Reading Bill Press, a syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services in his article, Obama meets foreign policy test with the crisis in Egypt, he clearly depicts that Obama did not miss any chance in Egypt and in fact has executed a well planned methodical approach to send a message to Mubarak that he has to step down in a sweet and respectful manner in order to end the civil unrest in Egypt.
Remember the 3am Ad?
"It's 3 a.m. and your children are safe and asleep. But there's a phone in the White House and it's ringing. Something's happening in the world. Your vote will decide who answers that call. Whether it's someone who already knows the world's leaders, knows the military, someone tested and ready to lead in a dangerous world. It's 3 a.m. and your children are safe and asleep. Who do you want answering the phone?"
In all honesty, I am glad this President is the one that is answering the call and addressing our country's first foreign policy challenge.
Crossposted from The People's View
Bill Press goes on to expand the relatively difficult situation this President is/was in considering that "Mubarak's dual role of trusted ally and brutal thug" and the challenge of walking a fine line to insure a stable transition.
America has always been looking the other way when it comes to its self interest and having Mubarak as an ally was most important for past Presidents even if we have to look the other way knowing that the regime's leadership is repressive to its own people. Hey, why mess with something that has been working for decades? After all, the policies of looking out for United States' best interest even if Democracy is compromised in Egypt has higher priority than the well being of the Egyptian people. So, for years, we empowered a country to be a one-man ruled nation. Our history in the Middle East has never been really about promoting Democracy but to do whatever necessary to benefit our national interest even if we have to go into cooked up wars based on lies and in the name Democracy.
However, the President, understanding the history of our relations with Egypt and the Arab nations, has been threading very carefully and methodically in addressing this complex situation and relationship. In fact, he understood how America is being perceived so he stood before the Arab world and reached out for a new beginning seeding the seed of CHANGE that has given the entire Arab world a different look at how they perceive the United States today.
If we go back to the President's Cairo speech, this is what he said:
I've come here to Cairo to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, one based on mutual interest and mutual respect, and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles -- principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.
I do so recognizing that change cannot happen overnight. I know there's been a lot of publicity about this speech, but no single speech can eradicate years of mistrust, nor can I answer in the time that I have this afternoon all the complex questions that brought us to this point. But I am convinced that in order to move forward, we must say openly to each other the things we hold in our hearts and that too often are said only behind closed doors. There must be a sustained effort to listen to each other; to learn from each other; to respect one another; and to seek common ground. As the Holy Koran tells us, "Be conscious of God and speak always the truth." That is what I will try to do today -- to speak the truth as best I can, humbled by the task before us, and firm in my belief that the interests we share as human beings are far more powerful than the forces that drive us apart.
It is easy to just walk in the oval office and push a button calling for the down fall of Mubarak or any repressive regime. However the world does not just work out that way. Newton's law of motion clearly teaches us that "for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction" and as such it is very important to put critical thinking to seek out all the effects of a major decision.
The approach President Obama has taken has been a winning approach while some obvious pundits have been calling it all wrong but they were not reading between the line as Press continued to point out in his column:
In the briefing room, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs informed us that Obama had pushed Mubarak to adopt serious reforms in eight different meetings. However, he insisted, the United States was not taking sides in this popular uprising, lest it appear we were trying to dictate the outcome in Egypt.
But all you had to do was read between the lines. By supporting their demands for democratic reforms, it was clear that Obama was siding with the protesters. That became even clearer after Mubarak announced he would not seek re-election.
Let's revisit the President's remark on the Situation in Egypt when he addressed the world in a manner that makes it unequivocally clear that the United States stands with the Egyptian people:
my administration has been in close contact with our Egyptian counterparts and a broad range of the Egyptian people, as well as others across the region and across the globe. And throughout this period, we’ve stood for a set of core principles.
First, we oppose violence. And I want to commend the Egyptian military for the professionalism and patriotism that it has shown thus far in allowing peaceful protests while protecting the Egyptian people. We’ve seen tanks covered with banners, and soldiers and protesters embracing in the streets. And going forward, I urge the military to continue its efforts to help ensure that this time of change is peaceful.
Second, we stand for universal values, including the rights of the Egyptian people to freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, and the freedom to access information. Once more, we’ve seen the incredible potential for technology to empower citizens and the dignity of those who stand up for a better future. And going forward, the United States will continue to stand up for democracy and the universal rights that all human beings deserve, in Egypt and around the world.
