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Robert Winner

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US relations with Egypt

US Administration has sent Senators McCain and Graham to Egypt to resolve internal issues and restore democracy.

Does this show a lack of confidence in the State Department.

Is the US butting into Egypt's internal affairs.

What is a correct course of action .... if any ... the US should follow?

I am particularly interested in comments from the middle east on how the US is seen by others.

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  • Aug 11 2013: As it stands, the Egyptian military is more or less in control. There is some civil unrest, true, but as this isn't Syria or Lebanon, there is no armed force inside the country capable of standing up to the military in a straight fight.
    Seeing as the military backed secular and christian faction is more pro-western than the Muslim Brotherhood, and seeing as the former currently seems like its very much winning, I'd say its fairly obvious who the US should be supporting, for its own interests if nothing else.

    In general though, I'd advise the US to stop trying to be the world's cop.
    Its not winning them any friends, and more often than not, it does more harm than good. Democracy can't be exported by force of arms, and many of the conflicts the US is trying to solve are rooted in so deep that all they're doing is picking at an open wound.
    • Aug 18 2013: I disagree about the US being "the world's cop". It is hugely hypocritical, even cowardly, to condemn an action or regime but continue as if nothing has happened. I agree that, especially in Egypt, military intervention is not the best course of action, but because it would not work practically, and not because no other country has the "right" to intervene. The Egyptian people threw out a government they did not want, and then effectively did the same to another. Now they are dying in their thousands in their attempts to do the same to another, but this time it has the power to suppress them. A US intervention would not be not exporting democracy by force of arms; it would be protecting the fledgling democracy that the Egyptian people are ready and calling for.
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        Aug 19 2013: Tom I think it is evident that when we speak of Egyptians, we need to be delineate between government infested with Religious domination vs. Modern, democratic, religious-state, separative models.

        While the first Egyptian Spring protests were leaning towards a non-religious form of government, they were seriously countermended by the body -Islamic Brother-hood. They tried, within this framework to legislate a form of religion-state separation but failed. Considering the Islamic factions were urgently trying to close the loop -so to speak- by overruling the Constitution, the modernists were left no other options but to overthrow the established order.

        On the one hand the Islamics want to destroy democracy and individual rights in favor of Religious rules and laws while the modernists want separation between Religion and State -in favor of individual rights. The implementation of such a Government in the Middle East, considering the base of power associated with Egypt, will tilt the balance in favor of more modernization models in other Islamic countries.

        I agree the US cannot export Democracy via force of arms via support for the Egyptian Military. I agree we need to back off and let the Intellectuals in that country control their own fate but there is also intervention by other countries, such as, Saudi Arabia, Iran, China and Russia.

        We are not the cops, we are a player in these world events.
      • Aug 19 2013: Except that the second government, recently toppled by the military, was not exactly democratic.
        The Muslim brotherhood was elected democratically, true enough, but they also began the process of turning Egypt into a theocracy, hurting minority rights, imposing religion via government policy, and removing the democratic process which elected them to power.

        Think of it as if an elected US president decided to declare himself president for life while changing the constitution to cancel separation of church and state, and his military chief of staff arrested him and set up a provisional government until elections could be held again.
        The rioting in the street is to see the Muslim Brotherhood back in power, and democracy canceled--the first inevitably leads to the second.

        What a lot of people in the west fail to realize is that democracy cannot be forced.
        In some nations, a democracy would be canceled after a single election, by the same people who were democratically elected. Without a longstanding democratic tradition, and proper separation of church and state, democracy simply doesn't work very well.
        Egypt is hardly the only case of this trend.

        It doesn't help that the democracy was forced on you by foreigners with guns, imposing their ideology onto you. Most people don't take kindly to that sort of thing, even if the foreign power was trying to help, and often doing more harm than good in the process due to a lack of understanding of the local political climate.

        Besides, its well known that the west only intervenes if the country is a major oil exporter, like Iraq or Lybia. Syria on the other hand (minor oil exporter), is seen as more of a handy arena for the Jihadists to kill each other. Never mind the millions of civilians which happen to live there...
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    Aug 24 2013: The US has sent aid to Egypt since the signing of the Egypt-Israel peace treaty in 1979. The US has been involved in Egyptian affairs for a long time, with an interest in maintaining peace between Egypt and Israel. Rand Paul's amendment to cut aid to Egypt met so much resistence in part because of concerns about what it would mean for Egypt's relationship with Israel.

    McCain and Graham are in the camp of wanting to maintain US influence over Egypt. Others question if the strings on Egypt are still worth the money.
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    Aug 19 2013: I think it was a smart political move on the part of President Obama. Both Senators are Republicans. McCain is on record to continue aid to Egypt's Military, but is having a change of heart. Obama -could- use the 1.5 billion aid money to help with his projects but, it would have to be a Republican idea.

    We are no more butting in than the Saudi Arabians, who are going to contribute 12 billion in aid to Egypt. In the long run, the ultimate goal of the intrusions into the Middle East is to destabilize the Islamic governments, who fuel and render aid to Terrorists and substituting a more secular, Western type of Democracy in that region. It will help to solve many problems associated with economics and individual rights in that part of the world.

    Ultimately, it would destabilize terrorists who operate in the African continent, opening up that region for economic expansion, helping the African people to become more modern and industrialized.

    The Middle east is used up (industrially) but Africa is the real target of all political events in the middle east. Africa has much to offer. The efforts in the Middle East rum parallel with efforts in Africa. Those countries that push against American interests in that region, are using the turmoil to push back European and US efforts to invest in Africa, while they continue to find more investment ventures in Africa.

    If we back away from Egypt and let them handle the transition from Islamic to (secular) democratic form of government, the problem will solve itself: first in Egypt, then throughout the Middle East. Egypt will offset the Saudi influence.
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    Aug 10 2013: Here is something from the middle-East:
    http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2013/08/20138420621352857.html
  • Aug 8 2013: The U.S. really needs to stop trying to be the police men of the world. We are the only country that has such widespread military bases. The military needs to bring our brave men and women home. Situations, like the Benghazi incident, would become problems of the past.
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      Aug 19 2013: Some of the major elements in the spread of Democratic rule around our planet are blood, sweat and tears.

      We can't bring them home. It would take too much time to put Humpty-Dumpty back together if the planet spun out of control