From Commentary Magazine, 28 January 2011, by Abe Greenwald:
... As hundreds of thousands of Egyptians defy a state-imposed curfew, set fire to Hosni Mubarak’s party headquarters, overturn cars, and set off explosions nationwide while demanding that Mubarak leave the country, [Secretary of State Hillary] Clinton took a moment out of her day to note the following:
"We are deeply concerned about the use of violence by Egyptian police and security forces against protestors. We call on the Egyptian government to do everything in its power to restrain security forces. At the same time, protesters should also refrain from violence and express themselves peacefully. We urge Egyptian authorities to allow peaceful protests and reverse unprecedented steps it has taken to cut down means of communications."
...The protests are not peaceful and the regime is not so much cracking down as it is fighting for its survival.
The time to urge a dictator to grant his people freedoms is before he’s flitting between burning buildings. But back when that was the case the Obama administration was too busy being pragmatic and humble to raise the issue of human rights in Egypt.
Hang on, there’s more. Clinton outdid herself with this:
“We strongly believe that the Egyptian government needs to engage with its people on immediate reforms. We want to partner with the Egyptian people and its government.”
...If we take this statement to mean anything in the real world it would be that U.S. intends to lead some sort of post-uprising group-therapy workshop between a dictator and his enraged subjects. Whatever else comes from the riots in Egypt, it has killed “smart power” in its tracks.
...and from Barry Rubin, 28 January 2011:
Any mass movement in Egypt will be taken over by the Muslim Brotherhood.
That does not apply to Tunisia or Lebanon, for example, but it does apply to Egypt. Have no doubt about that.