U.S. Aid Should Continue, For Now

The so-called “Arab spring” has turned into a long, hot summer in Egypt – but for now, the hottest seat is in the Oval Office at the White House. There, President Barack Obama and his advisers are wrestling, ineptly as usual, with an issue that need not be difficult to solve.

Earlier this year, Egyptians elected Mohammed Morsi as their president. But discontent with him, in part because of his links to the hardline Muslim Brotherhood, led to massive street demonstrations calling for his ouster. The military obliged by removing Morsi.

But official U.S. policy is to cut off aid to a regime installed via a military coup against a democratically elected government. For now, Obama is continuing to send aid, while wrestling with the contradiction that represents.

A simple solution is available: Obama should announce U.S. aid will continue to flow, but only until the military government has time to arrange for new, free elections. That would uphold U.S. policy – while rewarding Egyptians for overthrowing a potential Islamic militant.