August 18th, 2013
10:58 AM ET
7 years 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. grafixer

    McCain is right... We lost our credibility when the GOP paid (with YOUR tax dollars) to keep a regime in place that played to GOP American interests. That is over. Freedom and Democracy is now the format that Obama and the American people wish for Egypt – however they see their freedom and democracy. If the extremists of America that want to control the people of other countries have a problem with this... they have "outed" themselves as "extremists" that want to control the people of other countries. What do you stand for? Freedom? Control? Religious Freedom (be it only what YOU believe – or the RIGHT for people to practice their own beliefs? Or... DEMOCRACY? That includes all of the above. BE AN AMERICAN... OR give up your right, as Americans... to believe and live as a free people. We fought for these rights more than 200 years ago. STAND UP and be Americans – without religious prosecution. THIS IS the BASIS FOR AMERICAN FREEDOM AND DEMOCRACY. If you stand for less... you are spitting in the face of our own Constitution... America's right to FREEDOM... and all PEOPLE's rights to believe and govern as individuals. STAND UP... As Americans. DENY THE LEFT OR RIGHT. STAND IN SUPPORT OF FREEDOM AND DEMOCRACY. (Anything less is reducing your own rights in the USA and in your own "church". THINK. Don't follow. LEAD.)

    August 18, 2013 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  2. firedueu

    This is very funny as McCain has no credibility in Arizona.

    August 18, 2013 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  3. USPatriot

    But . . .but. . .but... what about the great job Hillary did as "Secretary of State"? What about the great job Kerry is doing. And what about Obama and his claim 5 years ago that all would be well between the USA and the middle east?

    Are we supposed to realize now that Obama, Hillary, Kerry, et al are all full of crap and have done a sorry job on behalf of the USA? Well I'll be darned. . . . . . . . . . . What next? . . . . . . . Obama just needed more time eh libs?

    August 18, 2013 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  4. Patty

    Yes, and replace those monies with US Social Security's IOU's

    August 18, 2013 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  5. S.K

    For the MB friends and lovers, for the $1.3 billion you get the following:
    – Free unlimited pass to the Suez Canal, and with priority to cut off the line in front of long line of traffic of oil tankers, and all other ships.
    – Warships easy access to the Gulf countries and the east in no time.
    – Free umlimited flying of the air space, without waiting for a week long for permission like the rest of the countries.
    – Strong army, which is willing for a peace with Israel.
    – Strong army to fight Terrorists ( whom lots of readers do not see).
    – Helping the Army contractors, and employ people to manufacture weapons for the Army ( The army gets weapons, not cash payment). So the money goes to Americn companies.

    Now, with no support, image the following may happen:
    – No access to the Suez Canal, and no jumping the line, so you wil have to go around Africa to go to the Gulf and far east.
    – Wait for a week to get persmission to go over the air space.
    – Russia and China will be more than happy to take side with the Egyptian Army.
    – No obligation to honor the Camp David agreement anymore with Israrel.

    I guess now , people would see that fighting terrorists, and the MB terrorists make sense.

    August 18, 2013 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  6. ranpat86

    Senator McCain you had your chance a few months ago when it came up for a vote in the Senate. You Senator are the one without any credibility!

    August 18, 2013 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  7. go2singh

    This was a military impeachment. Morsi's gang, in 2 years, not only stripped women of basic rights, stripped non MB-ers of their livelihood, imposed draconian and bizarre rules on new business in Egypt, were in cahoots with the Mali and Northern Nigerian murderers and all were about to raze the pyramids. McCain – ever since 9/11 and before – has been under watch for his involvement with the Muslim Brotherhood and others more extreme than MB, in Egypt. McCain, you are about as relevant to US politics as George Noory is to NASA.

    August 18, 2013 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  8. Cosmos

    "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.”

    Mighty fine logic Mr. McCain

    August 18, 2013 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  9. jon

    Stop sending these goofy countries ANY foreign aid!

