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Egypt: Obama's communication highwire

On CNN Sunday morning, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, when asked whether or not Obama is trying to "back away" from embattled Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, that "we do not want to send any message about backing forward or backing back."

In this interesting bit of doublespeak, Clinton summarized the at once highly complex and utterly basic communications challenge the Obama administration faces in responding to the protests in Egypt: What do you say when you're faced with the leadership dilemma of siding with your moral principles or the interests of the country you lead?

The answer, it seems: Say plenty that's ambiguous and not much that's definitive, all at the same time.

But if the administration has been criticized for not having a clear message in response to the dramatic events in Egypt, it's because they've had little choice. President Obama and his staff find themselves in the unenviable position of needing to not go so far as to say Mubarak should step down--that could seem like meddling, destroy relations with other Middle East governments or, most critically, contribute to a sudden political vacuum that could bring extremists to power--while needing to publicly and vigorously encourage the idea of true democracy.

That's why, rightly or wrongly, the White House's message over the past several days may have seemed muddled. Since the crowds began protesting, the administration has talked about the "close partnership" the U.S. has with Egypt and has even defended Mubarak (thanks to Vice President Joe Biden) as not being a dictator. But it has also begun to call for "free, fair and credible" elections and an "orderly transition" to a "real democracy," with Clinton saying the U.S. was "ready to help with the kind of transition that will lead to greater political and economic freedom."

In responding to the crisis in Egypt, Obama faces one of the toughest challenges of his presidency. As outlined in a recentBloomberg piece, the uprising presents his administration with a bewildering dilemma between American ideals and American interests, and most presidents who've come before him have ultimately chosen the latter, with differing fates. Privately, to the extent the administration can influence the outcome, it is surely trying to advocate for both--a true democracy that also secures U.S. interests. Publicly, however, Obama and his cabinet are walking a tricky communications tightrope and ultimately may be forced to pick sides.

That said, the situation in Egypt has complex ramifications for U.S. policy throughout the Middle East, and is not easily broken down into simple answers or black-and-white choices. Yes, there have been missteps in the administration's messaging, such as Biden going so far as to say Mubarak should not step down. But the context and consequences of the uprising in Egypt are incredibly nuanced. We should expect the White House's response to be similarly so.

By Jena McGregor

 |  January 30, 2011; 4:18 PM ET |  Category:  Crisis leadership , Foreign Affairs , Government leadership , Presidential leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Wwo cares? Don't we have enough problems between NY and San Franciso to worry about?

While I certainly sympathize with the Egyptians, they will determine their own fate and that is as it should be.

Posted by: fresno500 | February 2, 2011 12:00 PM

It was George Bush who believed that a Democracy in Iraq would have a domino effect. He was criticized severely by those who hated him. Now it is happening. Bush was correct and the left is trying to give Obama the credit because Obama said that Mubarak should move out sooner rather than later AFTER Mubarak announced he would not run for office again and his term would end in after the September elections. What else is new?

Posted by: nychap44 | February 2, 2011 8:27 AM

not much analysis here - all of this is obvious.

Posted by: gigigirl2 | February 2, 2011 6:57 AM

Bottom line is the policy now unraveling has been the work of U.S. governments since Harry Truman's time or even to Franklin Roosevelt's agreement with the Saudis to privde for their security in exchange for deals for their oil resources.. The headlines asking will Obama be hurt by Egypt are ludicrous and they point to the paucity of intellect in our media, as they do no real analysis of what's important. It's always about the domestic political battle, even when it isn't.. The real question is will the nation be hurt by the end of our long standing policy of supporting autocrats for their agreement to provide stability in their countries by abrogating the rights of their people. The answer is yes, we will be but it helps to keep the perspective that life goes on the world still spins and the United States is still the most powerful nation on the earth and it has the best set of ideals. We should live up to those ideals and move on.

Posted by: robertmerry | February 1, 2011 9:03 AM

It's never too late to do the right thing. Supporting undemocratic regimes for the sake of protecting our short-term interests is dangerous. The cost of multiple wars shows that this policy is unsustainable. People who are terrorized by the dictators we fund know how to get rid of them cheaply. Our ideals and our interests should be aligned, that will eliminate what you see as a dilemma. Leave Afghanistan now, and let the Egyptians solve their own problems.

