5 Quotes From U.S. Politicians That Prove We Know Nothing About Egypt


1) Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), speaking on Fox News about what happened in Egypt recently, said:

"Something has happened that is going to provoke a lot of unrest for some time. It has implications in other parts of the region. But what we should be doing right now is urging calmness, urging the military to move through the civilian process as quickly as possible.”

The expression sounds exceptionally professional and meaningful, but try inserting other countries’ names instead of “Egypt” and you’ll find that this is just a clever template for discussing any conflict anywhere in the world. Same could go for Syria, Darfur, Turkey etc. This is exactly how politicians try to act when they need to handle a situation but know nothing about it.



2. Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) said, "The interim civilian government and security forces — backed up, unfortunately, by the military — are taking Egypt down a dark path, one that the United States cannot and should not travel with them."

This statement from Senators McCain and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C) urged President Obama to suspend U.S. assistance to Egypt. There are many reasons why this sounds hypocritical. It looks like under Mubarak, who was “Israel’s friend” as the U.S. government claimed, everybody was happy to provide aid to Egypt turning a blind eye to the undemocratic rule. When the revolution happened and took lives of 846 Egyptians, the United States was still happy to lavishly aid Egypt. And now that this is happening again the United States is finally going “down a dark path” with Egypt?



3. In 2012 Representative Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) came up with a very original idea

"It appears that there has been deep penetration in the halls of the United States government by the Muslim Brotherhood. Muslim Brotherhood has been found to be co-conspirator on terrorism cases and yet it appears that there are individuals associated with the Muslim Brotherhood, who have very sensitive positions in our Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security and potentially even in the Central Intelligence Agency."

One might think that Representative Bachmann was in fact talking about Al-Qaeda, but she reiterated her certainty so many times that there is no doubt she referred to the Muslim Brotherhood. What scares me most is the amount of support this idea got from other politicians. The idea surprised the Muslim Brotherhood itself as one of its activists said: "I haven't heard these rumours, but they strike me as ridiculous." Another MB activist went as far as saying that "the Muslim Brotherhood can't even penetrate Egyptian government". 



4. Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.), jumping on the bandwagon, said last week:

"While President Obama condemns the violence in Egypt, his administration continues to send billions of taxpayer dollars to help pay for it...So, Mr. President, stop skirting the issue, follow the law and cancel all foreign aid to Egypt."

The whole idea of canceling foreign aid to Egypt seems to be a new trend in American politics. But think about it from a different perspective: If there is no foreign aid to Egypt, who would suffer from it the most? Lacking some $1.3 billion in military aid the Egyptian government won't cut its military budget, but will instead strip all of their social programs of an equal sum of money to make up for canceled U.S. aid. So at the end of the day it's ordinary citizens who will suffer.

Egypt is also a cornerstone to the U.S. presence in the Middle East, as we are dependent on Egypt to move equipment and personnel to Afghanistan and other parts of the region. Over 2,000 U.S. military aircraft fly through Egyptian airspace annually, and surely Egypt's reaction to canceling foreign aid will be cutting off its airspace and access to the Suez Canal.



5. Senator Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) believes that "The uprising in Egypt reflects the people's disgust with Mr. Morsi's attempt to keep all power in the Muslim Brotherhood. The U.S. can now deal with an interim government that represents a broader coalition of the Egyptian people."

Unfortunately, at the time when Senator Nelson was saying this he didn't know that the military that secured power is no better than the one in the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood. What he calls a "broader coalition of the Egyptian people" is in fact the military and Mubarak-era bureaucrats maintaining the pretense of civilian leadership. We should not forget that the Egyptian armed forces are one big corporation, controlling up to 40% of the national economy. 

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Yuri Barmin

Yury holds an MPhil in International Relations from Cambridge University and currently works as a political analyst. Yury's interests include politics of the Middle East and Russia.

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