Egyptian Foreign Minister Gheit lashed the US on PBS last night, accusing the Obama Administration of sending confusing messages in its public comments. Though Gheit’s agenda was clearly to secure more support for the status quo, one cannot fault his underlying point, that the Obama Administration’s position on Egypt is growing increasingly malleable and muddled.
Early on the Administration was absolutely ruling out anything resembling democracy in Egypt, then got on board for some “immediate,” albeit non-specific, reforms. Shortly after, and with virtually nothing happening in the interim, the US was praising the Egyptian dictatorship for “monumental changes” and acting perplexed that the protests were continuing.
Now the US is insisting not only that the Mubarak regime is falling short of Egyptian protesters’ demands, but the US has demands of its own, demanding an immediate end to the 30 year “emergency law” in Egypt and a faster move toward an “orderly transition.”
The Obama Administration doesn’t seem to know what its position on Egypt is when it wakes up in the morning, but mysteriously the American public, according to a recent poll, is on board with that position, whatever it may be, and seems pretty ambivalent on the notion of free elections for Egypt’s 80 million people.
Thus it seems the administration will be driven more by foreign allies than by the American public, and the news there is even worse, as Israel has been so adamantly opposed to a free Egypt that even Britain felt the need to publicly take them to task on the issue, and new reports suggest the Saudis are also “warning” Obama that he’d better not move too strongly against Egypt.
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