29
Jan
11

‘obama’s handling egypt pretty well’

President Barack Obama is briefed on the events in Egypt during a meeting with his national security team in the Situation Room of the White House, Saturday, Jan. 29, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Marc Lynch (Foreign Policy): After President Obama spoke last night about the situation in Egypt, my Twitter feed and inbox filled up with angry denunciations, with lots of people complaining bitterly that he had endorsed Mubarak’s grim struggle to hold on to power, missed an historic opportunity, and risked sparking a wave of anti-Americanism.

….I think the instant analysis badly misread his comments and the thrust of the administration’s policy. His speech was actually pretty good, as is the rapidly evolving American policy. The administration, it seems to me, is trying hard to protect the protestors from an escalation of violent repression, giving Mubarak just enough rope to hang himself, while carefully preparing to ensure that a transition will go in the direction of a more democratic successor.

….What they do need, if they think about it, is for Obama to help broker an endgame from the top down … and that’s what the administration is doing. The administration’s public statements and private actions have to be understood as not only offering moral and rhetorical support to the protestors, or as throwing bones to the Washington echo chamber, but as working pragmatically to deliver a positive ending to a still extremely tense and fluid situation.

…anything short of Obama gripping the podium and shouting “Down With Mubarak!” probably would have disappointed activists. But that wasn’t going to happen, and shouldn’t have. If Obama had abandoned a major ally of the United States such as Hosni Mubarak without even making a phone call, it would have been irresponsible and would have sent a very dangerous message to every other U.S. ally. That doesn’t mean, as some would have it, that Obama has to stick with Mubarak over the long term – or even the weekend – but he simply had to make a show of trying to give a long-term ally one last chance to change.

Marc Lynch is associate professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University

Fascinating article – read it all here

Thank you so much for the link Carole

Protesters at a demonstration in Cairo January 29

Robert Fisk (UK Independent): A people defies its dictator, and a nation’s future is in the balance …. It might be the end. It is certainly the beginning of the end. Across Egypt, tens of thousands of Arabs braved tear gas, water cannons, stun grenades and live fire yesterday to demand the removal of Hosni Mubarak after more than 30 years of dictatorship.

Read the full article here


15 Responses to “‘obama’s handling egypt pretty well’”


  1. January 29, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    It never ceases to amaze me why when all the nations try to overthrow their governments, they want our President to do something. Why on earth would they want us to get involved in their politics? Yes, we are recognized as the leaders of the free world, but gosh, they need to solve their own problems. Did any other country get involved in our civil right movement?No. Did we ask any other country to help quell the riots here in the 60’s? No. I think what they want us to do is meddle in their country’s affairs. If we do, then they will probably get angry with us for meddling. Remember, Iran, same thing, Obama help us. Beirut, Israel, Palestine, Soviet Union breakup. Who next will want us to meddle?

      • January 29, 2011 at 5:08 pm

        Hummm, sounds like another Iraq.

      • 4 samcdc
        January 29, 2011 at 6:51 pm

        Thank you for making it clear that your link is to a virulently anti-President Obama website so that I don’t make the mistake of clicking on it.

        In the end, these uprisings could lead to another Ahmadinejad coming to power. Further, “democracy” isn’t necessarily going to protect against that happening. In our “democracy” there is nothing to stop Glen Duke (or is it David Beck?) from being “elected”. “Democracy” does not equal “smart” as we all should know after the tragedies we’ve experienced so far with possibly worse to come.

        President Obama is probably thinking: “Oh, shit. Is there any way we can help prevent this from becoming a world catastrophe?” If you think all uprisings are good, you may want to check out Nigeria (or our own Tea Party).

    • 5 EDP4BHO
      January 29, 2011 at 4:27 pm

      I was going to write something lengthy but couldn’t form my thoughts, so I will just suggest that they want an “Obama”. Strange that these countries endured their autocracies until now, isn’t it? I don’t think I am being presumptuous, and countries have had their uprisings, but just seems coincidental to have about three going on at the same time in that region….Tunisia, the Sudan, and now Egypt.

      • 6 obamalia
        January 29, 2011 at 6:13 pm

        What a much safer world we would live in if every country had an “Obama.” I don’t doubt for a second that most countries wish for a leader like ours.

