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Washington (CNN) – More than half of all Americans say the U.S. should cut off military aid to Egypt, according to a new poll.
And a Pew Research Center survey conducted Thursday through Sunday, as violence surged between the country's ruling military and supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsy, also indicates that half the public says President Barack Obama hasn't been tough enough towards Egypt's military.
More than 900 people have been killed in violence in Egypt over the past week. Last month the Egyptian military installed an interim government after deposing Morsy, who in 2012 became the country's first democratically elected president.
According to the poll, 51% of Americans say it's better for Washington to cut off military aid to Egypt to put pressure on the government, with 26% saying it's better to continue military aid to the government in order to maintain influence in Egypt and nearly one in four unsure. The Middle East country receives nearly $1.3 billion each year of U.S. taxpayer money, with much of that aid going to the military.
MORE: U.S.-Egypt relations: 'Damned if you do, damned if you don't'
In a statement Thursday, President Barack Obama refrained from calling Morsy's overthrow a coup, which would have implications for the aid Cairo receives. "While we want to sustain our relationship with Egypt, our traditional cooperation cannot continue as usual when civilians are being killed in the streets and rights are being rolled back," said Obama as he announced that the U.S. was canceling a bi-annual joint military exercise with Egypt.
Sunday, on CNN's "State of the Union with Candy Crowley," GOP Sen. John McCain of Arizona said it's time for the U.S. to cut off the aid.
"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."
Half of those questioned said that the president has not been tough enough toward the Egyptian military in responding to the violence against anti-government demonstrators, with only 6% saying Obama's been too tough, 12% saying his response has been about right and 32% saying they were unsure.
While there was little partisan divide over cutting aid to Egypt, 63% of Republicans said Obama was not tough enough. That number drops to 47% among Democrats and 46% among independents.
The survey indicates that 45% say that the military would provide better leadership for Egypt, with 11% saying the Muslim Brotherhood, the long-repressed political movement that propelled Morsy to office last year, would provide better leadership. Nearly one in five said neither side would provide better leadership and one in four were unsure.
Just 22% of Americans said they are following the news about the violence in Egypt very closely, down from the 39% who said the same thing in February 2011, when then-President Hosni Mubarak stepped down after massive protests.
The Pew Research Center poll was conducted August 15-18, with 1,000 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.
While people may believe that cutting off US aid will hurt the Egyptiian government, it really won't. The void would most likely be made up for another Arab country, one rich with oil. Since both Morsi and anti-Morsi blame the United States for supporting the other side, and so cutting off aid isn't going to score many political points within Egypt. It'll be a wash on that front. Nope, the biggest political gains from cutting off financial aid to Egypt will come domestically, not in Cairo.
Cue the usual frothing ones....
The problem is that the location is good to help in many things. We can't "quit them cold turkey." There are too many considerations like help with anti-terrorist group support, the Camp David Accords which brought peace between Egypt & Israel just to name two.
half the american people couldn't find egypt on a map! let alone know what is going on over there and who the players are. these types of polls are stupid and dangerous in some ways. ask if the american people if they support egypt's military in its fight against radical islamists and they will gte overwhelming support. then ask about aid. again, a much different answer than this useless poll shows.
obama is like the bible story-a manager was discharged from his position but before he left he called in all the people who owed his boss money and cut a deal. Obama wants the muslim world to worship him, to set the stage for the future like his trip to egypt when he was first elected. STOP ALL MONEY TO ALL MUSLIM COUNTRIES-THEY HATE OUR GUTS. USE THE MONEY TO PAY THOSE WOUNDED VETS YOU SAID YOU WERE WORKING ON TO HELP???
Two legs bad, four legs good. Obama bad, Anti-Obama good.
We also don't want the racist GOP Congress to throw the country under the bus in order to ensure President Obama's failure but no one gets exactly what they want unless they are a white male with an R after his name.
And when China or Russia or Iran fills that power void in Egypt, what will the polls say then?
Boy, I wish Americans would learn how to think critically and beyond the first soundbite they hear from a vindictive old man (McCain) or a propaganda machine (Fox).
So people are simultaneously accusing Obama of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood AND demanding he cut of aid to the military who are fighting the Muslim Brotherhood.
Ah, the ramblings of a conservative poster : first start out by insulting at least half of your potential readers:
"half the american people couldn't find egypt on a map! let alone know what is going on over there and who the players are."
Second, further drive home your point of how smart you think you are by stating what the poll SHOULD be about, to support a point that is not even discussed in the article or in the poll's questions:
"these types of polls are stupid and dangerous in some ways. ask if the american people if they support egypt's military in its fight against radical islamists and they will gte overwhelming support. then ask about aid. again, a much different answer than this useless poll shows."
Just for the record, I doubt man people would object much to Egypt's military crushing Islamic extremists, but they might not want our tax dollars to go for that when we need that billion + dollars for something at home. For someone who has screamed about overspending and the government reaching into your pocket, you certainly seem OK with it in this instance. Another example of the reactive mode the Right wing is in these days: scratch a little, and you find very little in the way of principles at work, just blind hatred of anything that falls across their field of vision.
Our measly 1.8 million dollars doesn't have any sway over Egypt's military when the Qatari's and Saudi's send way much more aid to them.
Most people seem to forget that the Egyptian military turns that $1.3 billion around and spends it on American-made weaponry built by America.
I'd love to see this aid cut from both Israel AND Egypt, but it just won't happen because it feeds our military-industrial complex.
How about keeping that 1.5B we give to Egypt and keep it in our country. I am sure we could find a better use for it, since it is taxpayers money. Whatever happened to everyone wanting smaller government and less spending?
So..........tell me how you are going to cut military aid, and continue other forms of aid to a country that just had a military coup? Do you really believe that the Generals now in charge are going to say "Oh, my, we cannot use that money for chemical weapons against our people....that money is for medical supplies." And do you really think that the Military Industrial Complex is going to allow someone as small as the POTUS to curtail their business anywhere in the world? They would curtail the POTUS first. Get in the way of Smith and Wesson, Colt, or a dozen other weapons producers and prepare to fend off a bulldozer intent on you for lunch.
All foreign aid is wrong. If you want to help out Egypt or any other country, then voluntarily hand over your own money. Forcefully taxing Americans labor to give it away is insane and disgraceful.
Count me in as one who wants to keep the $1.3 billion here, where we need it. But then, I have absolutely no interest in furthering the cause of American Empire, so perhaps I'm biased.