(CNN) – It’s high time for the United States to cut off its $1.3 billion in aid to Egypt as the military regime cracks down violently on protesters, Sen. John McCain argued Sunday.
The Arizona Republican added the U.S. has lost its credibility in the region after failing to follow its own law that requires suspending aid to states overtaken by a military coup–though the U.S. has not officially described the recent regime change in Egypt as a coup.
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"We have no credibility. We do have influence, but when you don't use that influence, then you do not have that influence,” McCain said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
McCain, along with Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, traveled to Egypt earlier this month at the request of President Barack Obama to implore military leaders to begin holding elections and transition into a democracy.
While McCain voted late last month to maintain aid to Egypt, the longtime senator has since had a change of heart and is now joining others, including Republican Sen. Rand Paul, in calling for the Obama administration to suspend aid.
Breaking from his vacation in Martha’s Vineyard last week, Obama made a statement about the renewed unrest in Egypt, saying the U.S. will cancel its upcoming joint military exercises with the country. But he stopped short of suspending the aid.
With much of that $1.3 billion going to the Egyptian military, McCain argued the continued assistance will further spur tension and anti-American sentiments in the region.
"With Apache helicopters flying overhead (in Egypt), nothing is more symbolic of the United States of America siding with the generals,” he told CNN's chief political correspondent Candy Crowley.
Republican Sens. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Bob Corker of Tennessee, who initially voted to maintain aid, also said Sunday that U.S. should withdraw assistance.
“They're obviously getting the impression that no matter what they do, our aid will continue. So we do need to exercise our influence by saying we're going to follow the law ... (and) suspend aid, until you restore democracy,” Ayotte said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
On the same program, Democratic Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island said recent acts by the Egyptian military are “completely unconscionable, and I do believe we have to change our aid.”
Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, however, said while the U.S. may not have as much influence over Egypt as it once did, he believes Egypt’s military leaders don’t want to obliterate its relationship with the U.S. and therefore the Obama administration still has “substantial influence.”
“It's a little bit bizarre to understand why they're doing what they're doing, but I don't think you throw the baby out with the bathwater. Egypt's an important country, and I think we have to be very careful before we willy-nilly just cut off aid,” Engel said on ABC’s “This Week.”
As for why McCain and others supported the aid in the Senate vote last month, McCain said he wanted to give the military regime in Egypt an opportunity to enact a democratic government. He and other senators also argued that a cutoff of aid to Egypt would ultimately hurt Israel.
Asked Sunday if he still believes a suspension would indirectly damage the Jewish state, McCain said there would be a “risk.”
“But I also would point out that the Mubarak regime and this regime is stoking anti-Americanism to a large degree, and anti-Israel rhetoric is very high,” he said. “I believe that Israel can defend itself, although it may be of some cost to them, but look at the cost of American credibility."
McCain said the Obama administration’s handling of Egypt is just one sign of what he described as the president’s lack of foreign policy in the Middle East.
"There is no policy, and there is no strategy. And therefore, we react and we react poorly,” he said.
Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.
So McCain supports terrorists. Loser!
Loss of US credibility is just one more way Obama has damaged our country.
Ah McCain. Always calling for the hardline response when he's not the one who will be held responsible for and have to deal with the mess it creates.
McCain would have us spend another trillion dollars on a war, err, police action in Egypt. No thanks.
Why is this news? What nut wouldn't want us to cut funding?
McCain, the republicans in general, lack credibility on all foreign matters. Their record is starting huge wars, then not paying for them, while giving huge tax breaks to the rich, under the supposition that the rich would create jobs if they were richer, but they don't create jobs, the rich just horde the money, sitting around counting it, while millions are unemployed, no paycheck. Nothing would please the republicans more than to have the whole Middle East erupt into wars, with US right in the middle of it all, while not paying the trillions that it would cost, and then giving even more tax breaks to the rich. Being continuously at war, while continuously crying for more tax breaks to the rich is a pathetic position. If the entire Middle East were at war gas would be like $10 a gallon or more, and republicans would have no sympathy for those who can't afford gas to get to work, etc., they would tell them all to buy oil on the stock market with all that money they have laying around doing nothing.
In other news they are ice skating in Hell, I find myself agreeing with McCain and Rand Paul.
Someone should take the gun away from McCain and put him in a nice institute with lots of candy! this guy is totally nuts.
Now we're worried what bunch of lunatics think
Documents recovered when the Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood compound was raided, by the secular opposition, show that the U.S. government funded 8 billion dollars; not the Egyptian government, but to the Muslim Brotherhood itself. This money was provided through secret diplomatic channels directly from the White House, outside Congressional oversight.
When Sissi took command, by ousting Morsi, there was an additional amount of money given to the Egyptian military through McCain and Lindsey Graham to make sure that the original negotiation between Obama and the Muslim Brotherhood would be honored and would remain secret. The agreement that the White House paid 8 billion dollars for was to allow the Hezbollah Palestinians to be able to create a base camp, and remain in Sinai desert, inside Egypt's border.
And why is the US sending "aid" to an oil/gas rich middle eastern nation.... especially given our own economic problems? The middle east is a mess... always has been... always will be. Just a bunch of cavemen. Whatever we do there is a waste of time, money and precious US military lives. My vote is to keep our money and military at home until needed to strike a clear and present danger.
US already lost credibility by not declaring the ARMY intervention as coup! Moreover, Kerry said ARMY is here to restore democracy!...what a farce.
Once again I agree with Senator McCain. No, I didn't vote for him, but he makes a heck of alot more sense than any other Republican these days.
Actually, the US lost credibility with the Warren Commission.
Whe've lost credibility in the ME since the election of the Obamanation, alright – with our erstwhile allies in the region.
John, introduce a bill and just do it.... have the House do likewise If Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi oppose it they would be in violation of the law - impeach them..along with that other fellow in the Oval Office
McCain lost credibility as a sane senior citizen the moment he allowed palin to be his running mate. He needs to be in a nursing home heavily medicated and far away from US politics
Then we are even.......McCain has ZERO credibility in the USA!
No, don't cut off their aid... They've already decimated their tourism industry and looted all of the museums. They need all the help they can get! Wow.
McCain said: said U.S. has 'no credibility in Egypt ?, Because Mohamed Morsy is out of business !!!.
It's amazing how McCain tell us the truth about what they been doing in Egypt.
No, it is you, McCain who has no credibility.
"While McCain voted late last month to maintain aid to Egypt, the longtime senator has since had a change of heart and is now joining others, including Republican Sen. Rand Paul, in calling for the Obama administration to suspend aid."
Wait, he was for it before he was against it a month ago? Really?? I guess 'maverick' means when you don't follow the party line one month you start following the party line the next month.
Save that $1 billion and spend it on assisting our own people. Let Egypt burn in hell.
McCain probably oses to cut off aid to Egypt, Give es money instead to his good friends, Communist
Vietnam -to make a sequel to the propaganda tapes he made for them before when he got special treatment during the war as their guest – uh, I mean, "prisoner".
We have no money either, and it makes little sense to send borrowed money to oil countries.