Video: Obama administration doesn’t want its fingerprints on change?

posted at 10:55 am on January 31, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Michele Dunne’s criticism of the Obama administration, which got elected on the campaign slogan “Hope and Chang,” will sting — but it’s essentially meaningless. The expert on Egypt says that the US has to get involved in order to press for democratic change, but what exactly would that be? Dunne can’t formulate any specific actions, other than saying that we should favor democratic change. On one hand, Dunne says it will send a bad signal to other allies if we throw Mubarak under the bus, and on the other that we should publicly demand that Mubarak negotiate the terms of his abdication to “real democracy in Egypt.” That, however, presumes that “real democracy” is what’s coming after Mubarak:

Rasmussen polled voters on the subject of American policy towards Egypt in this crisis, which shows that most understand the lack of any good choices at Obama’s hands:

Most Americans expect the unrest in Egypt to spread to other Middle Eastern countries and think that will be bad for the United States. But a sizable majority also believe the United States should keep its nose out of Egypt’s current problems.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 75% of American Adults think it is at least somewhat likely that the unrest in Egypt will spread to other Middle Eastern countries, with 37% who say it is Very Likely. Only 11% say that’s not very or not at all likely to happen. Fourteen percent (14%) are undecided.

Fifty-nine percent (59%) say if the unrest in Egypt spreads to other countries, it will be bad for the United States. Just eight percent (8%) think the spreading popular discontent will be good for America, while 11% predict it will have no impact. However, nearly one-in-four Americans (23%) aren’t sure.

There’s an even higher level of uncertainty – 31% – when Americans are asked what impact the overthrow of the Egyptian government will have on the United States. Five percent (5%) think the impact will be a good one, but 38% say it will be bad for America. Twenty-six percent (26%) say it will have no impact.

Thanks to the decades of oppression in Egypt under Mubarak and his predecessors, the opposition has mainly rested with the radical Muslim Brotherhood, not democratization advocates.  If the Mubarak regime collapses in a rush, democracy is unlikely to fill the void, just as was the case in Iran in 1978-9.  I’m sure the White House would love to see democracy realized in a (mostly) nonviolent revolution in the streets, as was the case in Tunisia (at least so far), but Egypt is a far different country with a far different populace than Tunisia.

The best course of action at this point is the one the Obama administration is following, which is to keep talking about reform without pushing for any immediate outcome.  If we can quietly get Mubarak to negotiate with legitimate democrats in Egypt and not stooges for the Ikhwan, so much the better, but in that case quietly is imperative.  In a crisis with almost no leverage and almost no good options or outcomes, so far the Obama administration seems to be doing a good job of not overplaying its very weak hand.

One reason they may not be in a rush to push Mubarak into leaving is this CNN clip from Nick Robertson with protesters in Cairo, who explain that they want Egypt unleashed so that they can destroy Israel:

Be careful what change we wish for, in other words.


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The world is getting closer to WWIII.

trigon on January 31, 2011 at 10:59 AM

We’re not going to get any respect no matter what we do. We might as well just (quietly as possible) do whatever we can to thwart the radicals, keep them from taking over completely.

RBMN on January 31, 2011 at 11:01 AM

Change: Action not just reserved for presidents and dictators.

Electrongod on January 31, 2011 at 11:03 AM

The more I look into this so-called revolution the more I’m coming to the belief that this has been astro-turfed with the help of the Obama administration working with international unions and islamists. After all, isn’t community organizing their specialty?! Of course, the administration wants to appear fair-minded, but if the recent WikiLeaks documents are legit, then our fingerprints are all over this uprising.

Question: Is an astro-turfed union/islamist uprising better at bringing down a dictator than a full-fledged war to remove a dictator (a la Iraq)? As much as I hate the thought of what is happening now, at least our intervention is costing very little to get the job done. The big problem is what the cost will be if the islamists take over.

KickandSwimMom on January 31, 2011 at 11:04 AM

which got elected on the campaign slogan “Hope and Chang,”

And now, according to Mediaite, an Obama impersonator’s hawking Chinese KFC. How appropriate.

KingGold on January 31, 2011 at 11:04 AM

trigon on January 31, 2011 at 10:59 AM

^

artist on January 31, 2011 at 11:05 AM

I’m sure 0bama can fix this mess, with Joe Biden’s foreign policy genius at his disposal.

Yep, 0bama will get right on it. Right after he finishes making the oceans stop rising and the planet warming, etc etc.

UltimateBob on January 31, 2011 at 11:05 AM

“Hope and Chang,”

Chinese buddy cop movie from the 80′s?

Dash on January 31, 2011 at 11:05 AM

Muslims fighting for freedom and demockracy so they can kill JOOOOOs.