Posted by: info22 | February 1, 2011 9:02 AM

Obama's dillema is due to un thought out ideals. Democracy in Muslim nations always produces extremism. However, it is not PC to admit that. Nations that are based on a Judeo-Christian rule of law produce liberal freedoms and prosperity. Secular nations with democracy lean toward socialism. Democracy is the wrong ideal. It cannot produce American prosperity, productiveness and freedom without the underlying philosophical foundations. Obama and much of the left want to think that Democracy can be reproduced in any philosophical environment. When Bush tried to encourage Democracy in Iraq, he attempted to also import a western rule of law (i.e. Judeo-Christian). Again, he failed and instead the result is an increasingly extremist Muslim population that has completely disintegrated freedom of religion for non-muslims. We are attempting to make the Democracy ideal carry too much water because we have lost touch with our most basic foundations.

Posted by: jonswitzer | February 1, 2011 7:52 AM

Joe Biden says the dictator should not step down. Obama opposed removing the vicious dictator and butcher Saddam Hussein, but thanks to our military and their commander in chief George W. Bush the country of Iraq is a democracy and no longer are people being gassed, hanged in public, tortured and raped by their leaders.

When Hitler came to power we had many leaders here that thought he was a good thing despite his attacks on the Jewish population.

We had the America First Committee and Charles Lindbergh spoke out in his favor and against stopping him.

Obama and Biden are cowards.

Posted by: LETFREEDOMRING2 | February 1, 2011 6:19 AM

It is time for this nation to show it's true color which is not really promoting democracy around the world but promoting governments which has been friendly with USA with common goal. That is why we are stuck in the middle with Egypt. The democratic process will turn the country into Muslim nation like Iran and become hostile against US and Israel. We need to support Mubarack who has continued antimuslim in the region and maintained peace. If the Muslim nation takes over they will not have democracy but a nation under shiraya law of 12 century and more people will be persecuted. Look at Iran what happened under the name of humanity during Carter's presidency, since they had more people jailed and executed then while Shaw was ruling the nation. Just because this country has democracy does not mean every country in the world is ready for it. President Mubarack needs to get hold of the power again and with ironfist, jail all the brotherhood of Muslim and restore the law and commerce in Egypt.Otherwise this is a disaster wait to happen and the ripple effect will devour Saudi Arabia, Bahran, kuwait etcs.

Posted by: chaemoondriver | February 1, 2011 1:37 AM

Based on the opinions of some Egyptian analysts, Washington Post itself propagates a misconception that the Muslim Brotherhood would attract minority of voters and so will not come to power. Let us not forget how wrong were such analysts about Saddam’s Iraq. Being the largest organized non-government political party, Muslim Brotherhood will be all set to attract plurality of votes even if not majority, similar to what Maoists achieved in Nepal.

It is clear that Egypt at the most will be headed for military dictatorship and at the worst government of Muslim Brotherhood. El Baradei will be a flitting phenomena. Today’s Egypt is another Iran in the making.

And a battle of Sunnis versus Shiites in the Arab world will be really joined if Muslim Brotherhood comes to power with Israel having most to loose.

Posted by: martymartel3 | January 31, 2011 8:28 PM

The Obama Administration DOES have a choice...they can express firm support for the presidential election which was to take place in Egypt this September.

Wouldn't ensuring a fair election be the best way to help the Egyptian people to have a voice in their government?

Shouldn't Obama be consistent in expressing a preference for civil elections rather than civil unrest?

The international community has had experience in helping elections take place.

Maybe the UN could monitor the election. Jimmy Carter could help,too.

Posted by: dumbreddown | January 31, 2011 6:45 PM

someone wrote:
"Loyalty goes the longest way in the Middle East. Mubarak should not have been abandoned. Instead, he should have been backed but told to make needed reforms."

Mubarak had 30 years! It's time for him to go.

Posted by: knjincvc | January 31, 2011 6:34 PM

For the US to shake loose of Mubarak when the going gets a little rough has sent alarm bells ringing throughout the world. Like my great grandfather used to say, "A man is only as good as his word".

Posted by: JAH3 | January 31, 2011 5:38 PM

The White House action could be interpreted as a hint to Israel of don't rely on us when the heat's turned on.

Loyalty goes the longest way in the Middle East. Mubarak should not have been abandoned. Instead, he should have been backed but told to make needed reforms.

The world esp. the Middle East is saturated enough with terror then to see the Muslim Brotherhood alternative to Mubarak assume power. And that should have been clear from the outset. But it wasn't.

