Photos: Egypt protests
August 18th, 2013
10:58 AM ET
1 year ago

McCain: U.S. has ‘no credibility’ in Egypt

(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.

"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.


Filed under: Egypt • John McCain • TV-State of the Union
soundoff (684 Responses)
  1. PeeBee

    Does McCain any of our politicians have any credibility in US? If you are not credible to our own people how do you expect to be credible as country to others? Charity begins at home....

    August 18, 2013 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  2. RCDELANI

    Senator McCain and that other "Meet the Press" hound, Lindsey Graham are really a disgrace to the Senate and dangerous to the United States. Senators, we have bankrupted our economy (Detroit, Fresno etc) because we followed
    your folly by getting into two wars, Iraq and Afghanistan. Now two of the most unstable countries in the Middle East.
    Both of these Senators want to bankrupt us further by allowing an Amnesty that will permit 30 Million illegal immigrants
    to move here with their extended families and this will further crush the working class and those struggling and on food stamps...... McCain has 12 mansions and Lindsey is a multi-millionaire and we need to have 2 term Limits for the House and Senate. Stop this madness and get rid of all these traitors...

    August 18, 2013 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  3. JustAGuy

    ...so how's the Nobel Peace Prize winning presidents track record?

    Not so good? How about, not good at all. A disaster!!!!

    August 18, 2013 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  4. NameJ a m

    McCain has No credibility in the US...

    August 18, 2013 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  5. J

    Our hijacked government has lost all credibility. Period.
    McCain, Obama, Graham, Feinstien, Pelosi, Reid, all of them should resign immediately to absolve themselves of any further crimes. Arrest Bush Crime Family, Clinton Crime Family, the royal families worldwide, Rockefellers, Rothschilds. Then I would say public executions of war criminals and for crimes against humanity, thousands would die, that would do the trick.

    August 18, 2013 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  6. rsleonard9

    First, we grant Egypt 1.3 billion in military, which they use to buy weapons from US manufacturers, which in the case of the F-16s we don't deliver. This is corporate welfare disguised as foreign aid which I guess is different from welfare paid to US citizens so they can shop at Wal-Mart and buy Chinese products.

    Now let's see if I've got this straight. We support Murbak, a dictator, because he was friendly to Israel and this is what the Jewish lobby in the US wanted. Murbak supported a secular state. Then when it became obvious that he was on the way out we supported elections. Amazingly given our track record in Gaza we actually endorsed the winner.

    Alas, the winner soon decided he was above the constitution and in addition he wanted to create a de facto Islamic state (muslim brotherhood). Now a lot of good muslims and evidently quite a few generals really don't want to live under Sharia law. So the big question is why does the Jewish lobby in the US and hence Israel want Morisi or actually maybe they are very happy with the intercine warfare going on in the Arab states. That must be it – Israel doesn't want us to take sides since the Arabs are destroying themselves.

    And in case you are wondering about why we don't intercede in Syria the way we did in Libya see above plus the fact that Libya has a lot of oil and Syria doesn't have that much.

    So if you want to figure out our foreign policy in the middle east you only need to know what Israel wants and that is what their lapdog will do.

    August 18, 2013 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  7. gordon crisp

    This from a man with no credibility in America. I'm so proud of myself for not calling him a name. If I would have it would have been....

    August 18, 2013 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  8. Miguel

    McCain continues to prove himself hopelessly bumbling is about all one can say. Egypt's military has more understanding by far about the innate deceptions, lies, and cynicism of Mors'si Moslem Brotherhood than McCain can ever comprehend. McCain's brain-dead innocence as to the darkly intended mass-murder of the real hopes and dreams of the Egyptian People presented by The Moslem Brotherhood is shameful to say the least. McCain relies of his dim understanding of the literal meaning of some law in the US Congress (which the real in-their-face world faced by Egyptians renders McCain's law talk meaningless).

    August 18, 2013 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  9. Pontus

    McCain is a criminal piece of trash.

    August 18, 2013 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  10. Madman

    Maybe Obama should send Dum and Dummer back to Egypt(McCain and Graham)To take care of the muslim brothers
    and get Morsi back in power. Are we crazy.

    August 18, 2013 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  11. Old Navy

    You're absolutely right in stopping the flood of money that ends up in the pockets of corrupt officials of Egypt, Iraq and other murderously screwed-up countries. However, we former and present Arizona voters need you to restore the strength of the Republican Party. A lifelong Democrat, the last two national elections proved that both parties need to stop getting stupidly involved in every useless war since Korea and return to their Constitutional duties. Incidentally, I would've voted for you in 2008, and you'd be President today if you hadn't mindlessly chosen that Alaskan dingbat as your running mate.

