I've been writing off and on that the Obama administration inherited a situation in Egypt that was bound to go bad, but today's Jackson Diehl column in the Washington Post suggests there's a lot more culpability at the Obama White House than I assumed.
Watching the chaos in Egypt and the confusion at the White House, it seems to me that decades of shortsighted U.S. policy – touting democracy while propping up undemocratic strongmen like Hosni Mubarak, and somehow believing nobody is noticing the gap between our words and deeds - have left policymakers here in an impossible situation.
If we press for the immediate departure of Mubarak, we create a vacuum which forces we fear – not without reason – may effectively exploit.
I wonder how many Israeli leaders will be misled into thinking the hopes of those who want to hold on to the West Bank forever – and the hopes of those who just want to put off painful compromises as long as possible - now reside in Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor and likely contender for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.
With questions about exactly how and when Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will leave the scene and who will replace him still up in the air, today's papers and blogs are full of interesting writing on the subject.
(JTA) -- Pro-Egyptian government counter-protesters in Cairo are screaming "Jew!" at foreign journalists, apparently spurred by Egyptian state TV accusations that Israeli spies are behind the protests.
"Egyptian state television has actively tried to foment the unrest by reporting that 'Israeli spies' on the unrest have infiltrated the city, which explains why many of the gangs who attack reporters shout 'yehudi!,' " Al Jazeera said in a report on its website Thursday.
The report documented increasing attacks on foreign journalists.
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Transition in Egypt "must begin now," President Obama said.
Obama spoke Tuesday about two hours after after Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said he would not run in presidential elections scheduled for September, and would prepare for a peaceful handing over of power to his successor.
It was not clear from Obama's statement whether this was sufficient, or if he wanted Mubarak to step down sooner. Opposition groups have said that Mubarak must step down now.
I've read a lot of ominous words about the chaos in Egypt and the anti-Mubarak demonstrations that now look like they will end the 30-year reign of this democrat-in-name-only. But nothing comes close in grimness to Richard Cohen's column in today's Washington Post.
I have some sympathy for an Obama administration that seems paralyzed by indecision as Egyptians rise up in the streets against their corrupt, repressive regime; President Obama is paying the long-deferred price for decades of hypocritical policy.
But this administration is no more innocent than its predecessors; it, too, chose to proclaim the authoritarian Hosni Mubarak a critical ally in the Middle East, and mostly swallow concerns about his anti-democratic nature and his sorry human rights record in the interests of foreign policy realism.