Posted by: truth34 | January 31, 2011 5:05 PM

we've got plenty of oil right here on our own shores and who is it that refuses to issue permits to drill ? Who is it that let the Moratorium run all that time while businesses floundered in the Gulf all the while watching Unemployment rise to over 17% in some sectors. Who is it who is sitting nice and cozy in the Brown House while we in the North East are paying $3.29 a gal for Heating Oil . And who is it that never mentions how many of the Drilling Platforms have already left for Australia, Brazil and Africa ? He and his crew didn't punish BP they are putting us and the rest of America into the poor house, as they push to make us more and more dependent on them for handouts . But we all know what the answer is. Blame Bush . If that don't work, blame Carter, Regan, and even Lincoln. This is the mentality that rambles on in Washington as well. As if looking up a " dead Horse's Azz " ever solved any problems or by blaming someone else ever made you a Giant in anyone's eyes. Two years and millions were spent on Obama's Socialized Med plan , and just so he could have a legacy. Or are you going to keep selling that Chestnut that he felt the pain of the 30 Million who he said had no Health Care. I also remember him saying that it wouldn't cost a dime. I guess Hahvahd has a secret way of adding 30 Million people to a plan, and not having it cost a cent. And I thought Houdini died of a ruptured appendix . There is not one single , solitary thing that Obama has put forth that has helped America . Not one. It's all smoke and Mirrors. They'll blow the horn of the Stimulus package as things seem to be on the up swing and know full well that they could never prove that the Stimulus, Clunker or buying out GM and AIG ever helped one bit. But backing the UAW and the Teachers sure will help his next campaign no matter how much it put the rest of us in debt. You know, I have a theory and have had it right from the beginning. And I still say he and Soros were the most surprised people in the world when Obama woke up that morning and found himself, President. All of a sudden he said, " What the Hell did I do ? " And with this latest Crisis in Egypt , those who voted for him will be wondering the same thing.

Posted by: puck-101 | January 31, 2011 5:02 PM

Posted by: gneubeck | January 31, 2011 4:07 PM

- Please scroll down to see what Greg Neubeck wrote, it's too long to C & P.

My bottomline is that comments like his just show the incoherent critism of this administration; he's basically blaming Obama for Mubarak's demise. He apparently didn't get the memo from HQ that they should be blaming Obama for not chest beating with the protesters in public.

Posted by: TraderX | January 31, 2011 5:00 PM

Interesting that the Egyptian uprising has been orchestrated for the New Year with a new Congress. Maybe that is irrelevant.

What is not irrelevant is that the Muslim Brotherhood agitated these uprisings because they smell US weakness and lack of clear resolve from the WH and State. The WH wants the Mubarak horse to win for stability reasons, but can't bet on him. At least, he is the devil they know well.

The people behind the curtain have no doubt read up on the Carter/Iran years extensively. Better hope no diplomatic hostages are taken or this whole deal gets even stinkier fast.

Posted by: bandcyuk | January 31, 2011 4:59 PM

Posted by: kjordan3637 | January 31, 2011 11:36 AM

"If this continues much longer, the economic affects are going to start to show up in oil and food. Our govt is being made to look weak during this entire process as they sit around and wait to see what happens. All the talk shows this weekend discussed how this crisis has the white house "frozen".
Check out these hilarious cartoons on the Egypt crisis this morning.....

Being somewhat related to trading, risk and outcomes, I take it you are more intelligent than your comment belies.

This situation as with most other defining events in history will take place with the US government working behind the scenes and not chest beating on talk shows.

The basic calculus in all probability is we are pushing the Egyptian mmilitary to ease out Mubarak and quickly harness the change movement os that it doesn't end up in Muslim Brotherhood control.

At the same time, we can't publicly vilify an ally who's been insturmental to us through both republican and democratic administrations; that would only weaken our 'interests' relationships in the region.

I believe that our government is taking the right approach; work behind the scenes to ease out Mubarak, while assessing who really is going to control the opposition. As with most politics there, the US cannot be seen in public to be pushing those developments or else domestic credibility is open to question.

Posted by: TraderX | January 31, 2011 4:54 PM

No young Egyptian has forgotten Obama's Cairo speech of 18 months ago. They are counting on his support. Mubarak was a good ally years ago, but now he has reached normal retirement age, and it is time for him to step aside and make room for younger people. No hard feelings, Mr. Mubarak, but you are history.

Posted by: dunnhaupt | January 31, 2011 4:52 PM

This is a tough challenge, but we have a president now who is 50x smarter than the one who couldn't even pronounce the word "nuclear" let alone deal with anything more complex than chewing pretzels and watching a football game at the same time (oh, wait - GW choked on the pretzel).