    • 7 majii
      January 29, 2011 at 6:59 pm

      The president’s detractors will never be satisfied no matter what he does. I like President Obama’s approach to solving problems. He studies the situation from all sides, listens to different opinions, and then proceeds with caution in a way that doesn’t inflame the situation. Had the president called for unequivocal support for Mubarak, and it backfired, the same people that were urging him to do it would turn on him like a pack of rabid dogs. I think he took the right path by urging Mubarak to not use violence against the protesters and by letting Mubarak know that HE has solve his own problems or resign. PBO didn’t tell him outright that he had to resign, but I understood that that was the message he wanted to convey. It’s so easy for millions of people standing on the outside looking in to give “advice” to the one in the middle of the maelstrom.

      • 8 majii
        January 29, 2011 at 7:02 pm

        **that he has to solve His own problems**

        PBO is right, too, that Mubarak has to answer to the Egyptian citizens.

  2. 9 Fred
    January 29, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    he absolutely said the right thing.I understand the Egyptians are disappointed but it is also in their best interest that the Muslim Brotherhood doesn’t take power.Just saying . . .

    If Obama can convince Mubarak to call back the Army and let the people protest without any violence that will be great.Mubarak has to talk to the people again and let them know that there should be elections and very soon

  3. 10 SUE DUVALL SMITH
    January 29, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    THE PRESIDENT HAS NOT ENDORSED ANYTHING OTHER THAN A REQUEST FOR MUBARAK TO KEEP HIS PROMISES AND REOPEN COMMUNICATIONS FOR THE EGYPTIAN PEOPLE. HE’S NOT GOING TO TAKE SIDES BECAUSE HE DOESN’T KNOW ALL THE FACTS. HE’S ALSO CORRECT IN SAYING THAT EGYPT’S FUTURE IS UP TO ITS PEOPLE. PRESIDENT OBAMA IS STANDING WHERE HE NEEDS TO BE. SIMPLY PUT..HOW WOULD WE LIKE IT IF ANOTHER COUNTRY STEPPED IN ON OUR BUSINESS? OBAMA 2012!

  4. 11 barb
    January 29, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    30 years is long enough for Hosni Mubarak to rule. The Egyptians are right when they bring the bullets and tear gas canisters to the reporters and confront them revealing the US paid for them and supported Mubarzk. His mentality has been up till now, why should he change if he has all this US back-up. I have no doubt he has been living like a king on some of it and denying his people.

    We need to stay out of other peoples business and let them work it out. Mubarak is running scared and he will either give up his power or turn on his people. He has plenty of money stashed away to live comfortably in exile. I am sure that President Obama has given him wise advice but we are not going to involve ourselves any more than that.

    We have a history of bribing countries with our money for years. I would just like to know what our output is yearly. This is an area that needs to be explored and see if that money couldn’t be used more efficiently in our own country. I support our President. I also believe that the UN should be the ones involved in all the worlds problems and we should stay out of them unless it is a matter of international security which initially I believe is the reason we have been paying Egypt 1.2 mil per year. Our money is scattered all over the world.

    • 12 majii
      January 29, 2011 at 7:04 pm

      I agree, barb, that we’ve propped Mubarak up long enough. I think that he’s more focused on maintaining power, greed, and saving face than he is on listening to, and addressing, the concerns of Egypt’s citizens.

  5. January 29, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    “CHANGE” IS HAPPENING ALL AROUND THE WORLD!!!

  6. January 29, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    I wonder if President Obama and his advisers had anythings to do with Mubarak appointing a vice president? For one thing, if Mubarak has to get out of Egypt quick, there would be someone at the helm who could hold things together for a general election. It would perhaps keep the Muslim Brotherhood from stepping in.

    • January 29, 2011 at 8:56 pm

      A definite possibility Joan, Mubarak didn’t feel the need for a VP for the last 30 years, then suddenly this move. It’s a terrifying situation, much as I want them to rid themselves of Mubarak and experience real democracy, the prospect of the Muslim Brotherhood taking over – and the effects that would have on the wider situation in the Middle East – doesn’t bear thinking about. Just to annoy myself, I had a look at a RW site today and in one breath they were proclaiming their unquestioning support for Israel, while attacking President Obama for not doing a Bush and mindlessly urging the Egyptian protestors to run Mubarak out of town …. without a thought for who might replace him. Give me strength.


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