BL@KBIRD on January 31, 2011 at 11:07 AM

For those who want to pull out of Israel…be prepared for WWIII…

right2bright on January 31, 2011 at 11:10 AM

“Hope and Chang,”

Chinese buddy cop movie from the 80′s?

Dash on January 31, 2011 at 11:05 AM

That’s what popped into my head…an Ode to China…

right2bright on January 31, 2011 at 11:11 AM

Those women better get used to wearing black hijabs instead of the pink ones when the MB takes over. Oh, and that stoning thing, too. Isn’t it wonderful, they protest and die for freedom, only to have El Baradei and the MB step in to take over, all without free and fair elections.

Kissmygrits on January 31, 2011 at 11:14 AM

“Hope and Chang,”

Chinese buddy cop movie from the 80′s?

Dash on January 31, 2011 at 11:05 AM

Hope is expensive so where else would we go but to Chang?

darwin-t on January 31, 2011 at 11:15 AM

“Hope and Chang,”

Bob’s first partner for the Road to… movies, until a producer thought better of it.

kingsjester on January 31, 2011 at 11:16 AM

who explain that they want Egypt unleashed so that they can destroy Israel:

I don’t know about you guys, but I am going to brush up on my Middle East prophecies and the status of the kingdoms that align against Israel in the final days. IIRC, and I may be very wrong, many countries ally to destroy Israel.

“Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come” (Matthew 24:4-6).

ted c on January 31, 2011 at 11:17 AM

Yahoo News headline+pic a few hours ago.

Shy Guy on January 31, 2011 at 11:17 AM

Because of the suicidal spending pushed by lefties in this country, the Federal Reserve is monetizing our debt (Quantitative Easing). As a result we are exporting inflation to countries like Egypt whose currency is pegged to the dollar. Egypt has experienced nearly 50% inflation over the past few years. When you make less than $3,000/year, 50% inflation cannot be absorbed and makes it awfully hard to feed yourself. When you combine the economic pressure with typical Islamic radical rabble-rousing, countries like Egypt are a powder keg.

flyfisher on January 31, 2011 at 11:19 AM

There are other reasons that Obama’s laying back.

kingsjester on January 31, 2011 at 11:24 AM

The spread of more peace in the Muslim world. Looks like Islam really IS the Religion of Peace (trademarked).

search4truth on January 31, 2011 at 11:26 AM

Jimmah Cahtah II: Obama first went around and apologized for the US. In the process he bowed to every foreign leader he could find. He, Pelosi and Reid actively undermined our current and future economy and ensured that any economic recovery will take years longer than it would have without their “help”. He failed to act to support the Iranian rioters. He failed to offer any leadership or show any strength as to Lebanon. He was mute as to Tunisia. Now — Surprise! Actions (and inactions) have consequences.

Obama is a weak president, a weak man and despite the media spin, IMO a fairly weak mind. Our enemies can smell his beta-maleness a mile away and they are not intimidated in the least. Obama is a Chamberlain/Carter redux and we know exactly how that turns out historically. The question is whether he will get replaced before his weakness embroils this nation in a physical life or death struggle.

deepdiver on January 31, 2011 at 11:27 AM

There are other reasons that Obama’s laying back.

kingsjester on January 31, 2011 at 11:24 AM

Let’s pretend that Bush or Reagan were in the driver’s seat today. What would they do?

Shy Guy on January 31, 2011 at 11:27 AM

“Hope and Chang”

Formally known as Hope and Changstein ….

Jerome Horwitz on January 31, 2011 at 11:27 AM

Change You Can Say You Had No Part In!

pilamaye on January 31, 2011 at 11:28 AM

Does Chang know that Hope is fooling around on him?

abobo on January 31, 2011 at 11:40 AM

Formally known as Hope and Changstein …

Jerome Horwitz on January 31, 2011 at 11:27 AM

Not everyone knows what you’re talking about. :)

Shy Guy on January 31, 2011 at 11:41 AM

I really have to agree with Ed here.

Unfortunately there are no good options for the Obama administration.

They can either throw their weight behind Mubarak and risk spitting in the face of freedom, democracy, and the people of Egypt.

They can throw their weight behind the people of Egypt and throw Mubarak under the bus, but in the process welcome the kind of aftermath we saw following the 79 Iranian revolution.

Or, they can say “present,” and offer somewhat of a noncommittal, yet confusingly mixed and weak kneed response that will open them up to criticism that they have no real plan, and lack any kind of intestinal fortitude.

All choices are bad and make the administration look rather weak. However, I think the best option is to go with the one with the least amount of possible damage, and that, quite frankly, is option 3.

Obama has been dealt a bad hand in this, and he will not look good in the process, but given his options, so far he is choosing correctly.

