With protests in Egypt escalating following Friday prayers, President Obama is running fast to gain the high ground with the Arab Street, shaking his head and tut-tutting Hosni Mubarak for digging his own grave. Here’s Obama in a YouTube interview yesterday.
I’ve always said to him that making sure that they are moving forward on reform – political reform, economic reform – is absolutely critical for the long-term well-being of Egypt
True, perhaps. But Obama has abandoned the type of public pressure on human rights that was a hallmark of the Bush administration and that could have put us in a better position with new leadership and the population should Mubarak fall. And, as under Bush, the real behind-the-scenes pressure for change has been minimal.
Now what we have is an administration retreating from its support of an ally who has been extremely helpful to us on Iraq, Iran, and the Middle East peace process. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs declined to even say that the United States backs Mubarak.
Secretary of State Clinton, who seems to take the lead on the administration’s downplaying of human rights, once reacted to a State Department report critical of Mubarak’s human rights with an emphatic “oh well.”
We hope that it will be taken in the spirit in which it is offered, that we all have room for improvement.
Yeah, you know, we abuse human rights too, so no throwing stones in glass houses, ‘kay? She added, according to the New York Times, that Mubarak and his wife Suzanne were friend of she and Bill.
And Obama is now offering prescriptions that are REAL EASY to offer, as long as your presidential palace isn’t on the cusp of being besieged by ululating masses of angry people.
My main hope right now is that violence is not the answer in solving these problems in Egypt. The government has to be careful about not resorting to violence, and the people in the streets have to be careful about not resorting to violence.
Please children, no hitting!