Sunday, February 6, 2011

President Obama's Egypt Debacle

Larry Johnson - Winston Churchill. Battle of Britain. His finest moment. Barack Obama? Egypt? God save us!! What a debacle. In the last eleven days Obama has succeeded in creating doubts about America’s policy goals in Egypt, fueled uncertainty and fear in Israel, painted his Administration into a no-win policy position and fed the image of America as a paper tiger. Way to go kid!

The latest gaffe in Obama’s feckless policy towards Egypt comes via his new special envoy, Ambassador Frank Wisner. Ambassador Wisner speaking today said:

We need to get a national consensus around the pre-conditions for the next step forward. The president must stay in office to steer those changes,” he told the Munich Security Conference on Saturday.

“I believe that President Mubarak’s continued leadership is critical – it’s his chance to write his own legacy.

“He has given 60 years of his life to the service of his country, this is an ideal moment for him to show the way forward.”

Oops. Seems that Ambassador Wisner, one of the most experienced Americans on the subject of Egypt, had strayed off the Obama reservation:

But in Washington, state department spokesman PJ Crowley said: “We have great respect for Frank Wisner and we were deeply appreciative of his willingness to travel to Egypt last week.”

“He has not continued in any official capacity following the trip. The views he expressed today are his own. He did not co-ordinate his comments with the US government.”

This is one of those “YOU GOT TO BE SHITTING ME” moments.

An old hand like Wisner does not just happen to casually say something diametrically opposed to the President’s policy one day after leaving Egypt having just carried water for Obama. Obama and his mouthpiece, Robert Gibbs, have been insisting that Mubarak must leave NOW, NOW, NOW! Wisner delivered that message. And Mubarak? He matter of factly told the U.S. to “fuck off.” He wasn’t going to violate Egyptian law just to make some kid from Hawaii happy.

But Mubarak apparently was not the only one tired of Obama’s weak, silly threats. Ambassador Wisner also signaled unmistakably that he was fed up with the amateur conduct of our boy President. Not-Ready-For Primettime Obama was so inexperienced and so arrogant that rather than keep his mouth shut in public and work quietly behind the scenes to reassure Israel that its border would be secure and persuade Mubarak to leave his office he decided to play it ghetto. IN YO FACE MUTHAFUCKER!!

The comedy continued. While Wisner was saying Mubarak should stay, Biden was now saying, “he should go:”

In a phone call with Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman, Vice President Biden called for President Hosni Mubarak to spell out when he intends to leave office.

In the strongest words to date, the White House said that during the phone call to Suleiman, Biden “stressed the need for a concrete reform agenda, a clear timeline, and immediate steps that demonstrate to the public and the opposition that the Egyptian government is committed to reform.”

Is this Husni Mubarak’s secret song?

Yep, Barack Obama got out in front of the cameras and lectured and hectored Mubarak, telling him he must go. Only problem is that no President of the United States should be standing in front of a camera saying shit unless he has the ability to deliver on what he’s saying. The rest of the world understands this point very clearly. If Barack Obama says “NOW” then it is expected (and was expected) that Mubarak would be gone. But Mubarak is not going anywhere on Barak Obama’s schedule. He will go when he is good and ready and not a moment sooner. And the world is seeing that Obama is an inexperienced goof. He is the anti-Roosevelt–He talks loudly and carries a toothpick.

This is not just a personal disaster for Obama. It is dangerous for America. Just wait till the next crisis looms and lilly lips Obama stands before a camera and solemnly intones his line in the sand. Rest of the world will just laugh quietly and know that this man has no deep seated principles. He’ll do anything to win popular support but is too inexperienced and shallow to realize when he is getting into deep water.

How should Barack have managed the Egypt crisis? Very simple. You ensure that everyone in your Adminstration is saying the same thing. And what is that message? In public the Administration should have reaffirmed its support for Egypt as a valuable ally in fighting Islamic extremism and keeping the peace with Israel. Privately the United States should have sent very strong messages early on via trusted envoys like Wisner that Mubarak’s days were over and that an exit plan must be charted. These details should have been worked out behind the scenes with no public lecturing from Obama.

But that’s not what happened. Once Obama shook his metaphorical finger at Mubarak the old man dug in his heels and decided he would go on his own terms. Hillary Clinton warned America that Barack was not ready to answer a crisis at an inopportune moment. The last two weeks have proved Hillary’s warnings about Obama to be all too true.

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