Indy82 on January 31, 2011 at 11:44 AM

The scene is being prepared for the final battle to destroy Israel. It will look like the world powers are succeeding but Messiah will come and crush all who oppose God. It is only when Israel is at her death’s door will she turn to the true God and be saved. I know to the world this sounds like poppy cock but Scripture nails it. Who would have dreamed events could turned as rapidly as they have and continue to do. Israel will soon be surrounded by all who will want her “driven into the sea” and if the Obamaites have their way, the US will abandon her only allay in the region, as the US is incrementally doing now.

wepeople on January 31, 2011 at 11:48 AM

Besides his habit for voting present on everything don’t you imagine he would like to get as many Americans out of there so he truly doesn’t become Carter II?

Cindy Munford on January 31, 2011 at 11:48 AM

We should support democracy in all nations no matter what. If they decide to move to Sharia Law, then we should try to prevent that at all costs.

jeffn21 on January 31, 2011 at 11:48 AM

ally

wepeople on January 31, 2011 at 11:50 AM

Weak horse ripples.
http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2011/01/obama_and_the_ripple_effect.html

a capella on January 31, 2011 at 11:52 AM

Formally known as Hope and Changstein ….

Jerome Horwitz on January 31, 2011 at 11:27 AM

Bob and Donna?

UltimateBob on January 31, 2011 at 11:57 AM

Indy82 on January 31, 2011 at 11:44 AM

Makes sense to me, unfortunately it appears there is no option 4 that I’ve seen. What a mess. Can we at least exile the artifacts somewhere safe?

scalleywag on January 31, 2011 at 12:07 PM

In the second video (the only one I watched because I refuse to watch a 30 second ad for a short video clip) That guy’s beard labels him a serious Muslim, probably of the Brotherhood. The tragic thing here is that, yet again, the US has allowed its enemies to coopt the freedom meme. Just as it did in Iran thirty years ago, Islam is putting on a populist face until it achieves power. Then the hapless people will discover the devil they don’t know.

But the pertinent point here is that we have lost our way. We are not living up to our purpose among the nations.

paul1149 on January 31, 2011 at 12:11 PM

Obama is a weak president, a weak man and despite the media spin, IMO a fairly weak mind. Our enemies can smell his beta-maleness a mile away and they are not intimidated in the least. Obama is a Chamberlain/Carter redux and we know exactly how that turns out historically. The question is whether he will get replaced before his weakness embroils this nation in a physical life or death struggle.

deepdiver on January 31, 2011 at 11:27 AM

AllahPundit hardest hit…..

Subsunk

Subsunk on January 31, 2011 at 12:24 PM

All choices are bad and make the administration look rather weak. However, I think the best option is to go with the one with the least amount of possible damage, and that, quite frankly, is option 3.

It is very tricky and all options are bad, but I’m not sure I agree that sending mixed, weak signals does the least damage. Remaining noncommittal is fine up to a point, but having Biden say one thing and Hillary say another looks plain old inept. The perception that the U.S. is weak and that the administration is unprepared is not helpful.

Missy on January 31, 2011 at 12:26 PM

Keep the Chang…

anikol on January 31, 2011 at 12:35 PM

There doesnt seem to be any easy answer but the administration is coming across as disorganized, caught off guard and weak. The president doesnt get to choose which crisis comes our way and he can’t vote present although he might.

ldbgcoleman on January 31, 2011 at 1:19 PM

I have a different take than many posting here. I believe that Obama’s weakness is necessary in this situation because the administration has been covertly aiding this uprising. I think they were trying to hide that fact from Mubarak (thus the double-talk and contradictions), but the most recent Wikileaks documents show that the administration’s fingerprints are definitely on this, and I believe Mubarak now knows this. Now,the problems I have with this aiding and abetting is that:
1) That this covert aid is going to international union thugs and islamists and not the average guy or gal on the Egyptian street who just wants a representative democracy. In other words, this is not a “grassroots” uprising for the most part IMO; and
2) Other governments in the region will likely not trust us very much in the future.

KickandSwimMom on January 31, 2011 at 1:23 PM

Breaking, aljezeera.net: Egyptian army will not use force against citizens. => it’s over for Mubarak.

paul1149 on January 31, 2011 at 1:33 PM

“Weak hand” or no, if the Muslim Brotherhood is in anyways in power when the dust settles, the political consequences for Obama’s lack of foreign policy success are going to be devastating in 2012.

The bottom line is always found in the same location… success or failure. Islamic zealots in power = FAILURE.

Murf76 on January 31, 2011 at 2:00 PM

Beheading the mummies in the museum was just the warm-up.

tree hugging sister on January 31, 2011 at 2:34 PM

Soooooo, they want to attack Israel…. Not a smart idea.

Dandapani on January 31, 2011 at 8:59 PM