02
Feb
11

‘how the white house approached egyptian turmoil’

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.


17 Responses to “‘how the white house approached egyptian turmoil’”


  1. 1 africa
    February 2, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    Wow! Fascinating.

  2. 2 VC prezOfan2
    February 2, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    ‘[T]he President is carefully and thoughtfully dealing with this crisis’ and these ‘morans’ can’t compute that in the midst of the crisis kibitzing with them contributes nothing to the situation. What’s their obsession to know each step? So that they can be armchair presidents and pretend that they know what should be done! Me, I’m quite pleased that the President knows how to deal with them and is not in the least intimidated by them. He just goes about the business of his day – suweet! I really, really love this man… I love this world LEADER 🙂 – my first ‘lover/loved’ politician!

  3. 3 majii
    February 2, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    I commented on yesterday how coolly the president walked out on the press and left them shouting questions at him. I fully approve of the president not answering questions from them. He knows they’re not really “into” informing the public accurately about the things he does/says, so he leaves them hanging, as they should be. I like this new approach by PBO. Maybe it will send a message to the MSM that it needs to do its job in reporting the facts instead of shooting for sensationalism and profits. PBO is not as dumb as they think he is. He knows that, in general, they don’t bear any goodwill toward him, and imo, since they are such a hindrance to progress, they should be ignored. They behave like kids and should be treated like kids until they decide to mature and get serious about their jobs. I remember how effective putting my daughter on punishment by not allowing her to watch teevee was in getting her to understand that I was the adult when she was a kid, and she soon got the message that she had to play by my rules.

  4. 4 globalcitizenlinda
    February 2, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    is a complicated mess and needs guidance from a steady hand, a calm soul and brilliant mind to sort out all the different angles, the losers and winers and the unintended consequence of each decision. thank God we are in capable hands

  5. 5 Fred
    February 2, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    I don’t remember any of these buffoons questioning the Bush White House from Iraq to Afghanistan;the Economic Crisis;to joblessness;South Ossetia;etc. and gawd knows they had 8 years to do so and now they are up to Obama’s arse for answers? 😡

    • 6 Sue in Minnesota
      February 2, 2011 at 7:40 pm

      I really regret to inform that prior to President Obama I was a citizen who’s head was in the sand, politically. I wish I had a more accurate perspective of how the MSM conducted itself during both the Clinton and Bush administrations.

      I suspect, there are many, many opposing dynamics in play as President Obama confronts the duties of this Presidency. Sadly, racism is a factor I did not anticipate….in my naivete I thought we were so beyond overt racism. I also was naive in underestimating the centers of power or the reach and hold of their tentacles. President Obama, in his principled philosophy of governing is a true threat to those power brokers. Our information delivery system is flawed and failing, and that seriously bothers me. If we could trust the MSM to deliver facts, minimize opinions, and stir clear of manufactured controversy, we would half a chance of being able to understand and respond appropriately, to our government of the people,by the people, and for the people. Without clear, unbiased information we are kept confused and in the dark.

      I got carried away, sorry…my question is was the MSM this horrible to the previous administrations, and if not, why now?

      • 7 Dorothy Rissman
        February 2, 2011 at 8:21 pm

        Sue, I was a lot like you. I voted for the democrats. Then along came Obama. changed my life for ever. I cannot get enough politics. I drive my husband crazy because that is all I talk about.

        I think it is great that you shared. clinton had it so much easier. The msm and blogosphere are now 24 seven.
        I remember Doris Kearns Goodwin, the presidental historian, said that it is going to be much hard for presidents to earn two terms because of the constant questioning and much of it lies.

        I live in Seattle, a very liberal city, so news wise, people here were very hard on him–as they should have been.

        In terms of television coverage, I do not remember a lot of doom and gloom on everything he said or did. Heck, he was a commander in chief who won a war, right. He had swagger. That is the way the media portrayed it.

