Your bowing and groveling and handwringing and apologies only took 2 years to diminish American superpower status, clout and influence.
The Muslim world is laughing at your impotence.
They smell the blood in the water in Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen.
And if you fuck up this end game now, when they're done there they'll be coming for us.Wall Street Journal:
Crisis Flummoxes White HousePresident Mubarak's Refusal to Step Down Signals a Loss of Western Influence; Sense of 'Disbelief' After Speech.
By ADAM ENTOUS And JAY SOLOMON
WASHINGTON—The defiant tone taken by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak—and widespread confusion about the meaning of his speech—had White House officials stumbling for their next step in a crisis that was spinning out of their control.
Egyptian officials said Mr. Mubarak gave the Obama administration much of what it wanted: the delegation of presidential powers to the vice president, Omar Suleiman.
They said Mr. Mubarak had all but been rendered a figurehead leader, precisely the formulation set out by U.S. officials over the weekend.
But Mr. Mubarak's language and refusal to yield to what he called the intervention of foreigners left protesters furious, the scene in Cairo precarious and the White House seemingly unable to influence events.
After a extended meeting with his national security team, President Barack Obama released the longest statement of the Egyptian crisis, making it clear the appearances of Messrs. Mubarak and Suleiman on Egyptian state television had muddled the transition process, not clarified it.
"The Egyptian people have been told that there was a transition of authority, but it is not yet clear that this transition is immediate, meaningful or sufficient," Mr. Obama said.
All day, as rumors swirled Mr. Mubarak would step down, administration officials struggled to understand what was happening, and even U.S. intelligence officials appeared baffled at one point. At a Capitol Hill hearing, Leon Panetta, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, told lawmakers there was "a strong likelihood that Mubarak may step down this evening."
Mr. Panetta clarified later in the hearing that the CIA had received reports that Mr. Mubarak would "possibly" resign but said he saw a transition scenario under which Mr. Mubarak would shift powers to Mr. Suleiman, something closer to what appears to have happened.
A senior intelligence official defended Mr. Panetta, saying he was referring to press reports in his comments rather than to CIA intelligence reports.
"The agency has been tracking developments very closely, and there were very real and rapidly unfolding changes over the course of the day in what has been—by any measure—an extremely fluid situation," the official said. "That's the nature of the intelligence business."
After Mr. Mubarak's speech, the White House was consumed with a sense of "disbelief," one U.S. official said.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, at the same hearing on Capitol Hill as Mr. Panetta, acknowledged the difficulty of predicting fast-moving events, comparing it to foreseeing "earthquakes in California."
The White House is now squeezed between Arab and Israeli allies, who have complained that Mr. Obama was pushing Mr. Mubarak too hard to step down, and lawmakers who accuse the White House of not pushing hard enough. Now, the White House finds itself largely a bystander.
"This is really bad," a senior U.S. official said after Mr. Mubarak's address. "We need to push harder—if not, the protests will get violent."
The official advocated raising U.S. pressure to force Mr. Mubarak from power, though other officials acknowledge Washington had little clout in Cairo.
"Every day that goes by, you have to ask: who profits by this?" said Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.), in an interview. "It's the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamic extremists. There's the perception that we're on the side of Mubarak."
In the White House, frustration is giving way to a sense of powerlessness.
"The mystique of America's superpower status has been shattered," said Steve Clemons, director of the American Strategy Program of the New America Foundation, who has attended two meetings with the National Security Council on Egypt.
At a meeting with outside advisers Monday, four National Security Council officials were pressed on what U.S. diplomacy had accomplished. The officials said their efforts had helped avoid "catastrophic" bloodshed by helping to restrain Egyptian security forces, two participants said.
Arab and Israeli diplomats said Mr. Obama's decision to throw his full support behind the opposition after eight days of protests has likely broken ties with Mr. Mubarak beyond repair.
The move also had the effect of pushing Mr. Mubarak closer to regional allies Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which have urged Mr. Mubarak to hold his ground.
As a result, said one Arab diplomat, Washington's influence in dictating events in Cairo could be limited.
The White House has focused outreach largely to Mr. Suleiman, the former intelligence chief, and military leaders. Officials and outside experts viewed Vice President Joe Biden's call to Mr. Suleiman Tuesday as a pivotal moment.
In the call, Mr. Biden made specific demands which Mr. Mubarak appeared partly to address in his speech.
"I don't think Mubarak trusts too many people from the U.S. anymore," the Arab diplomat said. "It looks like Omar Suleiman is the right point of contact, but they're all ticked off with the U.S. position, which they view as throwing Mubarak under the bus."
In talks with American counterparts in Washington Thursday, top Israeli officials accompanying Defense Minister Ehud Barak made a similar case, warning that the upheaval could be the start of a broader "earthquake" that could sweep the region, said officials briefed on the exchange.
They questioned Washington's wisdom in appearing to push for Mr. Mubarak's ouster and whether the military can keep chaos and Islamist forces at bay, a participant said.
Israeli officials also told the U.S. Thursday that right-wing parties in Israel could gain strength in future Israeli elections as a result, complicating efforts to advance peace talks with Palestinians.
The events in Cairo late Thursday left Israeli officials uncertain of how Egypt's transition would play out.
One of the biggest questions facing the administration is the future role of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Mr. Clapper, on Capitol Hill, muddied the picture when he called the group "largely secular," despite long-standing U.S. concerns about its Islamist roots and ties to extremism.
Mr. Clapper's spokeswoman, Jamie Smith, later issued a clarification, citing the Brotherhood's efforts to work through Egypt's political system. Mr. Clapper "is well aware that the Muslim Brotherhood is not a secular organization."
Tom Malinowski, the Washington advocacy director of Human Rights Watch who has advised the White House, said that administration needed to quickly lean on the Egyptian military not to fire on protesters and to pressure Mr. Mubarak to leave.
"I trust the Obama administration is pulling out all the stops to be clear with the Egyptian army what its choices are," he said. "This has to be resolved now. On Friday all of Egypt will be out."