Marc Ambinder (The Atlantic): A few months after Barack Obama took office, CIA analysts monitoring the Middle East received an unusual request from the National Security Council. The president had appreciated the in-depth country profiles the intelligence community had prepared for him to read. But there was something missing. The white papers all assessed what various groups within each country didn’t like about the United States – but there was very little about what they admired. So that’s what Obama wanted to know: What do Yemenis, Qataris and Egyptians like about the U.S.?
The answer, in the case of Egypt, was the American education system. The competition for visas to study inside the U.S., particularly among those with a bent toward the hard sciences, was fierce. And it was considered a point of pride for a family member to brag about his brother studying overseas.
The National Security Council and the State Department turned this nugget of insight into policy: Obama would expand the number of educational visas available to qualified Egyptian students. The State Department would increase its direct outreach to Egyptians; it would hold entrepreneurship and science summits, and would convene gatherings of Egyptians to meet with visiting American scientists. As the White House’s focus turned to Egypt late last week, the aspirations of young Egyptians were very much on the president’s mind … After Tunisia, the intelligence community, the diplomatic community and the White House all anticipated that protests would spread …. Egypt was simply the most logical candidate for unrest….
Full article here
BWD posted this article on The Only Adult In The Room – and if you read it you’ll see why ‘The Only Adult In The Room’ is so appropriate. It’s absolutely fascinating, a real insight in to how the President is dealing with this crisis as carefully and thoughtfully as possible.
Meanwhile, the media bleats cluelessly, completely ignorant of just how delicate this situation is, or how far-reaching the consequences might be in the Middle East. Unless the President announces he’s nuking Mubarak and/or the Muslim Brotherhood they’ll conclude he’s not being pro-active enough. Aw, sounds, like they’re lonesome for Bush.
Did you hear them whinging today at Robert Gibbs’ press conference? The President isn’t being made available to them to answer questions on how he’s responding to the crisis! So, the most critical thing here – more critical than the future of Egypt! – is that the President reveal to Jake Tapper, Chuck Todd and their buddies the nature of the careful work being done behind the scenes? Right.