Our government seems to always have “good intentions” both domestically and internationally. Politicians like to beat the drum for democratic rule around the world, healthcare for everyone around the states, and so called “fairness” by taxing the rich more than the average American. These are attempts to show compassion through the government.

So they think. But our government never seems to understand that as good intentions they may have, their actions have serious consequences. Most of the consequences are ugly and make matters worse.

Egypt is a great example of unwanted repercussions. The Obama Administration kept rooting for democratic rule in Egypt. The president had good intentions to support self-determination in a country ruled by Hosni Mubarak. Obama, like many others, believed that the elections would prove that Egypt is ready for democratic rule.

By contrast, democracy crumbled when the people elected Mohamed Morsi. He’s a leader from the Muslim Brotherhood, which supports ostracizing women’s rights and persecuting Christians around Egypt and the world at large. In fact, Morsi’s supporters believe that Egypt’s Christian population – only ten percent – toppled Morsi’s government. This accusation led to many incinerated churches.

Rome Reports confirms that the Muslim Brotherhood destroyed 50 churches throughout Egypt. They show video footage of individuals burning the holy buildings.

Hussein Ismail, an Egyptian bystander, tells Reuters that Morsi’s followers are indeed persecuting minority groups. As he later asks the reporter, “Do you think these people really cared about democracy?” He’s witnessing all of these horrible violent acts.

However, the anti-Morsi military is not innocent. There are many reported incidents of the military executing Morsi supporters in cold blood.

It’s clear that both pro-Morsi and anti-Morsi groups want to kill each other off. That’s why the crisis keeps escalating and leaves many in the international community confused and still without a clear course of action. It’s hard to support any side in this crisis.

But as the U.S. stands idly doing nothing, everyone’s asking what’s next? The problem is that the U.S. is doing something: our government keeps fueling the Egyptian crisis through aid.

The Washington Post reported that Egypt accepted about $1.3 billion in U.S. military aid. In addition to the military aid, Secretary of State John Kerry delivered $250 million in economic aid. Since it’s hard to know who’s in charge in Egypt, did all that money go to the Morsi government or to the interim military rulers?

Jennifer Rubin from The Washington Post is right. The White House is mute, and Americans deserve information. They deserve some honesty about where the foreign aid is going. Not a single cent from the taxpayer should go to a country embroiled in anarchy and crisis, especially when factions in Egypt are persecuting minority groups because of their faith, gender, or political opinion.

The U.S. should cut all foreign aid to Egypt. Their persecution of minorities is completely unacceptable, and our aid is hypocritical if we are truly a bastion of democracy and freedom. The U.S. should not give Egypt any money until this situation is figured out.

The same kind of criteria should be used for the Syrian crisis. Any kind of aid is dangerous because no one knows who’s on either the Assad side or the rebel side. How is al-Qaeda involved? Iran? Syria parallels Egypt in this regard. Who is behind the Muslim Brotherhood? The military government?

The solution to these crises is to end the funding sent to either side. That’s step number one. The second one would be to take a more realist and restrained foreign policy position that involves the U.S. only in areas that influence our own national interests.

We’ve learned through Afghanistan and Iraq that puppet states are far from successful. Governments should be established by their own people rather than through foreign or, sometimes, through imperial governments like ours.

At the end of the day, what right do we have as Americans to determine the government of another people? It’s people like Hussein Ismail who know what is happening on the ground and who know what they want from their own government. I highly doubt that the American electorate knows what’s best for the Egyptian people.

We need to take a step back from nation-building and reevaluate our foreign policy. We need to embrace a foreign policy rooted in realism rather than idealism, and we need to call it quits on giving aid to violent and anti-American groups.

We just cannot afford another Iraq.


Alex Uzarowicz | Knox College | @AUzarowicz