50 Percent of Americans Say Obama Isn’t ‘Tough’ on Egypt

A protestor holds up a photo of President Obama and a U.S. flag in Cairo, Egypt

Hassan Ammar/AP

AA Font size + Print

A protestor holds up a photo of President Obama and a U.S. flag in Cairo, Egypt

As confusion swirls around the administration’s Egypt policy, many Americans say it’s time to cut military aid. By Mark Micheli

Since the Egyptian military’s July 3 ouster of President Mohamed Morsi began a brutal and ongoing violent crackdown in the streets of Cairo, critics have labeled the Obama administration’s response as everything from cautious and poorly understood to feckless and incoherent.

A Pew Research Poll conducted Aug. 15-18 found that half of those polled think that President Obama isn’t being tough enough in responding to the Egyptian military’s violent crackdown on anti-government protestors, with just 6 percent saying he’s been too tough. Only 12 percent said Obama’s response has been “about right” while another 32 percent said they didn’t know.

On Tuesday, critics calling the administration’s Egypt policy “confusing” were given new ammunition. Quoting a spokesperson for Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), The Daily Beast reported that the administration had “secretly” decided to suspend aid to Egypt. At a briefing at the White House later in the day, spokesman Josh Earnest said that claim was “inaccurate.” A Pentagon spokesman also denied the report. 

Calls for putting a stop to the $1.3 billion a year in military aid to Egypt have grown as the violence worsens. The Pew poll found that 51 percent of Americans believe the U.S. should cut off military aid.

In July, it appeared the administration was inching closer to suspending aid, placing five procurement programs “under review” while possibly delaying deliveries of 10 Apaches and 125 kits used to build M1A1 tanks, according to Bloomberg.  When asked about the potential delays, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told reporters at the Pentagon on Monday, “We’re reviewing all aspects of our relationship.”

Despite wanting to cut off aid to Egypt, the survey found that 45 percent of Americans believe the Egyptian military would provide better leadership for Egypt than the Muslim Brotherhood (11 percent).

Overall, the poll found that the public has displayed only “modest” interest in events happening in the Middle East, with 22 percent of Americans saying they’re following the violence in Egypt “very closely.” An increase from 15 percent when Morsi was ousted last month, but a decline from 39 percent in February 2011 when former President Hosni Mubarak resigned during the Arab Spring.

Read Pew’s survey findings here

Close [ x ] More from DefenseOne

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from DefenseOne.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

  • Top 5 Findings: Security of Internet of Things To Be Mission-Critical

    As federal agencies increasingly leverage these capabilities, government security stakeholders now must manage and secure a growing number of devices, including those being used remotely at the “edge” of networks in a variety of locations. With such security concerns in mind, Government Business Council undertook an indepth research study of federal government leaders in January 2017. Here are five of the key takeaways below which, taken together, paint a portrait of a government that is increasingly cognizant and concerned for the future security of IoT.

  • Coordinating Incident Response on Posts, Camps and Stations

    Effective incident response on posts, camps, and stations is an increasingly complex challenge. An effective response calls for seamless conversations between multiple stakeholders on the base and beyond its borders with civilian law enforcement and emergency services personnel. This whitepaper discusses what a modern dispatch solution looks like -- one that brings together diverse channels and media, simplifies the dispatch environment and addresses technical integration challenges to ensure next generation safety and response on Department of Defense posts, camps and stations.

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.