        • 8 Dorothy Rissman
          February 2, 2011 at 8:22 pm

          Sorry, the last sentence was about the Shrub gwb.

          • 9 VC prezOfan2
            February 3, 2011 at 11:15 am

            I’m another person that President Obama’s campaign woke up to the political underbelly in American politics. Sometimes while on the blogs I really wish I had a better background and understanding of the political dynamics (I keep quiet often because of my ignorance), yet I have come to realize that someone in the audience usually does know and they share enough to enlighten me. A life-long liberal, in truth I paid very little (no) attention to previous campaigns, other than feeling disappointment when democratic leaders ‘did wrong’. I just knew I hated negative campaign ads as much as I disliked dishonest politicians. However, once I started paying closer attention to Prez O’s historic campaign on a daily basis, I realized I liked the persona he presented. He seemed more sincere than any politician I had seen before and I liked his calm in the storm. I also started hearing the announcers’ lies, seeing their biases, and realizing that they were, to a large extent, subtly campaigning against him. That really riled me up! Now, I’ve become quite obssessive to the point where former co-workers and friends have started to watch what they say about him in my hearing. One offshoot of my daily reading at sites like this is that I now become easily irritated when I hear ‘the common folk’ expounding, with great conviction, on the President’s decisions after listening to one brief biased newscast. Especially when they are not open to other input. This is often when I have to really count to ten and try to remember Prez O’s example to respond calmly, or not at all.

  6. 10 cat48
    February 2, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    Ambinder’s article was really good. In fact, he must be “likable enough” 🙂 to the WH b/c he consistently gets good scoops about what’s going on internally w/Obama. I miss his daily blog since he moved to National Journal, because when he’s working on a print story, he doesn’t blog daily anymore. I think they are all owned by the same people now so it’s hard to find him on a regular basis. I don’t remember if he traveled with the prez on the Campaign ’08 trail or not. I grew attached to Jeff Zeleny, NYT, in ’08, too, and they changed him to covering GOP & Peter Baker normally does WH now. I don’t like him as well (he is on book leave right now though) so Jeff is back temporarily!

  7. 11 cat48
    February 2, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    Ambinder’s article was really good. In fact, he must be “likable enough” 🙂 to the WH b/c he consistently gets good scoops about what’s going on internally w/Obama. I miss his daily blog since he moved to National Journal, because when he’s working on a print story, he doesn’t blog daily anymore. I think they are all owned by the same people now so it’s hard to find him on a regular basis. I don’t remember if he traveled with the prez on the Campaign ’08 trail or not. I grew attached to Jeff Zeleny, NYT, in ’08, too, and they changed him to covering GOP & Peter Baker normally does WH now. I don’t like him as well (Baker is on book leave right now though) so Jeff is back temporarily!

  8. 12 ballerina
    February 2, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    On the time article you posted earlier, it began with saying the cable news kept showing a banner from eygpt that had the words “Yes We Can Too” in english. i have searched and searched but cannot find it. anyone seen it. I hope you would also post it here because it is a very powerful sign.

    • 13 globalcitizenlinda
      February 2, 2011 at 8:20 pm

      CNN carried the original video and yesterday’s Rachel Maddow’s show showed it in video. Pls check the MSNBC’s video

  9. 15 ballerina
    February 2, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    oh no i meant Egypt! *embarrased*

  10. 16 Dorothy Rissman
    February 2, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    This is indeed a remarkable story about our PBHO. This guy is a king in my eyes. Gee, wouldn’t it be nice if he could be king for about 15 years. He could solve so many problems around the world.

    Chipsticks must be working hard today. I always miss his voice. He does such a great job.

  11. 17 Asher in Boston
    February 2, 2011 at 11:39 pm

    I dont understand why the MSM know it all guys have failed to get it in their thick skulls that, this President is way beyond them by way of long and short term thinking. Let them accept it that he is the leader and they are followers. During the Bush years, they were mum about everything and now they are awake and can talk? Give me a break.


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