FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
President Obama had a message for Middle East nations in his much-hyped speech today at the State Department: If you promote reform and choose democracy, we'll help you out financially. That's great. We can borrow some more money from China and give it away to the Middle East. Brilliant.
In a sweeping speech that applauded reforms and condemned the use of force by Middle East leaders against protesters, the president said this is not just about hand-outs but about encouraging democracy. This, in a part of the world where they can't even spell democracy. He also said, "It's important to focus on trade, not just aid; and investment, not just assistance."
The president announced the United States will give economic aid to Middle Eastern and North African countries that transition to democracy. He also said the U.S. will encourage investment in these regions.
President Obama also said the U.S. will relieve Egypt of up to $1 billion dollars in debt and that we'll help that country regain access to markets, as a democracy, by guaranteeing $1 billion in borrowing. Egypt has an unemployment rate of about 30 percent... and the majority of the population there is under the age of 30.
It's a noble gesture but we've got our own economic problems is this country. High unemployment… mounting debt… the inability of Congress to agree on anything. There are people here in the United States who could use some help.
Here’s my question to you: Is now the time to increase aid to the Middle East?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Richard in Oak Harbor, Washington:
With all the U.S. homeland's debt ceiling debate, irrevocable entitlement programs, contentious universal healthcare issues , sweeping natural disasters and Congressional urgency to minimize the national debt, now is not the time to be spending yet more billions on those who are being robbed by their corrupt leaders.
Remo in Pflugerville, Texas:
No! We've done enough, both good and bad. It's time they sink or swim. We've meddled since the Crusades and nothing came of that.
Can I ask where is this money is coming from? Oh, we'll just add it to the national debt. Here we go again trying to "buy" our way into somewhere where we don't belong. Apparently the Middle East does not have oil money to spare.
Yes, now is the time. This could potentially be the first step towards developing a lasting democratic stronghold in an area where it could be very influential to surrounding nations. Who knows when another opportunity such as this will come along?
To "reward" countries for encouraging democracy seems misguided. America is proving day by overspending day that its brand of corporate capitalism is separating itself from democracy.
Perhaps a better idea would be for other countries to send America money to encourage true democracy in the U.S.A. You know, like governing for the good of ALL the people.
If the U.S. doesn't, the Chinese will. Then where will we be? We need to keep trying to bring peace to the Middle East. Staying on the sidelines doing nothing is not a viable option.
Jack in Lancaster, Ohio:
No, it is time overdue to send aid to the MIDDLE class.
Curt in Avon, Indiana:
Of course, the U.S. should increase aid to the Middle East. We should do away with Social Security and Medicare and close all the schools so we can increase payments to countries that hate us and what we stand for. That should help drain our faltering economy. Dumb questions deserve dumb answers, Jack.