For nearly 30 years, the president and dictator of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, ruled the country with an iron fist. Citizens were jailed for political dissent, torture was not uncommon and journalists could be fined for opposing the government.

The protests this past week have brought out the true Mubarak, when he shut down social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter and closed the popular Al Jazeera news bureau in an attempt to quell the rebellion.

The refusal of Mubarak to relinquish his seat and allow for immediate fair and free elections shows his unwavering loyalty to his malfeasant cronies and plutocratic government instead of the largely impoverished and disenfranchised Egyptian people.

The revolution may not be of interest to Americans. However, in 2010, the U.S. sent over $1.55 billion in aid to Egypt. A vast majority of that money, about $1.3 billion, was specifically military aid. Not nearly enough was spent on infrastructure or education. The streets of Cairo are very hilly and cracked and lack sidewalks and traffic lights. Centralized planning under Mubarak gridlocked government and created an inefficient bureaucracy that halted modernization reforms.

Estimates from 2005 put those living below the poverty line at 20 percent with current levels of literacy at only 71 percent. If the $1.55 billion in aid must be given to Egypt, it should be used toward education and roads.

Instead, it is being used for tear gas canisters and riot vans to suppress the people when they decide they want to take back their civil liberties.

Of course, the U.S.’s economic, military and diplomatic support of Mubarak’s Egypt has been undying for 30 years. And even when millions march in the streets and the calls for regime change are loud and clear, the U.S. government remains hesitatingly neutral with delayed appeals for an “orderly transition.”

This brings into question the U.S.’s role in the affairs of other nations. America has an economic interest in the Egyptian-controlled Suez Canal, and since Israel is important to the U.S. government, a friendly Egypt wouldn’t hurt them. But should illiberal democracies and countries with track records of abusing human rights, such as Israel and Pakistan, receive hundreds of millions of dollars to support their militaries? Economic interests have clearly taken priority over the rights and well-being of people.

Without Mubarak’s intake of tens of billions of dollars for the past 30 years, the people may have been able to speak up earlier. Political dissidents and citizens may not have been murdered, jailed or forced to work in labor camps. Mubarak’s police force and supporters would not be responsible for the death of an estimated 300 people over the first eight days of protests.

If aid were to be cut off, it would send a clear message to the Egyptian people and Mubarak that the U.S. supports the people and the president’s immediate resignation.

However, don’t expect human suffering and civil liberties to sway the obscurant Obama administration anytime soon. Just like the preceding administrations of the modern era, the U.S. has a sweet tooth for establishing relationships with and supporting totalitarian states in the name of economic interests.

But don’t worry about that $1.55 billion; it’s not like we have starving, uneducated and ill people here in the U.S.