October 9, 2013

Curbing military aid to Egypt has support among the U.S. public

FT_Egypt_AidAs Egypt’s military-dominated government continues its sometimes violent crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi, the Obama administration is reportedly planning to curb a substantial portion  of the $1.3 billion it provides that country in military aid.

Such a move, representing a major shift change in relations with a country that had been a key ally in the Mideast, generally has support among the U.S. public, if recent polls are an indicator. A Pew Research Survey conducted in August found that 51% of Americans believed the U.S. should cut off military aid to Egypt to pressure the government there to end the violence against anti-government protesters while 26% said it would be better to continue military aid as a means of maintaining U.S. influence.

Half of those surveyed said President Obama had not been tough enough with the Egyptian military in response to the violence against protesters, while 12% said his response had been about right. A large number — 32% — expressed no opinion.

Although the U.S. public on balance preferred a tougher line in dealing with the Egyptian military, 45% of those surveyed said the military would provide better leadership for Egypt compared to 11% who said the Muslim Brotherhood would do so. About one-fifth (19%) said neither would provide better leadership for the country and a quarter expressed no opinion.

Public interest in events in Egypt has not been high — in August, 22% said they were following news of political violence very closely — but it has been far lower than when the Arab Spring swept the region two years ago.

Events in Egypt also come at a time when Americans want to see the U.S. less involved in Middle East political changes. More than six-in-ten (63%) held that view in a survey in October 2012 while just 23% wanted to see greater U.S. involvement.

Whatever value Egypt’s government puts on the U.S. military aid,  the Egyptian public has a dim view of it. In a survey conducted last spring before the current turmoil, 58% of Egyptians said U.S. military aid had a mostly negative impact on the country.


Topics: Middle East and North Africa, Foreign Affairs and Policy, Foreign News

  1. Photo of Bruce Drake

    is a senior editor at Pew Research Center.


  1. H. E. DAVIS4 years ago

    Cut off aide to every foreign country until the US is on it’s feet and Obama gone and we have our country back under control and not supporting Muslim’s that mean us great harm
    who have benefited from weapons, money, food, etc. etc., for years. It must stop and American’s must come first.

  2. Jerry H4 years ago

    Probably a good portion of the 51% against aid to Egypt is merely against aid to any country, not primarily Egypt. I think the question was worded in a manner that influenced the outcome. Aid to Egypt now will pay dividends in the future about militant Muslims and also treaty arrangements with Israel.

  3. Bayou Crier4 years ago

    America needs to take care of it’s own people and quit sending billions to Egypt, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Sudan Ethopia, Kenya and other countries in an effort to control their politics.

  4. Harry C Laurie4 years ago

    How about the 8 million a day we send to Israel as well.
    We could use the money here, for our people and cities, or has Nitwit of Israel become our new President.

  5. forkoaa4 years ago

    America will lose credibility in Egypt because of its reluctance to take such a decision