Alex Witt   |  July 06, 2013

Can Egyptian opposition coalesce behind single view?

PJ Crowley, former assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs and a fellow at George Washington University, joins MSNBC’s Alex Witt to explain the diplomatic implications in Egypt. Crowley does think that a military coup took place in Egypt. He says that the U.S. gives a paltry amount of civilian aid and notes that the coup is an opportunity to curtail military aid and increase civilian aid. He explains the questions that arise including, will the military have a more effective interim rule than last year before Morsi was elected and can the opposition coalesce and rally behind a single view and person.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> the u.s. state department is weighing in on the collars in cairo that left dozens dead yesterday. the u.s. condemns the violence and expects the military to allow egyptians to protest peacefully. at a news conference yesterday, senator john mccain called for a much stronger response.

>> i believe that we have to suspend aide to the aegyptian military because the egyptian military has overturned the vote of the people of egypt .

>> joining me now is p.j. crowley, a fellow at george washington university . p.j., with a good morning to you, does senator mccain make a point there? because if this indeed was a military coup , our $1.6 billion in annual aid could be stopped.

>> well, i think it was a military coup . president morsi was a democratically elected leader. he was not governing democratically. he was governing in effectively. the military in any country can overturn an election result just because the people have buyers remorse.

>> so what are the pros and cons for keeping that aid going? if this is a military coup why continue the $1.6 billion?

>> well, most of that is military aid . it would send a strong signal to the egyptian military saying follow the road maps, get back to a democratic government as quickly as possible, and the aid will resume on the other side. we give a relatively paltry amount of civilian aid, and that actually is where egypt has its most critical need. the economy has been tat erred for two years. much of the egyptian economy is rooted in tourism. obviously with the in stability we have seen since the overthrow of hosni mubarak has has gone in the tank. on the one hand, curtail military aid because this was a coup. working with congress, finding a way to do a waiver to the u.s. law , find a way to increase civilian aid, which is actually critically important. through both of those levers be able to somewhat influence the direction of events.

>> we know that senator kerry, rather secretary of state kerry, has reauthorized this aid just recently to egypt . how political is the motivation for doing this? by the way, only israel gets more aid in that region than egypt . so clearly these three countries, we are allies. is it all politically motivated?

>> there are calculations here. obviously what you're trying to do is find ways to influence and guide egypt forward. and so do you, in essence, have a vote of confidence by continuing the the aid, or do you send a clear message by suspending the aid? there's a calculation here in which step will gain the greatest favor and the greatest opportunity to help move forward.

>> how does the u.s. approach this new government, p.j.? how tentative is this government? it's described as being interim. do you see chances that it will stay in place for an extended period of time?

>> no, i don't. but this is the challenge for egypt . you know, the people that we saw, the remarkable pictures this week, they were united about one thing, morsi has to go. they have different visions of moving egypt forward. the question remains, will the military have a more effective interim rule? this is a care taker government. the military will influence it. a better interim rule than we saw last year before morsi was elected. can the opposition come together and coalesce behind a single vision and leader, present an alternative to the muslim brotherhood . what lessons does the muslim brotherhood learn from the in effective leadership of morsi? they should play a role in the future of egypt . if they're excluded from political power or, we're just taking one and replacing it with another.

>> absolutely. quickly, before we let you go, the situation with venezuela and nicaragua offering asylum to snowden, does that surprise you?

>> no, it doesn't surprise me. they define themselves in terms of their anti-americanism. they were so cautious. but certainly, you know, maduro is trying to seize the hugo chavez mantle. he was the antagonist and chief in the region. maduro is stepping up to play that role. obviously he was publicly positioning himself that perhaps there might be a transition in the relations between venezuela and the u.s. if he follows off that will be closed off during the the duration of his leadership.