The Egyptian Plague
The typical pattern is that the plague originates elsewhere, but is somehow brought to Egypt, where it quickly mutates and expands and becomes epidemic, often afflicting lands beyond Egypt. Such was the case of the plague described by Thucydides in his History of the Peloponnesian War (he himself had a bout with the plague). The plague that affected the war between Athens and Sparta originated in Ethiopia or other parts up the Nile, came to Egypt, and then went to Libya and Greece.
Today, Egypt is afflicted with a different kind of plague. This plague is political unrest. In this case, the "plague" originated in Tunisia, and now, there is rioting and looting in the streets of Cairo. The regime of Hosni Mubarak is seriously threatened.
(1) Egypt is, to be sure, a pharaonic dictatorship where human rights are severely restricted. Mubarak, like his predecessors Sadat and Nasser, is a corruptocrat who has allowed his people to languish in poverty, and cares only for his personal aggrandizement. But if his regime is overthrown, will the next one give the Egyptians any more personal freedoms? I remember the overthrow of the Shah in Iran, and, as we see to this very day, the Islamicist regime of Khomeini and his successors is far, far more repressive than that of the Shah.
(2) Senator Rand Paul has been talking about cutting aid to Israel as a means to help balance the Federal budget. This raises several issues:
(A) Without accusing the Senator of anything, my inborn Jewish paranoia makes me wonder whether Rand Paul's position is born of some sort of personal dislike for the Jewish people. I have never met Senator Paul (though I have personally met his father and the experience made me very wary of him, notwithstanding my approval of many of his "on paper" ideas), and am not in a position to make a conclusive judgment in that regard.
(B) American foreign policy has long been to provide aid to the Arab and Muslim nations in order to keep Israel dependent upon American foreign aid. All else being equal, if American foreign aid to Egypt and the other Arab countries is significantly reduced then much of the foreign aid dollars to Israel would become unnecessary.
(C) But all else is not equal. Specifically, if America cuts aid to Egypt, then it will surely seek out other patrons to fund it. These patrons can be Saudi Arabia or Iran.
(D) More to the point: If the United States pulls its funding from Egypt, then Russia and/or China would likely consider filling the vacuum.
This plague in Egypt will make lots of people very, very sick!