According to more recent reports, the US is trying to ensure President Mubarak does not stand as a candidate in the elections later this year, and there is a retired senior diplomat pressing the case for democratic reforms with top officials in Egypt.

I'm greatful that this came during President Obama's presidency.

And thank goodness we don't have McCain in charge, he'd probably forget what year it is and demand to speak with Anwar Sadat.

Posted by: jKO2010 | January 31, 2011 4:36 PM


Talk to me after Suez is closed when your gasoline is at six or seven dollars a gallon, and your bread is at three dollars. This president is handling this situation about as good as anyone could.
When president's publicly side with revolutionists' people DIE, look at world history at what happened, or didn't happen in Czechoslovakia
Insofar as Jimmy Carter who is blamed for losing Iran, gimme a break, the Shah lost Iran. If you are going to knock Jimmy Carter for losing Iran than give him credit for brokering peace with Israel and helping to get EGYPT on USA side for the past thirty years. You right-wing radio "lemmings" who listen to Fox and Limbaugh have no clue about geopolitics and have shown an incredible inability to think on your own. Your writings sound boiler plate right out of sound tracks produced from Fox and Hannity for the mentally restricted.

Posted by: october30 | January 31, 2011 4:25 PM


Talk to me after Suez is closed when your gasoline is at six or seven dollars a gallon, and your bread is at three dollars. This president is handling this situation about as good as anyone could.
When presidents' publicly side with revolutionists' PEOPLE DIE, look at world history at what happened, or didn't happen in Czechoslovakia
Insofar as Jimmy Carter who is blamed for losing Iran, gimme a break, the Shah lost Iran. If you are going to knock Jimmy Carter for losing Iran than give him credit for brokering peace with Israel and helping to KEEP EGYPT on USA side for the past thirty years.
You right-wing radio "lemmings" who listen to Fox and Limbaugh have no clue about geopolitics and have shown an incredible inability to think on your own. Your writings sound boiler plate right out of sound tracks produced from Fox and Hannity for the mentally restricted.

Posted by: october30 | January 31, 2011 4:25 PM

Hillary Clinton : " We do not want to give the message of backing forward or backing back " Wonderful. This is the result of an extensive education in all the best schools. What a scholar and what a Lawyer.
She might just as well said : " up the street the soldiers came down " And this is what we send into the middle of an explosive situation , that could tear the world apart . If you put her brain and Obama's into a thimble and shook it, it would sound like two " B Bs in a box car. "

Posted by: puck-101 | January 31, 2011 4:23 PM

Jimmy Carter gave us the Ayatollahs in Iran, now Barack Obama is about to give us the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. It's no surprise that our devout Muslim in the WH, schooled from birth in Marxist dogma; and, experienced only in 'Community Agitating' as practiced on the streets of Chicago, while publically praising the Egyptian leader Mubarak would be secretively undermining him by providing guidance and counseling to Egyptian youth activists intent on overthrowing the Mubarak government. The Obama media is quick to emphasize that the Muslim Brotherhood, an ultra-extremist organization dedicated to the formation of a Muslim caliphate and imposition of sharia law on the entire Middle East, lacks a sufficient majority and populace support to achieve their objectives. It was only a few months ago that the same talking heads were erroneously discounting the Hezbollah fanatics attempts to achieve control in Lebanon! We should have learned from history that a small, dedicated, well organized group, willing to employ unconstrained violence in the pursuit of their goals can indeed prevail against a less-well organized majority more passive in their strategy. Unfortunately, Obama is a delusional narcissist who has actually convinced himself that foreign leaders, friend and foe alike, are enamored with his incoherent verbosity. In truth, they once viewed Obama with amused ridicule; but, now have come to recognize him as a dangerously misguided interloper. America is paying an agonizing and perhaps irreparable price for having elected such a severely destructive "incompetent"; and, the on-going Middle East inferno may well further enshrine Obama as: 'Ignorance at its pinnacle'. Greg Neubeck

Posted by: gneubeck | January 31, 2011 4:07 PM

We, the United States, should do all that we can to support the rebellion in Egypt.
Biden should acknowledge that Hosni Mubarak IS A FASCHIST DICTATOR because that is OBVIOUSLY what he is and has been!

