollars worth of plans, he spends 50 cents, in accordance with whatever restrictions were put on it in the enabling legislation. (American money bills tend to direct the spending, rather than created broad-based spending envelopes or an overall budget that allows for reallocation as we use.) Likewise, he may want to borrow a few trillion dollars more, to do all the things hes got planned, but if Congress doesnt vote to allow that borrowing, then as President he is constitutionally obligated to cut program spending to fit within whats available. A failure to do so could well be considered grounds for impeachment: it would, at the very least, be a potentially-treasonous violation of his oath of office (to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States). The myth is that the President is all powerful. The reality is that if Congress doesnt give him the money, he can do diddly-squat other than cut spending to fit the funds available.