‘obama and his people ended up playing this rather well’

Michael Tomasky (The UK Guardian): ….President Obama’s remarks on Friday afternoon were appropriate and powerful: the people of Egypt have inspired the world. For all the understandable frustration on the part of Egyptian protesters over the fact the the US wouldn’t commit to them more fully earlier, I think Obama and his people ended up playing this rather well. They turned up the heat incrementally, and but for one or two missteps, the timing was actually pretty good.

Critics, neocons especially, will say he didn’t lead, he followed. That’s true. And that was appropriate. It was up to the Egyptian people to lead this, not the United States.

And the Egyptian military. Someday, we’ll get the back story on how, in just 24 hours, the military went from evidently backing Mubarak to ditching him. This was crucial, and I doubt very much the US played no role in this. I’d wager that Pentagon chief Robert Gates and Mike Mullen, the heads of the joint chiefs of staff, had quite a lot to do with that.

With the Egyptian army relying on US military aid basically to exist, their words surely carried weight. Maybe all that aid over years, excessive as it has been in many ways, paid important dividends in the last two weeks….

….Finally: no, I will not say that Obama deserves much credit for this. At the same time, I have no doubt in my mind that if President McCain had given a speech on democracy in Cairo 20 months ago and now this happened, the neocons and Fox News and the usual suspects would be calling it “the McCain Revolution” and baying about how it proved that a bold stance by an American president had made all the difference.

I won’t parrot that kind of inanity. I’ll simply say that, from his Cairo speech until today, Obama has helped this process more than he’s hindered it. And we didn’t have to invade two countries, either. That’s the right side – for him, and for us, the people of the United States. Now, we need to stay there.

Full article here

11 Responses to “‘obama and his people ended up playing this rather well’”

  1. 1 EDP4BHO
    February 11, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    The comments on that page are utterly ridiculous, per usual. Who are these people who think our President should be responsible for governing Egypt? They never stop to consider if the shoe was on the other foot, they would be livid at any other country telling our President to step down….unless it was Obama, of course, in their minds. Such incivility cannot be a good marker for progress in this day and age, and with President Obama as Commander in Chief of this country, one who believes that leading is not synonymous with aggression, we have an extraordinary opportunity to effect positive change all around the globe. I wish the John Wayne types would take a high dive….splat!

    • 2 Audrey
      February 11, 2011 at 10:19 pm

      Lots of small, uninformed minds filled with hate and very short-sighted too. They frame every world event from a narrow, shallow, uneducated American perspective ignoring the fact that other countries have their own priorities and their people have their own set of grievances that have absolutely nothing to do with us!

      God please continue to bless and guide our phenomenal President.

  2. February 11, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    As someone once put it, President Obama is playing Chess, while his detractors are playing Checkers. Our President’s strategies are amazing. And he is so confident in his abilities that I don’t ever remember him ever boasting about his accomplishments; to a fault sometimes. There is intelligence, humility, so much humility in this man we call our President.

  3. 4 Oxfarm
    February 11, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    Egyptian military, as I recall, was complicit in the assassination of Anwar Sadat. It would seem that yet again they hold many face cards in the fate of Egypt.

    • February 11, 2011 at 10:47 pm

      Not that I want to defend the Egyptian army, but just to clarify: it was a ‘Jihad’ (ie extreme Islamic) cell in the army, incensed by Sadat’s Camp David treaty with Israel, who assassinated him, but they weren’t representative of the army as a whole.

  4. 6 Oxfarm
    February 11, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    Rather, I should say that the support or lack thereof of the Egyptian military should be taken with a grain of salt.

    • 7 EDP4BHO
      February 11, 2011 at 10:46 pm

      I pray that the Egyptians get what they so fervently are seeking. I’d like to see the joy on their faces remain, though it will be a rough road. And I don’t care what anyone says, our President (and I shall refer to him in caps from now on) had a lot to do with motivating these young people to achieve what they just did. Even if it fails to develop within their parameters, PBO is never to blame for putting hope in the minds of that populace.

      • 8 Oxfarm
        February 12, 2011 at 8:11 am

        Indeed. Better to see change come about constructively than with violence visited on a nation from outsiders. I’m very happy for the Egyptian people, and for us as well.

  5. 9 cat48
    February 12, 2011 at 11:26 am

    What a great picture….very joyful time for the Egyptian people.

  6. 10 Sue in Minnesota
    February 12, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    I hope they remain determined, the work will be ongoing, and take time. Blessings to Egyptians in their journey towards representative government.

  7. 11 Twinx
    February 12, 2011 at 11:11 pm

    Hi everyone.

    EDP and Audrey,

    I’m a Brit and I just want to let you know that since Obama was a candidate, more so a *viable* candidate and *even* more so since he was elected President, people who *loathe* Obama have made a point of posting in the comments on The Guardian.

    It’s not mostly Brits making those sort of comments. It’s conspiracy type people and/or out and out birther/nativist/birther types – they pop up in every thread that mentions Obama but I can only answer the birther nonsense.

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