Egypt: More Than a "PR Problem"

Carol Platt Liebau
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Posted: Feb 01, 2011 4:17 PM
Marc Thiessen notes that America cannot afford to lose the good-will of Egypt's people by any appearance of overt support for their hated dictator President Mubarak.


What's driving everyone's calculations, of course, is the fear that Islamic radicals will usurp power and turn the country into another Iran and their judgments about how best to avoid that result.  Not surprisingly, Israel is considerably more risk-averse about that outcome than America -- especially when  members of the Muslim Brotherhood (which some American pundits are treating as a legitimate and peaceful political organization) are openly calling for war against Israel.

But what merits notice is the "response" of elite media and the Obama White House.  Disgracefully, as big issues with enormous repercussions are at stake, the NY Times worries about the PR problems that Egypt is causing The White House (reporting that The White House is unhappy that media coverage has shifted to Egypt from the supposed recovery of the President's approval ratings).  Glad to see the focus on really important things. 

What's also more than a little worrisome is that, from the piece, it seems that the Obama White House's response is . . .  meetings.  Lots of meetings.  And more meetings.

Let's hope that the national security seminar/faculty lounge discussion taking place at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is actually going to result in a policy that prevents the US from "losing" Egypt to radicals -- and either distorting or squelching the impulses toward freedom being felt throughout the rest of the Arab world.

What a loss it would be if the Obama White House were so focused on greenhouse gases and the like that it lost the best opportunity in years to help the Middle East move to a society that's freer, more open, and therefore less susceptible to radicalism.