Hey, champ? Maybe it’s time for you and your tream to stop talking for awhile.
President Obama is “very concerned” that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak may not begin the process or an orderly transfer of power as quickly as he needs to, administration officials tell ABC News…
One official described the administration’s public stance on the issue as having had to change “every twelve hours” as events in Cairo has developed so rapidly.
“First it was ‘negotiate with the opposition,’ then events overtook that, the it was ‘orderly transition,’ and events overtook that, then it was ‘You and your son can’t run,’ and events overtook that, and now it’s ‘the process has to begin now,’” the official said. “It’s been crawl-walk-run – we had to increase the pace as events required.”…
Mubarak was described as being alternately sanguine and defiant in his conversation with President Obama last night, though it was described by one official as being very different from their conversation Friday night when Mubarak blamed the protests on the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood and assured President Obama the situation was under control.
Instead of changing every 12 hours like a thermometer keyed to the intensity of the protests, why didn’t we stick with the “no violence/time for reform/orderly transition” talking points from over the weekend? We’d be in decent shape right now had we done that. Mubarak has, after all, promised not to run again, so some sort of transition is in the works; beyond Egypt, the king of Jordan sacked his cabinet and the de facto king of Yemen decided he’ll stand down in 2013, both of which can and will be touted as American-influenced victories on behalf of reform. (Unless, of course, Yemen collapses into a jihadist sewer, in which case we’ll disclaim all responsibility.) Mubarak’s power play this morning in Tahrir Square is a challenge to our “no violence” position, but who knows? If he didn’t feel like he was being shoved towards the exit, maybe he would have held off for the time being. And even if he went ahead with the crackdown, the White House’s “no violence” rule was settled on day one of the protests; nothing we’ve said since then by ramping up the pressure on Mubarak to scram has made a confrontation in the streets less likely to happen. Realistically, if you’re going to try to push a strongman out, the only way to guarantee that he won’t do something crazy is if you have his military in your pocket. And evidently we don’t, or else the Egyptian army wouldn’t have sat by and watched the rock-tossing this morning.
As a fascinating gloss on how these protests have scrambled traditional political alliances, consider that McCain (after meeting today with Obama in the Oval Office) is now publicly joining Obama’s call for Mubarak to go while Mark Kirk is hinting that Egypt should have a new strongman. Meanwhile, American neoconservatives are clashing with Israelis(!) about whether Egyptian democracy is a positive (or, rather, necessary) development. Even Benjamin Netanyahu is hedging his bets, warning about the risk of an Islamist takeover but conceding that Egypt will be fine if it’s “enshrined in democratic values.” I can’t tell who’s a RINO anymore!
Here’s Mitt on tonight’s Piers Morgan taking the more politic approach: Mubarak’s time has come, he agrees, but he’s not as frantic as The One to make it happen right away.