US law is explicit when it comes to making considerations about giving aid to foreign governments that have come to power via a coup – that government doesn’t get aid; simple as that.
However, in the case of Egypt, it places the Obama administration in a conundrum. It also puts neoconservatives in a conundrum as well which has caused a rift over neoconservative foreign policy with regards to Egypt.
So far, Obama hasn’t made any decision regarding future aid to Egypt while an interim government remains in office as a result of the coup. It is for this reason that Obama hasn’t actually come out and called what happened in Egypt ‘a coup’ because, as soon as he does, the Egyptian government can kiss their aid goodbye.
For this reason, as I wrote earlier, the new Egyptian government have been anxious to please the US government and they have done this by desperately trying to appease the Israelis by cutting off the supply tunnels into the Gaza Strip and beefing up security along the Egyptian side of the border with Israel. This appeasement of the Israelis seems to have worked because now Netanyahu’s government is doing all it can to get the US to continue to provide aid to the Egyptian interim government.
Netanyahu’s pleas to allow aid to Egypt to continue have put the right-wing Zionist government of Israel at odds with some of their right-wing Republican and neoconservative supporters in the US. Leading Republican John McCain is, albeit reluctantly, adamant that Obama should block aid to Egypt. He is supported by neoconservative Elliot Abrams both of whom are sticking to the rules that says no to aid to governments that come to power via coups.
Meanwhile, other neoconservatives are calling for aid to continue. Evelyn Gordon, a staunch Greater Israel Zionist and neoconservative writer at Commentary, advocates strongly for aid to continue on the basis that it will ensure greater security to Israel. Another neoconservative heavyweight, the always pragmatic Charles Krauthammer, is sitting on the fence advocating that there be no rush into a decision either way.
The rift highlights some of the subtle differences that often occur within neoconservative ideological thinking. On the one hand there are the American-Israel purists who see America as the ideal state whose laws reflect the their ideal of the exceptional state which they call ‘American Exceptionalism’, and on the other hand there are the ‘Israel Firsters’ neoconservatives who regard the importance of Israel’s survival and growth toward a Greater Israel state as of primary concern even if it’s at the expense of, and in contradiction to, American Exceptionalism ideology.