So, if you are President Obama how utterly and completely stupid do you feel? Finally after two weeks of Egyptian protests, when it appeared that a big announcement was coming from President Mubarak, Obama decides to find his spine about the situation. During a campaign style speech in Michigan - it's re-election campaign time - he brings the protests into the mix. He says we are witnessing history without being too specific. He thinks all is good, another bullet dodged in international politics.
Not too long after Obama weighed in, Mubarak gave his address to the people crammed into the public square in Cairo from a secure location. Not only did the man say he was not leaving yet and certainly not leaving Egypt, he said he would not leave due to pressure from foreign entities. That means the U.S.
The President gave most of his power to his appointed Vice President Suleiman. He thinks this would be enough until the elections scheduled for September. This left President Obama and CIA Director Panetta with egg on their faces.
So, the White House issued a statement demanding that Suleiman clarify what the heck is going on there. Here is the statement:
Statement of President Barack Obama on Egypt
The Egyptian people have been told that there was a transition of authority, but it is not yet clear that this transition is immediate, meaningful or sufficient. Too many Egyptians remain unconvinced that the government is serious about a genuine transition to democracy, and it is the responsibility of the government to speak clearly to the Egyptian people and the world. The Egyptian government must put forward a credible, concrete and unequivocal path toward genuine democracy, and they have not yet seized that opportunity.
As we have said from the beginning of this unrest, the future of Egypt will be determined by the Egyptian people. But the United States has also been clear that we stand for a set of core principles. We believe that the universal rights of the Egyptian people must be respected, and their aspirations must be met. We believe that this transition must immediately demonstrate irreversible political change, and a negotiated path to democracy. To that end, we believe that the emergency law should be lifted. We believe that meaningful negotiations with the broad opposition and Egyptian civil society should address the key questions confronting Egypt’s future: protecting the fundamental rights of all citizens; revising the Constitution and other laws to demonstrate irreversible change; and jointly developing a clear roadmap to elections that are free and fair.
We therefore urge the Egyptian government to move swiftly to explain the changes that have been made, and to spell out in clear and unambiguous language the step by step process that will lead to democracy and the representative government that the Egyptian people seek. Going forward, it will be essential that the universal rights of the Egyptian people be respected. There must be restraint by all parties. Violence must be forsaken. It is imperative that the government not respond to the aspirations of their people with repression or brutality. The voices of the Egyptian people must be heard.
The Egyptian people have made it clear that there is no going back to the way things were: Egypt has changed, and its future is in the hands of the people. Those who have exercised their right to peaceful assembly represent the greatness of the Egyptian people, and are broadly representative of Egyptian society. We have seen young and old, rich and poor, Muslim and Christian join together, and earn the respect of the world through their non-violent calls for change. In that effort, young people have been at the forefront, and a new generation has emerged. They have made it clear that Egypt must reflect their hopes, fulfill their highest aspirations, and tap their boundless potential. In these difficult times, I know that the Egyptian people will persevere, and they must know that they will continue to have a friend in the United States of America.
The problem is this - Obama and his administration have not been clear on anything from the beginning of the crisis in Egypt. Different departments have mixed messages all along.
Another 3:00 AM call for President Obama. He hit the snooze button again. Will he learn how to stand for freedom and the people demanding it of dictators? He has yet to rise to the occasion.