Third, we have spoken out on behalf of the need for change. After his speech tonight, I spoke directly to President Mubarak. He recognizes that the status quo is not sustainable and that a change must take place. Indeed, all of us who are privileged to serve in positions of political power do so at the will of our people. Through thousands of years, Egypt has known many moments of transformation. The voices of the Egyptian people tell us that this is one of those moments; this is one of those times.
Now, it is not the role of any other country to determine Egypt’s leaders. Only the Egyptian people can do that. What is clear -- and what I indicated tonight to President Mubarak -- is my belief that an orderly transition must be meaningful, it must be peaceful, and it must begin now.
Furthermore, the process must include a broad spectrum of Egyptian voices and opposition parties. It should lead to elections that are free and fair. And it should result in a government that’s not only grounded in democratic principles, but is also responsive to the aspirations of the Egyptian people.
So what has the President and his Administration been doing since? According to PBS NewsHour, they have been preparing for Egypt post Mubarak but ensure the movement comes from the people. In fact sources from within the Administration had amplified that:
"They don't want to push Mubarak over the cliff, but they understand that the Mubarak era is over and that the only way Mubarak could be saved now is by a ruthless suppression of the population, which would probably set the stage for a much more radical revolution down the road."
"It's a very difficult balance to be struck. Mubarak is, after all, a friend of the United States for the last 30 years. A lot of our allies in the region -- the Saudis, Jordanians and Kuwaitis -- will be particularly nervous if it looks like the U.S. is doing in one of their friends."
The bottom line is Mubarak is stepping down (see live MSNBC feed) without an all out civil war and bloody violence and the United States approach to the conflict has prevailed.
Bill Press concludes his op-ed making the case how meticulous Obama's approach was that Republicans were all over the map in confusion as to what to say or what should be done regarding the situation in Egypt.
Perhaps the best sign that Obama's delicate public/private balancing act on Egypt worked is the total confusion it's created among Republicans. They're all over the place.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker John Boehner and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney credit Obama for getting it just right.
Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty argued that Obama should have called for Mubarak's resignation.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee condemned Obama for being too quick to throw Mubarak under the bus.
And professional Obama critic Dick Morris blamed him for losing Egypt.
What Republicans can't admit is that Obama has succeeded in helping bring democracy to the Arab world where President George W. Bush failed. And he did so not by launching another long, bloody and costly war, but by supporting the aspirations of the Egyptian people, who used Facebook, Twitter and cell phones, not guns, to overthrow their government without firing a shot.
Bush spent billions on bombs. A laptop would have been cheaper and more effective.
According to the Egyptian state TV reports, late this afternoon President Hosni Mubarak has ended his meeting with his Vice President Omar Suleiman and is due to meet with Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq. When asked about the developments in Egypt, President Obama said, "We're going to have to wait and see what's going on." If I was to guess by now, the Administration knows clearly what is going to happen and I would guess that we will hear from President Hosni Mubarak that he will step down ending a 30 years old dictatorship in Egypt.
Well, I am glad President Obama is answering that 3am call. How about you?
PS: No pun intended to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton because I have grown to admire and respect our SoS. I think she makes our President shine and is one of his huge asset for the success he is enjoying.
If you are not following the news, President Mubarak has made a statement and is not stepping down saying he will not be leaving office immediately, as requested by the Egyptian people. He said from Punditpress.blogspot.com:
"The children of Egypt, men and women." Mubarak started. He said that he is making a speech from the heart "from father to children" and that he takes pride in the protesters, that they are dreaming of a bright future. He said that "martyrs" blood "will not go down the drain." Following, that those who hurt Egyptian citizens will be punished.
He said he felt the pain as they did. He's listening to their demands that will not be "waived." He is adamant to implement his promises. "This commitment stems from my firm commitment of the genuineness of your movement" and that they are "legitimate."
He says he can find "no embarrassment at all" from listening to the concerns of the people of Egypt. He says that he will not take orders from outside. "I announced in very plain...words... that I will not run in the coming Presidential election."
He says that he has taken an oath before God and the nation to "exit the current crisis." He says that he will implement reforms "hour by hour." The interests of the nation will be safeguarded by the armed forces that he will "exit the crisis."
We shall see how things are going to turn out but if there is anything that is powerful if you see the live feed per Aljazeera, the people of Egypt are just getting warmed up and we all must keep them in our prayers for their safety and will for a birth of a new nation to be a reality.
