The big question pertaining to the crisis in Egypt on This Week with George Stephanopoulos today, Sunday, Aug. 18 was “Is Obama doing enough?” One response was “the president is really caught between a rock and a hard place,” from Rep. Eliot Engel (D) New York. Sen. Bob Corker (R) Tennessee responded, “I hope we will continue to have an aid relationship with Egypt. Most of the money is out the door this year. It’s time for us to recalibrate ... our relationship has been very, very static the last 35 years. So, I don't want to cut off our relations, and I do expect that we will continue to have aid forthcoming in a way that really directly focuses on our national interests.”
Rep. Engel agrees, “I think the president’s approach was appropriate. I think cutting off the maneuvers next month with the Egyptian military was an appropriate response ... Egypt’s a very, very important country. Our policy for the past 35 years has made Egypt a staple of security in the Middle East, and we really need to continue that. While it may feel good to say, ‘OK, just cut ‘em loose. They're not listening to us ... they're cracking down and murdering people’ which is horrific. I hope that behind the scenes diplomacy will prevail ... I think that severing the aid is not the right thing to do, right now. We have to take each country based on the situation on the ground. Again, if you look at the military and you look at the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, I don't really believe — long-range — we can be allies and partners with the Muslim Brotherhood. Let’s hope that we can continue to talk with the military. Let’s hope we can get them to pull back.”
Engels addressed other allied countries’ interests in the Egyptian military ceasing its slaughter of its citizens, “It’s not in the best interests of other countries to have them to continue to crackdown, either. Not Saudi Arabia or some of the other countries. So, I think diplomacy should try to be prevailed. And, again, I think that a cut off of aid at this time would be the wrong thing to do.”
Martha Raddatz, ABC News chief global affairs correspondent, told George Stephanopoulos today on This Week, “We seem to have absolutely no leverage in Egypt. We have seen no change ... everything the U.S. asks for, nothing happens. And, that’s what’s happened over the last few weeks. Military to military, they're trying to influence them. Back off. Don't go into those camps. They go in, and they do it ... right now, there is no plan; there is no leverage, except for military equipment ... they've got all kinds of money coming in from elsewhere.”
Apparently switching his previous position to continue aid to the Egyptian military to one of suspension of aid, Sen. Corker says, “I think the actions of the last week, no doubt, are going to cause us to suspend aid. And ... at the same time it’s a time for us to recalibrate. And, look at what is our national interest. There’s no question that we overestimated what our leverage was, and we've underestimated the leverage that Saudi Arabia and the UAE has had on this government.”
However, when asked directly by Stephanopoulos for clarification, Corker waffles, “Yeah, but let me talk about that. I think we need to look at the tiers of our aid ... the fact is, we need to be looking at what’s in our national interests ... is it in our national interest, when we have 4.5 percent of the population and 22 percent of the world’s economic output, to insure that we have priority passage in the Suez Canal and that we continue to have good jobs for Tennesseans and Americans? So, I hope this debate will shift to a place where we're pushing, obviously, for the [Egyptian] government to act responsibly. Look, I condemn what’s happened with the military. But, I also condemn what, in essence, was a political coup by the Muslim Brotherhood.”
Both sides of American politics seem to, essentially, say the same thing: America has to continue to make sure that America’s economic interests and Americans are safe, while trying to see that loss of human lives by the Egyptian military in Egypt is brought to a stop. After a week of violence, says Stephanopoulos, the military government now considers outlawing the Muslim Brotherhood. This could push Egypt to the edge of civil war.
The Muslim Brotherhood is said to be “the voice of the People.” Therefore, both sides [Egyptian citizens and Egyptian military/government] see this as fighting for their “very survival,” said ABC News correspondent Muhammad Lila from Cairo. He said the mood on the streets of Cairo are very tense; that military, police, and armed forces line those streets “as this city braces for at least nine more protest marches, set to begin within the next hour.”
The Muslim Brotherhood, backed and supported by the citizens of Egypt, refuse to back down, and say they represent the demands of the People of Egypt, who are “willing to fight to the death,” though they have been decimated by at least 900 during the bloody battle. The man whom they democratically elected as their president was ousted by the current government. The government has judged the Brotherhood to be “terrorists, Islamic extremists, who are hell bent on bringing this country to its knees. The Muslim Brotherhood, for its part, say they are still the legitimate representatives of the People of this country because they won the last election,” contends Lila.