February 11, 2011
Walk Like a Tunisian
Looks like Mubarak blinked. NOW's the time to ask: what next? Have away.
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I asked this elsewhere but I'll ask it here too: did Mubarak defy the army yesterday by staying on? American news was speculating in that direction last night.
Posted by: pantom at February 11, 2011 12:00 PM
Perhaps a key to the answer to that is in Mr L's post below.
Posted by: matthew h at February 11, 2011 12:38 PM
As for what's next: well, let's see, the gold short worked out. I knew from my account before I saw it in the news what had happened. Sweated the morning out, but got the reward. Whew!
And he had the good taste to do it before I get me some lunch. Nicely done.
Now all I have to do is figure out when to go long...
What's next in Egypt? Probably temporary military rule and then some sort of civilian face, I suppose. But would anything really change, I wonder?
Posted by: pantom at February 11, 2011 12:41 PM
No this was walking like Egypt, not Tunis. Tunisia was a rushed transfer. This is a military coup to preserve themselves. If I were a protester, I would not be so happy.
Posted by: The Lounsbury at February 11, 2011 01:18 PM
A military coup of a photos-everywhere Leader forced by massed confrontational bubblng upward popular pressure in face of military threats is a revolutionary step, nonetheless. Psychologically at minimum. Pharoah Nasser III has abdicated to expressed popular will.
But, agreed, so far, for now, for today, the dynasty endures.
Posted by: matthew h at February 11, 2011 06:01 PM
I haven't seen much comment about this, perhaps 'cause I don't hang out on far-right forums where this criticism is doubtless being leveled...
Obama's handling of this was, it seemed to me, amateurish in the extreme. Given our leverage, there really wasn't any reason to say a whole lot in public. Simply indicate that our sympathies always lie with more as opposed to less freedom, and then, in the background, work the Egyptian military, who I'm sure don't want to lose all that money we throw at them.
A simple public statement to the former effect, and then a lot of behind-the-scenes pressure to the latter, and that would have been it. I don't think the Egyptians, given Obama's Cairo speech, would have been left in any doubt as to where his sympathies really lay. And now, with the military in charge, we could really lay in the pressure.
As it stands, there's probably a bunch of generals who are deeply resentful of all the public pressure put on by the US. El Baradei, as I observed before, told Obama, politely, to just shut up about a week or so ago. He should have taken that advice, and worked it behind the scenes.
Teddy Roosevelt: speak softly, and carry a big stick.
Posted by: pantom at February 11, 2011 08:06 PM
"Obama's handling of this was, it seemed to me, amateurish in the extreme. Given our leverage, there really wasn't any reason to say a whole lot in public. Simply indicate that our sympathies always lie with more as opposed to less freedom, and then, in the background, work the Egyptian military..."
Wasn't that more or less what happened? I think the Obama administration handled itself surprisingly well, given the bad hand it had to play. The only major communication missteps were Biden's off-key praise for Mubarak (not a dictator!), when it was already becoming clear that he was going down.
Posted by: alle at February 12, 2011 06:41 AM
Over here in the US it seemed like he had something to say in public every time Mubarak said something. He seemed to oscillate between stable transition or something like that, and you really have to go now. If I got that impression, as a pretty friendly observer of this Admin, folks not so friendly must have gotten much worse impressions.
Decide on a message, which should be as hands off as possible while still indicating support for more democracy (and as I said in this case that would have been particularly easy, as he'd actually delivered that message in Cairo right at the start of his Admin), and then stick with it. The private messages and actions should be what does the talking.
Posted by: pantom at February 12, 2011 09:25 AM
Specifically, this, from the story you cited in the other posting:
Just before 2 p.m. Washington time, he took to the stage at Northern Michigan University to signal his approval for a transfer of power in Egypt that appeared to be only minutes away. "We are witnessing history unfold," an ebullient Obama said.
This is nutty. At this point, Obama has put himself in the position, publicly mind you, of predicting the man would leave and of indicating approval for this. Everyone took that statement to mean that.
So, now, Mubarak makes a completely different speech from the one everyone expected. Spinning out the possibilities if Mubarak's gambit had succeeded, which I remember doing that afternoon, shows you how ridiculous it was for him to say this.
The public statement they made after Mubarak's speech was even dumber, in that they didn't have to say a thing, first, and second, it put him even more in the position of wanting him out.
Posted by: pantom at February 12, 2011 10:22 AM