Clinton Does the Sunday ShowsPosted: January 30, 2011
Today, the Secretary of State clearly became the face of the US response to the Egyptian protests. She appeared on all
five talk shows. Here’s some coverage of what she said and what others think about it.
From the NY Times: Clinton Urges Egyptian Dialogue
She issued a strong endorsement of key groups working to exert their influence on the chaotic Egyptian protests – the military, civil society groups and, perhaps most importantly, the nation’s people – but carefully avoided any specific commitment to Mr. Mubarak.
Her phrasing seemed to imply an eventual end to Mr. Mubarak’s 30 years in power. But when asked whether the United States was backing away from Mr. Mubarak and whether he could survive the protests, the secretary chose her words carefully. His political future, she said, “is going to be up to the Egyptian people.”
Making the rounds of the Sunday television talk shows, Mrs. Clinton urged the government in Cairo to respond in a “clear, unambiguous way” to the people’s demands and to do so “immediately” by initiating a national dialogue. At the same time, she was supportive of the Egyptian military, calling it “a respected institution in Egyptian society, and we know they have delicate line to walk.”
Hillary Clinton On ABC with Christine Amanpour:
From CBS NEWS: ‘Clinton: In Egypt, “Words Alone” Are Not Enough’
“Let me repeat again what President Obama and I have been saying,” Clinton said in an interview with CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday. “That is, to urge the Egyptian security forces to show restraint, to not respond in any way through violence or intimidation that falls upon the peaceful protestors who are demanding that their grievances were heard.”
“I don’t label anything like that, this is a very serious time for Egypt and we are going to do all we can to support an orderly transition to support a situation in which the aspirations of the Egyptians are addressed,” Clinton said.
She made the comment while briefing reporters before leaving on a trip to Haiti to assess recovery and political work there after last year’s devastating earthquake.
Clinton said that there are “many complexities” because Egypt has been a partner to the U.S. and worked closely with the country to keep peace in the region. She also lauded the Egyptian-Israeli peace agreement.
“We do not want to see a change or a regime that would actually continue to foment violence or chaos — either because it didn’t exist or because it had a different view in which in which to pose on the Egyptian people,” she said.
A tight-lipped White House is taking an even-handed approach to the crisis in Egypt, suggesting that President Mubarak might be able to hold onto power if he allows competitive elections and restores individual freedoms. But inside the Obama administration, there are signs that officials are preparing for a post-Mubarak era after three decades.
One former senior administration advisor said he had spoken to his old colleagues inside the Obama administration in recent days about the unrest in Egypt. As early as last Wednesday, the Obama administration recognized that they would not be able to prop up the Mubarak regime and keep it in power at all costs, the former official said.
“They don’t want to push Mubarak over the cliff, but they understand that the Mubarak era is over and that the only way Mubarak could be saved now is by a ruthless suppression of the population, which would probably set the stage for a much more radical revolution down the road.”
Other behind the scenes hint at the Jerusalem Post: Gates appears to be talking to Israel.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke Saturday evening both with US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, and on Sunday Defense Minister Ehud Barak held a telephone conversation with Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
Obama made a round of phone calls Saturday to Middle East leaders to consult on the situation. In addition to speaking to Prime Minister Netanyahu, Obama also reached out to Prime Minister Recep Tayyi Erdogan of Turkey and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. On Sunday he spoke to British Prime Minister David Cameron.
I have some take away questions from her interviews. Like, did she or didn’t she hedge the aid to Egypt question? We can talk about them below the fold.