Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, two of the most influential Republican hawks in Congress on foreign policy, have been asked by President Obama to head over to Egypt next week and advocate for a new round of governmental elections. The Obama administration, who declined to call the Egyptian military's overthrow of the previous elected government a coup, has become increasingly uneasy about the events in Egypt as the military uses a popular uprising against the former Muslim-Brotherhood led government as a "mandate" to crack down on unrest in the country.
McCain, who has previously said that he believes the military's takeover is a "coup," was more or less in line with Graham's post-overthrow stance. The pair argued that the military's actions against the former Islamist majority government needed to be met with a quick return to a democratically-elected government. And it looks like that's a stance Obama likes, too: he'd indicated as early as July 17 that the two GOP lawmakers could be his picks for an Egypt trip if the situation there didn't improve, according to the AP. McCain was upbeat about the pair's chances to accomplish something, should they be able to make the trip: "We have credibility with everybody there," he said to the AP, "all the different factions there." And Graham started to articulate the Israel factor in the conservative hawk interest in Egypt's stability:
"If Egypt goes and Israel is surrounded by more and more radical regimes ... we'll regret not doing everything possible to keep Egypt on track as a stable society."
Over 200 people have died in protests and clashes around the country since former president Muhammed Morsi's government was overthrown at the beginning of July. Graham and McCain would advocate for a halt to arrests of opposition leaders, and for the swift setting of a new round of elections, assuming they're able to fit the trip into their schedules next week.