Taking away U.S. aid from Egypt now would be the wrong move for the U.S. as it attempts to foster sustainable democracy amid the instability of the Middle East, Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois tells Newsmax TV in an exclusive interview.
"Right now, the military in Egypt is a really moderate force, they believe in the accords with Israel, this is a stabilizing force for us so to take away aid now sends a very wrong message to the people who are looking at the military as their transition to a better democracy and if we back out and say well we're suspending all aid and we're doing this and this, it de-legitimatizes the Egyptian military and it makes civil war all that much more likely," Kinzinger Republican who serves on both the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said.
"This isn't a case of a military dictatorship necessarily popping into being, this is a case of the people not liking their president who was setting himself up for dictatorship and the military coming in and helping a transitory process," said Kinzinger, a U.S. Air Force major who argued that foreign policy should be taken on a case by case basis.
Kinzinger called the Egypt trip of U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Williams burns "important," noting the United States must be supportive even as Egypt's leadership remains divided.
"We do have to understand – and these are lessons we've learned over the last decade – that not every democracy is going to look exactly like our democracy does here," Kinzinger said. "In fact, it took us decades to get ours right here and we're still every day going through how we do politics in the United States of America. But the idea is that the will of the people is understood, that the will of the people is listened to, and that they get to select their own leadership. It's very important for us as the world's model democracy to say we will stand with the people as they elect a new leadership to come in and hopefully from our perspective that he moderate leadership that recognizes the accords with Israel, that is committed to stability in the Middle East."
He added: "The last thing we need right now and this is what we have to be most careful of, is another unstable nation, especially in Egypt when you have the Suez Canal, which is very important to American interests and to commerce in general, the last thing we need is any more chaos in that region."
Kinzinger, 35, who serves Illinois' 16th Congressional District, said that President Barack Obama must be a stronger leader as Egypt finds it way. And he must also step up his efforts to assure others in the region that the U.S. will stand behind them as they battle to embrace freedom. As of now, Kinzinger says with candor, "it's put me in a position where I am uncomfortable with his leadership in the world stage."
"It's been amazing to me over the last four years how there's been an epic lack of leadership out of the Obama administration," Kinzinger said. "I hope they find a new tune, I hope they turn it around and show the world that America's not leaving. We're here to stay."
Obama, he adds, has sent a "terrible message" to the world by threatening a "zero option" for Afghanistan, even as years of efforts, thousands of lives lost and million of dollars spent there. It also lets down the Afghanis, particularly younger generations and women, who are seeking a new way after the oppression of the Taliban, Kinzinger said. They should and could have a chance for a new way — with our help.
"This is a new society coming up. The Taliban has a 10 percent approval rating in Afghanistan. We're on the edge of a victory where we can leave under conditions of victory and I'm worried that we're going to do what we potentially have done in Iraq, which is snatch defeat from the jaws of victory," Kinzinger said.
"It's important that we stand strong. I'm all for pulling troops out in a measured way but leaving the amount of troops that are there to be necessary for stability of our own troops and security of our own troops, but also to help to continue to build up the Afghan army who has actually been very brave lately in taking leadership roles, taking the fight to the Taliban.
"To leave today would be a huge, huge mistake that in 50 or 100 years the history books that the kids read in school is going to read that this was one of the biggest foreign policy blunders of America and really could have changed the whole kilter of the world and emboldened the enemy and emboldened terrorism," Kinzinger said.
"We know darn well that the Taliban is not interested in peace with anybody and if they do anything, it's only to outlast us in Afghanistan so they can come in and create their reign of terror again."
What should the U.S. be doing so our years of efforts in Afghanistan are not lost?
"The best hope is that the president comes to his senses, quits bloating the zero troop option, and comes out with a status of forces agreement beyond 2014 that has a level of U.S. troops there in a support capacity," Kinzinger believes. "That will embolden the hundreds of thousands of people serving in the military in Afghanistan, the police forces, the Afghan people – especially the youth and the women that are in school – that we're not going anywhere and we're going to be there to support their troops in the effort against terror."
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