    August 18, 2013 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  12. Death from above

    McCain has credibility in US

    August 18, 2013 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  13. James Lenck

    I wonder why they would think that. Maybe because our President who is the joke of the world in terms of leadership sends a pathetic senile old fossil and his smiley sidekick Howdy Doody over to interfere in their affairs? Could have something to do with it I bet!

    August 18, 2013 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  14. deserthermit

    This is the best chance at a secular govt. in Egypt . We should be bending over backwards to increase aid to the Egyptian military. Separation of church and state is our only chance at world peace. And yes it is possible.

    August 18, 2013 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  15. Richard Carter

    Why should America have credibility in Egypt? They are Muslims, age old enemies of Christian and Jews. Of course they will cleverly befriend us for benefits, biding their time while our spiritual decay runs its course and makes us an easy prey. As for McCain, where is his credibility, not in Egypt but in his own country? He is a politician without a base.

    August 18, 2013 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  16. Buddy

    As far as I am concerned, McCain has 'no credibility' in the U.S.

    August 18, 2013 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  17. Mr Dalloway

    Sen Insane McCain do the country a favour and go find yourself

    August 18, 2013 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  18. A. Levy

    "McCain: U.S. has ‘no credibility’ in the world..."

    Neither does sen. Juan McLoser. But, making that dumb comment did get him on TV again, didn't it. He's getting just like his new BFF, Lens-Lice Schumer.

    August 18, 2013 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  19. Will D

    If anything it is McCAin that has lost all credibility with Americans after his embarrassing loss to Obama. Besides credibility John McCain has lost some of his respect as a man. Watching him pander to the Far Right loons is amusing, although he doesn't have their backs, he just wants the votes. His late years are now filled with photo ops and guest appearances on TV shows.. He should have quit while he was ahead of the game. Too late now, way too late.

    August 19, 2013 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  20. keystnst

    First of all the $1.3 billion we give to Egypt is a fraction of the $20+ billion they get from the Arab League and their other allies, second, the money is returned to the US defense contractors to by military hardware, third who cares if Egypt respects us. Considering their roll in the 9/11 attacks they should be seeking our respect not the other way around.

    August 19, 2013 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  21. Che Guevara

    Well, the US never had credibility in Egypt in the first place. Giving military equipment worth $1.3billion per year never helped Egyptians and was used to buy the military elite in power for 30 years. If it's stopped, the new generals can turn to Russia for new hardware and gain back their independence once and for all.

    August 19, 2013 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  22. Baliy

    CNN mis spelled the tittle it was suppose to " McCain doesn't have any credibility.

    August 19, 2013 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  23. Froderick

    I agree with the Saudis King on this matter when he suggests that the U.S. should be supportive of the Egyptian Military.

    The good news is that his message will be the deciding factor in the way the Obama Administration and our Congress reacts towards Egypt because the Saudis have many Democrats and maybe even a few Rhino Republicans on their payroll. Follow the money as they say.

    The Saudi King is right since the Egyptian Military is the stable element in Egypt and secular. In addition, they deserve our support because military is standing against terrorists known as the Muslim Brotherhood and they are cleaning up the mess that was created in large part by the Obama Administration.

    If our Congress does not support Egypt's Military, it will be a BIG FN Mistake but not as big a mistake as the one our President made in supporting the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood and overthrowing our ally Mubarrak. It was this ill-advised intervention, aka Obama's Arab Spring, that was a big factor in starting this ungodly mess to begin with.

    Since Obama and his administration and some members of our Congress seem to be on the wrong side of this, perhaps we could persuade Egypt's Military to send some consultants over here to the U.S. They could help us in identifying people in our government who collaborated with Muslim Terrorists and specifically with the Muslim Brotherhood.

    Also, we need to know if people in our government broke U.S. laws if international laws were violated.

    Many might suggest that anyone in our government who cooperated with known muslim terrorists should be removed from office and there may be a case for criminal charges to be brought as well: perhaps Impeachment of Obama may also be on the table.

    August 19, 2013 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  24. David Wachtfogel

    John McCain talks too much. We will survive i he doesn't constantly spout off. We should continue to fund the Egyptian military . A good friend. If we don't who will. China. I don't give a rat's ass about the Muslim brothers. They a threat to the stability to the world.

    August 19, 2013 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  25. Hugh

    The Brotherhood birthed Alqada Sen McCain. If you bothered to attend any of your briefings after 9/11 you'd know that. The Brotherhood was an illegal organization, like the NAZIS, in Egypt until the so-called Arab Spring. Thank God the Egyptian generals decided to save Egypt from a fate similar to NAZI Germany's. The Brotherhood is getting sent back to prison now, where they all belong – the ones that aren't going to be hanged, anyway.

    August 19, 2013 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
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