Clinton Plays Safe, Punts On Sticky Egypt Issues
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appeared on the Sunday morning talk shows, deflecting questions whether the Obama Administration continues to support embattled Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.
She defended the Egyptian people’s right to democratic reforms, praised the nation’s military as a respected institution and said most other issues such as continued $1 to $3 billion annual military aid to the strategic Middle Eastern nation is not under discussion at this time.
U.S. officials are looking for what they are calling “managed change” — a gradual transition to elections that lead the way to a greater sharing of power and economic reforms. With the Iranian revolution of 1979 in mind, they fear an abrupt transition that would lead to turmoil and a possible seizure of power by what they feel is the wrong kind of leadership.
Frankly, I don’t know what else the administration can say publicly at this time based on rapid-fire events unfolding in that country. Transparent diplomacy in real time is not the way to defuse or settle internal disputes in foreign countries.
I would quibble with Clinton’s assertion made on “Meet The Press” that Mubarak’s appointment of a vice president might help ease an orderly transition to a new government as part of the reform process. For 30 years under Mubarak’s rule, the cabinet of ministers was his puppets and his first-born son the next president in waiting.
Egyptians see through that farce. Clinton and the Obama folks don’t — at least in public comments for the world audience.
Somehow, the demands of the demonstrators for democratic reforms are only a part of the people’s frustrations. Underplayed by the media coverage must be seething frustration of economic conditions and restraints. The two always go hand in hand.
Another observation. Although Mubarak did not run a police state as seen in other autocratic regimes, the local cops were perceived as brutal and sadistic as often as protecting the neighborhoods. This explains when the cops fled, their station houses were torched by the vengeful.
Conversely, it is clear — so far — that Egyptians have unqualified respect and pride in their military as we in our country have for ours.
Clinton spoke to NBC’s “Meet the Press,” “Fox News Sunday,” ABC’s “This Week,” CBS’ “Face the Nation,” and CNN’s “State of the Union.”
I bet she sweated that ordeal by taking one for the boss.
My problem with the media and the impatience of an American public is they want solutions today to answers that will take months to figure out.
As we know, nor should we demand that our government practice clairvoyance.