The worried crap from our evangelistic Christians that Israel must be supported 100% because that fits the LEGEND of Jesus coming again . . . . . should NOT have ANY influence in our response. And if one MERELY looks at the West Bank and Gaza, it is obvious that those particular evangelical Christians (like Pat Robertson) do not believe in doing what is MORALLY proper!

Yes, we should try to prevent an Islamic religious takeover of Egypt . . . . But at least some of us need to realize that we need to resist the takeover of our own laws and nation by Fundamentalist Christians.

Posted by: lufrank1 | January 31, 2011 3:32 PM

I agree that as an American and a pro-Democracy, pro-Freedom patriot, I would come down on the side of the protesters. Not the dictator who has repressed a country and shut down communications.

That said, once Mubarak does step down (inevitable) and elections are held (also eventually inevitable) we have to be prepared to support the government that democracy yields and not try to undermine it, which would destabilize Egypt as it has every other country where we've followed that course. It also means a major strategic shift for Israel, our main ally in the region.

Posted by: jksesq1 | January 31, 2011 3:23 PM

Quatermass: hear, hear

Posted by: areyousaying | January 31, 2011 2:58 PM

Who is the Egyptian opposition and why are they calling for massive protest. Since Egypt is a Muslim nation and the Muslim religion is Islam with mosques and holy sites with pilgrimages in masses of people, it is a religious-cultural conventional way to protest or worship. The Muslim Brotherhood is involved in the protest and their record shows connections with Gaza Hammas.

The leftist liberal propaganda runs a narrative on the riots in Egypt as the Egyptian soldiers show solidarity with protesters as in American soldiers show solidarity with the Taliban. Are those soldiers considered traitors to their military duty to restore civil order? Are the thousands of hard core criminal released from Egyptian prison by protesters showing solidarity with the protesters?

Obama’s speech and Hillary’s press conferences makes it clear the Democrat White House policy is in support of the protesters in Egypt and their well planned statements have incited civil disorder that escalated from “nice talk” on human rights and jobs to national defense security. Are the U.S. tourist in Egypt being held hostage by the protesters. The want to leave but cannot.

Obama and Hillary do not, do not represent the American people. The concept of Democracy does not include protester who are not willing to negotiate, demand a pre-determined outcome to get rid of a government official and use violence and intimidation on the streets. We do not see a pathway to democracy but government overthrow and government rule by terrorism.

A major news report gave credit to Obama’s State of the Union address inspired the protesters and riots in the streets of Cairo. What has been the out come? Prisoners have been released to join the protestors for overthrow of government. U.S. tourists are in danger of hostage taking and the Egypt is suffering a serious economic “set backs” by the activities of the protesters. We see looting, theft, destruction of historic sites, citizens arming against looters, criminals and terrorist.

The American people will not take to the streets in Washington D.C. as the protesters in Egypt and demand that Obama steps down. But, they will be watching closely and supporting the Tea Party Express protesters who changed U.S. Congress to Republican. What have the protesters in Egypt accomplished? The violent mobs burned down government buildings and released prisoners for more violent demonstrations.

Obama and Hillary need to realize the protesters have escalated from human rights to national security defense and a government that needs to restore civil order. The poor people and youth of Egypt are no different from other countries under suppressive regimes like Hugo Chavez and President Hu of China. If they want jobs, volunteer to repair and rebuild government buildings.

Posted by: klausdmk | January 31, 2011 2:55 PM

Odumbo met with the muslim brotherhood while he was in Egypt early in his incompetent administration.
This uprising isn't being run by the common people, but by the muslim brotherhood, with Odumbo's tacit approval.
Surely all you liberals aren't really that stupid as to think that it's a popular , spontaneous uprising. Mubarak is anti muslim jihad. That's why he's being vilified by the Odumbo regime and their henchmen in the media. Can anyone spell Jimmy Carter?http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2011/01/carter_redux_1.html

Posted by: LarryG62 | January 31, 2011 2:46 PM

The so called American "ideals" were absent during the protests in Iran. I presume that they will go again into hiding if protests will occur in Damascus. If those ideals have any practical value they should be expressed before the Administration is faced with unforeseen events. No country in the in the Arab world considers now the US as an reliable ally. Mr. Obama knows from personal experience, and perhaps from history also, that elections are won by the party which is better organized rather than one which supports democracy. This happened in Russia in 1918, in Germany in 1933, in Iran with Humeini, in Palestine with Hamas, in Lebanon with Hezbollah and many other places. If the regime in Egypt falls, as apparently the Administration expects, its successor will be the Muslim Brotherhood, and similar events will take place with all Arab "US friends." The US did not foresee the events so far, most likely it it is unqualified to predict accurately their end.

