We do not accept the proposition that Egypt's only choices are a slow-to-reform authoritarian regime or an Islamist extremist one; nor do we see greater democracy in Egypt as leading necessarily to a government under the MB [Muslim Brotherhood]. --January 29 2006 cable excerpt from US Ambassador to Egypt Francis Ricciardone to FBI Director Robert Mueller
I don't know who "We" is above, but it certainly did not include Bush then, and it most certainly doesn't include Obama now. I'm sure to many of us, Ricciardone's assertion seems so self-evident that it hardly needs stating. But sadly, the current US administration seems as cynical as ever as it presents a completely unconvincing facade of support for the Egyptian people bleeding in the streets, while desperately attempting to salvage the 'friendly dictatorship' that oppresses them, complete with scary choices between dictatorship, chaos, and the islamist extremist boogyman. As an American who voted for Obama, this has been both painful and embarrassing to watch. The US appears dedicated to swapping Mubarak with an (at least) equally pliant Suleiman, a man Obama knows and trusts to help implement a badly flawed set of US regional interests.
As the US attempts this cheap deception, it is up to the Egyptian people to see this not-so-hidden gimmick for what it is, and to refuse it. So far, this "leaderless" protest has been superbly organized and beautifully disciplined. I'm hopeful that the leadership so obviously present on the Egyptian street will not settle for what has been offered to them so far.