February 5, 2011

Chaos on Obama's Watch

Forget the 3 a.m. phone call, calls are coming into the White House on an hourly basis.  The Middle East could be on the verge of a melt-down and the White House looks like a deer caught in the headlights.  What did the White House know about a possible flare up of political unrest in the region and when did it know it?  That's the question that needs to be asked.  Either the white House has been caught unaware or else it has simply been flat-footed on a coming up with a thoughtful and reasoned response to the situation.  Being cautious is good, but appearing to be without any direction is not only ineffectual it will ultimately prove to be dangerous for U.S. interests as the chaos on Obama's watch looks as though it could easily spiral out of control.

If the White House is simply concentrating on an exit strategy for Hosni Mubarak it is losing sight of the bigger picture.
The White House is working to negotiate a peaceful and immediate exit for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who under one scenario would be replaced by a caretaker military government before potentially bloody demonstrations take place in Cairo on Friday, according to administration officials.

Obama aides pushed back against, but didn’t deny, a New York Times story late Thursday that reported Obama and his advisers were hoping to convince newly appointed Vice President Omar Suleiman and the Egyptian military to lead a temporary government until new national elections could be called to include all opposition groups, including the banned Muslim Brotherhood.
What about the impact on Israel? What about the situation in other countries like Yemen, Jordan, Tunisia, Iraq, or Syria? What about what happened in Iran when the protests were crushed? Why the calls for Mubarak to step down given they did not demand the same from Ahmedinejad?  Was the gas pipeline explosion sabotage? What is the big picture that the White House sees and how is it acting on them behind the scenes, because from out here, it just seems like amateur hour.  Even Mr. Tingle, Chris Matthews is bristling at the handling of this - that's how you know it's bad.

As an aside, he's still predominantly focused on the immediate, the transition plan, rather than a more holistic Middle East policy. But still when Chris Matthews notice that President Obama is not engaged and doesn't have a game plan, that's really saying something.

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