August 18th, 2013
10:58 AM ET
8 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.

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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.

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

    " implore military leaders to begin holding elections and transition into a democracy."

    And THAT is fallacy right there. The last president WAS elected democratically. Problem is, he was little better than Mubarek. We have got to acknowledge that western-style democratic elections simply don't word in that part of the world.

    If for no other reason (and there ARE plenty of other reasons) the idea of western-style democracy is completely foreign and alien to these populations. We're trying to shove western sensibilities down the throats of a populace that simply isn't ready or even willing to accept.

    It's high time we unass ourselves from Egypt and similar countries.

    August 18, 2013 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  2. abmri60

    Why should we support Islam, the fastest growing religion in the world ?

    August 18, 2013 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  3. McCain's Brain

    psst...buddy: YOU HAVE NO CRED WITH GOP.

    What difference does it make!"

    August 18, 2013 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  4. mike

    The Egyptian military is right on this one. The MB is bad news and their removal from powerful necessary for a secular Egypt. Anyone who thinks this is bad for democracy? What country on Earth has outlawed a right wing party? Germany! Has anything similar been done about left wing parties in any other countries? No. How many deaths is communism/socialism repsonsible for? In excess of 20 million. Its amazing how many die when you don't discriminate!

    August 18, 2013 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  5. Alex

    Egypt army is doing dirty work, which otherwise US troops will do few year later to stop spreading of the terrorism from Egypt.

    August 18, 2013 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  6. ethiopianyouth

    McCain is becoming a grumpy old man. He is now siding with the muslim brotherhood that produced the current leader of alqaeda.

    August 18, 2013 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  7. JoeMCanada

    When your country has millions homeless and starving people, working homeless, and people dying because they can't afford to see a doctor then it is a ludicrous notion to be sending aid to other countries.

    August 18, 2013 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  8. P. O. Carl

    Not a coup? When the military removes a elected president it is a coup. It doesn't matter if Washington likes or dislikes who the people elected, they elected him. This has been our problem all along, supporting leaders that the people do not like.

    August 18, 2013 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  9. ant

    I say we let the military do the right thing. I mean they are seeing what the brotherhood is doing and they realize that it was destroying Egypt. So guess what they are stopping it and McCain and his wingnuts want to make this political.

    Sorry we did that one with Iraq remember your either with us or your with them. It only works once.

    August 18, 2013 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  10. Shawn Irwin

    Wait, John, are you feeling ok? Normally you would be calling for another war, that is why I am asking!

    August 18, 2013 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  11. dave

    THe USA has put itself and Israel in such a terrible position. The naive Obama went to Eygpt and actually thot.. i mean he thot and still does that the Arab Spring and The Muslim Brotherhood actually want peace and democracy.
    Now he has slowly and naively eroded USA influence...has slowly famed the flames of hatred toward the USA and Israel.
    There is a power keg about to blow due to a complete lack of any understanding of what the ISlamic mind is all about..
    Oh yes..get ready to cancel your vacations everyone when Oil is at about 300 a barrel...
    We have no one to blame but being naive...OH YES>..obama better support Israel 100 percent or it will get worse much faster then it is..
    PLEASE bring on some advisors who have less education and MORE wisdom

    August 18, 2013 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  12. Mike

    The Egyptian army is the best friend of Egyptian Christians. Their worst enemies are Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood, and John McCain.

    August 18, 2013 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  13. ricardo1968

    McCain knows we will not stop the aid, so he can say that we should so that when Egypt inevitably gets worse, he can score political points for the GOP. Stopping aid won't fix anything either, but this is about whether you can score points here in the U.S.

    August 18, 2013 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  14. 4F

    Obama never has had credibility so how could the US lose credibility?! Obama and his spin doctors are once again at work. In this case a violent military overthrow is not a coup. Other recent examples of Obama spin...
    An evacuation is an orderly withdrawal,
    Terrorists are ordinary criminals,
    Illegal aliens are undocumented workers, and, of course
    Lies are just misunderstandings.

    I feel so much better about things now.
    Thanks, Mr. President.

    August 18, 2013 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  15. kitcole

    We do not have a credible foreign policy, haven't had one for years. Other countries do not respect us, and want to use us.
    We cannot cut off aid – the military is keeping the Muslim Brotherhood at bay – at least we read that – but who really knows what is going on – we are only told what they want us to know, which may be "false info" – to distract us. McCain is a liberal pragmatic and I do not trust him or like him. So glad he didn't win the Presidency! He should retire.

    August 18, 2013 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  16. Bill

    You had no credibility when you elected to send tanks and fighter jets to the Muslim Brotherhood, a thinly veiled hate group that would quickly affiliate themselves with the fringe elements of their religion, aka Al Quaeda and other groups that would gladly utilize those same weapons to strike terror into non-Muslim people around the world. This is the reason why the more moderate elements in the country, and in the Egyptian Army decided it was time to oust the puppet government set up by Obama & company.

    August 18, 2013 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  17. ELefevre

    Thankfully, Obama wasn't 'focused like a laser' on U.S. credibility. In that case, it would be even worse...way to go, Barry.

    August 18, 2013 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  18. lww

    Shut up Mccan't...

    August 18, 2013 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  19. Whynotyouhavenotatoo

    McCain has no creditability in the US.

    August 18, 2013 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  20. Stephen Colbert

    McCain was for the aid to Egypt before and now he is against it. He voted to give aid to Egypt just last month. Wow!!! Is this stuff for real?

    August 18, 2013 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  21. robertfallin

    McCain should know; his idiot-level actions to undermine sovereign Arab nations while kissing up to Israel at every turn have made us uniformly hated in every country in the Middle East except Israel.

    August 18, 2013 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  22. twalk

    Guess McCain forgot about the Iraq war (invasion). We lost our credibility back then. Stop spinning McCain after all look who you chose as your VP candidate.

    August 18, 2013 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  23. Margo

    Credibility is lost by not having a leader that understand the foreign governments. Instead of studying, Obama golfs every weekend and has no idea how the world operate. Nobody is calling him for consultation or advice, he calls around with no ideas of what he will do, just showing of his inept persona.

    August 18, 2013 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  24. sandra

    It is Senator McCain who has lost his credibility. Does the doddering old _____ think we should pressure Egypt's military to give the Muslim Brotherhood free reign to kill people, burn Christian churches, force women to cover, and to institute Shariah law? Providing aid to Egypt is part of our responsibility under the Egyptian peace treaty with Israel. I think McCain might want to ask BiBi what he thinks before shooting off his mouth.

    August 18, 2013 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  25. straighttalk

    America has become a country nobody can trust. I do not trust the US Government one bit. They lie they steal they are such a corrupt bunch of politicians in Washington it is pathetic. Why should any country trust the USA?

    August 18, 2013 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
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