Senator Cardin’s blocking of $235 million in military aid to Egypt is a much-needed step in halting US support for non-democratic, predatory and corrupt foreign governments. However, Senator Cardin’s funding block comes after the US State Department issued a waiver to allow Egypt to receive the aid despite Egypt’s systemic and persistent human rights violations. Senator Cardin’s action does not stop Egypt from receiving more than $1 billion in other U.S. military assistance provided to Egypt without condition.
The Egyptian government is by no means the only human rights violator and non-democratic government to receive US military support. Nearly 3/4 of the nations listed as “not free” by the US State Department-funded organization Freedom House receive US military support. Similarly, 85% of countries that criminalize LGBTQ+ people receive US military assistance, including 10 of the 12 nations with the death penalty for LGBTQ+ people. Not only does military support for the vast majority of the world’s dictators and autocracies expose stated US values and overseas goals as false and insincere, but it produces blowback in the form of terror and extremist groups, military coups and civil wars while allowing governments like Egypt to harm and murder their people with impunity.