    August 18, 2013 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  10. M.R.

    Considering ~15billion aid they get from every where, it is nothing more than weakening ourselves and especially Obama administration for political advantages.

    August 18, 2013 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  11. ranpat86

    President (dictator) Obama decides what laws he is going to enforce. Must be nice!

    August 18, 2013 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  12. Dixielee

    IF McCain is right (.he did lose an election to the worst opponent ever) Then for God's sake and ours let's get out of there NOW and never go back.. WAY past time to solve some of our problems. Of course, Obama and McCain have not helped there..

    August 18, 2013 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  13. Greg Max Dowbak, MD

    Finally, McCain says something that makes sense.

    August 18, 2013 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  14. Terry

    We as egyptians have suffered a lot this last year from the MB in office. Please the U.S. and europe, we do not need more from you now. Leave us alone to try and clean egypt from terrorists. .

    August 18, 2013 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  15. Mike Texoma

    The Morisy administration is a good example of what happens when ideology overcomes common sense. Without checks and balances they self-destructed. And now, incredibly, the Egyptian military seems to be betting the country on the same kind of nonsense. Yes, the Muslim Brotherhood is stupifyingly arrogant. But the military can find Sheite Muslims they can deal with, empower them, fix the Constitution, call elections, and get on with life, and do it quickly. Instead, they polarized the country without offering an acceptable alternative. The military is stupifyingly arrogant. The United States government needs to stay well out of the way until one side or the other comes up with a plan that makes sense. Only then will "credibility" count.

    August 18, 2013 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  16. infinitywell

    Stop saying "We"!!!

    The federal government, particularly the executive branch has nothing in common with the real citizens of the United States, except for out money & taxation, thats it. McCain, Obamba, Clinton, State Dept, IRS, NSA, JustUs, the government media do not represet us.

    As far as I am concerned, Washington DC is *** NOT *** part of the real United States of America.

    Have a nice apoplectic moment...

    August 18, 2013 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  17. 779530021

    thank obama for no credibility. His foreign polices suck to say the least. Foreign countries do not have any respect for obama because he has no balls, he wont make any decisions and when he does make a decision it is so lame. The guy has no experience and it shows.

    August 18, 2013 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  18. FidyCents

    Well we can thank the Obama-Clinton foreign policy for this. Remember it was these same progressives who hooted and yelled at the Bush administration. Now it has come full circle.

    August 18, 2013 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  19. dr bugsy

    Took the RINO this long to figure that out?

    August 18, 2013 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  20. 779530021

    I just don't understand why all the foreign countries do not have any respect for obama. Maybe because he has no leadership skills.

    August 18, 2013 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  21. Serge Crespy

    Is Egypt preparing for an influx of Palestinians from Gaza?

    August 18, 2013 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  22. iambicpentamaster

    Wrong, Sen. McCain.

    The Obamessiah himself has pronounced the planet as healed. He did so single-handedly.

    Healing Arab nations is a very small thing for the mighty Obamessiah.

    He promised that Arabs and specifically Muslims would love the U.S. now that he is POTUS, so we know that Islamic Jihadis really love America.

    Who ya gonna believe?

    Your ever-lovin' Obamessiah, or your own lyin' eyes?

    August 18, 2013 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  23. smartnmale

    Americans should applaud Obama for keeping us out of new wars. McCain has so far has been in favor of direct military actions in Libya, Iran, Syria and now is pressing for actions in Egypt.
    Obama has flat out resisted war in these countries. I travel all over the for world for my job, TRUST ME Obama is respected and admied for his restraint worldwide. McCain's opinions are not even close to the majority.

    August 18, 2013 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  24. jlf

    we really NEVER had credibility/influence in the Middle East; they just made us believe we did so we would send them $$$$ it time to stop being a ATM for foreign countries and concentrate on spending that money HERE!!!!!

    August 18, 2013 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  25. michael gilbert

    well, the General thought Obama was asking for his phone back.

    August 18, 2013 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
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