tv The Stream Al Jazeera January 14, 2014 7:30pm-8:01pm EST
>> hi, i'm lisa fletcher, and you're in "the stream." historically, the u.s. has given aid to its friends, who sometimes end up becoming it's foes. ige want, we'll discuss policy, billions of your tax dollars and potential backlash. >> our digital producer, julio in for raj, and he's bringing in comments thought the program. and when we were tweeting out these real numbers, hundreds of
billions of dollars, our question from the community, what do we get out of this? >> for decade, what's in it for me? what's in it for the united states? i actually got a tweet from the chairman, merideth, from california, who is a loyal streamer. he said: so it's a summary of what's happening in egypt.
and you can continue to tweet us. >> to pave the way to democracy is upon us. the military now in power, and introducing reforms to roll back freedoms that egyptians had hoped for, is it is this a return to the mub artic era? the support of the egyptian military, despite opposition and a law that prevents it. we'll get into that. 49% of americans are against further aid to egypt. only 7% believe that it's good for the u.s., and 43% say that it has been bad for american interest. so as u.s.-egyptian relations are put to the test, does the u.s. have to regret its choice of friends?
to talk about this, steven cook, council of foreign relations. david rhodes, held by the taliban for eight months. he wrote beyond war, imagining american influence in the middle east. and david pollock, a former state department official, and now for institute of near east policy. and so with mub artic being ousted, it seems to be a return to that era. and we have all of these very violent clashes, and one has to ask ones self, is egypt better off today? >> it's a good question. there was been a lot of twists
and turns since hosni mubarak fell almost three years ago. and exceeded control from mohamed morsy, and then of course we have the coup of july 2013. there are some indications that the old order, the uprising that brought mubarak down is coming back, and they lay out personal and political freedoms, but it does institutionalize the autonomous rule of the military. and egyptian is have laid out personal freedoms, only to have them undermined by laws and be actions from the government. it doesn't look good three years hence from egypt is the bottom line. >> now, david rhode, the current
regime, we have the u.s. congress, looking at a way to give the obama administration a law that says the u.s. cannot give money to a regime that has taken power from a democratically elected government. and the u.s. is looking at giving 1 had the $5 billion in support to essentially the egyptian military. talk about that, and is this something that the americans should be worried about? >> this is a return to a long u.s. policy of backing military regimes in the middle east. i haven't spent of time in egypt, but i spent a lot of time in pakistan. we are following the same track, back being the army and thinking that we can buy security and stability. since 2001, we have given the pakistani army $17 billion in assistance, and yet the military was unable to find osama bin
laden who was living in the town that had the equivalent of their west point, and still they have not considered the taliban and the tribes in pakistan. i think this is a mistake, and i don't think it's going to buy us stability. and we talked about it more, i don't think that military regimes create the economic growth that egypt needs, given the very large young population that they have. >> we talked about aid. and u.s. aids and our community weighed in on whether they agree with it or not. and we just got a tweet from francey: and at the same time, there's talk about aid and how it should be considered:
is i have a question for david pollock. when we talk about aid to these countries, are putting conditions and requirements to what the community is talking about, is that something that's realistically viable? >> no, i don't think it's very realistic, and first of all, most of the money that we provide to the egyptian military comes right back here to the united states, by american weapons. the other part of the aid, a small minority of it, but several hundred billion dollars a year, does go to support the egyptian people and projects in egypt that have had tremendous
benefits to the people in terms of public health, in terms of education, and in terms of functioning the enormous metropolis of cairo, which was dysfunctional until americans rebuilt the sewers, and telephones, and everything that makes cairo a more liveable citied it. >> david, wear talking about $1.3 billion to support the egyptian military, and $250 million that goes through usa idea. and that's quite an emboss. >bossan imbalance.>> yes, it'st it helps to support egypt. egypt is not pakistan. in fact, the security talks with
the united states have been terrific for many many years, and that was true for the most part, whether it was mubarak or morsy or sisi in charge of egypt. >> david rhode, does it ever bring stability? >> i don't thi think it does. people are in tune with what the u.s. is saying, and we look hypocritical. we talk about supporting democracy, but we're supporting an egyptian military that cracks down, and it killed as many people in egypt as the crushing of the green revolution in iran, kerry killed in 2009. so we are saying to islamists, we support democracy except when you win elections. >> there are two underlying issues here, and it's important to recognize that despite all of
the money that we give the egyptian government and military, in particular, it's not all of that money. it's $1.3 billion, which is the same $1.3 billion we have been giving the armed forces since 1983. if if you do the math, it's considerably less than what $1.3 billion sounds like. and it's port to realize that even with all of this money, and we have been giving aid to egypt to the tune of $77 billion. and it doesn't buy us of in the way of influence. >> does it buy maintaining the u.s.-egyptian accord? >> this is not written in the peace accord, it's all informal, but the egyptian national security interests align with ours on that particular issue. they agree that it's important for us, and for them, the united
states to have access to the suez canal and overflight rights. so as david pointed out, we have benefited quite a bit. but in a way, egyptians have us over a barrel. we haven't been able to test this proposition, that we have leverage because we give them so much money because we're afraid that we might lose the one place in asia that shares our interest. to push the military and the kind of reforms to pursue democracy the way they like. the stakes are too high right now in egypt. and what the president barack pe united states says, it's too much to point out.
