Meet the Press   |  August 18, 2013

Is 'real democracy' in Egypt possible?

Sens. Jack Reed and Kelly Ayotte discuss the concept of true democracy in Cairo and whether it's both viable and desirable.

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

>> so, the question for me, senator reed, is what is it that the united states really wants to stand up for right now? i go back to the mubarak , at the end of the mubarak era in 2011 . at the time, secretary of state hillary clinton on this program talking about what it is the administration wanted then. watch her.

>> i want the egyptian people to have the chance to chart a new future. it needs to be an orderly, peaceful transition to real democracy, not faux democracy like the elections we saw in iran two years ago, where you have one election 30 years ago and then the people just keep staying in power and become less and less responsive to their people.

>> do we want real democracy, as secretary clinton said, senator reed, or above all, do we want to preserve our national security interests, which even the military doing what we don't want right now is still preserving? peace in the sinai desert , access to the suez canal , keeping peace in the region, helping us with counterterror?

>> i think in the long term, both those objectives are not only necessary but closely related. we have to have a true democracy in egypt over the long term. we recall, as you do, that the latest entry into the government by the egyptian military was sponsored by people who were rejecting morsi. a huge number of people coming out, a popular movement. unfortunately, i think what the military has done is taken this as a license to try to install the old national security regime that was featured under mubarak . we need both in the long run. we can't ignore the security considerations of the sinai, of the suez canal transit, but in the long term, the success of the region's going to be based upon a fully functioning democracy. we've seen that take place, but we also understand it takes an awfully long time. it's not a straight-line process. it's zigging and zagging. we have to be engaged, but we have to recognize, too, that in the long term, our values, but also our self-interests and the interests of the egyptian people is in a true democracy .

>> senator jack reed , senator kelly ayotte, more on the washington debate. thank you both very much for your time this morning.