Update II: I would like to capture this comment from a commenter who has spoke for me. Thank you!
Just because Mubarak apparently pulled a bait and switch does not negate the premise of this diary ... if Obama had fully embraced the protestors, Mubarak might have done much, much, worse. He could have, as I mentioned in another comment, chosen to ally himself with Iran, maybe Russia, and in the process torn up the Egypt-Israel peace treaty. If Obama had forcefully called for Mubarak's resignation, Mubarak might have dug in his heels even earlier. What the critics fail to realize is this is not a fucking game.
Finally, I notice many of the critics seem to be very happy Mubarak gave the speech he did ... in order to tear down the diarist and declare his diary wrong since the diarist (and EVERYONE ELSE, INCLUDING the critics) believed Mubarak would be stepping down. To those who rejoice in this turn of events, simply to bash the diarist, I say SHAME, SHAME ON YOU!
Update III: The anger is overwhelming me. My point is praising President Obama makes some people just sick to their stomach, I just don't get it. Why is it so difficult to support a Democratic President but resort to discredit him? Some would get to a low point like the comment displayed below.
I wish I could HR your update multiple times (0 / 0)
Fuck you. With every ounce of my being you self-involved establishment cheerleader.
For there our captors demanded of us songs, And our tormentors mirth, saying, "Sing us one of the songs of Zion."
by Alec82 on Thu Feb 10, 2011 at 05:34:36 PM EST
UPDATE 4: There is a sentiment that the U.S. supports Mubarak. Well, thanks to FiredUpInCA for this comment:
Hosni Mubarak doesn't feel supported by the U.S.:
"I can not and will not accept to be dictated orders from outside, no matter what the source is," Mubarak said.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit :
Egypt's foreign minister has rebuffed calls from Washington to speed up the pace of political reform.
Rejecting a US demand to lift a state of emergency, Ahmed Aboul Gheit said Washington should not "impose" its will on "a great country".
This does not sound like a status quo that feels supported.
It is not clear to others in the region that the U.S. supports the status quo.
Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal:
"We express our strong disapproval and utmost condemnation of interference by some foreign countries that raises the stakes on the Egyptian people, in a blatant interference in its internal affairs," Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal said in a speech in Morocco.
by FiredUpInCA on Thu Feb 10, 2011 at 05:10:11 PM EST
The Egyptian people have been told that there was a transition of authority, but it is not yet clear that this transition is immediate, meaningful or sufficient. Too many Egyptians remain unconvinced that the government is serious about a genuine transition to democracy, and it is the responsibility of the government to speak clearly to the Egyptian people and the world. The Egyptian government must put forward a credible, concrete and unequivocal path toward genuine democracy, and they have not yet seized that opportunity.
As we have said from the beginning of this unrest, the future of Egypt will be determined by the Egyptian people. But the United States has also been clear that we stand for a set of core principles. We believe that the universal rights of the Egyptian people must be respected, and their aspirations must be met. We believe that this transition must immediately demonstrate irreversible political change, and a negotiated path to democracy. To that end, we believe that the emergency law should be lifted. We believe that meaningful negotiations with the broad opposition and Egyptian civil society should address the key questions confronting Egypt’s future: protecting the fundamental rights of all citizens; revising the Constitution and other laws to demonstrate irreversible change; and jointly developing a clear roadmap to elections that are free and fair.
We therefore urge the Egyptian government to move swiftly to explain the changes that have been made, and to spell out in clear and unambiguous language the step by step process that will lead to democracy and the representative government that the Egyptian people seek. Going forward, it will be essential that the universal rights of the Egyptian people be respected. There must be restraint by all parties. Violence must be forsaken. It is imperative that the government not respond to the aspirations of their people with repression or brutality. The voices of the Egyptian people must be heard.
The Egyptian people have made it clear that there is no going back to the way things were: Egypt has changed, and its future is in the hands of the people. Those who have exercised their right to peaceful assembly represent the greatness of the Egyptian people, and are broadly representative of Egyptian society. We have seen young and old, rich and poor, Muslim and Christian join together, and earn the respect of the world through their non-violent calls for change. In that effort, young people have been at the forefront, and a new generation has emerged. They have made it clear that Egypt must reflect their hopes, fulfill their highest aspirations, and tap their boundless potential. In these difficult times, I know that the Egyptian people will persevere, and they must know that they will continue to have a friend in the United States of America.