the officials point out, secretary of state john kerry, how does that complicate the policy issues? >> wit withissues? >> well, i think you're right. there was a fairly public indication that secretary kerry and national security adviser, susan rice, had different perspectives on whether egypt was or wasn't moving still toward democracy under sisi and what effect that should have on american policy, but it was the job of the president to resolve those issues. and it seems to me that the white house, at least in this case, has made the right decision, which is to work with congress, change the law, and to make american policy consistent with our own laws, and consistent with our own national
regretted supporting in afghanistan. and he said what's more importantish the taliban or the collapse of the soviet empire and liberation of europe in the end of the cold war? using to create national security, how can the u.s. be sure that money is being used in its best interest? david pollock, no guarantees? >> no, there are not any guarantees, but i agree on this point, speaking of the u.s. track record is quite good. there are some examples of unintended consequences and a backlash or backfire of our policy, but there are many many other examples. when american support, either for governments or for
guerillas, as case may be, had bad affect only for the united states, about other countries. for egypt, that's the case, and i think it will continue to be the case. >> steven, do you agree? >> i think what david is talking about here is a dilemma that american policymakers face. the long run is made up of a lot of short runs, and until they can figure out how to secure american interests over the short run, until we get to the longer run, where we all believe that democratic countries are more stable and more in line with american interesting, until they do that, countries are massively unstable. just look at egypt. until we can look at that question, we are going to default to supporting those this those countries that can align interests, and provide stability
seems to be a lot of bad examples of u.s. policy in the middle east. so where do you go next? is egypt going to be a good example? or why the blowback, and it seems like it's a track record that hasn't been -- . >> i don't think that egypt under mubarak today, is it a security for average egyptians? no. i agree with david that some of this aid has helped, but i don't see it as a success. a very positive story today is what happened in tunisia. they are passing right now u. at the same time as egypt, a constitution that has created very long, but it has created a political process with moremize and more consensus.
and there are islamists in tunisia who have backed down, but tunisia is one very positive story in a very dark post period. and i don't want to be idealistic about democracy and say that it could happen overnight, but i wish there was more consistency in the american position. >> that's what i was going to bring up, steven, has there been clear and consistent policy in the middle east. >> of course not. consistency is extremely difficult. tunisia is what everybody believes to be the possible success story in the middle east. and sporting the transition to egypt. but tunisia is a country the size of florida and has less international influence than florida. and egypt is the largest country, and sits on the suez canal and the means for a
variety of american security interests in the persian gulf and beyond. and that's where the calculations are radially different. we want everybody to live in democracy, and i agree with david rhode. it may be security for the united states, but egypt is not a success for many egyptians. the deterioration of the economy and the political system. post-mubarak suks that though we have invested in egypt, we have not invested in durable things to help the country become ultimately a more democratic and open society. again, we have not been able to resolve that dilemma between short-term interests and longer term, and until we do, we'll default on security. >> as i'm hearing you rattle off all of the leverage that egypt has, and we were talking about how the $1.6 billion is a
drop in the bucket to them, why are they allied with us? they have all of the cards. >> they don't have all of the cards. they certainly the american weaponry and to be aligned -- there's something about being aligned with the world's super power. and they benefit strategically from this relationship as well. but the fact is they have a number of assets that are important to the united states. question is, how do we go about securing those assets for our own benefit without nurturing another authoritarian regime in the region. and again, there are cathologies that leek out and cause problems for the united states and other regions. look at what's happening in the sinai. very port to egypt and the united states and israel. and there have long been security problems, but since the
>> i'm john, a fellow in governing studies, and i'm in "the stream." >> welcome back. we're talking about whether the u.s. should continue it's decade-long history of $2 billion a year in aid toige he want. and how it could go down the road. david, you were held in captivity by the taliban for eight months. are you concerned that marginalizing the muslim brotherhood could force radicalizization of the group? >> i am worried. they killed hundreds of thousands of people. and there are some radicals that you can't negotiate with, and you have to deal with force, but
i am asking what message are we sending? we said earlier, democracy works for others, but not with islamists, and as we were talking about in an earlier segment, the groups in the sinai, they are urging them to take up arms and join them in the insurgency against the egyptian military. and that's a worst case scenario, and it couldn't have happened much better for morsy who is losing popularity and forced out with the coup. >> we have a video. >> there may be new material, the behavior on this shows the community that we fully endorse the consequences, despite
massacres and human rights of violations. maybe in the future, we will have what they have done to [ unintelligible ] >> so steven, we do have a lot of community about egypt. and we're getting voices from egypt especially in social media. here we are on the other side of the world, so what do americans tell egyptians on the ground as americans? what's the message that should be given? >> well, i think that it's clear that the message that we should be sending is one that president obama said when he gave a speech in 2011 about the uprising from the arab brotherhood. he said we should look at changes with humility without abdicating our values, and others haven't been as vocal
about our principles. and that would suggest that that would fundamentally change the situation on the ground. but egypt would have unfolded exactly as it has, but we would probably not be in as difficult of a position with opinions or included in the military, had we stuck to it. we give future doctor t credit e united states. the obama administration, outcomes that they have been produce, and my message to egyptians is this is your country. and we only affect things at the margin. this is about your country, and you need to pave the way forward. >> david rhode what do you think that the u.s. role should be
moving forward? >> i agree with what steven said. we should really step back and look at local actors, and see where there are countries with local actors that we can work with, and where there isn't, we should step back and we should stand by those principles. there's a broader public in the region. and people talk about the region is not ready for knock, and i think that most the accountable government in some form, and they clearly the security. and they also want to be part of the global economy and part of the international community. so we should be more humble and use economic tools and work through and with local partners and stand with them, because people don't like when we're not consistent. >> thank you to our guests. and until next time, we'll see on you line.
>> good evening, everyone. welcome to aljazeera. i'm john seigenthaler in new york. >> we let down the people we were instructed to serve. >> governor christie can't escape the latest political scandal. 1 million americans won't get jobless benefits. israeli apology after accusing jesuaccusingjohn kerry of being. and a judge says $765 million to take care of injured players is simply not enough.