Posted by: ameytahl | January 31, 2011 2:39 PM


First off, do you really believe that the U.S. Secretary of State "doesn't have a clue about foreign affairs"? If you are that stupid, then there is probably no sense in trying to respond to you, but here goes anyway.

You seem to have missed the point of the article, which is that "America's interests" in Egypt are not clearly defined. We can back the existing unelected dictator, who is also somewhat of an ally to us and is on (albeit uneasy) peaceful terms with Israel? Or we can back the rebels in their quest for "democracy", which could mean a Hamas-type rule that is hostile to Israel and friendly to Taliban-eque, Islamist, or even terroristic factions.

So, Mr. Syzito, since you are so much more in tune with foreign policy than our Secretary of State and our President which of these obvious choices do you think we should adopt -- support democracy, or support the friendly dictator?

I do not know the answer, but I acknowledge it's a hard question, and I trust our extremely experienced diplomatic professionals to do their jobs and position us where we need to be in this dispute.

I will say, though, that for all the good America has done in the world, we have usually made a mess of things when we have intervened in other countries' governance choices. We claim to be "pro-democracy" when it serves our argument at the time (such as overthrowing Saddam Hussein in the name of democratic freedom) but in other instances (Iran, Iraq, Chile, El Salvador, Panama, Kuwait) we have supported dictators either openly or covertly to suit our own perceived interests.

All of this makes it quite difficult to ascertain what "America's interests" are. Diplomacy is full of subtlety, shadings and judging the lesser of various evils. Of course, it doesn't help when your sole metric is "I hate the President and his Secretary and whatever they are doing is wrong." If they were to openly side with the Egyptian rebels, Mubarak were overthrown and the Taliban marched in, I am sure you would waste no time in accusing him of facilitating Muslim radical rule in Egypt.

Posted by: jksesq1 | January 31, 2011 2:25 PM

The administration is approaching the situation in Egypt with maturity. Yes, we want a true democracy in Egypt, but we only have so much influence over the outcome. Egypt belongs to the Egyptians and it is up to them to make this work.

The US needs to stay with the demonstrators, support them, but absolutely NOT run out ahead of them by forcing Mubarak out. Getting too far ahead of the protesters prevents the Egyptians from leading the way and making it their country. That will only serve to weaken whatever government comes to power.

This is no way abandons American ideals. But democracy achieved organically has a much better chance of survival than one put in place by outside forces. See: Iraq.

Posted by: rosefarm1 | January 31, 2011 2:16 PM

Clinton doesn't have a clue about foreign affairs and doesn't know what she is talking about concerning Egypt,Obama included.There exist no tightrope for Obama,if he knows what he is doing he puts America's interest first and above all else.That is what he is elected to do.

Posted by: syzito | January 31, 2011 1:28 PM

The uprising in Egypt presents the U.S. administration with a dilemma between American ideals and American interests.
--- --- ---

This is exactly why the American govt is seen as hypocritical. WHEN will America stand up and do what's right based on it's ideals, which every President and person in Congress swears to uphold, and not just following what big money wants the US Govt to do?


Posted by: kkrimmer | January 31, 2011 1:09 PM

Our imports from Egypt are negligible. Our main "interest" seems to be having an Egyptian government that won't attack Israel - that's why we've kept Mubarak in place in spite of the fact he's a murderous thug. (That, and Egypt is a nice place to "render" our "high value" prisoners to so they can be tortured while we whistle and look the other way.) I don't see anything so "incredibly nuanced" about any of this, and our current dithering doesn't help our standing on the Arab street. Well, this is the kind of tinderbox Bush Junior was playing around with. We can support the removal of a nasty piece of work and hope for the best, or we can keep the Egyptian version of the Shah in place and see how that plays out. (Last time it wasn't pretty.) Mouthing inanities and keeping our fingers crossed isn't the sign of a "superpower" - it's a signal to the world that we're a weak, cynical, dishonest and hypocritical bunch of moral derelicts.

Posted by: Quatermass | January 31, 2011 12:30 PM

If this continues much longer, the economic affects are going to start to show up in oil and food. Our govt is being made to look weak during this entire process as they sit around and wait to see what happens. All the talk shows this weekend discussed how this crisis has the white house "frozen".

Check out these hilarious cartoons on the Egypt crisis this morning.....


Posted by: kjordan3637 | January 31, 2011 11:36 AM

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