EXCLUSIVE: Pawlenty Calls White House Response to Cairo Crisis 'Tower of Babel'


"Now the Egyptian military, as you know, is mostly equipped with American equipment and technology and training," Pawlenty said later in the interview. "Insuring and guaranteeing, or at least offering the continuation of that kind of relationship is one lever, one apple or one carrot to hang out," he said.

"And pulling it is one stick?" Amanpour asked.

"Yes," he replied, "but keep in mind, if you pull it, I'm sure some other countries will be willing to fill the void and then we lose leverage in that scenario. So this is a very delicate situation."

"But I think one thing we can say to the Egyptian military is we value the relationship, you value the relationship, we want it to continue on a positive note and if you value that, here's our expectations and here's our principals, one is amend that constitution and two is move towards democracy," the Governor explained.

An Uncertain Future

Amanpour, who sat down for a worldwide exclusive interview with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, asked Pawlenty about Barak's take on Egypt. "Barak told me that he did not see what happened in Iran 30 years ago happening in Egypt," Amanpour said. "If that's good enough for him, is it good enough for you?" she asked.

"Well, we don't know what the future of Egypt is going to yield at this point. So anybody who says they know what's going to happen in Egypt 10 years from now or 20 years from now and that's good enough for them, I would say it would be good for everybody to step back and wait and see because the proof's going to be in the pudding," the former governor said.

Amanpour then pressed Pawlenty on a question of the United States' historical support at once for democracy, generally, and dictators, specifically. "What should the United States do when a country is clamoring for democracy but the U.S. has supported the authoritarian regime for decades?" she asked.

"That's why it's important to not be sitting -- only supporting the authoritarian regimes for decades. That's why we -- 10 years ago, 20 years ago we should have been pushing President Mubarak to make these changes, even if incrementally, so that the people of Egypt could see the United States was pushing for those values and that we were getting results," Pawlenty said.

"And maybe the straw that broke the camel's back or at least one of them was the 2010 parliamentary elections. They were manipulated by Mubarak and the United States stood silent. That sends a powerful, negative signal and we should have called him out on that," he told Amanpour.

Amanpour pressed him on the fiscal cost of democracy building. She asked if he would cut or increase foreign aid.

"I'm not one that says we should eliminate foreign aid. I don't think that is a wise course," Pawlenty explained. "Now, should we redeploy it and reprioritize it? Yes. And a good example would be two years ago the aid to Egypt, democracy-building initiatives were cut by 50 percent, as we mentioned earlier. Bad idea, and you look back on that now and you say not a good idea."

Pawlenty expanded on his ideas. "I believe our role around the world is, first of all, protect our national security interests as we define them; and two, as we have the opportunity to push towards democracy, push towards freedom, push towards openness. We need to do that," he said.

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